Monday, March 2, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3.02.2020

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

Featuring a crossover post - celebrating February's Black History Month and March's Women's HIstory Month with these nonfiction picture books!

Picture Books

by Kim Smith
When you were a kid, the best thing about getting new appliances was getting the huge box to play in.  Cutting windows and doors and decorating the box kept you busy for days.
I love how this book celebrates the making of these creations.  The message of the story is clear - working together is better, it's better to work together than against each other - and will be easily picked up on by young readers, but what I love is seeing the different makers, especially female makers!

Hello, World!: Happy County Book 1
Hello, World!
by Ethan Long
A mix between Where's Waldo and Richard Scarry books, this interactive book will have readers pouring over the pages and looking at the many intricate details.

I'm Gonna Push Through!
I'm Gonna Push Through!
written by Jasmyn Wright
illustrated by Shannon Wright
I love this book.  I read it quickly in the NCTE exhibit hall and knew it was one I wanted to own.  Life is hard.  A lot of kids are put in situations that kick them down before they can even start.  Things don't come easy.  Teaching kids to push through, giving them encouragement is a good thing.  We don't always get it the first time, the second time, the 100th time, but we keep trying.  The story starts with a quick layout of famous people who had to push through in order to rise up, but then the rest of the book is full of kids who are rising above different unnamed challenges.  Readers have to read the illustrations to figure out the challenge.  At the end of the book is another layout with more well-known people - from sports stars to activists to celebrities from the arts.  The backmatter includes some background on the people who are mentioned at the beginning of the book as well as a note from the author explaining the background of the push through campaign.  

Help Wanted, Must Love Books
Help Wanted: Must Love Books
written by Janet Sumner Johnson
illustrated by Courtney Dawson
I received this book from Sara Magnafichi as part of our #WindyCityReaders group meet up and I'm so excited to read and now share this with young readers.
Poor Shailey - her favorite bedtime reader, Dad, just got a new job and is either too tired or too busy to read to her at night.  So Shailey decides to interview some potential readers.  Young readers will enjoy spotting some favorite fairy tale characters as the interviewees.  Unfortunately, Cinderella gets the books too dirty, the Giant from Jack in the Beanstalk is a bit too scary, and Captain Hook does not have the best hygiene.  Will Shailey ever find the perfect reader?

Middle Grade

A High Five for Glenn Burke
A High Five for Glenn Burke
by Phil Bildner
This was just a pitch perfect book (sorry for the pun, but it works).  Glenn Burke was a professional baseball player who happened to invent the high five.  He also was cast out from the Major Leagues because he was gay.
Silas is getting ready to do a report on him and it's a big step.  Silas is gay, but he hasn't been able to tell anyone.  By doing this report, even though he never says he's gay, feels like a big step.  Big enough that he feels ready to tell his best friend, Zoey, about who he is.  But the guys on his baseball team, he knows he's not ready to tell because even though baseball is his passion and he fits so well on his team, he knows his teammates aren't ready because of the homophobic slurs that a couple of them use.
This is a story about identity and baseball.  A story about friendship and adults who have your back.  And it's one of the best stories I've read with all of those things.  Silas and his friends and coach are going to stay with me for a long time.  Because Silas' story should not be erased.  It should be seen and represented.  Everyone should have an adult in their life that helps you be seen and feel valued.  And everyone needs a friend that has your back.  Don't miss this one.

To Night Owl from Dogfish
To Night Owl from Dogfish
by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer
This book is unique in that it is told entirely through emails and letters.  
It's the story of Bett and Avery.  Both girls live on opposite coasts of the United States, but their dads have met and fallen in love.  While they explore their relationship on a motorcycle ride/tour across China, the girls are sent - unwillingly - to camp.  What follows is a funny turn of events that leave the men not liking each other, the girls wanting to be sisters, and a grandmother turning into an actress on the New York stage!  Hard to believe all of that is told through email!
I liked the story, but I think because of the emails, I had a hard time visualizing the characters.  Maybe I just didn't pick up enough detail early on in the book (sometimes that happens when I'm reading right before bed.... sleep comes easier than staying awake to read!) but I never completely felt connected to either girl.  They were vague in my mind.  I'm wondering how young readers will connect with them?

Currently Reading

by Michelle Obama
Sadly I did not make any progress in this one this week.

Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle
Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle
by Hilda Eunice Burgos
I started this one but got sidetracked by the middle grade books I did read this week.  Our district was awarded a grant to purchase more LGBTQ books for our school libraries so I was busy reading some books we may want to add!  But this book is due this week so it's one I'll for sure get to reading!

Happy Spring Reading!


  1. Boxitects is new to me, but sounds like a great read. I think books that celebrate creativity are important since kids often don't have as many opportunities to be creative nowadays.

  2. I'm Gonna Push Through! looks fantastic, Michele. I'm adding that one to my list today! It's been a while since I read To Night Owl from Dogfish, but what I mainly remember was how the difficulty in the fathers' relationship eventually played out for the rest of the family. I know middle grade novels often work out perfectly by the ending, but it was a pleasant surprise to see that little twist. I'll look forward to hearing more about Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle!

  3. Night Owl and Dogfish really should move up on my list. It sounds so good. And the new A High Five for Glenn Burke seems like a must read. I love the interesting way to get into a middle-grade story. Thanks, Michele!

  4. This is the second review of Hello, World! I've read today. It sounds fabulous so I've added it to my list of possible birthday gifts for my grand kids. I enjoyed To Night Owl from Dogfish and loved those characters. I've added A High Five for Glenn Burke to my list and hope my library brings it in soon!

  5. Boxitects looks EXACTLY like the kind of book my preschooler would love, so thank you for the recommendation! I also felt the same about To Night Owl from Dogfish. I thought the format kept me from identifying with either of the girls.

  6. Boxitects and Hello World are both new titles for me. Definitely think they will have a lot of kid appeal!