Monday, April 6, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.06.2020

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

Spring is here and to celebrate here are some books about the seasons for your readers.

Some new chapter books!

Picture Books

Fire Truck vs. Dragon
Fire Truck vs Dragon
written by Chris Barton
illustrated by Shanda McCloskey
Do you have one of those family members that know just how to tease?  I have a few uncles that do!  You know, the one who know you're just waiting for them to do that one thing that they do....
That's how this book felt to me.  The kids are just waiting for the fire truck and the dragon to go at it.  And they do.  But they do everything you don't really want them to do.  Until the very end :)

Lilah Tov Good Night
Lilah Tov Good Night
written by Ben Gundersheimer
illustrated by Noar Lee Naggan
A good night story with rhyming lyrics, this sweet story follows a little girl's journey as she travels with her family to a new place.  She says good night to all in nature on her journey.
The reader can't help but wonder where is she going?  Why does she have to leave?  We can tell this most likely takes place in the past and the family has just a small number of things.  The family brings a few sacks with them on their journey and takes a boat ride in the night to get to their new location.  It seems to be a refugee story as much as a good night tale.  
I wish there had been something at the end of the story that perhaps shed some light on these questions, although the author must not have wanted to focus on that part of the story?

Just Like a Mama
Just Like a Mama
written by Alice Faye Duncan
illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
This is such an important book to have in libraries.  A love letter to adults who step in and become a parental figure to young children.  We no longer can assume children live with their biological parents.  Like this story, our young main character says she has parents, she loves her parents, but right now she does not live with her parents.  Maybe one day she will.  Talking about having books to see yourself in... this is a book that many kids will feel seen in.

To the Moon and Back for You
To the Moon and Back for You
written by Emilia Bechrakis Serhant
illustrated by EG Keller
This book is beautiful, both in words and illustrations.  A gift book to give a parent who has waited a long time and perhaps gone through a difficult journey, in order to add a little one to the family.
by Pete Oswald
This book took my breath away.  Absolutely beautiful wordless picture book.  A young boy and his father go on a day hike together.  Interacting with the wilderness and nature interacting with the duo.  A beautiful message about giving back to nature inside the storyline.  This one is a definite Mock Caldecott contender.

Graphic Novels

Dragon Hoops
Dragon Hoops
by Gene Luen Yang
This graphic novel is very cool.  I really didn't know much about it before starting it.  I also did not know it was going to be 436 pages until I picked it up for the first time!  This one is best for middle school and high school readers - bleeped out f-bombs and a few minor cuss words - it's the mostly true story of Yang's last year of teaching high school where he starts following the high school basketball team as they go through their season in hopes of making it to the California State Tournament.  Yang didn't start out following them with the plan of writing about the team and it's kind of neat to take the journey with him.  We meet the players and coaches and see some of the factors that go into playing at an elite level.
I love that Yang uses backmatter and author notes that detail pages and panels to clarify parts of the story.

All the Pieces Fit (Hilo, #6)
HiLo:  All the Pieces Fit
by Judd Winick
I've wanted to read this book since last February, the second I finished reading that book.  This is a series that I will always read.  Because of my love-hate relationship with graphic novels, I don't always stop and read the subsequent books in graphic novel series.  I know the gist of the story and I just pass the sequels on to the readers who can't wait to start reading!  But this one, sorry readers, I get it first!  I love the story, but I really love the characters in this one.  I know I'm going to laugh out loud, I know I'm going to yell because something is going to happen to a character, and I know I'm going to want to read the next book.  So if you haven't already, get your hands on this series!

Diana: Princess of the Amazons
Diana: Princess of the Amazons
written by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
illustrated by Victoria Ying
DC Comics have been putting graphic novels out featuring their characters and written and illustrated by various authors and illustrators.
This one features Diana before she became Wonder Woman.  Diana is feeling much like many young people feel - like no one, especially her mom, is noticing her.  She ends up creating a friend, much like how she was created - with a piece of clay and a special wish.  However, this friend seems to be getting Diana into some trouble.  Is she really a friend, or has she created a big problem for the Amazon women?

Middle Grade

by Rob Harrell
Have heard some great things about this one and they were all on point.
Ross has a rare eye cancer and... he's in middle school.  It's just not a good mix.  Trying to be invisible in school just got a lot harder.  Not only does he pretty much have a permanent wink going on, he also has to wear a wide-brimmed hat (read: cowboy hat) everywhere. Pretty soon he has memes made about him and they aren't the nicest.  So much for staying invisible.  Before he knows it, he has the class bully after him and he finds out his best (and only) friend is moving away.
But something saves him... music.  He starts taking guitar lessons from his radiologist tech and he finds a new way to let life around him fade away.
Drawing upon his own past with cancer, author Rob Harrell brings us a story and a character that will stay in our hearts for awhile.

Young Adult

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)
always and forever, Lara Jean
by Jenny Han
This was such a satisfying conclusion to the story and the trilogy.  I wish there were more.  But I think Han absolutely finished this trilogy on the right note.
This was the perfect series to read as I started to stay at home and go through the daily news of this pandemic.  It took me away to when life is normal and I just dealt with regular day to day things.  It wasn't heavy.  It wasn't too light.  And it got me back into reading.

Currently Reading

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)
Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
This one was my February mustread book.  I had to move some books around and then with the start of the pandemic I had to move things around again.  Finally getting to it!

I know so many of us have had trouble getting into a reading groove since our lives have been upended.  I was right there until I found Jenny Han's books.  I hope you are able to find something to take you away from this craziness, even for just a little while.  We all need to find a way to help us through this.

* Looking to find one of the books in this post?  Click on the book title and you will be taken to an online link for Brain Lair Books.  The books will stay on the link for approx. three weeks before making room for new reads.  Please support independent bookstores.*


  1. Hike is on my list this week, too. I agree it is absolutely beautiful. You also know I agree with you about Wink. I lent Hilo out before I got to read it. I had it sent to school and it was delivered when I had a group of students. I had forgotten what I ordered so I opened it in front of them and of course when they saw it I had to let them borrow it. It's been out ever since!

  2. Diana, Princess of The Amazon sounds great, especially for those who love Wonder Woman. I'm looking forward to Wink & Dragon Hoops, and you might remember I shared Hike last week. It is marvelous, agreed! Best wishes to you & the family, Michele, for a wonderful week no matter our challenges!

  3. I really liked Just Like Mama. I love that it celebrates all kinds of families and that lots of kids will see themselves in this story. Hope you're staying healthy and safe. Have a good week!

  4. Wink is in my TBR pile and want to give it to a neighbor who is in middle school - thanks for the review. I shared it with him. I also loved Hike and Lilah Tov. Stay safe and healthy ... til next week

  5. Whoa. So many wonderful books, Michele -- some I've been looking forward to and some new-to-me titles. Just Like a Mama looks fantastic! And I just added Wink and Hike to my list, today. My family adores HiLo. I just cannot say enough about how they've devoured it. Thanks for all these shares and I hope you have a very safe and productive week navigating social distancing and teaching online. <3

  6. Hike and Fire Truck vs. Dragon have been on my list, when I can get a copy. Just Like a Mama and also looks really great. Like you, I do what I can to get HiLo as soon as possible. I have Wink in a pile, and I hope to get to it this month. Thanks for a great post, enjoy the rest of your week!

  7. What an amazing collection of books. I wish Just Like a Mama was published when I was still in the library. There are a lot of children I would love to have been able to give a copy to. I added Hike to my want to read list but who knows when that will happen. I read one HiLo novel just to see what they were about so I could talk to readers about them. I loved it. Thanks for the reminder to get back to it.

  8. I have the last Hilo at home and I'm waiting for a perfect day to read it.

  9. I am not a big sports fan but Dragon Hoops is definitely on my list. Keep hearing such rave reviews about Hike. Can't wait to read! Stay safe and well Michele!