Monday, April 13, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.13.2020

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

It's National Poetry Month.  Check out this collection of poems to make you MOVE!

Supporting readers who are looking for chapter books (around 100pgs) that are the perfect length for their reading stamina.

Get ready for Earth Day with these books about the Earth and the environment.

Picture Books

I Am Leonardo Da Vinci
I am Leonardo da Vinci
written by Brad Meltzer
illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
I felt like there was a lot of information in this one, even more than some of the others.  Maybe there was just a lot for me to learn within this one!  I am always glad to see actual photographs of the artist's work in books like these, it's important for young readers to see actual work, not just what a rendering looks like.

by Sarah Lynne Reul
Told in nonsensical words (I had to practice what I teach and find the chunks and word parts I know to help me read these silly words), but shows a very common universal event - what happens when you don't want what is being served for a meal.  This young {monster?} child clearly does not want what is being served by his parents.  The reader can also tell exactly what the child wants - the pet's food!  Will the parents every figure it out?  Just goes to show that if we really watch kids, they'll show us what they want, even if they don't have the expressive vocabulary!

Rover Throws a Party: Inspired by Nasa's Curiosity on Mars
Rover Throws a Party
written by Kristin L. Gray
illustrations by Scott Magoon
NASA's Curiosity seems to be a more and more popular topic in children's literature lately.  The newest book is an informational fiction book.  The left side is a fictional story that has Curiosity talking to the reader.  It is getting ready to have a party on Mars and is sharing the preparations that are happening.  The right side of the layout has the real information about the rover or the planet Mars that corresponds with what is happening in the story.  The information is clear and easily communicated to young readers.  A fun book about the topic and one I think readers will really enjoy!

Welcome to Your World
Welcome to Your World
written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls
illustrated by Jaime Kim
Oh, I love Jaime Kim's illustrations!  This beautiful book is a perfect gift book for a family who is having a baby.  Maybe one that has waited a long time for the special gift of a child.

The Bear in My Family
The Bear in my Family
by Maya Tatsukawa
Young readers will quickly figure out the bear is an older sibling.  And who hasn't thought their sibling was a bear at some point or another??  But sometimes a bear can be a good thing to have in the family!

My Best Friend
my best friend
written by Julie Fogliano
illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
I adore this picture book.  The simplicity of the lyrical prose captures a young child's innocence.
I remember when my daughter was little and we would go to a place where young kids were playing.  Give her enough time, and she would find a new "best friend".  Rarely did she know her new friend's name.  But in that little time they came together, all that was important was playing and having fun.
This is captured in Fogliano's prose and Tamaki's illustrations.  Two young girls play and laugh and have fun, as young children do.  With the promise of meeting tomorrow and having more fun, even if the adults of the children do not know, these best friends will play again.
Just beautiful.

Middle Grade

The List of Things That Will Not Change
The List of Things That Will Not Change
by Rebecca Stead
A story that spans a few years, but one where the timeline will not confuse middle grade readers.  We meet Bea in this beautifully told story.  Bea's parents are divorced because her father is finally living his true identity as a gay man, and her father is getting ready to re-marry.  Bea loves her father's fiance, Jesse, and as far as divorces and remarriage story lines go, this one is supportive and loving.  But there are many other worries in Bea's life that keeps her eczema going crazy on her skin.  She's finally getting a sister with this new marriage, but will her new sister be just as excited?  Bea has also been holding on to a secret that needs to be told.
The short, quick chapters are fast and engaging to read.  Middle grade readers who love heartprint stories will enjoy this one.

Young Adult

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)
Shadow and Bone
by Leigh Bardugo
I did not read this trilogy when they were published, but I did read the Six of Crows duology (now hearing it may become a trilogy....) as part of my mustreads list awhile ago.  I remember being super confused when I read the first book and I think it took away from my enjoyment of the book.  Loved the second book!  Now that I am going back and reading this trilogy, I really wish I had read it first.  I think it would have made me understand what was happening more.
Once I heard this book was going to be a Network series, I knew I wanted to read this trilogy, so I made sure I added it to this year's mustreads lists.  I gulped this first book down in a few days and I can't wait to read the next one in the series.
Highly recommend for fantasy and world building readers!

Currently Reading

City Spies
City Spies
by James Ponti
I have Ponti's Framed series in my mustread pile for later this year.  I've already heard some great things about this one.  Looking forward to starting it!

I know it's been tricky to read during this crazy time, especially while we adjust to this very not normal time.  Hoping you found a book or two to take you away from crazy life for awhile!

* 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. City Spies was great! I loved Ponti's earlier work, but he's really hit his stride with this one!

  2. I loved Rebecca Stead's book. My Best Friend sounds like a gorgeous read.

  3. Oh, Fogliano-Tamaki is a picture book match made in heaven. I can't wait to get my hands on that! And you've reminded me that I still haven't read Rebecca Stead's last novel! It's on the shelf in my office so I will plan to slip into the building at 6 am before anyone is there and snag it!

  4. Looking forward to the new Stead book & you've made it sound very good! I love the idea of The Bear in my Family & have the Fogliano book on my list, know it will be good. Thanks, Michele, best wishes for a week of some nice things for you & the family.

  5. Love the poetry book you shared - have to get my hands on that one. Rebecca's book came in the mail on Friday - the title is eerily appropriate. Next in my stack! Thanks for the age recommendation on the Stead book as well.

  6. I am really looking forward to this Julie Fogliano title. My library has The List of Things That Will Not Change on order and I am number one on the list, but when that will ever become available is anyone's guess. I enjoyed Six of Crows and The Crooked Kingdom so I guess I should really give the Shadow and Bone series a try.
    Happy reading this coming week.

  7. Rover Throws a Party sounds so adorable! I remember paying a ton of attention to the last batch of Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, but I don't know much about Curiosity. I'm reading The List of Things that Will Not Change right now—it is excellent! Thanks for the great post!

  8. I know that K is a little young for PBS, so you probably haven't seen it, but the Brad Metzler series was turned into a great show called Xavier Riddle--you should check it out!

    Let me know what you think about City Spies--I think it was such a fun team of young spies and a great start to a series.

    Be safe, and happy reading this week :)

  9. Thanks for these peeks at all these good books!

  10. So many wonderful books. Nerp! looks fantastic! I'm adding both this and My Best Friend to my TBR list. I just finished The List of Things That Will Not Change before I started reading blog posts for this week and really enjoyed it. I'm happy to see so many middle grade books that include physical issues that so many middle graders experience in modern society -- like eczema and anxiety. Thank you for all these shares and I hope you're having a great reading week, Michele!

  11. It looks like you've gotten your hands on a lot of great books. Thanks! I've been seeing a lot of people talking about The List of Things That Will Not Change. I will definitely have to read that one.

  12. Nerp looks like such fun!I have an ARC of The List of Things That Will Not Change from NCTE. Need to read it soon!