Monday, April 27, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.27.2020

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

Don't miss this rhyming poetry book!

Some new chapter books for readers!

With Spring's arrival it's time to get outside and celebrate nature.  Some books to read.

Picture Books

Feast of Peas
Feast of Peas
written by Kashmira Sheth
illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
A tale of wanting and forgiveness.  And perhaps natural consequences.  Although I'm not quite sure one of the characters learned his lesson...

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat
¡Vamos! Let's Go Eat
by Raúl the Third 
colors by Elaine Bay
One of my favorite books from last year was ¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market.  I was so excited to hear there would be a follow up.
The storyline has Little Lobo, his dog Bernabé, and his rooster friend Kooky Dooky making a food delivery for los luchadores ( the lucha libre is the term used in Mexico for professional wrestling).  They travel to town where there are a variety of food trucks and carts.  Identifying the foods using their Spanish name, readers will be exposed to many new words and phrases as the characters find all of the luchadores their food.
Another book full of detail, it would take hours and many repeated readings (and lookings) to find all the details in the illustrations!

Middle Grade

The Water Bears
The Water Bears
by Kim Baker
This magical realism book will sit quietly in your heart as you wholeheartedly root for Newt and all that he hopes to happen.
Newt's family is the only Latinx family on the small island of Murphy.  While that makes Newt stand out, he also is known by an unfortunate incident with a bear that has left him with scars and a weakened leg.  If he could just move to the mainland and live with his abuela, he feels like he could blend in more.  But leaving friends, old and new, weighs on his mind.  
As if his bear encounter wasn't enough, Newt has also found a large bear statue that seems to be holding some type of wishbone.  Soon, people are making wishes on the bear that seem to be coming true.  Will Newt finally get his wish, or is his wish something he already knows in his heart?

Young Adult

Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone, #2)
Siege and Storm
by Leigh Bardugo
I had Shadow and Bone, the first book in the GrishaVerse trilogy, in my #mustreadin2020 pile.  I finally got to it a couple of weeks ago and I loved it.  I had purchased the box set, so I already had book 2 ready to go.  Just had to read some middle grade first and then I jumped right back into the series.
If you enjoy fantasy with a twist of science and a whole lot of adventure, this is a series you'll have to try!  I have found these first two books un-put-downable and I can't wait to start book 3.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the Netflix series of this world will come together.  No start date for it, so I'll keep reading all of the books in the meantime!

Currently Reading

Lila and Hadley
Lila and Hadley
by Kody Keplinger
Our school is hosting a virtual Scholastic book fair (yup, our at school one was cancelled because of the first week of school closing back in March...) and I noticed this was one of the books offered.  Figured I should check it out!

When Stars Are Scattered
When Stars Are Scattered
by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
Such a beautiful and important story told in graphic novel format.

As I stated back in early April I wasn't sure what blogging would look like or if I was going to continue to blog during this pandemic.  I ultimately decided to continue blogging because I wanted to support authors and illustrators, especially those who had books coming out during this time.  
Over the past year or so, I've noticed that blog readership has gone down.  With the rise of social media and getting information quickly, it seems people aren't reading blogs as much.  I understand, in this time of go go go, sometimes we don't have time to do more than a glance.  Then the pandemic hit.  And readership has taken another hit.  This time I know it is because we are all scrambling to try and learn new things.  To deliver instruction in a new way.  We're learning as we go, and perhaps knowing about the new and upcoming books, may no longer be a priority.
I'm trying to learn new things too.  My whole job focus has changed.  I've gone from my day being part time interventionist, part time coach, to being full time interventionist.  Almost all of my instruction is delivered one on one, over a computer, using all digital tools.  For someone who prides themselves with reading and turning pages, reading digitally is very new!  I'm learning new things everyday and new learning always takes time.  Almost always longer than what a typical school day lasts.  
During this time, it is so important to practice some self-care.  For me, that means making sure I make time to make sure my daughter is mentally and physically healthy, and making sure I am healthy.  I don't concentrate on the mental part of health very often, but I need to during this time.
Which means I'm going to allow myself days to not blog if it ends up being too much.  Blogging takes time.  Writing is hard for me and creating these posts takes me a lot of time.  With readership down and the need to practice more self-care, I need to give myself these breaks.
I will continue to blog, but if I miss a day, you know why.  I hope you are giving yourself the time you need to be healthy during this time.  Wishing health to all!

* 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. I'm excited about a new Vamos title too. Really liked the first one. I have to order the new Victoria Jamieson this week. Sounds like a must read! I hear you on blogging and the need for breaks. Self-care and recharging are more important than ever right now!

  2. Thank you for writing these blogs! I always get new book suggestions for my 3rd grade class and my own children from them. This year I did Classroom Book a Day for the first time, so I appreciate all of your book recommendations. Self care is so important during this journey of remote teaching, so no need to apologize if you don’t blog!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Oh my. I feel your struggles, Michele. I am glad you took some time to reflect and figure out what is best for you and your family during this time. Let blogging happen when it can happen. You are amazing at what you do and I do not even know you. I know that you work tirelessly because I can read it in your words, your posts, your tweets. Keep it up! Self care is vital, especially during times like this. Much love your way!

  5. Some of these are in my TBR stack and I just ordered Vamos Let's Go Eat - thanks for sharing.

  6. I always learn of new books from you, Michele & do appreciate what you share, but also appreciate that it takes time & all of you who are teaching & working from home in a new way that is challenging & perhaps even a little off-putting, not quite the response one is used to getting. My daughter in an entirely different profession shares that it takes so much time to give the same attention to one of her 'crew' that in person could be a pat on the back or a smile directed personally, etc. Thanks for being so honest in sharing. On a book note, I have 'When Stars Are Scattered' coming, but it may be a while because the good news that my favorite Indie is swamped with orders! Take good care!

  7. I've seen quite a bit of praise for When Stars Are Scattered and The Water Bears! Also, how exciting that Bardugo's series is getting made into a Netflix show! Also, it's great that you've decided not to prioritize your blog over your own well-being. Good luck during these trying times!

  8. I'm looking forward to ¡Vamos! Let's Go Eat. Prioritizing yourself and your family during this time is wise. There is nothing easy about distance learning especially when it comes to teaching reading. I have never felt so lost and ineffective!

  9. I do remember your earlier post about blogging and hope that self-care and care for family continue to take priority. It is hard to explain just how much our roles have changed, even a retired teacher I talked to the other day could not understand.
    Glad you enjoyed The Water Bears, and I hope When Stars Are Scattered too. I have it on my Must Read in 2020 list, but I haven't bought it yet. I think I was hoping I could buy it for my library but that has not worked out. Thanks for the post, and take care!

  10. Feast of Peas looks terrific! I'm REALLY looking forward to going to the library again someday! Thanks for sharing. Have a good week! Stay healthy and safe!

  11. I completely hear you on blogging taking time, readership being down, and yet wanting to support authors/illustrators. I even wondered if I would ever finish this week's #imwayr post because I was struggling to focus and it was taking me days and days (and days) to find the time and energy to finish one simple post. And I even wonder if it's making much difference for others, right now. But I'm going to push forward, even if it's only for my personal record-keeping. If I miss a week, then so be it. If anyone takes a long break, I just hope we'll all eventually find each other again once the dust settles. :) On to books... I will be one of the last people to get to the GrishaVerse. I've heard so many wonderful things and feel like it's something I need to read soon. Also, I really enjoyed The Water Bears this last week. I felt the cover wasn't nearly as mature as the topic. I was pleasantly surprised! Have a great weekend, Michele!

  12. I cannot wait to see When Stars are Scattered as a finished book.
    I need to read the Vamos books--I love Raul! Enjoy Lila :)

    Happy reading :)

  13. I jumped into the GrishaVerse in the middle but still really enjoyed it. And I see others from my TBR list among your reviews. Thanks for sharing!