Monday, May 4, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5.04.2020

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.

The best May the Fourth Memes Out There to Celebrate May the 4th ...     

All The Best Star Wars Day Tweets On May The 4th - Entertainment

Happy Star Wars Day, to all who celebrate :)

Last Week's Adventures

Some new biographies to inspire the dreamers in your library.

Chapter books about animals that will touch your heart.

Picture Books

Child of the Universe
Child of the Universe
written by Ray Jayawardhana
illustrated by Raul Colón
Jayawardhana is a top astronomer and researcher and brings together science and us and the universe in poetic form.  Colón's illustrations are an absolute wonder to view.  
Published by the new Random House imprint Make Me a World, this book certainly celebrates the larger views of life from a parent to a child.

Knot Cannot
Knot Cannot
written by Tiffany Stone
illustrated by Mike Lowery
A funny take on silent letters in this funny book that pits the wants and desires of a knot vs a snake.  Will be a fun and "punny" read aloud!

Bike & Trike
Bike & Trike
written by Elizabeth Verdick
illustrated by Brian Biggs
A take on jealousy - what happens when a new bike comes (one that of course can do all the tricks and has the bells and whistles to match) to the old, but beloved, trike?

Lali's Feather
Lali's Feather
written by Farhana Zia
illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
Young Lali finds a feather and asks her bird friends if it belongs to them.  While the birds first mock the feather compared to their own, after Lali shows them all the wonderful things it can do, they gain a new perspective.

Ocean: Waves for All
Ocean! Waves For All
written by Stacy McAnulty
illustrated by David Litchfield
The next book in McAnulty's "Our Universe" series, features the return of illustrator David Litchfield (Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years).  Enjoy the beautiful shades he uses in this one.
I love the voice of each character in the series and Ocean has a definite surfer vibe!  In this informational fiction book, kids will enjoy some amazing facts about the amazing oceans, some reasons why we need to take care of it, as well as have a few laughs along the way.
Great backmatter including a game of "Would You Rather" with Ocean!
Publishes tomorrow!

Graphic Novels

When Stars Are Scattered
When Stars Are Scattered
by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
This graphic novel is a phenomenal as everyone is saying.  An important refuge story told by co-author, Omar Mohamed.  Omar's story is one that needs to be told and read by all readers in the United States.  We've seen different refuge stories, but I think this one is important because it is #ownvoices, a longer book that encompasses years of the author's life, and told in a format that makes it accessible and visible to readers.  It's one thing to describe what a refugee sees on a regular basis, another thing to have the picture in front of you. 
We'll be talking about this one for awhile.

Bird & Squirrel All or Nothing (Bird & Squirrel #6)
Bird and Squirrel: All or Nothing
by James Burks
This is a first.  I got the book last week, read it a few days later.  I read it before kids and it took me a few days to read it.  All because of the stay at home order.
I was able to book talk it to a class on a First Chapter Friday video conference.  It felt so strange to not put it directly into a reader's hands.
Another stellar outing for Bird and Squirrel.  You'll laugh as always, but I think this one had even more heart than the others.

Middle Grade

Lila and Hadley
Lila and Hadley
written by Kody Keplinger
An #ownvoices novel, Keplinger channels her own visual impairment and what it would feel like on a teen in the character of Hadley.  Keplinger and Hadley have different degrees of vision loss, but Keplinger relied on her own memories of being a middle grade kid and the frustrations of having a visual impairment.
Hadley is not having an easy life.  Her mother is serving a sentence in jail and Hadley has to leave her friends and move to a new state to live with her estranged, older sister.  That's tough, but then add losing your vision.  Hadley has to get used to a new place and start taking mobility classes.  But then she meets Lila at the animal rescue her sister works with.  And Lila seems to feel kind of like Hadley - untrusting of people and not that willing to try anything new.  Lila and Hadley form a bond that takes Hadley by surprise.
When we talk about having #ownvoices reading material, it's important that we are representing all voices, including those of the disability community.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
by Kate DiCamillo
I'm going to keep my thoughts pretty short on this one so I don't get ripped to shreds.  
I didn't like it.
I can appreciate the journey Edward went through and his self-realization of who he was and his thoughts about love.
There was violence and hatred that was written so succinctly that I felt it deeply in my heart.  Some would say that was good writing.  For me, it bothered me.  A lot.
Ok, time to move on....

Currently Reading

Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone, #3)
Ruin and Rising
by Leigh Bardugo
The final book in the trilogy, I'm loving this one just as much as the others. 
I really wish I had read this one before the Six of Crows duology, but I'm glad I read them now.  This series has held my attention and made me want to keep reading.  Hard to do, sometimes, during this pandemic!

I actually got through several books this week since I decided to slow down and not get as much blogging done.  I have one other post this week, but it's a "my favorites" post, so no extra reading was needed for it!  It was nice to be able to breathe a little and not worry about getting things done.  As the end of the school year comes, I think I'll be even more busy.  It's a different end of the year than ever before which will bring new challenges.  May will be an interesting month!

* 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 definitely need the Bird and Squirrel book and Ocean! Both are well-loved series. I really wish I could still get books like these directly into kids' hands - when I give book talks, I tell kids that I can share it with them in September, but I know it's so long for them to wait.

  2. The Raul Colon book will be wonderful, I'm sure. I noted others like the new Bird and Squirrel, Knot Cannot, & the new Bird & Squirrel, not sure I'll ever catch up, Michelle. Thanks much for sharing Lila and Hadley, a new #ownvoices to me. As for Edward Tulane, I don't remember enough about it to respond. If you didn't like it, that's okay. Each of us has our own preferences & feelings about what we read, what feels right to us. Good for you for sharing! Wishing you a good week ahead!

  3. Bike & Trike is a new title to me, so I'm adding this to my list. I liked how many useful things Lali discovered she could do with her feather, despite the naysayers. :) And, of course, the cute ending when she comes upon something new. I was thinking it might be fun to have a bag full of "useless" objects for a classroom of students to discuss all the ways they could be functional. I really understand the fear of being ripped to shreds when disliking a book (especially be a beloved author), but we like what we like. Right? Also, I fully intend to get on the Leigh Bardugo bandwagon this year. Hold me accountable! lol Thanks for all these wonderful shares, Michele!

  4. Great list of books this week! I'm sure you can have some good fun with Knot Cannot! I am definitely missing the library! I've gotten e-mails and Facebook posts from my library. They're working hard to get ready! Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  5. Hahaha, finally someone else who doesn't like Edward Tulane! For years I wouldn't read Kate DiCamillo because I just couldn't stand that book and thought I wouldn't like anything else she wrote. Turns out I was very wrong about that. I've thought about revisiting Edward to see if I still dislike it, but really, why? There are so many books to read or the first time. Just know, you are not alone! Oh, I want the new Bird & Squirrel! I haven't bought the last couple and sometime I'd really like to add them to my collection.

  6. Love your opener - today is my anniversary and I've never thought of it that way! I also did not love Edward Tulane - thanks for your honesty. You had lots of new titles for me --thank you. Need the library to reopen!!

  7. These books sound great! I've seen a lot of praise for When Stars Are Scattered, and I think I'll need to try it, since I know too little about what refugees have gone through (and I enjoyed Jamieson's book Roller Girl). Also, I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane—it is a pretty emotional read. I'm glad you've been able to get more reading in this week! Thanks for the excellent post!

  8. I think I tried to read Edward Tulane and abandoned it. Kate DiCamillo either really resonates with me that they become heartprint books (Because of Winn-Dixie, Flora & Ulysses, Bink & Gollie) or they completely miss the mark for me. The Tale of Despereux was a book that I really disliked despite the fact that it so so beloved and won a Newbery medal. I also really didn't love Raymie Nightingale. To each their own I guess.

  9. There are a lot of books here that I really wanted to buy this year but haven't been able to put in my library yet (not until next year) such as the new Bird & Squirrel, Ocean, When Stars are Scattered, Knot Cannot. Thanks for the great post!