Monday, June 1, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.01.2020

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.

It was a busy week.  Last week of teaching.  First week my daughter's swimming starting back up.  I spent time sitting in the parking lot reading... mostly on my phone... some in a book!  Did not read as much this week, but still have some books you'll want to find!

Last Week's Adventures

A final roundup of early picture books.  Check them out here.  Next week starts my second year of Chapter Book Summer!  Every Thursday stop by for a round up of chapter books.

Picture Books

Antiracist Baby
Antiracist Baby
written by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
This book.  
This book is being published at the perfect time.  Well, we need it now but you'll have to wait until June 16.  But that means you have plenty of time to go preorder it.  Go ahead.  I'll wait....
This is the book you've been looking for to use to talk to young readers about what it means to be antiracist.  It's not being quiet.  It's not pretending it's not there.
It's talking about racism.
It's seeing all colors.
It's naming things that are racist.
In fact, this book talks about nine things you can do right now to start your journey to being antiracist.
This book is meant to be read with young readers.  There's a lot to unpack and a lot to discuss.  But start now.

The Camping Trip
The Camping Trip
by Jennifer K. Mann
Loved this book!  A young girl, Ernestine, is going on an overnight camping trip with her aunt and cousin.  She discovers new things to enjoy, overcomes some fears, and learns new things about nature.  Young readers will relate to the story and understand when Ernestine does not want to go swimming with the fish, at first (I like being able to see the bottom of the pool too, Ernestine!).  The illustrations are beautiful and I stared at a few layouts for awhile!  I loved that this featured African American families enjoying life.  However, interesting to note, the author/illustrator is white...  This is a great read aloud and one I will share with readers.

Ohana Means Family
'Ohana Means Family
written by Ilima Loomis
illustrated by Kenard Pak
A story that celebrates a Hawaiian tradition - the coming together of family in a lū'au where a Hawaiian staple, poi, is shared.  Told in a style of The House That Jack Built, readers are taken on a journey to see how the kalo plant is grown and picked and celebrates the land around it.  Traditional tools that are used to prepare the kalo plant to make poi are integrated into the story.  Above all else, readers see how family and friends come together to cook and celebrate family and food.  Kenard Pak's illustrations shine in this book!

The Fabled Life of Aesop: The Extraordinary Journey and Collected Tales of the World’s Greatest Storyteller
The Fabled Life of Aesop
written by Ian Lendler
illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
I really didn't know much about this story until I saw it listed on Betsy Bird's Caldecott prediction post.  I still didn't know what to expect, but what I found was a story I love and can't wait to share.  I guess I never really knew much about the person Aesop.  And as we learn from the author's note at the end, because he lived when oral storytelling was a tradition and not the written word or illustrations, there is a lot that is unknown about Aesop.  
This book is separated into sections and is so well crafted.  The beginning gives us an idea of Aesop's early life and how his fables came to be.  The middle section of the book are some of his fables.  There are some new-to-me ones included!  And then the book concludes with the next part of Aesop's life and further understanding of how his stories grew into the fables you and I know.

This Is Gus
This is Gus
by Chris Chatterton
This book is cute!  Gus the dog really doesn't like much at all.  Except for when a new puppy arrives (the narrator).  The reader has to match the text with the illustrations to see that Gus might not be as excited as the narrator claims he is... or does he like the new little guy?  Quick story that kids will read again and again.

Young Adult

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1)
King of Scars
by Leigh Bardugo
This is the last published book I needed to read in the GrishaVerse.  And now I am with the rest of the fans, anxiously waiting for the publication of the next book!
This book was good, but maybe didn't grab me in the same way the other's did.  There is a lot going on - three storylines to follow - two that are connected, one that isn't quite connected, yet.  I feel like this book is going to really set the stage for an explosive book two.  I am interested in seeing how it will all come together.  I loved revisiting these characters and seeing characters from the trilogy and the Six of Crows duology being in the same book.
If you're following the GrishaVerse world, it will be a fun read.  If you aren't, well, change that, but start with the trilogy first!

Currently Reading

The Henna Artist
The Henna Artist
by Alka Joshi
Readers of this blog know I rarely read any adult novels.  Maybe one each year.  This book was highly recommended by Kathy Burnette, owner of BrainLair Books, and when she tells you something is good, you listen.  I am finding books that are so different from my usual age is holding my attention best during this crazy time.  This is the first adult book I'm reading and this one definitely has my attention!

After Tuesday, I will officially be on summer vacation and I can't believe how ready I am for it.  I never thought I would be virtually teaching for nine weeks.  For five hours at a time, I was on my computer, virtually seeing students.  While I was so happy to see my students and know I was doing what I could to keep them on target, it was exhausting.  Teaching through a computer screen is not natural and not what I am cut out for.  Regrouping, stepping back, and reevaluating is so needed right now.

Teachers of students in kindergarten-5th grade, be sure to stop by every Thursday over summer.  Chapter Book Summer is back and I'll be featuring a roundup of chapter books that are so needed for students in those grades!

* 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. King of Scars... this is brand new to me. I'm going to have to look into the Grishaverse. That's intriguing.

    Here's mine for the week!

  2. I'm looking forward to reading Antiracist Baby. I have had The Henna Artist on hold at the library for a few weeks now - if I don't get it soon I might have to consider buying it.

  3. Thanks for the timely picture book picks! The Fabled Life of Aesop sounds quite interesting as well, as does 'Ohana Means Family. Thanks for the great post, and congrats on finally reaching summer vacation!

  4. I loved Camping Trip, too. I have the others on my list, except for The Henna Artist, will certainly look for it. Happy vacation, Michele. I was at the bookstore today (we are open!) & a teacher came in to get a few books, was just finished last week & said she was pretty tired. I know it's been such a challenge for you & others. Get some rest & enjoy the books & the swimming time!

  5. Some great books that I hope to add such as Ohana Means Family and Antiracist Baby. Thanks for the great shares.

  6. Behind with my anti-racist reading :(. The earlier the better!

    Thanks for the heads up about Ohana Means Family. It looks lovely and I am a fan of Kenard Park's art.

  7. Thanks for the heads up about Antiracist Baby. I've just preordered two copies for my grandkids who are turning three mid June. Also thanks for The Henna Artist - I've added it to my list.

  8. I love picture books where the text contrasts with the pictures. They are so much fun to read with a little one or a class. I will look for This is Gus. And for the others as well -- thanks for all the recs.

  9. I am looking forward to Kendi's picture book. The title keeps coming up and it sounds like a must-read! I'm so glad you've been enjoying the GrishaVerse -- it's so fun (but hard) to be waiting on a new title in a series. I've been waiting to jump on this bandwagon, so hopefully 2020 will be my year. Thanks for all these wonderful shares, Michele!