Monday, June 8, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.08.2020

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

Chapter Book Summer series on the #road2reading Challenge - chapter books featuring black and brown boy main characters.

Check out these nonfiction picture books about animals!

Picture Books

Can I Play Too?
Can I Play Too?
by Samantha Cotterill
Part of the "little senses" series, this book features two young boys who are putting a train set together.  One little boy clearly has a vision (seen in a thought bubble) of how he wants the train to be set up.  He takes over the creation, even taking parts of the set out of the other boy's hands.  The other boy gets upset and leaves the play area.  A teacher comes over and uses a story and cue cards to help the boy understand the verbal and nonverbal cues so he understood what was good about their play, and why the other boy got mad.
Without using any labels for either character, Cotterill draws young readers into a familiar situation and gives ideas of how to solve a problem.
Important to note this is an #ownvoices book.

A New Kind of Wild
A New Kind of Wild
by Zara González Hoang
A book about moving that helps you look at things from a new perspective.  I love the vibrant colors that are used!

Plenty of Hugs
Plenty of Hugs
written by Fran Manushkin
illustrated by Kate Alizadeh
Happy Pride Month!  I'm always on the lookout for books that feature all kinds of families without it being a book about being a non-traditional family.  This is that book.  It celebrates the love of a family as they go through the day, enjoying all there is around them.

Equality's Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America
Equality's Call: The Story of Voting Rights in America
written by Deborah Diesen
illustrated by Magdalena Mora
I know many people really liked this book and the message.
It's written in rhyming text, which for me, in order for the rhymes to work, I feel like the information stayed too general.  I'm not sure readers will really understand the plight of people who had to fight for their right to vote.  Again, it's a general overview so it doesn't have the page space to go into too much detail, but I thought it missed some.
Would be a good book to perhaps use when introducing voting rights and before digging deeper into certain fights to vote.

The Three Billy Goats Buenos
The Three Billy Goats Buenos
written by Susan Middleton Elya
illustrated by Miguel Ordóñez
A fun retelling of a familiar fable, I think readers will enjoy the twist in the end of the book.  
I liked that the Spanish vocabulary words were listed at the front of the book, instead of the back.
It's a fun book for kids who have control over the English vocabulary to read because there are words like mission, lush, chompers, rumor, bitter, frolicked, that ELL readers may have trouble understanding and there is not always picture clues or more text that help with the English vocabulary.  It's going to be easier for an English language user to try and figure out the Spanish vocabulary.

Middle Grade

Things Seen from Above
Things Seen From Above
by Shelley Pearsall
I really enjoyed Pearsall's The Seventh Most Important Thing so I was eagerly awaiting this one.  While both books are realistic fiction, they both have this element of magic to them - not enough to call it magical realism - but this hint of the impossible.
In this book we meet April, she's trying to figure out how she fits in in the sixth-grade and who she is.  To avoid lunchroom drama, April volunteers in the fourth grade recess on the Buddy Bench.  It's her job to help the younger kids when things arise.  Instead, April makes two surprising discoveries.  One is finding a friend in fellow Buddy Bench volunteer, Veena.  Even if she is in fifth-grade, April learns that opening your mind to a new friend can be surprising!  The second is meeting fourth grader, Joey Byrd.  Joey seems to be a kid who is an outcast and someone who has definite strange tendencies, like shuffling your feet in the recess woodchips.  But Joey has some surprises up his sleeve that will leave everyone, especially April, in awe.

Adult Novels

The Henna Artist
The Henna Artist
by Alka Joshi
When my friend Kathy Burnette suggests a book, you know it's going to be a fantastic read.  And she was so right about this one.  A beautiful historical fiction novel set in India right after partition (when the British rule ended), we meet Lakshmi.  She is working hard to secure her own independent life as not only a henna artist, but someone who is sought out by high society ladies, and perhaps their husbands, to help with herbal remedies, henna and mandala creations for celebrations, and even marriage matchmaking.  However, her carefully crafted life is about to change when an unknown sister arrives at her doorstep.  
This story takes place during a time when old traditions and new beginnings are beginning to clash and Lakshmi must carefully balance the two while letting new people into her life.

Currently Reading

When You Trap a Tiger
When You Trap a Tiger
written by Tae Keller
Looking forward to starting this one!

I have a pretty full week of blogging for you this week!  Looking forward to more sunny weather for some patio reading.  How about you?


  1. The Henna Artist sounds so good! Off to request.... I am so glad I read your review of Equality's Call because it's hard for me to imagine a PB less to my taste. I'd be there for voting rights all day long--but I can't do singsong voting rights. We are moving this summer, and I need A New Kind of Wild!!

  2. I loved When You Trap a Tiger! We're finally getting sunny, warm weather in Massachusetts so I'm looking forward to reading outside!

  3. It feels as if I have about a million books I want to read, like your The Henna Artist which I've already bookmarked. I also like your review of Things Seen From Above. My older granddaughter is headed for 6th grade & in a new school! I imagine she will like it, too. Thanks, Michele!

  4. These books sound excellent! I appreciate your timely and important post about chapter books last week, and Things Seen From Above sounds excellent as well! (It's neat to see kids of different grades becoming friends.) The Henna Artist also sounds great! Thanks for the great post!

  5. Can't wait to read When You Trap a Tiger. I LOVE Tae Keller's writing and have ever confidence that this one will be fantastic!! Things Seen From Above is brand new for me, so I've gotta go look this up on Goodreads. Thanks for the shares, Michele!

  6. Thanks for this list of books. I've added Things Seen From Above and The Henna Artist to my lists.

  7. I love your #roadtoreading challenge and thank you for sharing some new books with kids of color. I still have not read When You Trap a Tiger but it's on my list! -Laura Mossa

  8. All new picture books for me--thank you for sharing! I always know I'll get a good list after stopping by :)

    Things Seen From Above is a soon to read for me :)

    Happy reading this week!