Monday, December 14, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12.14.2020

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.

Hang on, lots of picture book recommendations this week!  I had a huge stack of picture books to get through, but that also seems to be all that is holding my attention for the week.  

Last Week's Adventures

I celebrated the world around our young readers with this post.

Board Books

Have you noticed publishers are focusing on our youngest readers and making sure they have some excellent reading material from the start.

What Will Fit?   The Last Marshmallow   Spring: Up to My Knees   Circle! Sphere! (Storytelling Math)
Don't miss these math concept books from Grace Lin.  Featuring concepts such as spatial relationships, geometrical shapes, measurement, and division and problem solving, they give young readers an understanding to the world around them.  I love the black and brown characters in each book.

I Am!: Affirmations for Resilience
i Am! Affirmations for Resilience
written by Bela Barbosa
illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
It's easy to use negative self-talk, but how do you turn it around to use positive words, especially when needed?  Quick affirmations that kids can easily to use for positive feelings.  While it is a board book, it's one that will also fit in with classroom libraries and for a read aloud with students.

Picture Books

Lubaya's Quiet Roar
Lubaya's Quiet Roar
written by Marilyn Nelson
illustrated by Philemona Williamson
A needed book.  Our quietest voices sometimes have the biggest things to say, if we just listen.  Also, quiet voices should be respected as much as the loud voices.

My Rainbow
My Rainbow
written by Trinity and DeShanna Neal
illustrated by Art Twink
Trinity is a Black transgender girl on the autism spectrum.  She knows there is something missing about herself - she wants longer hair to be seen as her true self, but growing her hair leaves her feeling itchy and not right.  Mom to the rescue as she makes a beautiful rainbow wig for Trinity.

What We'll Build: Plans for our Together Future
What We'll Build: Plans for our Together Future
by Oliver Jeffers
Don't mind me over here in a puddle of tears.  This book is such a beautiful ode of a parent's love for their child and all of their hopes and dreams.  While the book features a father and daughter, it really does transcend character gender and can relate to all parents and children.

Rocket Says Clean Up!
Rocket Says Clean Up!
written by Nathan Bryon
illustrated by Dapo Adeola
I really like the Rocket stories.  This time Rocket is cleaning up the beach by her grandparents' home and gets local help.  Showing sustainability and recycling, a good book to have when talking about the environment and plastics.

Leif and the Fall
Leif and the Fall
written by Allison Sweet Grant and Adam Grant
illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard
Leif is a leaf who does not want to let go and fall to the ground, despite all of the other leaves saying it's just what leaves do.  Would be a good book to add to your SEL collection to talk about how it's ok to feel differently and it's ok to be nervous about something.  A student at school recommended this one to me and I'm glad she did!

written by Misty Copeland
illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey
Oh, I loved this sweet little ballet story.  Mostly because as someone who danced a little, and then watched my daughter dance for awhile, I think this book captures the feelings of working hard for a goal, and the joy of being onstage.  I really enjoyed Fiadzigbey's illustrations.  He captured the movement of ballet, but also the smoothness and perfection of the dance.

The Couch Potato (The Bad Seed, #4)
The Couch Potato
written by Jory John
illustrated by Pete Oswald
Another great addition to the collection (series?  not sure what it is called!) and it carries a message that should be talked about with young readers a bit more often - the need to unplug and be with people, outside, and enjoying what life has to offer... when you don't have to plug it in.

Rain Before Rainbows
Rain Before Rainbows
written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls
illustrated by David Litchfield
I read a digital copy of this one a few months ago and was struck by its beauty.  The finished copy is just as gorgeous.  A wonderful message about rising up and looking for the good in the next day.  I think this book was published at the most appropriate time.

Wherever I Go
Wherever I Go
written by Mary Wagley Copp
illustrated by Munir D. Mohammed
Beautifully illustrated!  A moving story about a young girl's experience in a refugee camp before being placed in a new country.  This would be a great book to provide background information before reading the graphic novel When Stars Are Scattered.

Currently Reading

I didn't finish any middle grade novels this week.  I averaged about a chapter a night.  Just too much going on right now!  

Girl Giant and the Monkey King
Girl Giant and the Monkey King
by Van Hoang
I am about halfway through and I really like this one.  Definitely hand it off to your readers who are enjoying the Rick Riordan imprint that features mythological stories from different cultures.

King and the Dragonflies
King and the Dragonflies
by Kacen Callender
I have this one from the library but it's due and I can't renew it.  So pausing Girl Giant so I can quick read this one.  So much buzz for it!

Lots of picture books this week, now I'm looking forward to getting some middle grade and YA reading done for the rest of the year.  PIcture books will wait until January!  Looking forward to getting to some of the novels that have been piling up!
This is my last #IMWAYR for 2020!  I have a few more posts for the end of the year and then I am so excited to move on to 2021 reading!  I will see the #IMWAYR community in 2021!


  1. I noted a few new ones, Michele, and I, too, loved that new Jeffers book & Rain Before Rainbows. I hope you have a nice holiday with family & finish the year with students in a special way.

  2. What a wonderful collection here and in your nonfiction post Michele. I've added many to my list. Thanks especially for these nonfiction by Grace Lin for the younger crowd! I wonder if I can sneak in a few more books for my grandkids for Xmas....

  3. What a wonderful #IMWAYR post to finish the year off with—I look forward to seeing more in 2021! Literally just last week I saw My Rainbow on Amazon and wondered why no one had reviewed it—now I've seen two recommendations of it today! The Grace Lin board books sound awesome as well, especially since they're by Grace Lin! Bunheads also sounds great. I'm curious to hear about your Currently Reading books. Thanks for the great post!

  4. I've either read and loved the picture books on your list or they are in my pile to read soon. I have read more picture books lately than middle grade or young adult novels. I'm hoping my reading picks up over the break. Hope you are well!

  5. Lubaya's Quiet Roar is a heartprint book for me. I love that it reminds us to respect and listen to our quiet learners.