Monday, January 18, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1.18.21

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

No blogging last week!  I think the start of 2021 is going to busy.  Looking forward to having this week's Inauguration behind us (praying for peace) and getting into this new presidency.  Looking forward to the hope the next 4 years will bring!

Picture Books

A Sled for Gabo
A Sled for Gabo
written by Emma Otheguy
illustrated by Ana Ramírez González
I adore this sweet little book about friendship and imagination.  It has snowed and young Gabo wants to go play in the snow with the other children.  But he does not have the proper snow boots and hat, nor does he have a sled.  Mami comes to the rescue with lots of socks, waterproof bags for boots, and Papi's hat.  But Gabo is too shy to talk to the other children, nor does he have a sled.  But Tío Tim and Madrina bring a plastic tray from the school cafeteria... could that be used as a sled?  With the imagination from a new friend, Gabo ends up having a great time in the snow.  
This book is perfect for young readers - it definitely warmed my heart!

Stella's Stellar Hair
Stella's Stellar Hair
by Yesenia Moises
I would have gotten lost in this book when I was younger!  The colors and hairstyles are simply beautiful!
A book about identity and figuring out your own style.  Stella needs her hair perfect for the Big Star Little Gala and it's just not cooperating!  After advice from all of her aunties on different planets, she finally figures out her own style.  
I liked how the author included some planet facts in the backmatter and incorporated them into each auntie's hairstyle.

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners
written by Joanna Ho
illustrated by Dung Ho
This book is beautiful!  It's lyrical way of celebrating eyes that are a different shape from others.  Never speaking of races, the book celebrates a young girl and the other women in her family who have "eyes that kiss in the corners" and the stories from their culture.  It's a book about family and love and things a family shares.  A must have for libraries.

Middle Grade

Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger, #1)
Skunk and Badger
written by Amy Timberlake
illustrated by Jon Klassen
A quirky story about curmudgeonly Badger, and the ever-inquisitive and friendly Skunk.  An unlikely pair, especially roommates, who help each other learn more about the world around them and letting others in.
I'm reading this one with young readers right now.  I wasn't sure how they would enjoy it.  It's quirky, it has rich vocabulary, and I wasn't sure if the humor would pass them by or not.  But so far, I think they are enjoying it!  They are enjoying this interesting twosome and are definitely invested as Badger starts behaving poorly.
This one is the first in a series.  Looking forward to reading more about this friendship.  Think of it as Frog and Toad, but with grouchy old characters (although I don't think Badger or Skunk are old, but they certainly have a more "mature" personality!).

by Megan E. Freeman
A survival story that is more modern than the beloved Hatchet.  A lengthy story (over 400 pages) but told in verse, readers will be rooting for Maddie and hoping she catches a break while trying to survive for years, on her own.
Heads up - this does have some mature scenes.  Some minor language.  A dilemma with using a gun or not, and a particularly vicious scene with a young animal.  
While I enjoyed the story there were a couple of things that made me think if it could have been better.  It's lengthy, so with it being in verse, it will keep readers sticking with the length.  But, at times I felt like the author skimmed over the details because of it being in verse and wondered if prose would have been a better choice.  Also the ending was very rushed.  You go through this whole, long novel, and then it's just over.  I did read an e-galley and I tend to have trouble falling into those, so that may have something to do with my opinion!

Young Adult

One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1)
One of Us is Lying
by Karen M. McManus
I had heard so much about this book and the author.  It's one I've had in my piles for awhile.  I really liked it, but it also wasn't my favorite because of the timing.  I started it right before Winter Break ended, thinking I would be able to finish it before school got too crazy.  Such optimism!  School got crazy and then the overtaking of the Capitol occurred.  I had a hard time reading in the days after that.  Finally finished it the next weekend, but by then I was no longer into the storyline like I was before.  I own the other books by her, so I'll keep at them!

Currently Reading

The Dragon Warrior (The Dragon Warrior, #1)
The Dragon Warrior
by Katie Zhao
I have a dragon round up coming soon for you!

Here's to it being a calm and peaceful week that is full of hope!  


  1. I have Eyes That Kiss in the Corners on my list this week, too. I agree with your thoughts. I saw A Sled for Gabo at Barnes and Noble yesterday, but I didn't pick it up to check it out. I think I might go back next week to get it when they have 25% off for educators again. It sounds wonderful.

  2. I'm still waiting for 'Eyes that Kiss' - long holds at the library! I bookmarked A Sled for Gabo & loved Skunk & Badger! I haven't heard about Alone, Michele, sounds interesting! Thanks, and I am hoping this week will go as smoothly as possible. We've been waiting a long, long time!

  3. I'm adding A Sled for Gabo and Stella's Stellar Hair to my list RIGHT NOW. They look fantastic! I hope to get to Alone in 2021 and I thoroughly enjoyed Eyes That Kiss in the Corners. That's too bad about having to put One of Us is Lying on hold for so long. That would definitely destroy the momentum for me, too! I enjoyed her Two Can Keep a Secret, but I haven't read One of Us is Next. We'll see if I have room for it this year. Looking forward to your dragon round up! :) Thanks for all these shares, Michele!

  4. I really enjoyed ALONE but that's why reading is so personal. I also had a physical ARC to read and the opportunity to interview Megan Freeman on my blog and she answered some of my burning questions such as the choice to write in verse rather than in prose (actually her first drafts were in prose) as well as why the evacuation was never explained. Cool to get a glimpse behind her writing process.

  5. The picture books you featured sound really intriguing. As a curly girl, I would've loved the hair one as a kid. I was always trying to make my hair do things it would not. :)
    Skunk and Badger sounds delightful. I will have to look for that one. My students love Frog and Toad!

  6. What an awesome set of books! Every one of the picture books looks wonderful, and I've seen a lot of praise for Skunk and Badger as well! Alone and One of Us is Lying both sound great! I definitely get struggling to stay invested in a story when you don't have as much time to read. Thanks for the great post!

  7. As I read your comments about A Sled for Gabo, I remembered putting plastic bags inside my shoes when we were too poor to buy boots.
    I'm so looking forward to Eyes That Kiss in the Corners!
    I'm glad that your students are into Skunk and Badger. I enjoyed it and wondered what the younger set would think about it. Thanks for sharing these books today.

  8. Sometimes books don't work for us because of where we are, not what they do. These past few weeks have been really hard for falling into books with; the picture books are a life saver then. Thanks for sharing.