Monday, August 30, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.30.21

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

It was the last Chapter Book Summer series - books about cooking!  Make sure you enter the giveaway!

Don't miss any of the Chapter Book Summer 2021 series posts.  Catch them all here.

Picture Books

Twinkle Twinkle Little Kid
Twinkle Twinkle Little Kid
written by Drew Daywalt
illustrated by Molly Idle
We all know to make a wish upon the first star we see, but did you ever imagine a star making a wish on the first kid they see?  Find out what happens when a young boy and a star make a wish upon each other, but won't reveal their wishes.  Cute story with fun illustrations from Molly Idle!  Look for this one on Sept. 7th!

The Girl with Big, Big Questions
The Girl With Big, Big Questions
written by Britney Winn Lee
illustrated by Jacob Souva
This would be a great book to use when introducing a Wonder Wall at the beginning of the year.

Pride Puppy!
Pride Puppy!
written by Robin Stevenson
illustrated by Julie McLaughlin
An ABC book that cleverly tells the story by going through the alphabet.  A family is getting ready to go to a local Pride Parade and when they get there, their dog gets loose.  We see the puppy going through the parade and it's a mixture of chaos and celebration!  I like at the end of the book there are more words in alphabetical order that you are supposed to go back and find in the coordinating illustrations.

Shabbat Shalom!
Shabbat Shalom!
written by Douglas Florian
illustrated by Hannah Tolson
This board book tells in simple rhyming phrases about a family celebrating the Shabbat.

Moth & Butterfly: Ta Da!
Moth and Butterfly Ta-Da!
written by Dev Petty
illustrated by Ana Aranda
A compare and contrast about moths and butterflies in a narrative style that is accompanied by beautiful and bright illustrations by Ana Aranda.  I love the way Petty adds lots of facts into this story that will be a delight to read aloud.

Middle Grade

Not a Unicorn
Not a Unicorn
by Dana Middleton
I've seen a lot of books about self-identity and learning to like yourself, but this had a unique take on the subject.  
Jewel is in eighth grade, she enjoys being with her friends, and loves sharing a graphic novel series with her friend.  And she's a girl who has a unicorn horn.  And she doesn't like it.  She doesn't like the attention.  She doesn't like the accidents that have happened because of it.  The biggest positive is it comes with her own unicorn, Carmen.  Other people can't see Carmen, but she's there for Jewel.  Bottom line?  Jewel wants her horn gone.  She's even done some secret research to find a doctor who can remove it.  But will that come at a cost?
This story about self-identity will be enjoyed by readers 5th gr+ and I like that it takes a new spin on this concept.
Publishes Sept. 21st, thank you to the author for the review copy!

Born Behind Bars
Born Behind Bars
by Padma Venkatraman
I absolutely adore how this author crafts her stories and I will continue to always read what she writes!  I'm grateful she has given us another story that takes place in India (and readers of The Bridge Home will get a fun surprise) as it truly is a window for letting readers understand a different living experience.
This story follows Kabir who literally was born behind bars, since his mother is jailed due to false accusations.  It's the only life Kabir has known, and while not ideal, his loving mother has cared for him and taught him and given him all the support he has needed so far.  But when it is decided he is too old to live in the jail, Kabir must leave with an unknown uncle and live outside of the jail.  Unfortunately, the "uncle" is only using Kabir to see him, so he runs away before that can happen.  Kabir soon meets Rani, another child living on the streets of India.  She teaches Kabir how to manage living on the streets and to keep following your dreams.
With quick chapters, this book was hard for me to put down.  Another must have for middle school readers.
Publishes September 7th.

What About Will
What About Will
by Ellen Hopkins
This is Hopkins' second middle grade novel in verse and she continues to show that she is adept at writing not only powerful YA novels, but also important MG stories, as well.  
Trace's older brother, Will, had a brain injury due to a powerful hit during a football game.  It left him with depression, anger control issues, facial tics, and an inability to move his facial muscles.  Will is pulling away from Trace and the rest of his family, and is gaining friends from the wrong crowd.  Trace is worried about Will, especially when he seems to be stealing items and money.  But with an absent mom and a dad who seems to be more into his new girlfriend than his family, Trace ends up taking on too much by himself.
A very strong novel about a family dealing with a child addicted to drugs and dealing with an injury, this story is an important one for middle school readers.
Publishes September 14th.

Currently Reading

How to Find What You're Not Looking For
how to find what you're not looking for
by Veera Hiranandani
Looking forward to this middle grade story!

Wow, what a summer we had!  As soon as my daughter made the Tokyo Paralympic Team this past June, it was nothing but swim.  I'm surprised I read and blogged the amount that I did!  She had an amazing experience in Japan.  Her swim didn't go quite how she wanted it to go, but as a 16yo, she has a lot of swimming in front of her.  The experience and all that she learned will only help her grow.  Not too many people can say they made a Games Team, and I know she is proud of that!
Now it's fall and school has started.  And we're getting our kitchen and a lot of our first floor done!  Nothing like continued chaos!  I'll be taking a break from blogging in order to have time to get the daily things done at home.  I'll still be reading and posting some must-read books on Twitter and I'll be back to blogging later this fall.  I have some posts that will be going up later this week.  After that I'm hoping to have my new blogging site up and ready.  It's been tricky to get it changed over to the new platform!  I hope you'll follow me there!


  1. Wow! Congratulations to your daughter! That’s an amazing accomplishment! I can’t wait to read Born Behind Bars! Great reading wee! Have a wonderful school year!

  2. I'm happy that Keegan had a marvelous experience in Tokyo. She's one of the few who made it & that is super! Thanks for the chapter book titles & enjoy your break, although chaos! I did a kitchen redo once & it showed me well how few pots & pans, dishes that we really needed!

  3. You always add a stack of new-to-me books to my TBR list, Michele! I can't believe you're going on blogging sabbatical just as I'm returning. But I'll definitely look forward to seeing your new platform and following! I'm so glad you had a wonderful experience in Japan and I hope all goes beautifully with the installation of your new kitchen floor.

  4. What a wonderful set of books! Twinkle Twinkle Little Kid sounds like such a clever story, and Pride Puppy sounds lovely as well. Not a Unicorn sounds absolutely original—I love it! And What About Will sounds great—I remember that Hopkins's Closer to Nowhere got a lot of praise recently, but I didn't know she already had a new book out.

    Also, goodness—it sounds like you've had a superhuman work ethic with all that's gone on lately! I'm so glad your daughter had a great experience in Tokyo, and I look forward to hearing about her journey in the future. And good luck with the kitchen chaos and setting up the new blogging platform! I look forward to seeing you back in the fall, and thanks so much for the wonderful post!!!