Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Monday! What are YOU reading?

I'm participating in a meme created by Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts.  I'll be reviewing both children's literature and adult literature.  


The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Henri Sorensen

I read this aloud to my class following the read aloud of Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It's a wonderful story of King Christian X of Denmark, who ruled over Denmark during the German occupation. It is obvious the people of Denmark love King Christian X. Even though the story told in this book is fictional, parts are based on things King Christian X said and/or did. It's an idealistic view of a country that loved its ruler and the people that lived within its borders.

This is another fun Strega Nona book about planting seeds to harvest in the garden. Poor Big Anthony has yet to learn his lesson. Stega Nona sings to her seeds after planting, followed by three kisses. Big Anthony watches her so he knows what to do with his own garden, then adds three more kisses. Thus, Big Anthony's garden continuously produces vegetables that he cannot use. He leaves them on the steps of Stega Nona's house and she eventually invites the village for dinner. Great for young children to learn about growing things and reaping the harvest and gathering with friends and family.

I honestly can't remember if I've read this before or not (and I tend to remember most of what i've read). This was a delightful story of a person doing something they should not have done and facing the consequences. Great for inferring theme.

Nightsong by Ari Burk, illustrated by Loren Long

A sweet book about a mother letting go and her son finding his own way in the world...but always remembering to return home.


Holy Bagumba, this is a great book! Flora, a self-proclaimed cynic befriends a squirrel, whom she names Ulysses, after a near fatal accident involving a vacuum cleaner. Flora and Ulysses embark in a journey to keep the squirrel safe and find friendship and love are all around them. A witty mix of chapters and comics, make this book appealing for any reader. I just love Kate DiCamillo and her use of language to make a subtle point.

Reread. This is an all-time favorite for intermediate kids. It brings to light the heroic efforts of the Danish people to save its nearly 7000 Jews from being "relocated" by the Germans during WWII. Annemarie Johansson and her friend Ellen never imagine they'll have to deal with the atrocities of war, but they are forced to grow up quickly when Ellen's family is targeted by the Nazis. The Johanssons help aid the Rosens (Ellen's family) to escape to Sweden to gain freedom. Told with accurate historical facts about the amazing Danish resistance, yet in a manner appropriate for middle grade readers, Lois Lowry proves she is a master of her craft.


This book really deserves five stars for the writing. Bohjalian always offers up wonderful language, imagery, and realistic dialogue. However, this book was so depressing and dark that I can only give it 4 or 4.5 stars (still, not too shabby, right?). The story fluctuates between war-torn Italy in 1944 and post-war Italy, 1955. The two sets of characters, the Rosotti family and Serafina, a female detective in 1955, seem at first to not coincide. But, as the novel progresses, the reader learns of how each character played out the war and how they are all interconnected and running from a madman within their own circle. Once again, Chris Bohjalian offers up historical fiction, mystery, and a classic twist at the end. I listened to this book and was again mesmerized by the narrator (who has narrated several of Bohjalian's books I've listened too). Simply wonderful intonation! This is an intriguing story about an area of WWII that is not heard of as often as others.


The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner


Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz


Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Happy Monday!  Let me know what you're reading!  I'd love to hear from you!

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