I'm going to include the books I've read and listened to in February, since I've been a little negligent in posting! Oops!
written by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
Natalie and I both love this book! Sophie gets a squash at the farmers market and takes care of it as if it's a baby. Her parents try to convince her to give it up, but instead she asks the farmer how to care for it. She buries it in the back yard before winter and in spring she watches it grow and produce two new squash, which she also befriends. A fun story!
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
written by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
I can understand why this book garnered so many ALA awards this year. It's wonderfully told and beautifully illustrated. Horace Pippin should be an inspiration to us all. A war injury didn't stop him from what he loved doing--painting. While he wasn't "discovered" until later in his life, Pippin has left behind some special pieces of art that define the early part of the 20th century in America. I will certainly be sharing this with my 5th grade class!
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
Oh, I didn't want to finish this one because it's so good! I can't imagine a middle grade kid who wouldn't love this creepy, modern-day fairy tale. Ophelia, her sister Alice, and their father have traveled to a museum in a town that is continuously snowy. Her father is an international sword expert and has been asked by the museum curator, Miss Kaminski, to head up the sword exhibition for Christmas Eve. Ophelia and Alice are trying to move past the death of their mother and both are a little lost. Ophelia, while exploring the mysterious museum, finds a young boy who weaves a story of wizards, magic, and the Snow Queen. It's up to Ophelia and the boy to defeat the Snow Queen before it's too late. Just the right amount of creepiness and reality, this is going to be a HUGE hit in my classroom! This was on my "Must Read in 2014" list, too!
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
I loved this current-day version of The Snow Queen. Hazel and Jack are real characters that kids can easily relate to. Anne Ursu has beautiful language in this middle grade novel.
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
I loved this book about secrets and the consequences our actions can have on others. The story revolves around three women, all connected in some way, all with regrets and burdens of their own. Yet, these women must take on their husbands secrets, too, and decide what to do with their lives once they are privy to the knowledge. Well told and compulsively readable, I'm glad we picked this for book club! This was also on my "Must Read in 2014" list.
Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford
This was a depressing read (listen). William is a 12 year old Chinese orphan at a Catholic orphanage in Seattle in 1934. He ventures into town on the one day a year the nuns recognize the orphans birthdays. He finds movie poster of Willow Frost, as woman who looks just like his mother (who abandoned him five years earlier after she was found bleeding in the bathtub in their apartment). William embarks on his journey to seek out his mother. In the process, the reader is told Willow's story, starting in 1924. A powerful story of the hardships of life for a young Asian woman, struggling to care for her son.
Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley
Yet another great professional read from Donalyn Miller. She validated many of my classroom practices and beliefs. I came away with some new ideas and the knowledge that we all can help students find their inner wild reader.
All three of the books I'm currenty reading are on my "Must Read in 2014" list! (visit There is a Book for That for more info)
There! I'm caught up! I'd love to know what you're reading, too. Leave me a message! Happy Monday!