Monday, July 21, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I'm participating in the meme #IMWAYR started by Book JourneyTeach Mentor Texts, and Unleashing Readers.

I was out of town last week, so I'm displaying two weeks worth of books today!


My New Friend Is So Fun! by Mo Willems

A fun book about the value of friendship.

I Am Invited to a Party! by Mo Willems

Another fun addition to the Elephant and Piggie series. Natalie and I especially loved the end--where all of the characters attend a fancy, costume pool party. Ha!

More Tales of Amanda Pig by Jean Van Leeuwen, Illustrated by Ann Schweninger

We found more Amanda Pig at the library! A nice book of short stories involving Amanda and her brother.

What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada, Illustrated by Mae Besom

A great addition to the writing workshop picture book genre! This book validates what it feels like to have no ideas when faced with the task of writing. I think a lot of kids will be able to relate.

Tuesday Tucks Me In by Luis Carlos Montalvan and Bret Witter, Photographs by Dan Dion

Tuesday is the service dog for a veteran, Luis Montalvan, who suffers from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. This charming story is told from Tuesday's point of view. The reader can immediately empathize with Luis and see all the good Tuesday does to help Luis feel more comfortable in civilian life. A touching story to share with any animal lover.

The Porcelain Man by Richard Kennedy, Illustrated by Marcia Sewall

This is a strange one. A girl pieces together porcelain that her oppressive father finds in the street. A porcelain man is created and declares his love for her. The girl's father smashes the man and she reforms it into a horse who carries her away. The horse destroys itself so she can once again create the man. Another young man is passing by and helps the girl collect the pieces. They take the pieces back to his house where they create a full dinnerware set. They fall in love that day. During dinner, a plate proclaims it's love for the girl and she tells it to be quiet. The man and the girl live happily ever after. (?) Maybe I'm missing something??

Letter Lunch by Elisa Guiterrez

I loved the illustrations and the graphic novel format of this book, but didn't completely understand the author's choice to make the hungry kids collect letters. It felt a little forced.

A Thirst For Home: A Story of Water Across the World by Christine Ieronimo, Illustrated by Eric Velasquez

This is a great addition to our empathy unit, to use in conjunction with A Long Walk to Water. Alemitu is a young Ethiopian girl who collects water with her mother daily. Once her family has no food left, her mother is forced to give up Alemitu for adoption. Alemitu is adopted by an American family and becomes Eva. She never forgets her roots, though. The story is perfect for young readers to understand the hardships so many people in the world face.

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray, Illustrated by Kenard Pak

A nice story about a nesting robin surrounded by other birds in the forest. The end has a great interview with the mother robin.


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Oh my goodness. Cady, what a burden you carry. Lockhart masterfully crafts characters that you at once sympathize with, yet don't fully understand. A gripping novel about a wealthy American family taking a hit from within.


This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

This is the story of a lost man, whose father has just died, wife has been found cheating with his husband, and he must sit shiva for seven days with his dysfunctional family. It's a glimpse into someone's life who is on the brink of breakdown, but told in a humorous way.

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

I loved this book about Cora who chaperoned Louise Brooks (a famous film star) when she first set out for NYC from Wichita, Kansas. Cora embarks on her own journey to find her roots in New York and finds a whole new world. I'd highly recommend this!


The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

I'm also contemplating starting a nonfiction book.  I have so many good ones I want to get to!

What are YOU reading?

Monday, July 7, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I'm participating in this fun meme created by Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts.

I read a lot over the last week!  I love that feeling!


Amanda Pig, Schoolgirl by Jean Van Leeuwen

Cute story about a pig's first day of Kindergarten and how she helps out a fellow classmate. Natalie has a new favorite series.

President Taft is Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett

This was a fun story about President Taft getting stuck in his bathtub in the White House. He calls in various government officials to get him out and none of them can come up with a plan (sound familiar?). Finally, Taft listens to his wife when she suggests they all grab hold of Taft and pull him from the tub. The end of the book has a list of facts we know about Taft and his obsession with oversized tubs. Certainly an interesting read, kids could learn a little about government offices and something about a past president. I particularly loved the illustrations because they're done by the Mercy Watson illustrator!

Lost for Words by Natalie Russell

A cute book about how sometimes it's easier to sketch your thoughts and feelings than it is to write them. Could validate some kids' struggles with writing by allowing them the freedom to draw to get ideas instead. Great book for writing workshop.

The Good-Pie Party by Liz Garton Scanlon

A young girl is upset about moving away from friends. Instead of having a good bye party, they decide to have a good pie party where everyone brings a pie.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

A classic rhyming book for beginning readers.


Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

I absolutely loved Albie! This book reminded me so much of Wonder--a 5th grader who struggles and relies on the support of those close to him, in this case, his amazing babysitter Calista. Albie's parents want to help him deal with his shortcomings at school, but they are overextended in their careers and often can't figure out why things are so hard for Albie. Calista helps Albie recognize that he is important and special and above all, kind. This will certainly go with my opening empathy unit. It might just become the first read-aloud of the year!


Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

This one has been on my list since it came out. I wasn't disappointed! This is a story of finding new hope in old places. Great summer read!

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

I loved this little book about showing your work to the world! Kleon argues that to be acknowledged for the work you do, you must put your work out there and share it with the world. In return, you'll acquire a following and your work will become known. I enjoyed the style of this little book and appreciated all of the various artists he included. I even found a few passages to use with my 5th graders during writing workshop!


A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

I'm still listening to this in the car, when I'm by myself.  I like it, but I wish I would have just read it myself, because it's dragging on and on.

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

This is another audio and it's long!  I've been listening to it while working out.  It's wonderful!

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

This is our book club selection of the month.  So far, it's pretty amusing.

I have a stack of middle grade novels on my nightstand to choose from for what to read next.  It's a tough choice!

I'd love to know what you're reading!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Must Read in 2014 (#MustReadin2014)

Well, the midpoint of the year has rolled around (how did that happen?) and I'm proud to say I've read  some of the books on my Must Read in 2014 list.  Not nearly enough, but hey, be kind to yourself~you're doing the best you can do (I saw that on Pinterest and loved it and I'm excited I could work it into a blog post about reading--because let's face it, we all want more time to read!).  In no particular order, here's what I've read since the last update:

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

This one has been on my list since it came out. I wasn't disappointed! This is a story of finding new hope in old places. Great summer read!

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson

3.5 stars, and probably 4 stars if I'd read it faster. I've been reading this for a few months during silent reading time at school. The book is about the Cholera outbreak that 616 people in one part if London in the mid-1800s. I liked how real people who played crucial roles in solving the mystery of the epidemic were given big roles in the story. The main character, Eel, is a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kid who ends up being an assistant to Dr. Snow and determining the outbreak stems from a contaminated water pump. This book isn't for every kid, but one interested in science and mystery would enjoy it.

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

In the same vein as The Help, this is a story of a young, Southern girl trying to put her family back together, but finding that family is not always related by blood. I especially liked the change over time of Starla (the white Southern protagonist) as she came to know and love Eula (the black, Southern woman with whom Starla finds on her journey).

Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder

I just couldn't make it through this one. Maybe I need to pick it up again this summer when I can sit and read more than two or three pages at a time.

So that looks pretty meager on the screen, but I've been reading tons of other fabulous books, too!  You can look at my Goodreads list as proof.  I really wanted to include A Snicker of Magic, because I'm starting the last CD in the car today, but alas, I'm not quite done.  I'll include it on my next update.  Hope you've read something good, too!