It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from pictures books through YA by Jen of Teacher Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.
I guess this was my week to be highly skeptical and a bit critical of some of the selections that I read, but an honest review is always the goal, right? (Or skip the criticism and jump down to my glowing account of Poetry Friday for a pick me up.)
Laundry Day by Maurie J. Manning. Do you ever have a book that you have heard about and gotten excited about because you think it might be a perfect fit only to be disappointed when you actually read the book? That, in a nutshell, was Laundry Day for me. The story of a lonely shoeshine boy in New York City sounded like a potential fit for our unit on Immigration and Ellis Island, perhaps as a companion to the incomparable Peppe the Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone and illustrated by Ted Lewin. Instead, this graphic-novel-inspired picture book presents just mere stereotypical sketches of the different peoples and cultures of the tenement building tied in to a minimal plot. I would be curious if others had similar feelings about the simplicity of this book.
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. I really liked the message of this book - that innovation comes from failure and that "The only true failure can come if you quit," but I had a hard time getting past the canned Seuss-ian rhyme scheme and outrageous-ness of the inventions. I think I will keep looking for a companion to The Most Magnificent Thing (reviewed here).
Middle GradeThe Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (Newbury Honor Book). This book was suggested to me by Elisabeth at The Dirigible Plum after my earlier post about The Ascendance Trilogy a few weeks back. They are very similar books in broad strokes - medieval setting, similarly-aged hardluck boy protagonists, and royal intrigue. I found this one took much longer to grab my attention, and I was not as interested in the main character. The violence and drama is a little more tame in this book as well, making it perhaps geared a little younger like grades 4-6.
Poetry Friday is one the best additions I have ever made to my classroom week. The Poetry Friday Anthology is a collection of poems for each week of the school year that are tailored to each grade level from Kindergarten through fifth grade. (There is a middle school 6-8 book now as well.) This is a great resource if you are looking to start Poetry Friday in your classroom or are looking for great poems to share with kids. Read my full post about the Power of Poetry Friday in the Classroom here.
This week was the third week of #CyberPD of Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild. Chapter 5 was all about readers and reader preferences, as well as a peek inside some of the note-taking forms and charts Donalyn uses that are included in the appendix. You can read my thoughts and reflection about Chapter 5 here (and see my Reading in the Wild diorama).