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.
This week I shared Part 3 in my new series Around the World in a Single Book: cultures around the world. This series presents some of my favorite nonfiction resources for studying world cultures. Part 1 focused on books exclusively about children around the world. Part 2 looks at cultures around the world, and Part 3 examines specific aspects of culture, including books about languages and schools around the world.
Share the power of girls and schools with this collection of nonfiction and historical fiction resources. These picture books (and one biography) introduce students to the struggles of girls around the world (and through history) as they strive for education and equality. Start a conversation with your students around this important topic. Read The Power of Girls and Schools: text set for specifics about each book.
The Cats in Krasinski Square by Karen Hesse and illustrated by Wendy Watson. This powerful World War II picture book is based on a true account of cats being used to thwart German sniffer dogs in Warsaw, Poland. A great resource for teaching about World War II and resistance movements. (H/T Linda at Teacher Dance)
Our school librarian and a colleague are busy trying to prepare for this year's Newbery selections and are hoping to have read (and guessed at) the winner and honor books. To that end, you may see a lot more 2014 potential Newbery candidates coming up in my reading lists in the next few months. (We will also be doing Mock Caldecott book shares and voting with the students near the end of the year. Any leads are welcome!)
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm. This great new release from Jenni Holm mixes science fiction with the normal problems of middle school, resulting in a delightful story about family, friendship, and the fountain of youth! Read my full review here.
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. This Victorian novel and self-proclaimed "scary story" was an enjoyable read, but most of the time I had the feeling that I read it before. It was only when attempting to explain the plot briefly to another friend that we realized that this book may have every Victorian or Dickensian trope thrown at a single book. (Orphans? Check. Innocent cripple? Check. Haunted feeling and unnatural events? Check. And so on.) I think students without a strong background in Victorian literature might find the book more engaging, and I think it would make a great "scary story" recommendation to mid/later middle grade students, as it has that scary element without being horrifying.
Caminar by Skila Brown. This historical fiction novel in verse tells the story of young Carlos, living in 1981 in Guatemala. A powerful variety of poems tell his story as the paths of both the army and guerrillas overlap in his village. Brief historical context is provided in the opening note to the reader and the Q&A at the end. Suitable for older middle grade and young adult readers.