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 Teach 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.
Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo. This very clever alphabet book combines sets of two words - one created by taking away a single letter from the original word. Thus, the beast knows he is the best, and the bride goes for a ride. I think this would be a really fun word-play activity to try with students - have them create and illustrate new word pairs. My students took to this book immediately.
Part 2 in my recent series about Anansi, a trickster character from West Africa, introduced books by a wide-range of authors, including several that won Newbery awards or honors. These are a great resource for introducing students to Anansi and/or trickster tales.
Many lessons are more memorable with a little humor, and grammar is no exception. This post from last week, Teaching Grammar with Humor, highlights one of my favorite book series for teaching grammar.
Ivan, the Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This lovely nonfiction picture book is a great companion piece to The One and Only Ivan. though I would be wary of students reading this one first and 'spoiling' some of the power of the novel. This would also be great to use with older students as part of a discussion about zoos, animal rights, or perspective and point-of-view.
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Qin Leng. I had to put in a purchase request with our local library for this one, but it was well worth the wait. I loved this story about the patience and perseverance required to learn something new, as well as the lesson of the importance of celebrating progress and not just perfection. (H/T Carrie at There is a Book for That.)
Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman. This new book for younger readers comes out tomorrow, but you can read my full review here. A fun book for kids interested in martial arts and creative problem-solving.
Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins. I am normally a big fan of talking-animal style books, but this one just did not grab me. It seemed like a rather large-looking book to tell a very short story. I would highly recommend the Poppy series by Avi for more engaging stories or the Mistmantle or Redwall series for more involved and elaborate stories. (H/T Mary Lee at A Reading Year.)
The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Shane W. Evans. For some reason, I was expecting this book to be a picture book and was surprised to discover that it is, instead, a novel in verse. This format allows the reader to really be inside the head of 12-year-old Amira and to witness her frustrations and confusion as her life in Darfur, Sudan is thrown into turmoil by the arrival of the Janjaweed. Another book I could add to my text set about the Power of Girls and Schools.