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.
Malala: a brave girl from Pakistan and Iqbal: a brave boy from Pakistan (2014) by Jeanette Winter. This book masterfully combines the stories of Malala Yousafzai and Iqbal Masih, by letting you read either story, depending on which cover you choose, and having them both meet up in the middle. This device works especially well to introduce children to Iqbal, a former child laborer, who was killed for speaking out against child slavery and debt bondage. The continuation of Malala's work and mission lend a feeling of hope to his story as well. (H/T Alison at Kid Lit Frenzy.)
Imani's Moon (2014) by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell. This book confused me. From the beginning I thought it would be a more realistic fiction tale about a young, small girl struggling with an impossible wish. The break towards folktale midway through confused me, as did the abruptness of the ending. The author's note implies that she has never visited Africa or the Maasai, which also makes me question the authenticity of the story and its links to folklore. (H/T Stacey at Raise a Lit Human.)
The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leonard Weisgard. (H/T Melissa Guerette.) This old book was a new one for me. I enjoyed the repeated structure of the poem: But the important thing about the __ is ___. and think this could be a great mentor text for students. You could discuss why the author chose that particular trait as the important thing and then let them create their own poems following this structure.
Grandma and the Great Gourd: a Bengali folktale (2013) retold by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters. (H/T CCBC Choices 2014.) On her travels to visit her daughter, Grandma is able to put off the hungry red fox, black bear, and striped tiger, but now she needs to make it back home. Is her trick clever enough to work?
The Princess in Black (2014) by Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. This delightful book knocks down all of your stereotypes about princesses while also acknowledging their existence. Practically perfect Princess Magnolia is actually harboring a deep, dark secret: she is, in fact, the monster-fighting Princess in Black! I think young readers will find a lot to love in this book, and I hope that in later episodes, the princess will find a way to reconcile her secret self and her actual self and bust those stereotypes within her book-world too. (H/T Franki at A Year of Reading.)
Sisters 8: Annie's Adventure (Book 1) by Lauren Baratz-Logsted with Greg Logsted and Jackie Logsted. This is book one in an eight-book series about a group of octuplets whose parents have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Geared towards 8 year-olds, of course, I just didn't find a lot to latch on to. The conceit the 8s sort themselves by birth order and that some act much younger and others much older just struck me as very odd. This may be one that I will have to take in to school and ask my actual 8 year-olds what they think. (H/T Carrie at There's a Book for That.)