Monday, January 4, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 01/04/16

It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture 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.

Last Weeks' Posts

  • Mock Caldecott Ballot, 2016. Did your favorite picture books make the list for our school's Mock Caldecott? Who do you think will win?
  • Picture Books of 2015. A quick overview of the 80 picture books that I read and reviewed that were published in 2015.

Young Fiction Books

The Mystery of the Disappearing Dolphin (2014) by Janelle Diller, a Pack-n-Go Girls Adventure. This second book in the Mexico series again follows Izzy and Patti as they encounter a mysterious possible crime. Racism is brought into the story through the character of Izzy's nervous uncle, which makes for some uncomfortable reading as an adult (knowing how many people harbor such views), but provides a light-handed method for introducing kids to negative views. For more Pack-n-Go Girls books, read my review of the Thailand series here.

Adult Books


I have been traveling for much of the past two weeks (belated honeymoon to Morocco!), so most of my reading was done on planes. At the urging of a colleague, I attended Dave Eggers' keynote address at NCTE in November, though I had never read any of his books. (I had, however, visited 826 Valencia a few years before.) So I picked up these two books to take along.

What is the What (2007) is based on the life story of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan. It is a fascinating bit of narrative structuring, swinging freely from Deng's present-day experiences in the US and his long journey from his village in Sudan. It is a devastating account of one boy's journey and still sheds light on the issues and struggles facing the newly-independent South Sudan. All proceeds from the book support the Valention Achak Deng foundation.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000). This first book (and memoir) is another feat of unusual narrative style. Even the copyright notice and backmatter on the title page hint at the oddly self-aware story within. It was a great choice for consuming hours of airplane time, but I am still not quite sure what to make of the whole thing. It's also interesting to look at now in light of Dave Eggers current successes, philanthropy, and work on supporting children and writers.

Reading Goals and Challenges

With all the travel, I have not had time to sift through the various challenges and goals in the works for 2016. At present, I am hoping to do a better job of documenting my reading (especially of children's books, which at times seem so ephemeral), so we shall see whether having the Goodreads app readily accessible makes a difference.

What are your reading challenges and goals for the new year?

Happy reading!


  1. Sounds like an interesting trip. I hope you had fun. I don't set goals or join challenges. They just add stress to an already stressful hobby. Here is what I read last week. Happy reading!

  2. Morocco! How wonderful! I remember reading Heartbreaking Work when it was first published and loving it--but that was so long ago. I think among his other books, I have only read What Is the What, and I found it quite powerful. I'm still trying to figure out goals and challenges for 2016. Right now struggling with my #mustreadin2016 list. I have no idea what to put on it! My one goal for 2016 is NOT to saddle my reading life with have-tos and musts, so it seems counterintuitive to make this list.

  3. Congrats on the honeymoon! I never set reading goals - I hate the idea of turning reading into a competitive sport or activity, like pushups or running laps! I'd rather read for quality and quantity, and not turn something I love into something stressful - reading is my fun time :) Happy new year!

  4. I like my must read list. I am reminded to get to those titles that I might otherwise overlook. That said, I only set one reading goal. The goodreads app has helped me keep track, but I still don't get all the picture books I read. Happy reading in the new year!

  5. Eggers is such an inventive writer, isn't he? Happy New Year!

  6. Congratulations! We are so happy that you got to have a belated honeymoon. We love participating in the 10 for 10 picture book and 10 for 10 nonfiction picture book challenges. It is a great way to learn about wonderful books.

  7. Dave Eggers was at NCTE?! I am so intrigued by him! I am so glad that you are liking his books. I really loved You Should Know Our Velocity. I really want to read Zeitoun, but haven't gotten there yet.
    Happy belated congratulations btw!! :)
    and Happy reading this week!

  8. I have several Dave Eggers' novels waiting to be read - I think I have those two that you just shared here - or Zeitoun? I hope I get to read more adult novels this year (always my mantra, really). And honeymoon in Morocco - that's livin the life. Love it! :)


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