Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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.

Picture Books

This week I shared a look at our read alouds from the month of October, which were loosely grouped around the theme of studying characters and discussing perspective and point-of-view. You can read more details about the individual books here.

Firebird: ballerina Misty Copeland shows a young girl how to dance like the firebird by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers. This wonderful and inspiring picture book should be beloved by dancers and ballerinas worldwide. Misty Copeland shares her meditation on power and promise, as she highlights the trail she blazed for dancers of color. I think reading the Author's Note first (or briefly meditating on the extensive subtitle) might be helpful to establish context for the story, especially for younger readers. Christopher Myers adds incredible layers of meaning with his colorful and dynamic mixed media illustrations.

Once Upon an Alphabet (2014) by Oliver Jeffers. This interesting alphabet book contains a short story for each letter of the alphabet, and each short story is mainly based around subjects beginning with that letter. An odd mix of related and seemingly-unrelated stories and unhappy endings, this is one that may appeal to students with a quirky sense of humor.

Draw (2014) by Raúl Colón. This wordless picture book follows the imagination of the author as he travels to Africa and imagines drawing the animals that he sees there. Many of my students have been returning to this one again and again this week, and I could hardly stop laughing when one of them decided to give a humorous oral retelling of the story to several of his friends during break time. (Elisabeth at The Dirigible Plum.)


Last week for Poetry Friday, I shared a bit about doing a mindfulness exercise and reflection with my third grade students. A group of students also wrote their own relaxing poem inspired by the activity. You can read the full details here.

Middle Grade

Frostbite Hotel (2014) by Karin Adams (ARC provided via Net Galley). Fifth-grader Kirby is determined to follow his idol, William T. Williamson, and succeed in the business world. The first snowfall provides him with his inspiration - to build a world-class snow hotel rather than the puny forts of previous years. But when the rest of the school, including The Bear and his menacing crew of sixth-graders, find out about the changes, the competition gets fierce, and Kirby begins to suspect that he has a spy in his midst ... This quick read will keep students engaged with the perils of recess hijinks and the quest for snow hotel perfection.

Blood of Olympus: Heroes of Olympus Book 5 (2014) by Rick Riordan. I think I may have been around the 280s in the hold line when I first requested my copy from the library, but it finally arrived this week. Blood of Olympus is the conclusion to the second five-book series following Percy Jackson and his fellow half-bloods, and I have to say that I found this one less satisfying than some of the others. Most of the suspense was spent in the earlier books and this one was much more a lengthy process of watching all the moving pieces move to where they needed to be (and you already knew where they needed to be). But if you have later middle-grade readers looking for action, humor, and some absurd myth-crossovers, this is still a great series to recommend.

Happy Reading!


  1. I haven't shared Draw with any kids yet, so I really enjoyed reading about your students' reaction. Love hearing that they keep returning to it! I bought Once Upon an Alphabet this week but haven't had a chance to read it. My husband read it and gave it a meh, but I'm hoping to find the quirk fully engaging!

    1. Only a few of my students have had a chance to look at Once Upon an Alphabet, so I am still awaiting their reactions too.


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