Monday, April 20, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/20/15

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 Week's Posts

Picture Books

P. Zonka Lays an Egg (2015) by Julie Paschkis. This is a lovely little 'imagined' folktale about the origins of the Ukrainian pysanky eggs (or, the singular, pysanka). It is also a great story about the power of noticing and celebrating the world around you, plus, who can dislike a story with a rooster accidentally named Gloria? I look forward to sharing this book along with some of my own pysanky eggs that I picked up on my own travels through Europe.

Seeds of Freedom: the peaceful integration of Huntsville, Alabama (2015) by Hester Bass and illustrated by E. B. Lewis. (Review copy provided courtesy of Candlewick's inagural Best in Class mailing.)

Seeds of Freedom tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement during 1962 and 1963 through the lens of Huntsville, Alabama. Readers are exposed to many of the major issues of the time, like not being allowed to try on shoes, not being served in restaurants, and not having integrated schools. References are made to violent reactions elsewhere, but the focus is on the creativity and peaceful ingenuity of residents, such as the three woman and baby arrested at the lunch counter or Blue Jeans Sunday at Easter time. This is a great book for introducing younger and intermediate students to the issues of Civil Rights in an understandable context.

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade (2015) by Justin Roberts and illustrated by Christian Robinson. I really wanted to like this book, and I did really like the illustrations - especially the diversity of kids represented! But the story was SO simplistic. One little girl raises one little finger and suddenly the whole world decides to be nice to each other? Switching from being a bystander to doing something about it takes more work than that.


Juan Bobo Goes to Work: a Puerto Rican folktale (2000) by Marisa Montes and illustrated by Joe Cepeda or, in Spanish, Juan Bobo Busca Trabajo. This folktale is a favorite read aloud during our Latin American unit. Students love the foolish innocence of Juan Bobo, and this is a great book to see prediction skills in action, as hapless Juan follows his Mama's advice each day ... with disastrous results!

Lost City: the discovery of Machu Picchu (2003) by Ted Lewin. This book tells the true story of Hiram Bingham's efforts to find the lost Inca city of Vilcapampa in 1911 but instead being introduced to Machu Picchu. What I appreciate about this "discovery" story is the credit given to locals and local knowledge, and it's a great book for helping kids discuss the idea of "discovering" something some one already knows about.

Middle Fiction

Wintersmith (2006) by Terry Pratchett. The third Tiffany Aching book was my least favorite the first time when I read these books, but I liked it much more now. I appreciated seeing how the idea of 'being a witch' continues to grow and develop.

Thanks for the Discworld and Terry Pratchett-related recommendations. Please do keep them coming!

Award-Winning Books Reading Challenge update: 10 books, 2 dedicated posts

Dive into Diversity Challenge update: 80 books, 24 dedicated posts (Books about Modern Immigration and Immigrants)

Happy Reading!


  1. Love the look of the Julie Paschkis book and the Machu Picchu story, too. There are a lot of books you've shared that I know I'll like, Katie. I'll put them on my list! Thanks!

    1. I love Julie Paschkis' style and it works so well for this story. Enjoy!

  2. I love your honest reviews. Lost City: the discovery of Machu Picchu looks like an interesting read. I really love this cover of Wintersmith - mine is the original black one. I just can hardly wait for The Shepherd's Crown.

    1. Agreed. This was the library's cover for Wintersmith, which I found interesting as well. Lost City is a great book for sure.

  3. I have Seeds of Freedom to read and review soon. It looks like a wonderful introduction to civil rights.
    Lost City looks fascinating! I want to read it just to learn more :)

    Happy reading this week! :)

    1. Thanks, Kellee! I look forward to seeing your review of Seeds of Freedom too. Lost City is quite a cool book - anything that Ted Lewin paints is sure to be amazing. Happy reading to you too!

  4. I am hopelessly bored by Terry Pratchett's Colour of Magic - I am on the verge of abandoning it if not for my book club - I will try to trudge away as best I could, but it's just so laborious. I am glad to see here that other titles seem to be fairly ok.


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