Monday, August 10, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/10/15

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

  • Featured Illustrator for August: Ted Lewin! Introducing Ted Lewin, one of my all-time favorite illustrators. This post provides some details about his background as well as his must-read titles that I share every year with my students.
  • Figuring Out Google Classroom. Does your school use Google for their email addresses? Then you likely have access to Google Classroom, which easily integrates Google Drive products and makes it easy to share and view student work!

    Picture Books

    Granddaddy's Turn: a journey to the ballot box (2015) by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein and illustrated by James E. Ransome. This powerful historical fiction story outlines some of the struggle for voting rights for African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement leading towards the passage of the Voting Rights Act. I am always impressed by the emotional power of James Ransome's illustrations, especially the expressions that he conveys, and this book contains some just emotionally-devasting pages. An important addition to this period of US history. (H/T Candlewick Press.)

    In a Village by the Sea (2015) by Muon Van and illustrated by April Chu. This lovely cumulative tale uses its repetitive structure (In the ___ there is a ___) to draw the reader in as the illustrations also zoom closer and closer. The illustrations are gorgeous with an almost-luminous quality (and kids will enjoy finding/following the dog that draws them through the pages, despite never being mentioned in the text). The Author's Note provides a little background about her family history and the lives of fishermen and their families in Vietnam. Caldecott potential? (H/T Carrie at There is a Book for That.)

    My Heart Will Not Sit Down (2012) by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Ann Tanksley. This book is based on the true story of a village in Cameroon that heard about the Great Depression in the US and sent along $3.77 that they had raised to help. An interesting book to raise a discussion about helping others and a spirit of giving. (H/T Linda at Teacher Dance.)

    Middle Grade

    Better Nate than Ever (2013) by Tim Federle. This charming debut chapter book stars wanna-be actor Nate Foster who runs away from home in Pennsylvania to a Broadway audition in New York City. Packed with theatrical and musical references, this humorous story will delight readers, while also helping build empathy and celebrate differences. There is also a sequel, Five, Six, Seven, Nate!

    The Sign of the Cat (2015) by Lynne Jonell. This action-adventure fantasy novel includes many common tropes of the genre (young boy with a special talent, an absent father with a shady past)  as well as some more unique innovations (the learned ability to talk to cats). Cats are not so prim and proper when you can understand their words as well as their actions, and this ideas is used often to humorous effect. Cat-lovers and adventure-seekers will enjoy the story, though more savvy readers will be unsurprised by the twists this tale takes.

    The Dreamer (2010) by Pam Muñoz Ryan and illustrated by Peter Sís. Winner of the Pura Belpré Award. This fictionalized biography of celebrated Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (née Neftalí Reyes) focuses mainly on his childhood, interweaving chapters in an intimate third-person voice with illustrated poetry in the style of Pablo Neruda. Excerpts from actual poems are provided at the end, following an Author's Note about her research and inspirations. It is an interesting and emotional story that also draws attention to the focus on ordinary workers and social justice that defined his writing career.

    Coming Soon - Middle Grade

    Crenshaw (available September 22, 2015) by Katherine Applegate. I received this story with high expectations after the wonderful power and emotional journey of The One and Only Ivan, but I must admit to being a bit disappointed (and to agree with another recent reviewer who questioned the entire point of a giant invisible cat to this story).  (Digital ARC provided courtesy of Net Galley in return for an honest review.)

    Challenges and Summer Plans

    #Bookaday Challenge update: days read a book 63/70, books read 90+/90 !!

    Award-Winning Books Reading Challenge update: 13 books, 2 dedicated posts

    Dive into Diversity Challenge update: 160 books, 35 dedicated posts (Top 10 list of diverse characters )

    Happy Reading!


    1. Great selection of books. I really enjoyed Crenshaw but haven't read any of the rest of the ones you talked about. I've been using Google Classroom with my 4th, 5th, and 6th grade kids to keep track of our Media lessons. I'm curious to see what it will be like this year with new classes. Come see my reading week here if you get a chance. Happy reading!

    2. I really loved The One and Only Ivan as well - an invisible cat?? Huh.
      Also - the cover of The Sign of the Cat reminds me a lot of The Life of Pi. Is he stranded on a boat with a tiger?
      My list:

    3. In a Village by the Sea is now in my shopping cart. I loved both of the Nate books and am eagerly awaiting the publication of Crenshaw!

    4. I am so pleased that you enjoyed In a Village by the Sea. It is simply a stunning book with so much going on.

    5. I generally don't like cumulative stories, but I'm intrigued by Village by the Sea and will look for it. I need to read Dreamer. I love Neruda and this book comes highly recommended by a couple of my students. As a crazy cat lady, I am also intrigued by Crenshaw. A giant invisible cat sounds pretty awesome to me!

      1. Thankfully, Village by the Sea doesn't fall into the trap of most cumulative stories and insist on repeating itself on every page. Pfew.

    6. The Dreamer and Better Nate than Ever makes for a great reading week. The audio books for Federle's books are great fun.

      1. Thanks, Earl! You're the second one to mention the audio books. Just put in a request for Five, Six, Seven, Nate! in audiobook, since I have a long drive coming up. Yay!


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...