Monday, August 17, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/17/15

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

    Letting Swift River Go (1992) by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. This lovely historical fiction book tells the story of the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir from what once was a valley threw which flowed the Swift River. Told from the point-of-view of a young girl who lived in one of the to-be-drown towns, this book provides an inside perspective on how people choose to dramatically modify their environments.

    Tigers, Frogs, and Rice Cakes: a Book of Korean Proverbs (1999) selected and translated by Danial D. Holt and illustrated by Soma Han Stickler. This collection of Korean proverbs presents each in Korean, English, and transliterated Korean along with a gorgeous illustration to help illuminate the meanings. A note at the end provides a few sentences of description to accompany each proverb, along with connections to common English proverbs. This book could be a great conversation starter for talking to kids about proverbs and their interpretations.

    I'm Trying to Love Spiders (2015) by Bethany Barton. I had high hopes for this book after reading so many positive reviews. And while I liked it and its humor (and will admit to having occasionally flip a page quickly to avoid a detailed illustration!), I was hoping for more in the fact department. The back of the book and the endpapers seemed to have more factual content than the rest of the book. I think this is a book kids will really enjoy, but additional science would have made it an even stronger text. (H/T Elisabeth at The Dirigible Plum.)

    Wall (2014) by Tom Clohosy Cole. The stark cover reveals a lot about the illustration and style of this historical fiction book about the building of the Berlin Wall. Told through the eyes of a young boy caught on one side of the wall with his father on the other, the book brings a child's perspective and imaginings to this huge life change. This is another book that could have used a more extensive back matter, rather than just a quick note on the jacket flap. (A review copy of the book was provided by the Candlewick Best in Class mailing. All thoughts are my own.)

    Full House: an invitation to fractions (2007) by Dayle Ann Dodds and illustrated by Abby Carter. I have read some great math-integration picture books (like the classic The Doorbell Rang), but this is not one of them. A bed and breakfast has six rooms, five very odd people show up, the rooms are full, they divide a cake six ways, the end. Also, rhyming books need to be held to higher standards. (A review copy of the book was provided by the Candlewick Best in Class mailing. All thoughts are my own.)

    Middle Grade

    Heartbeat (2004) by Sharon Creech. I thought I had ordered this book when I was on my memoir kick earlier this summer, but this lovely little novel-in-verse does not appear to be a true memoir. Instead, it is the story of a 12-year old girl named Annie who loves to run but does not understand the appeal of a track team and who is working through her feelings about her grandfather's growing dementia and her mother's impending pregnancy. Some of the poems about the baby would make great mentor texts for memoirs, however.


    Last Laughs: animal epitaphs (2012) by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen and illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins. This is a dark book. I'm really not sure who the intended audience is, particularly as some of the poetic puns are rather complicated and some of the illustrations are actually sort of disturbing. Maybe save this one for Halloween with middle schoolers.

    Challenges and Summer Plans

    #Bookaday Challenge update: days read a book 68/77, books read 119/90

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

    Dive into Diversity Challenge update: 161 books, 35 dedicated posts

    Happy Reading!


    1. Love seeing what you're reading. My kids really enjoyed "I'm trying to love spiders" it's nice to see someone else reading it.

      Thank you for sharing!


      Reading List

    2. Nice variety of books. I have been seeing I'm Trying to Love Spiders but I'm not convinced that this would be the book for me. Here is my reading week. Happy reading!

    3. I've been wanting to get my hands on all of Barbara Cooney's books--will definitely look for this book written by Jane Yolen. Sounds quite fascinating!

    4. Hi Katie. I just attended the IRSCL Congress (International Research Society for Children's Literature) and Wall was heavily critiqued by one of the speakers who did make mention of the largely unrealistic feel/vibe of the narrative. Same thing with Migrant. I love Barbara Cooney's art - glad to see this new-to-me title here. :)


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