Monday, September 7, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/7/15

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

  • #3rdfor3rd: The BFG. Third grader Lily says, "If you like giants, orphans, adventure, and caveman speech, you will love this book."
  • My Favorite Uses of Smart Notebook. Part 2 in my Smart Board series provides an overview of many different applications of the Smart Notebook program to classroom learning.

    Picture Books

    Shi-shi-etko (2005) by Nicola I. Campbell and illustrated by Kim LaFave. This story of the Native American residential schools focuses on the days before a young girl leaves for such a school for the first time. The author's note at the beginning sets the context for the story and explains some of the history of these schools. Because the story focuses only on her home life and preparing to leave, it is a less bleak book than others on this topic. Her story continues in Shin-chi's Canoe. This might be a good book to pair with When I Was Eight and Not My Girl which continue the story to school and home again.

    Mr. Peabody's Apples (2003) by Madonna. I understand the point this story was aiming for (you cannot easily undo a rumor, once spoken), but the book itself took too long in the telling. The illustrations remind me of the exaggerated style of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which also made it harder for me to take this story seriously.

    Loula and Mister the Monster (2015) by Anne Villeneuve. This third and newest picture book in the Loula series features the young girl and her trouble trying to get new dog Mister under control. Loula and her chauffeur Gilbert try valiantly to teach Mister the lessons of manners and civility, but he has different ideas.

    The book is cute, and the dog's responses amusing, but I felt like there just was not a lot to this story (even with the "twist" at the end). Plus in this era of seeking diverse and inclusive books, I have a hard time understanding the choice to make a main character so wealthy her family has a personal chauffeur. (Digital ARC provided via Net Galley in return for an honest review.)

    Middle Grade

    The Lion Who Stole my Arm (2013) by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Annabel Wright. This gripping realistic fiction novel will draw in adventure-lovers and reluctant readers alike. Young Pedru loses his arm to a lion attack in the first chapter and must spend the rest of the story deciding how to respond. The action will draw readers in, allowing the environmental message to resonate. A new book in this Heroes in the Wild series, Manatee Rescue, is coming in January. (A review copy of the book was provided by the Candlewick Best in Class mailing. All thoughts are my own.)


    Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (2015) by Tim Federle and read by Tim Federle. At the suggestion of several of you, I listened to the audiobook of Tim Federle's latest contribution to his Nate series, which was a great companion during a few long drives right before the school year kicked into gear.

    Five, Six, Seven, Nate! continues where Better Nate than Ever left off, focusing on the rehearsals and lead up to an actual Broadway production. (Each chapter is subtitled with a count down towards previews.) Nate finds some unexpected allies and friends as his improbable good fortune continues to get him in (and out) of some pretty elaborate situations. Listening to the story rather than reading it myself forced me to slow down and enjoy even more the humorous dialogue and internal voice of this endearing character.

    Challenges and Summer Plans

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

    Dive into Diversity Challenge update: 170 books, 35 dedicated posts

    Happy Reading!


    1. Wow, that Lion Who Stole My Arm sounds fascinating. The kids would go nuts for that. Must find a copy ASAP! I also have a niece who loves manatees (never been to Florida a day in her life so ? but good for her!) so I will need to be on the lookout for that one as well.

      1. Thanks! I think your readers will really enjoy the series.

    2. We love listening to children's books - It really does make you slow down and appreciate the language in the text.

      1. Agreed! I'm actually considering doing an audiobook with my students this year, just to help them see how they work and appreciate other types of reading.

    3. I just finished Lion Who Stole My Arm (it's a Cybils finalist) and I found it gripping. It still wasn't enough to lure my reluctant reader out of his summer reading fast...

      1. I'm impressed by your reluctant reader's stamina for disinterest! :P

    4. The Nate titles must be amazing as audio books. I really enjoyed them!

    5. I have the Nate books waiting for me to get to them - thank you so much for reminding me to finally read these novels. I was especially taken by your Shi-shi-etko title - will be pinning it so that I won't forget.


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