Monday, December 21, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/21/15

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 Weeks' Posts

Picture Books

I am Jazz (2015) This book about a transgender girl caused a bit of a stir recently when a nearby elementary school's plan to share the book with students led to an angry reaction and retraction of the read aloud. The worst part of it is that the school wanted to share the book to help students understand and support a transgender classmate.

The story itself is a fairly straightforward account of the author's own experience growing up and her transition to being a girl. One critique of the book is that it does cleave very rigidly to standard gender norms, which reinforces ideas that only boys play with trucks or only girls play with dolls. (This may also more a function of the fact that the author herself is only a teenager.)

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (2015) This is a cute, descriptive picture book to use as a mentor text when talking to kids about the role of the narrator in the story. You could also have kids create their own versions of stories from an alternate point of view.

I Don't Want to be a Frog (2015) This humorous picture book will resonate with any kid who has ever wanted to do something different. The young frog narrator wants to be anything other than a frog, but his father patiently reasons with him through each of his crazy ideas.

Land Shark (2015) A young boy drops a series of, in his mind, obvious clues about wanting a shark for his birthday. When his parents surprise him with a puppy, he is less than thrilled. This is an amusing story about wants and in finding the value in what you have.

Sharing the Bread: an old-fashioned Thanksgiving story (2015) I have enjoyed several other of Pat Zietlow Miller's books, but this one didn't work for me. The rhyme seemed clunky, and I'm not sure why a reader would be interested in the story.

It's Tough to Lose Your Balloon (2015) This picture book takes a look at some of life's minor tragedies to help kids think about them in a more positive way. It's cute without being too preachy.

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats (2015) his is a charming little picture book about what it means to be brave. It also has a great message about giving someone time to figure out how to build things like courage and strong friendships.

Happy reading!


  1. Great choices this week, but I agree Sharing the Bread just didn't work for me, either. What an annoying rhyme.

  2. Thanks for being honest about SHARING THE BREAD. I haven't read this one, but I am consistently surprised when a picture book rhyme scheme is off. I'd think that would be easily fixable. Either way, I may check this one out. I am a stickler when it comes to Thanksgiving representation (I am Native American). I'd be interested to see how it is portrayed. Happy holidays!

  3. What fun picture books on your list! I loved The Bear Ate Your Sandwich and I Don't Want to be a Frog, but the others I haven't read yet. Thanks for sharing them!

  4. I'd been meaning to pick up Jazz because of the controversy. I appreciate your review of Sharing the Bread.

  5. Ugh. Imagine how that young transgendered individual and their family must have felt during all of that Jazz controversy. Such a shame. Hopefully we'll continue to get picture books about gender diversity that we can use to start informed and respectful discussions.

  6. We haven't read I am Jazz yet either but will certainly pick it up now. What an awful thing to happen. Hopefully, there we will more books published about gender diversity.

  7. That is sad about I am Jazz. I've been wondering about why the books with transgender girls have characters who want to be girly girls. Is this because this kind of stuff seems to be taboo for boys? I don't know, but I do know that girls are much more complicated than this.

  8. The frog and bear books look fun -- I'll try to find them on our local shelves.


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