Monday, January 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/25/16

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

  • January Kid Lit Blog Hop. There's still time to link up with this month's #KidLitBlogHop - a great resource for all thing kid lit.
Nursing a bit of a cold this weekend, which made for a long reading list but not a lot of energy for reviews! Apologies for the mash up of reviews and just documenting this week's readings.

Also, only two more days until Multicultural Children's Book Day on January 27th! Teachers, you can get a free, high-quality diversity title for your classroom by participating. All details are here.

Picture Books

A Boy and a Jaguar (2014) by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Catia Chien. I enjoyed this autobiographical tale about how a young boy with a shutter became a famous and influential jaguar-researcher, but it seemed odd to omit an Author's Note. (I had to resort to Google to even confirm that this was a true story and, in fact, autobiographical. Missed opportunity.)

Baby Bear (2014) by Kadir Nelson. I was intrigued after seeing many of the illustrations for this book during Kadir Nelson's breakfast talk at NCTE, but in the end, this oddly incoherent tale really doesn't amount to much.

"Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate (2001) by Bob Graham. There are many things to love about this story and how it takes the conventions of a new puppy tale and twists them. I also appreciate the inclusion of diverse characters often not highlighted in current diversity pushes (a mom with a tattoo, etc.). (A review copy of the book was provided by the Candlewick Best in Class mailing. All thoughts are my own.)

A Bus Called Heaven (2011) by Bob Graham. (A review copy of the book was provided by the Candlewick Best in Class mailing. All thoughts are my own.)

How the Sun Got to Coco’s House (2015) written and illustrated by Bob Graham [a Zolotow Highly Commended Book]. (A review copy of the book was provided by the Candlewick Best in Class mailing. All thoughts are my own.)

Young Fiction

Ballet Cat: the Totally Secret Secret (2015) written and illustrated by Bob Shea. This easy reader book provides a great lesson in friendship and one that many kids have likely faced. How do you go about making a suggestion to a friend who always wants to play the same old thing? Fans of Elephant and Piggy will enjoy this be dynamic duo of Ballet Cat and Sparkle Pony.

Written and Drawn by Henrietta (2015) by Liniers. This comic-style short graphic novel tells two stories at the same time: the outer frame is about Henrietta who is writing and drawing the inner story. This appealing and adventurous story about writing will make young readers eager to pick up their own pencils and get writing! (H/T Honor winner of the ALA's Mildred L. Batchelder Award.)

Middle Grade

Secret Coders (2015) by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes. This new graphic novel series features new student Hopper and her unlikely friendship with the popular Eni. Events conspire to drawn them into the mysterious power of binary numbers and basic computer programming. Book two, Paths and Portals drops in August 2016. [This book made me quite fondly nostalgic for that dear little turtle in the original Logo program that we learned back in the '80s.]

Wonder (2012) by R.J. Palacio. I will admit to being behind the game on this one, so I was delighted to pick up a copy last week at our local used book sale. This charming story of understanding differences and learning to accept people for who they are will make everyone think again what it truly means to "Choose Kind."

Happy Reading!


  1. I still haven't read Wonder. I do hope to get to it someday. Here's what last week was like for me. Happy reading!

  2. Still annoyed by the Oreo commercials that look SO MUCH like the Wonder cover. Glad you finally got around to it!

  3. Bob Graham is such an amazing author. We love his "mostly" wordless book, How to Heal a Broken Wing. Can't wait to read these new titles

  4. I enjoyed How The Moon Got To Coco's House, will look for A Bus Called Heaven, too, Katie. Hope you're feeling better.

  5. I've been sharing Ballet Cat with my little readers who've burned through the Elephant and Piggy books, it's been a big hit.

  6. So many amazing books here. I read Wonder, and I get why it is so popular, but didn't find it that amazing. I love Ballet Cat! The Secret Coders is now in my shopping cart.

  7. My daughter enjoyed Wonder - but I, for one, have been trying to steer clear of it. Sometimes I do not like being emotionally entangled / deliberately hijacked into being very sad because of a story - I do sense though that at one point I shall cave in and read it. Had to laugh at your description of Baby Bear. :) I loved A Boy and a Jaguar - but you're right, the absence of an author's note is indeed a missed opportunity.

  8. Ballet Cat and Sparkle Pony are hilarious. That book is SO not in my kids' reading range, but we all love it anyway! I'm another who loved Wonder-- and I really don't feel like it made me overly sad. I thought it was a marvelous story, and not TOO over-the-top. I listened to the audiobook recently, and that was a great way to experience it.
    Thanks for the info on Secret Coders! My students love graphic novels, and now that Gene Luen Yang has been named the 2016 ambassador for children's books (or whatever his official title is), I want to get some of his titles into the classroom.


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