Monday, February 8, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 2/8/16

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

  • Free Webcast with Stephan Pastis - plus a giveaway! Candlewick is sponsoring a free web cast geared at teachers with author Stephan Pastis on Mon. Feb. 22nd. This post has the details about where to sign up - plus a chance to win all four Timmy Failure books!
  • 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.

Middle Grade

The War that Saved My Life (2015) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley [Newbery Honor Book and Schneider Family Book Award Winner]. This week I finished catching up on last year's Newbery winners. I really enjoyed this story! Tenacious young Ada, born with a club foot, hasn't seen the world outside her family's apartment until she and her brother, Jamie, are sent out from London as World War II looms. This is an immediately engaging story, featuring a strong heroine, and one that I think many kids will enjoy.

Roller Girl (2015) by Victoria Jamieson [Newbery Honor Book]. This graphic novel might have sparked more conversations as an "unusual" Newbery choice had picture book Last Stop on Market Street not won the award this year, but it is a great book and a great story in its own right. Roller Girl is the story of twelve-year old Astrid, who discovered roller derby over the summer, as she struggles with growing apart from her best friend, Nicole. I love how the book both a) refused to make easy solutions to the friendship issues and b) even included some meta-asides about perfect endings. This is a book that will appeal to readers across a wide age range, and I expect even many of my third graders will enjoy it.

Brambleheart: a story about finding treasure and the unexpected magic of friendship (2016, tomorrow) by Henry Cole. Brambleheart, a new book that comes out tomorrow, is the story of a young chipmunk named Twig who is a bit of a kind-hearted klutz and is nervous that he will never find his true calling.

While the book has echoes of other animal classics like Redwall or The Mistmantle Chronicles, it falls short in telling a satisfying story. I assume a book two is coming, but at 272 pages, you need to give your reader a little something rather than just what feels like the end of a chapter. I think kids will find this book an ultimately frustrating read. (I received an ARC from HarperCollins after responding to an entry in Publishers' Weekly Children's Bookshelf. All thoughts are my own.)

Happy Reading!


  1. The War That Saved My Life was such a powerful story with an unbelievable heroine. We love how she continues to persevere despite all of the turmoil around her.

  2. The War that Saved My Life was a favourite of 2015 for me and I just read Roller Girl as well. Love the wide range of ages it might appeal to. Going to check your student If you liked ____ then post

  3. Roller Girl was one of my absolute favourite graphic novels from last year - I am so happy it's getting the recognition it deserves. Much of what I read about The War that Saved My Life reminds me of All the Light We Cannot See.

  4. I also love The War that Saved my Life. Now that you have read Roller Girls, if you haven't been to a roller derby, I recommend you do. It is so much fun!

  5. I am looking forward to The War the Saved My Life. Roller Girl was a favorite from last year. It's currently making the rounds in my Children's Lit class. I'd like to reread too--but doubt I get the book back until the end of the semester!


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