Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 10/24/16

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 Week's Posts

    Middle Grade

    Ghost (2016) by Jason Reynolds [National Book Award finalist]. Ghost is the first in a new middle grade series from talented author Jason Reynolds (who I just found out will be the speaker at next year's Zolotow Lecture here in town, yay!). The main character, who has nicknamed himself Ghost, finds himself perplexed by a track practice in progress and ends up showing off and earning a spot on the team. Ghost is struggling to find out who he is and where he fits, especially as he hides his traumatic secret from others. This is a powerful story (and quick read), and I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Firegirl (2006) by Tony Abbott [a Golden Kite Award winner]. This story about acceptance is about a girl who is terribly disfigured in a fire and is narrated by a boy in the classroom she moves to when she has to change towns to be closer to her doctors. The focus is on the meaning and responsibility of being a bystander, but I think it might have been a more interesting and more powerful book if the girl herself had been given more of a voice.

    Freak the Mighty (1993) by Rodman Philbrick. This is a story of friendship that transcends stereotypes and abilities. The narrator, Maxwell, is a lumbering giant of a middle schooler who has been diagnosed with learning disabilities. But he finds his voice and his confidence when Kevin ("Freak"), a boy with a genetic condition that has kept him small and required to wear leg braces, moves in next door. Together they become Freak the Mighty and take on challenges both real and imagined. (I read the 20th Anniversary edition which also contains significant back matter including some priceless letters to the author from children.)

    Young Adult

    The Monster Calls (2011) by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay, and inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd [winner of the Carnegie Medal for literature and the Kate Greenway Medal for illustration]. This book wrecked me. The writing is so powerful and deeply sad, yet there are also these just incredibly humorous lines too. This book is a potent combination of ghost story, mystery novel, and tear jerker. I'm curious as to how well the book resonates with YA readers who have yet to experience significant loss in their own lives, but for those who have, it will be a lifeline. Be sure to get a version with Jim Kay's amazing illustrations - and read it before the movie comes out in January. (A review copy of the book was provided by Candlewick. All thoughts are my own.)

    Happy Reading!


    1. Ghost and A Monster Calls are both on my list. We just got an anniversary edition of Monster in at the library. I'm excited for both of them.

    2. We are at the Literacy For All Conference and JoEllen McCarthy was raving about Ghost. We ordered the audio and can't wait to hear this story.

    3. Firegirl is quite a powerful story, I can see it starting some great classroom conversations and discussions.

    4. I know what you mean by A Monster Calls - that one is a mighty powerful read. The illustrations are exquisite too.


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