Monday, October 31, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 10/31/16

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

    Picture Books

    Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White (2016) by Melissa Sweet. I need to write an ode about how much I love Melissa Sweet. Her scrapbooky style of artwork is always so inspiring, and she did an amazing job incorporating so many actual photographs and ephemera from the White family. This biography seems like an instant classic for anyone who loves and appreciates the stories of E. B. White. As a teacher, one of my favorite insights was the inclusion of multiple (wildly different) drafts of the opening page of Charlotte's Web. A mini-lesson in the making.

    Middle Grade

    Ms. Bixby's Last Day (2016) by John David Anderson. I knew I had to grab this one off of my TBR stack after hearing Mr. Schu book talk it recently. He was so animated about the students and their predicament, after their favorite teacher received a cancer diagnosis and ends up leaving school unexpectedly early. Despite the sad premise, this is a charming - and often hilarious - story, and one that I think both students and teachers will love and appreciate.

    Al Capone Does My Shirts (2004) by Gennifer Choldenko [Newbery Honor winner]. I was seeking books featuring characters with disabilities, and this popped up in the Amazon recommendations. Set on Alcatraz Island during the 1930s when the prison was operating, the book is narrated by Moose whose family has just moved to the island. This is a humorous and charming story as Moose tries to fit in at school and with the other island kids while also balancing the needs of his "younger" sister, Natalie (who today we would recognize as autistic). Raises some really interesting questions about mental illness and disability in a historical context.

    Counting Thyme (2016) by Melanie Conklin. I was thrilled to lockdown a Skype visit with Melanie Conklin in February as part of World Read Aloud Day. I had already heard great things about Counting Thyme and finally got a chance to sit down with it.

    Thyme is frustrated by living in limbo - her parents have just moved the whole family cross-country so that her younger brother can participate in a clinical trial for his neuroblastoma cancer. Thyme is trying to juggle being new and fitting in with the hope that they will be leaving and moving back in a few short months. This is a cute and enjoyable story, and one that does a good job of laying bare the impact a severe illness can have on a family.

    Happy Reading!


    1. Counting on Thyme is on my list but I haven't found time for it. I enjoyed Al Capone Does My Shirts but wasn't enamoured with Ms. Bixby's Last Day. I think sometimes when there is a lot of hype about a book the expectations become impossible to meet.

    2. I know a lot of kids who have just loved Al Capone Does My Shirts.

    3. I loved Some Writer! too, and also Ms. Bixby's Last Day, a favorite of this year! Thanks, Katie.

    4. Thyme and Bixby are both on our Mock Newbery List. I really love how both of them deal with illness.
      I loved Al Capone when I read it years ago; however, I never read the sequels. I'd love to reread it at some point and read the rest :)

      Happy reading this week!

    5. I enjoyed all three of those middle grade books. Sounds like a great week. I have been eager to read Some Writer. I finally got my hands on it this evening and am super excited to jump into it.

    6. I've had the Al Capone books for the longest time, I have to start reading them soonest.


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