Sunday, August 23, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey as a way to share what you have read and/or reviewed in the past week. It's also a terrific way to find out what other people are reading.

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers have given this meme a children's literature focus: picture books, middle grade novels, etc. They encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting the other bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

I've read many books this week. Since school starts in my district, I read as much as I could while I still had the time to do it.

The School Story by Andrew Clements
Natalie is a 12-year-old who has just written her first novel. Her best friend, Zoe, tells her the book is terrific and that she ought to get it published. It just so happens that Natalie's mother is an editor for Shipley Junior Books (a big children's publisher). Natalie doesn't want to ask her mom to read it, because she wants her mom to read it objectively. Zoe has a big idea: Natalie could submit her manuscript under a pen name, and Zoe could be her agent. It's so much fun to read this book to see if this plan is going to work.

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park, Denise Brunkus (illustrator) Junie B. Jones is starting kindergarten and she's going to have to ride the school bus. She's pretty sure she's not going to like it.

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea  This was a cute picture book about friendship. Ballet Cat always wants to play ballet, but sometimes Pony wants to do other stuff? How can he tell her and still be friends with her?

I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson's Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann This is a heartwarming picture book about a little girl who has a difficult time doing all the things that earn the other children stars on the blackboard. This would be a terrific book to share during the first days of school.

If I Never Forever Endeavor by Holly Meade This is a beautiful picture book that reminds us that if we never try to fly, we won't know if we can or can't. This book has a message that applies to everyone and it's definitely one that I want to share in my classroom!

El Deafo by Cece Bell I really enjoyed this book. I think that the author did a wonderful job of helping the reader understand what it feels like to be deaf and to feel lonely and isolated because of feeling different. I love that the author uses humor and a graphic novel format to really reach out and help young readers understand and relate. This is an important book and I'm really glad to have it as part of my classroom library.


The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen I really enjoyed reading this book. The narrator of the story, Eldon, tells of his family and his life on a Minnesota farm through each of the four seasons. When he gets to winter, he shares the stories that Uncle David tells by the fire. One of those stories has a profound effect on the whole family.

The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst This book is a terrific middle-grade fantasy novel about Sophie, a twelve-year-old girl, whose parents own a bookshop that sells much more than books. In the basement of the store is a secret dream shop, where dreams are bought and sold. When the store is robbed and her parents and two of her friends disappear, Sophie and her pet monster race against time to solve the mystery and rescue them.

Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs by Ron Koertge This book is a terrific novel in verse form. Eighth grader, Kevin Boland has a lot going on: he's got a girlfriend named Mira who is pretty and popular; he's the first baseman on his playoff-bound baseball team, and he writes poetry. Things get complicated when he becomes "poetry friends" with Amy, a fellow poet he met at a bookstore reading. He tells his story in his diary, using poetry to express hist thoughts and feeling.

Fluff and Billy by Nicola Killen This was a cute book about friendship and forgiveness. Fluff and Billy do everything together and have such a good time. But as frequently happens, playing leads to a problem and then the two are angry at each other. Will they stay mad for good? Beautiful watercolor illustrations are very heartwarming and support the story well.

My Best Friend by Mary Ann Rodman, E.B. Lewis (illustrator) This is a beautifully illustrated story about six-year-old Lily who is trying so hard to be friends with seven-year-old Tamika. She tries getting a new bathing suit, sharing snacks and toys with her, and learning how to dive. But nothing impresses Tamika. The awesome watercolor pictures really support the story of trying to make friends and how difficult that can be if you're not the same age.

Spy Guy: The Not-So-Secret Agent by Jessica Young, Charles Santoso (illustrator) This is such a fun book about a little boy who wants to learn how to spy on people without anyone hearing him, seeing him, or knowing he's around. He keeps going back to the Chief of Spies (his dad) for advice. Finally, his dad says that when the little boy can sneak up on him and surprise him, then he'll be a spy. This book has a great message about perseverance and hard work leading to the accomplishment of a goal.

Stevie by John Steptoe This is a great book about friendship. At the beginning of the story, Robert finds out that Stevie is going to be staying with his family for a while. He's a little kid and his mother has to work during the week, so Robert's parents are watching him. Robert is very annoyed with Stevie all the time. Watch how things begin to change. I'm looking forward to sharing this book with my students, because those with younger children around (siblings, relatives, friends) will be able to relate to this story.


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