Monday, October 26, 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.
Here's what I've been reading lately:
Julie of the Wolves (Julie of the Wolves #1) by Jean Craighead George, John Schoenherr (Illustrations) Here's another Newbery Award Winning book that I had never read, until now. It was quite a book! I was surprised by how quickly I got hooked into this book. I really started caring about Miyax and Amaroq (the wolf) right away. I was completely inspired by this courageous young woman as she worked so hard to learn how to be accepted into a wolf pack to that she could find food and survive in the Arctic tundra. It also made me curious to learn more about wolves. I love it when books make me want to find out more. There are a few intense scenes in the book that might not be right for less mature readers, especially when Miyax's young husband Daniel wants to consummate their marriage. But overall, it's an awesome book to have in your classroom library. I borrowed my copy from my school's book room, but I definitely want to have some of my more mature readers read it!

Keegan's Point (The Good Bad Guys #1) by H.D. Smith (Goodreads Author)

I had the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley. This book is an engaging suspense novel about a middle school student, Charlie Parker, who has spent a great deal of time studying and writing a research report on Keegan’s Point. Keegan's Point is the Florida island estate built by an eccentric billionaire, Marcus Keegan. Keegan died the same year Charlie was born. His body and twenty passports were the only things removed from the island—leaving a mystery and the unanswered question, who was Marcus Keegan?

Charlie gets kidnapped by a gang of robbers who plan on going to the mansion and searching the premises to find an extremely valuable diamond. While Charlie realizes that he's in a great deal of danger, he's also fascinated by this opportunity to see the estate in person and solve the mysteries of the lost treasure.

There's plenty of suspense and dangerous action for fans of these types of novels. However, I was a little troubled by the kidnapping of Charlie at the beginning of the book. For all of the expertise and experience these criminals have in executing this job, it seems kind of hard to believe they would be hanging around the diner owned by Charlie's mom and talking loudly enough in the parking lot to be overheard by Charlie, necessitating the kidnapping of the boy. It seemed like kind of an awkward way to have this kid involved in the story.

The main kidnapper, Nick and his client, Zoe, use different names and accents when talking to each other and others. This also seemed to make the story unnecessarily confusing.

But aside from these difficulties, I did enjoy the story. I cared enough about these characters and the mystery, that I was eager to keep reading to find out what happens. I believe there are many middle school aged kids who would enjoy reading this book. I'm pretty sure there are 5th graders in my class that would pick it up and read it eagerly.

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder (Goodreads Author), Julie Morstad (illustrator) This book is absolutely lovely! I was enchanted by every bit of it. The story of Anna Pavlova is very inspiring for anyone who has ever longed to play a role in something beautiful. I could almost hear music playing as I read through the text. The language is so moving. I'm really looking forward to sharing with my students the author's use of metaphor to describe Anna's movements: "Anna is a bird in flight, a whim of wind and water. Quiet feathers in a big loud world. Anna is the swan." The illustrations are stunning and do an awesome job of bringing us into Anna's world in czarist Russia. I'm very excited to have this book in my classroom library!

Toys Meet Snow: Being the Wintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-loving Rubber Ball by Emily Jenkins, Paul O Zelinsky The illustrations in this book about three toys' first adventure in the snow are absolutely stunning. Loved it!


Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton   At first this book seemed kind of strange to me: a chicken that was born with arms, instead of wings. But as I continued to read - I realized, that's the point! The chicken was strange, and felt strange, as many youngsters (and folks of all ages) do. But as time goes on, the chicken realizes the positive aspects of her strange features. Soon she can do all sorts of things that the other chickens can't. I think it has a great message to kids about embracing that which makes you unique. The illustrations are really cute. My favorite is the chicken sniffing under her arms and wondering if she needs deodorant!

Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins   This is a really cute book that has a great lesson about manners. The rude cake engages in unpleasant behaviors that I'm sure many children will recognize from encounters they have with bullies and will probably even have to admit that they themselves have been a rude cake more than a few times in their lives. On night something very strange happens that turns it all around for the rude cake. This would be a fun book to share with all ages. Lots of good reminders!

Float by Daniel Miyares   Awesome! The illustrations were stunning - especially the ones that showed the reflections of the young man in the puddles as he happily played with his paper boat. Without words, you feel the heavy blow to the boy as his boat gets pulled into the storm drain. You feel the love of his parent, who comforts the boy with a hot bath, warm clothes and cocoa and then makes a new paper toy.

Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier (Goodreads Author)    This is a cute book for young children. Two mice have a little adventure while the text focuses on things by the numbers. The illustrations are clever.



  1. I had forgotten the beginning of Julie of the Wolves-- I always thought it was a little boring. I still like My Side of the Mountain best!

  2. Lots of great PB on this list!
    I'll have to tell my daughter about the Keegan's Point book, that's her name :)

  3. Swan is one of my most anticipated reads of the year, my library just hasn't gotten it yet! I adored Float, such a sweet story and lovely illustrations.

  4. Julie Morstad is one of my favourite illustrators, I just love her atmospheric illustrations that really seem to stand out in a sea of cartoon-y picture book illustrations. Love love love. Plus she lives in my city! <3

  5. I have never read any of the Julie series, but I've enjoyed everything else by George that I've read. I really like Daniel Miyares' work and I know we have Float around here somewhere. I'll have to dig it up now.

  6. I liked what you wrote about Keegan's Point, have not heard of it so will check it out. The picture books are wonderful, and I'm glad to hear about most of them. I loved Float and still want to read Swan, too. Someday soon I hope!

  7. Is Swan a picturebook biography or is it fiction? It does look gorgeous. I have yet to find Float but I've been reading so many great things about it. :)