Monday, April 4, 2016

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 haven't written a post for a few weeks, because I've been on Spring Break!!!!!
What an awesome vacation we had!

We flew to Los Angeles, California and spent the afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather at Manhattan Beach.

The next day, we boarded the Crown Princess.

We sailed to San Francisco, California. We visited Alcatraz, Sausalito, and Fisherman's Wharf.

We sailed to Santa Barbara, where we enjoyed the breathtaking scenery and wine country.
Next, we sailed to San Diego and visited the wonderful San Diego Zoo.

After a quick stop in Ensenada, Mexico, we returned to Los Angeles, and then flew home yesterday. I've had a day to do my laundry. And it's back to work tomorrow!

While we had a busy time, I did have some time on the airplane to read a book on my Kindle.  I loaded it up with a million books, but only read one. I spent the rest of the time relaxing, staring at the ocean, and visiting beautiful California (for the first time).

I also read a few picture books the week before I left. I hope everyone else has had a relaxing Spring Break and feels recharged enough to head into the final stretch of this school year!

Here's what I read:

Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2) by Katie McGarry   I was expecting more from this book after some of the reviews I read of it. It was just OK for me. It's definitely meant for older readers than the students I teach, but even for high school students, I didn't feel that it had a coherent message for readers to take away. The story is told from the points of view of Breanna, a smart senior that feels like she's invisible at school and in her large family, and Razor, a senior and a tough member of a motorcycle gang. By happenstance, these two meet in the parking lot of the high school. And while they are complete opposites, they are attracted to each other. Against all odds, they strike up a romance while she tries to help him decode a secret that might tell Razor who's really responsible for his mother's death. I'm not sure I understand the attraction to the lifestyle of this motorcycle club that has very misogynistic views and little regard for the safety of their younger members as they drink, fight and ride motorcycles.

I Love You Already! by Jory John, Benji Davies (Illustrations)    This is a fun picture book about friendship. Bear just wants to spend a weekend morning relaxing by himself. Duck, who lives next door, wants to spend the day hanging around with Bear. Duck insists on taking a walk with Bear and won't take "no" for an answer. Bear reluctantly goes. The illustrations are awesome! My favorite is of Bear, sitting in his recliner, wearing his robe, with his tea, books and radio nearby - all set for a lazy morning. I was so excited that I won this copy of the book from GoodReads! I can't wait to take it to school and share it with my students. It'll be a terrific addition to my classroom library.

The Bat Boy and His Violin by Gavin Curtis, E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)    This is a terrific historical fiction picture book. Set in 1948, it tells the story of the son of the manager for the Dukes, a Negro National League baseball team. Reginald would much rather spend his time playing his violin. He's rehearsing for an upcoming recital, but his father needs a bat boy. Reginald begins traveling with the team, but he's much better at playing music on the bench than getting bats ready for the players. But as he begins to play, the ball players start winning! Can Reginald's music take the team all the way to a championship? The watercolor illustrations are beautiful and really do a wonderful job conveying the story. I'm really glad that I found this book in our school's book room and am looking forward to sharing it with my students.

A Band of Angels: A Story Inspired by the Jubilee Singers by Deborah Hopkinson, Raúl Colón (Illustrator)    This was an interesting historical fiction picture book. It was based on the life of Ella Sheppard Moore who was born into slavery in 1851. After the Civil War put an end to slavery, she wanted to attend the Fisk School for former slaves. She worked hard to earn money to attend the school. Once she was there, the school was in danger of having to close its doors due to the many repairs the buildings needed. In attempt to save the school, Ella and a group of singers from the school travelled around the country performing concerts to raise money. This is a very inspirational story about hard work and perseverance. The illustrations are beautiful and really communicate the beauty and the emotions of the text. I found this book in my school's book room and I'm looking forward to sharing it with my students.



  1. I haven't posted in a few weeks either, but I don't have the wonderful excuse that you do. Looks like a great trip! The Bat Boy and His Violin sounds very interesting. It's not a book I am familiar with. I loved Goodnight Already, so I'm sure I Love You Already is as terrific as you've made it sound. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi there Jana, I really love the look of A Band of Angels and The Bat boy - I do hope we have these titles in our library. Will be pinning them so I won't forget.
    Your post reminded me of our time in California - we have family there and we've been to all the places you've mentioned. I especially enjoyed Sausalito - but love the laid back vibe of San Diego. :)

  3. Oh those photos! So jealous of palm trees and beaches! Instead we have 30 degree weather and gray skies :(

  4. Looks like a great trip! I have Walk the Edge. My older students enjoy her books. Like you, I don't get the appeal of motorcycle clubs if you are female. Here is what I read last week. Happy reading!

  5. Ugh, so much sun and warmth! California just sounds so nice right about now....! Bears seem to be having such a moment in picture books right now. :)

  6. Staring at the ocean sounds like a lovely thing to me, Jana. Thanks for sharing what you've managed. I loved A Bat Boy & HIs Violin, and will look for A Band of Angels! Have a good week back!