Monday, August 22, 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.

And now Summer Vacation is officially over! I have Monday and Tuesday of this week to get ready, and Wednesday kicks off another awesome year! This is an exciting week for sure! I have lots to do to prepare, but I feel good about my classroom library. There were so many new books to fit into the book baskets I already had (what a great problem to have!).  

Anyway, I've been so busy trying to get organized for the new school year, I haven't had as much time for reading as I've grown accustomed to this summer. But here's what I've been reading this past week:

Middle Grade Fiction

This is a beautiful companion to Grace Lin's Newbery Honor Book, Where The Mountain Meets The Moon. Like it, we have a young main character who is far away from home on a journey of self-discovery, who learns lessons through the stories that are told along the way. In this novel, Rendi has run away from home and winds up working and living at the inn in a remote village. The moon is missing, which seems to coincide with much of the unhappiness in this place. Rendi learns much about himself and the world through the stories told by a mysterious lady, who is a guest at the inn. There are some awesome messages about family, friendship, and forgiveness.

Picture Books

This is a sweet picture book with black and white painted illustrations that tell us the story of a stray dog, a little girl who shares food with him, and the girl's father, who is a struggling vaudeville performer. The story is separated into four acts, and each of the acts follows a pattern that young readers will quickly recognize. But while each act follows a similar pattern, there are subtle differences as the story progresses. I think this could work as a great mentor text for organizing a narrative with a pattern of events.

This fun picture book with cute rhyming text and humorous illustrations has the theme: you can have too much of a good thing. Martha decides to get a pet moose. She has so much fun, she orders more and more. Young kids will surely giggle when they see what can happen when you overdo it!

This was a cute wordless picture book that shows what happens when a boy and his dog go fishing and get way more than they expect. The illustrations were rendered in a limited palette of red, blue, and black. As the pair work and struggle to "fish" out letters, we get quite a surprise when we find out why they need them. 

This is a beautiful picture book that has a great message about friendship and togetherness for young readers. Every Saturday Goldie simmers her cholent on the stove. All of her friends in the apartment building can smell it all day long. When it's time for the Shabbat dinner, everyone shows up at her door to enjoy the delicious stew. One Saturday, Goldie isn't feeling well and it's their turn to give back. The author has provided the recipe in case the warm narrative and the beautifully painted illustrations make you hungry to try some!  

The tenth anniversary edition of this book is just as fresh and relevant as it was in 2005. At the Central Park Zoo bucks in New York City, two male penguins fall in love and build a nest together. The zookeeper provides them with an abandoned egg and the two take care of it and take turns sitting on it until it hatches. They take great care of Tango, and they become a much beloved attraction at the zoo. Based on a true story, this book has gotten quite a bit of attention in the past decade, both positive and negative. I think this book could generate a lot of good conversations about what makes a family. Warm, engaging text in a narrative style, and beautiful watercolor illustrations will draw young readers in and make this a wonderful book to have on the shelf. 

With spare, simple text and bold, colorful illustrations, this Caldecott Honor picture book says so much to young readers. What a great opportunity to talk about making inferences and making friends. This would be a wonderful book to share with kids!  


  1. I love your book organization! Yo! Yes! was a favorite when I taught first grade. It was a good one for showing students read with expression. They loved reading it aloud.

  2. Your room looks so organized! I won't get into my library again until next week. I spend the first couple of days mainly on the computer getting my students into their new classes for our circulation system and for AR. Here is what I did and read last week. Happy reading!

  3. You have so many books & the room is beginning to be ready, Jana! I love Grace Lin's books, such beautiful stories! Will look for Too Many Moose! What is it about moose that makes so many write about them-fun to see. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

  4. As I looked at your beautiful organization and shelves full of books, I couldn't help but think about how much teachers subsidize the education system. (Now that I am retired I hope to work to change that for all of you) I'm looking forward to this Grace Lin title and Lucy! I wonder if the tenth anniversary of And Tango Makes Three talks about what happened with the two penguins in the time after the first book was published.

  5. I love watching classroom libraries come together! I don't remember ever being in a classroom with a library like this - we perhaps had a bookshelf in a corner of the classroom with a few tattered second-hand chapter books, if that. So, the idea of an extensive classroom library is something that's quite new to me. Do you sometimes work collaboratively with other teachers in your school, to share resources, or get support from your PAC?

  6. I am always looking for new wordless picture books so I'll definitely have to check out Fish because I hadn't heard of that one before.

  7. I love that your classroom is so much classroom library! And love those rolling shelves! I am busy in my library so I really enjoying peeking at your set up!