Monday, August 29, 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.

What an awesome week it's been. Exhausting, but awesome! We started the week with a long day of meetings to plan our year. And then we were all rewarded with ice cream! It was wonderful to meet so many of our parents, students, and even former students at our annual ice cream social!

School started on Wednesday. And once we all got our First Day jitters calmed down, we realized that we are all part of a terrific learning community, and we are going to have a wonderful year.

During the week, we also received a wonderful gift from Nora Raleigh Baskin and Atheneum Books for Young Readers from Simon & Schuster:

I can't think of a more terrific way to start the year! The students are really excited that we're going to get to read Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin! Thanks again!

Because it was such a busy week, I didn't finish the Young Adult Fiction Book that I've been reading. I did get some picture books in, and I found some terrific ones I'd like to share with my class. Here's what I've been reading:

This hilarious book would be a fun way to discuss inferencing and making predictions. The little class of mice are in school learning an important lesson about recognizing danger. The lesson becomes all-too-real when a frightening intruder invades the classroom. The simple text, humorous illustrations, and surprise twist at the end will make this book a big hit with young readers!

This is a sweet picture book that gently explores the topic of aging and the onset of dementia. This is not an easy topic for young children to understand, and sharing this story might be a good way to help. Noah spends time visiting his grandparents every summer, and he has an especially close relationship with his grandfather. Many of their fun times are spent singing favorite songs enthusiastically. But one summer, Noah realizes that Grandpa is becoming forgetful and confused. It's upsetting and scary for Noah, but his Grandmother helps him understand what's happening and he finds ways to help his Grandfather through the very songs that they've always enjoyed together.

This is a cute, rhyming picture book that shows all of my the youngsters of a class getting ready for the first day of school. Young readers will definitely giggle as they recognize themselves in many of these little ones getting it together to come to school. 

This is an interesting picture book that is a fictional story based upon the real-life friendship between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. It is Alice's birthday, and Gertrude wants to put together a special dinner and write a poem for her friend. Unfortunately, Gertrude's inexperience in the kitchen winds up leading to disastrous results. I know that there are few, if any, of my students who are familiar with these literary personalities from the early twentieth century, but many kids would be able to appreciate the friendship angle. This book, with its warm narrative style and charming illustrations, could certainly spark interest into further research on these two women. 

This would be a fun picture book to share with middle grade students, as they are definitely forming opinions about who or what is "normal." The narrator of this humorous "exhibition" of a normal orangutan becomes increasingly frustrated as Norman won't cooperate and behave according to her criteria for normalcy. This could generate a great discussion about what "normal" really means. 

This beautifully written and illustrated picture book would be an interesting way to talk about theme as young readers try to consider the message that the author shares. This book invites readers to live life fully by experiencing the world around us and discovering simple joys. This is a lovely book to have on any library's shelves.

This is a cute picture book to share with young children. The book includes a web address to a site with a musical version of this book. Little ones will have a great time singing and moving along. And if they're not ready, that's all right, too!   

This heartwarming story about an orphaned boy who had to leave his home in Africa to live with an aunt and uncle would be terrific to share with students as a way of taking a glimpse into what it's like to be displaced and feel like you're planted where you don't belong. After Maiko's parents died, he left his African village and the enormous baobab tree that was the heart of his community. Sitting on the front steps of his new home, Maiko grows especially fond of a small spruce tree and shares many of his secrets and heartaches with it. 

This story with a lesson looks like a great book to share with my students during the first week of school. The young boy in this story learns a powerful lesson about not spreading rumors about other people, especially without knowing the truth. He also learns that it is nearly impossible to undo the damage caused when unkind words and gossip are spread around. Tommy is under the impression that Mr. Peabody is stealing apples and tells everyone he knows about this. Billy goes and finds out the truth of the matter, and now Tommy needs to figure out how to fix this. 

This is a fun picture book about a girl's daydream about her dog, Pete. In her imagination, Pete follows her to school and wreaks havoc, including eating an entire set of encyclopedias. The kid-like illustrations, along with a middle-graders voice, would make this a popular book in my classroom library. 

This is a cute picture book about a little boy who goes off to a French boarding school and has to leave his dog, Bonaparte, behind. The dog misses the boy, and so tries everything he can think of to gain admittance into this NO DOGS ALLOWED institution. Kids that love their pets will be able to relate to the boy's special bond with this dog.

This is a cute picture book that tells the story of a little boy and his friend (whom no one else could see) learning to be brave enough to make new friends. Young readers who have ever been shy to reach out and make new friends will recognize themselves in this story, for sure.



  1. I'm glad you had a great start to the year, Jana. Thanks for the picture books, some new to me, have noted them for my library list! I do love The Knowing Book! Have a great week!

  2. Icecream and new books! That's a great start to the year already. I've read some of the books here on your list. I also love Mr Peabody's Apples. I got all weepy reading about What a Beautiful Morning, since my mom died last spring, but that's the book I want to read most anyway!

  3. Great book choices. I'll have to find The Knowing Book.

  4. I really loved Music Class Today, especially the way that the instructor allows a shy student to participate in their own way, at their own pace. That's such a great reminder for us grown-ups to respect and recognize our kids' different personalities and comfort levels, so everyone feels welcomed and supported. :)

  5. I really loved Normal Norman and The Knowing Book. I would love to see Matthew Cordell be honored by the Caldecott committee. I have The Class from the library. Hope to get to it this weekend!

  6. I hadn't heard of Happy Birthday, Alice Babette. Can't wait to read it. Monica Kulling has some other interesting books, like Grant and Tillie Go Walking.