Monday, September 19, 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.


How have we flown so quickly through the last several weeks?!  Now it's already time for interim reports (halfway through the grading period progress reports). So, this weekend has been spent writing reports and getting caught up with all my other work. Unfortunately, that hasn't left much time for reading. I did manage to read some picture books. Those are always good for calming down at the end of a stressful day, when you're too tired for more heavy reading. I swear next week, I'm going to try to get caught up on the middle grade fiction books that are piling up around me!
So here's what I've been reading:

Bella's Fall Coat by Lynn Plourde, Susan Gal (Illustrations)  
This is a sweet picture book that shares the story of a little girl, Bella, who is outgrowing the special fall coat that her grandmother made for her. Grandma gently tries to persuade Bella that it's time for a new coat, but each time she brings it up, Bella dashes outside to play some more. But with winter coming, Grandma gets to work to make a new special coat. More than just a story about a coat, this is a story about a special relationship between a grandmother and a little girl. They are both passionate about the special treats of nature: leaves, apples, geese. And they both know that no matter whether leaves fall, apples get eaten, or birds fly away, the love in this home and in their hearts will last forever. The joyful text and the warm, inviting illustrations will make this a favorite, heartwarming book to share with young readers.  

Everyone Loves Cupcake by Kelly DiPucchio, Eric Wight (Illustrations)  
This is such a fun picture book! But be careful, it has made me so hungry for sweets! This is the story of Cupcake's mission to make everyone adore her. As she works so hard to be perfect, it takes a "smart cookie" to help her learn to just be herself. The vibrant, colorful illustrations of Cupcake and all her friends almost had me drooling on the pages! I've got to get my own copy for my classroom library. 

Max at Night by Ed Vere  
This is a very cute and sweet picture book about a little cat named Max who's very sleepy and ready to go to bed. The problem is that he can't see the moon to say good night to it. He goes outside and climbs higher and higher to find it. The story is adorable and would be perfect to share as a bedtime read.  

Pirasaurs! by Josh Funk, Michael H. Slack (Illustrations)  
This is such a fun, rollicking picture book that is going to be a popular one with young readers. With awesome rhyming text and vibrant, humorous illustrations, Pirasaurs tells the story of a ragtag bunch of pirates/dinosaurs sailing the seas in search of treasure. The story is told from the point of view of a little guy that is new, and having trouble getting the hang of life aboard the ship. But the the book has a terrific message that even little ones can make big contributions and that collaboration is much better than fighting. This would be fun to read a loud (especially with a pirate voice).

Monsters Go Night-Night by Aaron Zenz  
This is a cute story to share with young children at bedtime. The text and the humorous illustrations take readers through all of the little monster's bedtime routines. Lots of giggles with this one, and even a little bit of potty humor! 

Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff, Hadley Hooper (Illustrations)  
I really enjoyed reading this nonfiction picture book that tells the story of Nell Richardson and Alice Burke who toured America in a little yellow car in 1916. They were suffragists going from city to city to rally for "Votes For Women". Young readers can definitely be inspired by the courage and determination these women (and many others like them) showed by driving across the country at a time when not many people did that and fighting for equality. The engaging illustrations, along with the descriptions of the adventures these women had, makes me wish I could've been there n the car with them. It would be fun to share this trip with students.  

Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service by Annette Bay Pimentel, Rich Lo (Illustrations)  
This nonfiction picture book, so appropriate for the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service, is a fascinating biography of Tie Sing. Sing was a Chinese American cook on a very important camping trip. Hired by Stephen Mather in 1915 to feed thirty men for ten days in the mountains, Sing was instrumental in helping to convince them of the importance of protecting this natural treasure. While Sing cooked gourmet food that kept everyone happy, this trip was not without its disasters. It is very inspiring to see how Sing dealt with adversity, and it seems like this book is a terrific example of a growth mindset. The beautiful watercolor illustrations, along with the approachable text, make the trip come to life; to the point I can taste the sourdough rolls, smell the campfire, and hear the wind through the trees. It would be awesome to have a copy of this in my classroom library! 

Ninja! Attack of the Clan by Arree Chung 
This is a really cute picture book about a little boy/ninja who can't get anyone else in the family to play with him. Everyone is too busy. He becomes resigned to the idea that sometimes ninjas need to learn how to find their own inner peace and entertain themselves. But his family has a big surprise for him at dinner time! Humorous, comic-book style illustrations will make this a popular book with young readers. 

Parachute by Danny Parker, Matt Ottley (Illustrator)  
This is a beautiful picture book with a great message about overcoming one's fears. Toby takes his parachute everywhere, because it makes him feel safe. One day, his cat, Henry, is stuck high up in his treehouse tree. Forgetting his fear, Toby climbs up and uses the parachute to get his pet down to the ground safely. But then, he has to overcome his fears to get back down himself. The sweet illustrations add to this wonderful book.   


  1. Pirasaurs is really fun! I put Everyone Loves Cupcake on my list, but I'll be sure to read it when I have a full belly!

  2. I know of most of these, Jana, but have read few. There are so many great books out. I am really looking forward to Josh Funk's Pirasaurs and Around America. . . Thanks, can't believe you had time for the reviews with all those reports, too! Have a good rest of the week!

  3. I enjoyed Max and love both the cover and the story line for Bella's fall coat. I'm going to have to find a copy.

  4. I know what you mean about having a hard time finding time to read! I couldn't believe interims were already due! I haven't read any of these picture books! I've added them to my list to read!!

  5. Oh man, pirates and dinosaurs, what a perfect combination! I remember when that series of sports dinosaurs came out years ago - still immensely popular. You just can't go wrong with dinosaurs!! :)

  6. I love Matt Ottley's picturebooks - very powerful.