Monday, December 5, 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.
We've turned the calendar to December and the weather certainly is playing along. We began the week with temperatures in the 60s. But as soon as the month changed and it was my turn for outside recess duty, the weather turned cold! But December means it's time to deck the halls, and put up the tree! 
It also means there's only two weeks and two days until Winter Break! It'll be so nice to have more time to relax and get caught up on reading. In the meantime, here's what I've been reading the past week:
Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat Across America by Constance Lombardo 
I received a copy of this book to share with my BookRelays group. This is a fun book that follows the adventures of a stunt cat as he travels across America to make a demo-film for a buddy movie. The humorous illustrations and the action will probably make this book popular with some of my students. It might be more engaging if they read the first book in the series (which I have not). Movie lovers will enjoy this book, because it has loads of film references.
Bunnies!!! by Kevan Atteberry  
This is a cute picture book for young readers that follows a little monster as he takes a stroll through the forest. He says hello to everything, but becomes especially excited when he sees bunny rabbits. He becomes so excited, he frightens them away. It's fun to watch him figure out a way to love them without coming on too strong.
Finding Spring by Carin Berger  
This is a lovely picture book that tells the story of an impatient little bear who is anxious to experience his first spring. Maurice and his mother are walking through the forest as the weather turns colder. When she tells him that he has to go to sleep before he can have spring, he sneaks out to go find spring himself. The cut-paper collage illustrations are just beautiful and really make reading this book a special experience.  
Harlem Renaissance Party by Faith Ringgold  
This rich, imaginative story of a young boy and his uncle taking a trip back in time to the Harlem Renaissance to meet famous artists, writers, musicians, and activists is told so beautifully. The vibrant paintings along with the extensive glossary and resource list make this an awesome starting point for research into this exciting period in history. 
Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan  
This picture book biography has good information for young readers about the life of one of the most famous gospel singers. The language is accessible and a great starting point for further research, especially with a timeline and tips for learning more. The paintings that accompany the text are just beautiful. 
Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson, Jean Cassels, Mary Nethery 
I shared this book with my students and they all seemed to really enjoy it. We had previously read Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner, so they had a sense of the devastation of this storm. Because so many kids have their own pets, they could really relate to this and had no trouble realizing the main point that the friendship between these two animals helped them survive Hurricane Katrina. The text and the illustrations really work together to tell a heartwarming story. 
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston, Barbara Cooney (Illustrator)  
This is a terrific, heartwarming story to share with young readers during the holiday season. Set in the Appalachian Mountains, Ruthie's family is supposed to provide the Christmas tree for their church. But, after her father goes off to fight in World War I, the family falls on hard times. Ruthie's mom works so hard to make sure that they have what they need, but Ruthie has all but lost hope that she'll see her father at Christmas or get the doll that she wants so much. The illustrations of the Appalachian Mountains in the wintertime are just beautiful.  
Paul Bunyan, a Tall Tale by Steven Kellogg  
I shared this fun picture book with my students as a fun way to start a discussion about tall tales. With the wonderful illustrations that we've come to love from Steven Kellogg, this book tells about all of the unbelievable details of Bunyan's life. We especially loved the colossal flapjack griddle greased by kitchen workers skating around with bacon fat tied to their shoes.  
Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett: A Tall Tale by Steven Kellogg  
I also shared this one with my students as part of our study of tall tales. This is a great companion to Paul Bunyan. It has the fun illustrations that we love from this author, and more great examples of the exaggeration of this genre.  


  1. There have been so many new books this week. Other than the Steven Kellogg books (which I love), I haven't read these. Definitely adding them to my TBR list.

    Beautiful tree btw.

  2. So many to love from your list, Jana. And Happy Christmas, love your tree, too. Two Bobbies is a long-time favorite of mine, the sweetest story! Thanks for all and have a great week!

  3. A lovely list of picture books. What a beautiful tree. Happy holidays!

  4. Thanks for this list of books. I might have read the Steven Kellogg ages ago, but the rest are all new to me. The best part of this season is the decorating. Happy holidays!

  5. Jana! I didn't know any of these :) Going to explore some of them further on Goodreads :)
    Love your tree also!
    Happy reading this week!

  6. My boys loved Paul Bunyan and Steven Kellogg's other tall tales. I love the variety of titles you've shared here. Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat Across America looks hilarious. Thanks for sharing! Love your tree, by the way!

  7. My students are picking up Mr. Puffball because of the illustrations, but are not getting the movie references. You've been very busy with books! Haven't thought of Steven Kellogg in a long time!

  8. What a festive tree! And thanks for the Mahalia Jackson pb bio recommendation.

  9. They all look like very festive reads, just like that Christmas tree. Hope you're having a great week!