Monday, December 12, 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.
This time of year is so much fun! As we get closer and closer to Winter Break, the children are getting crazy and the weather has actually become winter-like! On Saturday, we had an awesome time at our annual Shoes With Santa event.


Thanks to the generosity and wonderful volunteers from Rock City Church kids from our school received brand new shoes, pancakes, and pictures with Santa. Ohio State University cheerleaders were also on hand to make our celebration such a great success! 





With all of the fun and excitement of the past week, I did find time to read some picture books. I can't wait until break to have some time to try to get caught up on my growing stack of middle grade fiction books!  Anyway, here's what I've been reading: 

The Cat From Hunger Mountain by Ed Young

Special thanks to Monica Schroeder for sending a copy of this picture book to share with my BookRelays team. This is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that shares an important lesson to young readers about what truly makes a rich and fulfilling life. Lord Cat of Hunger Mountain is very wealthy and so lives in the lap of luxury. His home is in the tallest pagoda designed specially for him. His fancy clothes are made by a famous designer with the finest gold threads and silk. And the top chef prepares his meals from the rich bounty of his own rice fields. For all that Lord Cat has, he's never satisfied and always wants more. When misfortune brings drought to the land, everyone leaves Lord Cat, and soon he has nothing to eat and no one to help him. In a journey to find food, he finds so much more and finally learns what true wealth really is. This is an important message in an age when there is so much around us that seems to make everyone unsatisfied and hungry for more stuff all the time. The illustrations, mixed-media collage, supports the text wonderfully. I'm looking forward to sharing this with students.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe  
This fascinating picture book biography is sure to inspire the artist in many young readers. I was unfamiliar with the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat before I read this, but his love of drawing as a child, his dreams of becoming a famous artist one day, and his family story drew me in right away. The illustrations are wonderful. According to the author's note, he "used bits of New York City to create the artwork for this book." He "painted on richly textured pieces of found wood harvested from discarded Brooklyn Museum exhibit materials, the Dumpsters of Brooklyn brownstones, and the streets of Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side."

The Happiest Book Ever by Bob Shea  
This book would be terrific for anyone that's feeling a bit grumpy. The book desperately wants to be a really happy book and it invites readers to help. As readers are urged to think super happy thoughts, there's a grumpy-looking frog that is hanging around on every page and the book becomes frustrated. But as the book becomes impatient, we see who is really ruining the happy mood. The silly illustrations go great with the text and make it a book that would be really fun to share with young children. 

Henry & Leo by Pamela Zagarenski  
This beautiful, magical picture book is an awesome book to share with kids during the holiday season (or any time of year). Henry received Leo, a stuffed animal, as a gift when he was two. They have been best friends ever since. When Leo becomes lost during a family walk through the woods, Henry is inconsolable. Although the family tries to help find Leo, they all try to tell Henry that Leo isn't real. But Henry never gives up hope that Leo will find his way home. The illustrations are just wonderful and really add to the magic of this book. 

Bear’s Winter Party by Deborah Hodge, Lisa Cinar (Illustrations)  
This is a sweet picture book to share with young readers that tells a great story about making friends. Many of the forest animals avoid bear because he's so big and scary. Bear is lonesome and really wishes he could make some friends before he settles down for his long winter nap. He sends invitations for a winter party complete with yummy baked goods, cranberry tea, and a cozy fire. Children will enjoy reading to find out if these animals decide to give friendship with this big bear a chance. The illustrations are colorful and vibrant and the author includes a recipe for Bear's honey-ginger cookies (which is good, because the story might make you hungry). 

This is a really cute picture book that tells the story of two shy first graders who get some help building their friendship from a precocious woodchuck. When Chuck brings Woodchuck to Show-and-Tell, he is such a big hit that he's invited to come every day. His kind acts toward Caroline on behalf of Chuck bring these two together and might even inspire more kind acts among the young readers who enjoy this story. 


  1. I really need to keep resisting buying Henry and Leo - haven't read it and how I long for it. Love this author/illustrator so much! Looks like some wonderful reading!

  2. My picture book list of items to buy for my library job keeps getting bigger. I love being a collection development librarian and following blogs. This is a great list and it sounds like you've had a great week! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I put The Cat From Hunger Mountain on hold after seeing your review. I've seen it on a few other blog posts too... time to pick it up!

  4. There are so many holds at the library for Radiant Child. I may have to buy it! Thanks for sharing the others, especially The Cat From Hunger Mountain. It sounds lovely, Jana. And your 'shoe' celebration does, too. So much love went into that! Have a great week!

  5. I wasn't aware of Bob Shea's new book. I definitely need to get my hands on a copy ASAP! :)

  6. There are so many beautiful books on this list. The Cat From Hunger Mounain looks like such an important one. That cover of Henry & Leo is a work of Art?

  7. I just reserved Henry and Leo and Chuck & Woodchuck and the new Bob Shea from our library - our Jan-Feb reading theme has to do with 2016 books, so very excited to familiarize myself with brand new titles. I just read and enjoyed Cat from Hunger Mountain.