Monday, February 6, 2017

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.


It's been a busy week and weekend! We had an awesome Family Literacy Night at my school. It was wonderful to see so many of my students and their families come to enjoy an evening of games, books, food, and prizes!  I also accompanied my fourth graders on a trip to the Southern Theatre in Columbus to hear the Columbus Jazz Orchestra present their "All That Jazz" program. And of course, the Super Bowl! I didn't have a team in the mix this year, but that didn't stop me from cheering on the yummy snacks!  And of course, I managed to get in some time for reading. Hope you had a good week with great books! Here's what I've been reading:

Middle Grade Fiction

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

An ARC of this book was shared with me by a member of my #BookRelays group and I really enjoyed it a lot. This is a middle grade fiction book that would be a terrific fit in any elementary classroom.

It tells the story of Bixby Alexander Bat (aka Bat) and his experience caring for an orphaned baby skunk that his veterinarian mom brought home. Although Bat is a young boy on the autism spectrum, much of what he thinks and feels is so relatable to everyone. Just about all kids know what it is to be frustrated when things don't go their way: spilling hot cocoa down the front of your shirt, running out of your favorite flavors of yogurt, dropping your bag of candy on the floor of the candy store.

There is also the recurring theme of time, which most people know very well.

"Three months, (Bat) guessed, could be a little bit of time or a really long time, depending on who you were. For instance, a monarch butterfly born in the summer lives only about six weeks, so four months would feel like forever, but a monarch butterfly born in the winter might live for eight months, so four months would be just half its life. And if you were a boy with a skunk kit that you were only allowed to keep for one month, time was sure to pass much, much too quickly."

This book also looks at the way Bat interacts with other kids and how they get along with him. His developing friendship with a boy from his class and his growing understanding of his family members are heartwarming moments that could help kids understand and empathize with kids like Bat.

I also love Bat's outreach to Dr. Jerry Dragoo, a real-life skunk expert, to get his opinion on whether or not he might be able to keep his baby skunk. The author includes this expert's web address. This would be a terrific way to inspire kids to further research about skunks!
Picture Books

Cy Makes a Friend by Ann Marie Stephens, Tracy Subisak (Illustrations)

With adorable, heartwarming illustrations and a cast of mythological creatures, this awesome picture book tells the story of a lonely little cyclops that would love to have a friend. Making friends isn't easy if you're shy and inexperienced at it. Cy loves to spend time building new inventions, but he has no one to share his wonderful creations with. With enough preparation, investigation, and practice, Cy hopes to attract someone with whom he can share his time and inventions with. This book comes out in March and will be terrific to share with young readers who like to invent things and share them with friends, too.

A Greyhound, a Groundhog by Emily Jenkins, Chris Appelhans (Illustrations)  
This book is definitely a fun one to read aloud! The author has a delightful way of playing with words to create this tricky tongue twister story of a greyhound and a groundhog getting all tangled up running around with each other. Warm and friendly watercolor illustrations along with the rollicking text will make this a favorite on the bookshelf.

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell  
This nearly wordless picture book tells an awesome story of friendship and trust as a little girl and a wolf pup each become lost in a snowstorm. As the two run into each other, hearts will melt as they both help each other get home. Beautiful illustrations are bound to make this a favorite book to share with young readers. 

Faraway Fox by Jolene Thompson, Justin K Thompson (Illustrator)  
Beautifully illustrated, this book tells the story of a lonely little fox who's been separated from his family by human development in the forest where he was raised. As the fox shares poignant memories of his family, the illustrations show some of the steps that communities are beginning to take to help ease the impact human development has on wildlife populations. This would be a great book to share with young readers to start a conversation about ways we can help share the planet with nature. 

This is My Book! by Mark Pett  
This is a fun picture book that breaks down the wall between the author, the characters, and the reader. The author/illustrator of the book is trying explain the "rules" of his book, but the main character, an independent-minded panda, won't cooperate. As the panda writes his own words, creates his own characters, and adds fun features to the book (like tabs and pop-ups), the author realizes that books belong to everyone. This would be a lot of fun to share with young children.


  1. I am really looking forward to when I can read A Boy Called Bat. It sounds great! Cy Makes a Friend sounds great, too. Love the cover!

  2. A Boy Called Bat is on my list, Jana. It sounds very well done. I'll look for Cy Makes A Friend and This Is My Book, have read and enjoyed the others! Have a great reading week!

  3. I think a lot of people are going to put A Boy Called Bat a lot higher on their reading list after reading your review Jana. I'm hoping to read many of the picture books. I especially love the cover of Faraway Fox.

  4. So many great picture books! Cy Makes a Friend is new to me, and it looks (and sounds) adorable. Faraway Fox is another one I'm looking forward to - I love stories that blend stories with facts.

  5. I absolutely loved the illustrations in A Greyhound A Groundhog

  6. I enjoyed This Is My Book - quite a number of books about books published last year! :)