Monday, March 20, 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.


Today is the first day of spring, even if it doesn't exactly look or feel like it. It's just good to know it. Between getting ready for state testing and the end of the third grading period, I haven't had as much time to read as I normally do. But I've read a few good books. Here's what I've been reading:
Middle Grade Fiction

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord  
I found a copy of this middle grade realistic fiction novel in my classroom library, and remembering how much I enjoyed Cynthia Lord's Newbery Honor Book Rules, picked it up and brought it home to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will definitely be book-talking it at school.

Middle grade students will be able to relate to the characters. Lucy, whose family moves around frequently, is once again the new kid. Her family has just moved into a lake home in New Hampshire. She makes friends with the kids in the house next door, who are spending the summer on the lake. Her father is a famous photographer who spends a lot of time traveling for his job. Lucy experiences so many of the same situations that most kids know so well: the stress of making new friends in groups that are already established, the loneliness of having a parent who spends so much time away from home, and trying to make your parents proud of you.

The story has several things occurring at once, which is also typical of an adolescent's life. Lucy wants to show her father what a good photographer she is by secretly entering a contest he's judging. As her friendship with Nate and Emily develops, she encounters some passive aggressive hostility from Megan, their friend that also spends summertime on the lake. There is also a heartbreaking decline in the health of Nate and Emily's grandmother, that adds new urgency to Lucy's desire to win the cash prize from the photography contest.

This book has so many great messages for kids to take away. Lucy has such a big heart for animals, and she is always looking for opportunities to help creatures that need it. A little brown moth that she finds stuck on some pollen while walking her dog near the lake is a good example: "The moth might already be too wet, too exhausted to live. But I found a leaf to scoop him out of the water and placed him gently on a rock so he could dry his wings. Even half a chance beats none."
Picture Books

Bunny's Book Club by Annie Silvestro, Tatjana Mai-Wyss (Illustrator)  
This adorable picture book celebrates the joy of spending time reading books with friends and going to the library. Bunny loves to hang around the library listening to stories with other children. But when summer ends and the librarian goes back indoors to read books aloud, Bunny figures out how to sneak inside and get all the books he wants to read and share with friends. The illustrations are so sweet, I want to join the Bunny Book Club myself!

Martin's Dream Day by Kitty Kelley  
This nonfiction picture book gives a fascinating account of not only Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, but King's efforts to persuade leaders in Washington to pass civil rights legislation. Kitty Kelley used great, true-to-life photographs taken by Stanley Tretick to tell this story. These photos really pull readers into the momentous day. This would be an awesome resource to have in any classroom library.  


  1. I loved Bunny's Book Club. I also wanted to joint the club. I haven't yet read it to any students, but I'm eager to. Such cute pictures, too.

  2. When I read Half a Chance, I didn't expect to like it and ended up with a completely different opinion of it. Books about kids encountering adults who are beginning to lose their memory are so important these days.
    I also read Martin's Big Day. I found the photographs fascinating but the text fell flat for me, and there were no captions/labels on the pictures which I think kids need.

  3. Bunny's Book Club just looks so adorable, I'm waiting for library to get a copy so I can enjoy it, too!!

  4. I've forgotten about Half A Chance, and always enjoy how subtle Cynthia Lord is about her messages she writes into her stories. I liked this a lot, and read Rules several times with book groups. Thanks for all, hope your week holds a bit of R & R too.

  5. It seems like picture books are getting cuter and cuter. I have loved anything with bunnies ever since Richard Scarry's books!

  6. I really need to get to Half a Chance. I love Cynthia's books and this is one I haven't been able to get to yet.

  7. I have yet to read a Cynthia Lord novel - sounds like a must-read. :)