Monday, August 21, 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.




Put down the books and pick up your eclipse glasses or your box viewers (don't look directly at the sun)! Hopefully, everyone is having a good time watching the solar eclipse, and staying safe, of course.
Here's what I've been reading this past week:
Middle Grade Fiction

The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey, Victoria Jamieson (Illustrations)  

This middle grade fantasy novel is an awesome celebration of books, reading, school libraries, and teacher librarians. It will certainly have book lovers smiling fondly over mentions of some of the best children's books ever written. It also will have older readers nostalgic for the special times they enjoyed in their school libraries.

Eddie is a shiny, green bug who lives with his family behind the chalkboard in Mr. Patullo’s fourth grade classroom at Ferny Creek Elementary School. When Aunt Min disappears, Eddie is pretty sure she went to the school library, as she was an avid reader and had even taught him to read. Determined to save her if she was in some sort of trouble, and eager to see the library for himself, Eddie sets out to find her.

Eddie has quite an adventure getting to the library. When he finds Min, he realizes her broken legs aren't the only problem they're facing. Not only does Eddie find himself taking care of his aunt, but the fate of the Ferny Creek Library rests on his tiny shoulders.

This would be a great book to share with kids at the beginning of the school year (or any time of the year) when they're settling into reading routines and library visits. The book has great messages about the joy of getting lost in a good story. It also reminds readers that no one is too small or too young to make a difference.
I love that the book incorporates many awesome children's books into the story of Eddie’s adventures and his love of reading. I was keeping a list of the books mentioned, because I thought it would be a terrific idea to keep a basket of Eddie’s favorite books (books like Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Borrowers) nearby, so folks could read them when they finish with this novel. Then I realized there is a complete “Bugliography” at the back of the book.

This book is also a great mentor text for Point Of View writing. Eddie’s view of the school world around him and all of the dangers in it make this such an exciting adventure to read! The hallway is enormous, the Squishers (people) are a constant danger, and walking on carpet is nearly impossible! 
Picture Books

Now by Antoinette Portis 

With simple, lyrical text and beautiful illustrations that were created using sumi ink, brush, and bamboo stick, this charming picture book shares a young girl's favorite things. She loves all sorts of things, mainly because it's what she is enjoying at the moment. There is a lovely message for readers of all ages to find contentment in the present moment, instead of focusing on what you don't have or stressing out about things in the past or the future. This could be a terrific mentor text to help young writers create their own list of favorites!

  How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan, Lee Wildish (Illustrations) 
Perfect to share with kids on the first day of school, this cute "how to" books gives step-by-step directions on how to make your teacher feel welcome and appreciated the whole year long. Many times children are so nervous about the start of a new school year, they don't realize that teachers get anxious, too. There are clever suggestions for welcoming the teacher on day one, getting the teacher ready for important days, and general advice for places like the lunch line. This could be a terrific mentor text to help kids create their own "how to" guides for having a wonderful school year.   

A Place to Read by Leigh Hodgkinson 
This charming book has a little boy sharing with readers the importance of finding a terrific reading spot. Lovely digital collage illustrations show him trying to settle into different types of chairs placed in different locations like the top of a tree, a polar ice cap, and on a lily pad, among other locales. This would be a good book to share at the beginning of the school year, when you're setting routines for reading at home and during Reader's Workshop time. You might use this as a mentor text to help kids write a description of their ideal reading spots.  

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton, Alexandra Boiger (Illustrator)  
This terrific nonfiction picture book summarizes the lives and accomplishments of thirteen American women around the theme "She Persisted". All of the women profiled in this book had to overcome many obstacles in order to achieve their dreams. This could be a good mentor text in the classroom for informational writing around a particular theme. This book could also serve as a nice starting point for further research on any of these women.  

Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel (Dragons Love Tacos #2) by Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri (Illustrations)  
This fun follow up to Dragons Love Tacos tells the story of one boy's attempt to save the world after all of the tacos have disappeared! I know that everyone in my family would be devastated if there were no more tacos! The boy in the story uses a time machine to go back to the infamous taco party in the first story. The goal is to grab some tasty tacos before the destructive salsa was added and bring them back so they can be planted. With plenty of taco trees, the world would have plenty of tacos once again. Young readers will definitely giggle at the fun text and hilarious illustrations. It could make a good mentor text for writing fun stories with time machine solutions.

We're All Wonders by R.J. Palacio 
Based on the popular middle grade novel, Wonder, this book uses simple text and illustrations based on the familiar cover of Wonder to reach much younger readers with the important message of choosing to be kind and inclusive to everyone. This would be a terrific book to share with kids during the beginning of the school year, when classroom communities are being built.

Teachers Rock! by Todd Parr  
If anyone is in doubt, this book enumerates the reasons that teachers are awesome! Using fun, rollicking text and colorful, hilarious illustrations, this book celebrates teachers. This would be great to share with kids during the first days of school. It would also make a cute gift for any teacher!

How to Grow a Friend by Sara Gillingham  
This sweet picture book compares developing a good friendship with planting a seed. Both plants and friends take attention, care, and effort. The bright, colorful illustrations show neighborhood children planting a seed together and sharing in the effort and pleasure of their resulting sprout. This would be a great book to share with young readers at the beginning of the school year, as classroom communities are being built and children are learning how to work together. Use this book as a mentor text to help kids write their own "how to" guides for working together. 

Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country) by Kathleen Krull, Paul Brewer, Stacy Innerst (Illustrator)  
With easy to understand and interesting text and beautifully painted illustrations, this nonfiction picture book tells how Abraham Lincoln's sense of humor gave him the strength and fortitude to achieve his goals in politics and become one of this country's most important presidents. The book is organized around the topic of jokes and humor as it looks at examples of witty and clever sayings attributed to Lincoln through the course of his lifetime. A list of resources at the back make this a nice resource to have on the classroom bookshelf. 


  1. The Tiny Hero is such a great book. You have a great idea about keeping books in the "Bugliography" nearby so they are handy if students are interested in reading them. You have a great list of picture books. Some I've read, some I haven't. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'll have to track down The Tiny Hero. It sounds great. I see a lot of great beginning of school books here. I need to order some of them. I loved Now. It's gorgeous and is a great reminder to appreciate the moments we have.

  3. I'm looking forward to Now by Antoinette Portis. I have loved just about everything she creates.

  4. "Now" looks just so quietly beautiful. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

  5. I have Tiny Hero and Now from the library. Looking forward to reading them!

  6. I haven't read NOW yet and I really need to. I should probably request that from my library!

  7. Now looks so interesting - just the sort of book we need at this time.

  8. I may have to read Tiny Hero, but bugs in the library... eek! Have you thought about applying to be a Cybils judge? You read enough that you might find it a great challenge!

    1. Thanks for the info on Cyril's! Looks like it might be something fun to try!

  9. I just ordered Now for our read aloud initiative at my school. Can't wait to share it with teachers and students. I'll have to check Lincoln Tells s Joke. Always looking for more NF picture books! Thanks!