Monday, January 29, 2018

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.

Thankfully, we seem to be having a little bit of a break from Winter. The temperatures have gone up into the 50s, and we've actually had some nice days to get outside. I'm not going to get too excited, at least until I see what the Groundhog does on Friday. At any rate, I'm sure we're in for plenty more nasty winter weather, but I'll take what I can get for now. I still managed to get caught up on a few of the picture books that have been stacking up. Here's what I've been reading this week:

Families whose comfy couches are the centerpiece of their happy homes will definitely be able to relate to and enjoy this adorable story. The family in this sweet picture book cuddle, enjoy stories, eat, and play on the family sofa. Eventually it’s time to get a new couch. On the way home from the furniture store, the couch flies off the top of the car and into the field of a llama. Young readers will get a kick out of watching this animal fall in love and finding out how the family will get their new sofa back. The illustrations are very warm, cozy, and kid-friendly and they show family scenes that will be familiar to lots of children.

The softly colored, beautiful illustrations along with the gentle, rhyming text tells readers all of the differ ways insects and other animals in the natural world wrap it up for the night. This would be a terrific bedtime read aloud for those that love the outdoor world.

Young readers who have ever been left out of the fun will be able to relate to poor Bagel. Bagel loves to dance, and he has his heart set on entering the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. But when he starts asking around trying to find a partner, everyone says no. This book has bright, lively illustrations and is full of bakery puns. This would be fun to share with elementary kids during the Valentine season. This would also be a terrific way to discuss word play and idioms in the classroom.

Pete Seeger was a legendary musician, social activist, and children’s author. This picture book biography uses simple, yet almost lyrical text (with stanzas that start with the word “Listen”) and beautiful illustrations to tell the story of how this man encouraged so many people to get involved in making the world a better place. A biographical timeline and bibliographic references make this book a good nonfiction resource for any bookshelf and a terrific starting point for further research. This book would also pair well with Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger. It would also be fun to share videos and recordings of Seeger’s most popular songs with young readers who may be unfamiliar with him.

Set in the African savanna, this beautifully illustrated picture book tells a story about believing in yourself and making your dreams come true. Baboon sees so many of his neighbors wishing and believing: Caterpillar becomes a butterfly, Tadpole becomes a frog, Flamingo becomes a beautiful, pink bird. But is it too late for him to make his own dreams come true? This would be a good book to share with young readers to promote a growth mindset.

Many books for young readers have been written about the Holocaust, but this is a good to share for younger students (elementary), as it tells something of the hardships for those who were prisoners of concentration camps, like Auschwitz, without getting too graphic about the horrors of it all. Instead, this book focuses on a true-life story of the kindness a famous magician (and fellow prisoner and bunk mate) showed the young boy who is the focus of this story. The Nazi guards would order Herr Levin to perform magic tricks for them, but the magic for Werner was in the gifts of hope and friendship that Levin shared with him. The illustrations are rendered in a limited palette, which is very effective in showing the the bleakness of the prison camp. There is biographical information and photographs at the end of the book showing Werner and Levin in later years.



  1. I have The Magician of Auschwitz on my list, hope to read soon, Jana. I'm sure it is good! A Couch for Llama is one I'll get for the younger granddaughter, who loves funny books and llamas! I enjoyed the Pete Seeger book very much. My family saw him in concert a long time ago in a small venue. He came down and sang to my children! It's a special memory! Thanks for all!

  2. I'm really looking forward to reading A Couch for Llama. The cover is hilarious.

  3. The Magician of Auschwitz is now on our TBR list. Love your description of this text. Can't wait to read it and listen to students' reactions.

  4. The Magician of Auschwitz is one of my favourites - and I featured it as well at GatheringBooks at one point for #DiverseKidLit - I super like the look of Listen! I have a collection of PBBs of musicians - this would be a wondrous addition to the list.

  5. I like The Magician of Auschwitz. It's a fabulous addition to collections about the Holocaust.
    I've been wanting to read Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing because I am a Pete Seeger fan. Thanks for reminding me about it.

  6. I'll have to look for A Couch for Llama - that looks adorable!