Monday, April 9, 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.

The first week of April hasn't felt very much like spring! At first I thought all of the morning snow was a cruel April Fool's Day joke, but then after the third time, it wasn't very funny. Determined to find warm weather wherever we could find it, we booked a last-minute cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Of course I'll be taking a few books along and my Kindle. If I run out of material, the cruise ship library is sure to have something fun to read in my deck chair. When I return I will definitely share all of the wonderful vacation reading that I plan to enjoy. In the meantime, here's what I read last week while waiting for spring to arrive:

Middle Grade Fiction

This fun middle grade fantasy novel takes readers behind the scenes of all the wishes made on birthday candles, shooting stars, coins tossed into fountains, etc. Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is a young fairy who is a Granter, a special type of fairy whose job it is to go out into the world beyond the Haven and grant wishes. This is a very important job because granting wishes is the only thing that is keeping the dwindling amount of magic in the world from running out completely. But because the supply of magic is so dangerously low, and the granting of wishes such a risky endeavor, the job of Granter isn’t easy at all.
Ophelia has just been given her very first wish assignment, and she’s determined to accomplish the mission with no problems. But with danger all around from wild animals, fast-moving cars and trucks, and unpredictable humans, this first job turns out to be a doozy!

This would be a good novel to share with middle grade readers who enjoy fantasy, especially stories involving wishes and fairies. Ophelia is a charming character who is ambitious and conscientious but discovers that sometimes rules need to be bent a little to accomplish things. And even though there is just one problem after the other, she is tenacious and refuses to give up on the magic. There are some good opportunities for discussion about the merit of different wishes, and whether a fairy should be able to judge which wishes should be granted or not. I won a copy of this book from a GoodReads Giveaway courtesy of @HarpersChildrens.

Picture Books

Perfect for a bedtime story, this sweet picture book takes readers on a nighttime adventure with a little girl who becomes a mermaid after midnight. By day this little girl does her chores, eats dinner, and plays with her younger brother. But after she goes to bed she has wonderful ocean adventures. This would make a great mentor text for young writers who would like to make up their own fantasy adventures.

This fun picture book is sure to get a giggle or two, as Cow tries to turn her M-O-O back in M-O-O-S-E. The S and the E have fallen off and she could glue them back on if only she can find a G and an L and a U and an E. As she works to get the letters she needs, all kinds of crazy things happen: a bear turns into an ear, a goat turns into a boat, a lake turns into cake, and so on. This book with it's problem and solution plot structure and the humorous illustrations will be a fun way to talk about spelling and might even inspire some fun spelling stories from youngsters.

With beautiful art, rendered in mixed media, gouache, markers, and colored pencil, and lyrical, rhyming text, this picture book biography tells the story of Aida de Acosta. At the turn of the century, Aida was in Paris with her family when she became fascinated by the flight of an airship. Determined to learn to pilot one herself, she took lessons from the inventor and disobeyed her parents in order to do what no other woman had ever done. This book is a great inspiration for young people to stretch their wings and try new things. It's also a great book to help develop a growth mindset in young readers.

The little girl in this beautiful picture book takes great pleasure in all of the colors in the world around her. She takes such a close, contemplative look at the blue ocean, golden grass, gray clouds, purple flowers etc. With gorgeous paintings and lyrical language, this book would be terrific to share with young readers during the change of seasons and also as a way to inspire young writers to create their own meditations on color and the world around them.

Fifteen wonderful poems celebrate the people that make school wonderful for so many children: teachers, principals, custodians, nurses, bus drivers, and so on. Each poem is written by a different author and all are beautifully illustrated. This would definitely make a terrific end-of-the-school year gift for the folks who work so hard in your school. This would also make a great book to have on the shelf and share with children during the beginning of the school year.

Written from the point of view of a rock, young readers will have a terrific time getting to know Petra and all of the wonderful things that this rock is and dreams of being. A mountain, an egg, an island: this rock has an unlimited imagination and the patience to be all sorts of things. This book would be a good way to explore the concept of point of view in literature and could even be a great mentor text for young writers to imagine the possibilities in store for other object in our world.

Mo doesn't let his short stature or time spent on the bench discourage him from practicing and doing his best. This time Mo is determined to become a better passer on the basketball court. He gets help from his father before the big game. Young readers will definitely be able to relate to Mo's excitement when his turn comes to help his teammates. Easy-to-read text and fun illustrations will make this a popular book on the primary bookshelf.

Young readers, especially those that live in urban neighborhoods, will definitely be able to recognize themselves in this story. The young girl and her father live in an upstairs apartment, and come down the four flights of stairs to walk the dog and enjoy the park. With welcoming illustrations and rhyming text, young readers will enjoy exploring color concepts and the items in the neighborhood that they are familiar with. This would be a fun book to have on the primary bookshelf.

It seems like this hungry wolf is willing to go to an awful lot of trouble in order to have a special meal of urban rabbit. The wolf in this story is tired of the food choices in his own neck of the woods, so he visits the city with intentions of making a delicious meal out of a small rabbit. Complications arise when the neighbors in the rabbit's building keep getting in the way of his plans. This book is sure to get several laughs as the wolf has to keep changing his plans. This might be a fun way to talk about conflict and resolution in literature.

This is a great picture book with an awesome message about determination and achieving one's dreams. Imani's mother shares stories with Imani each night at bedtime. After a particularly exciting story, Imani declares that she is going to touch the moon. Of course everyone around her thinks that a little girl touching the moon, which is so high up, is impossible. But the little girl sticks to her dream and something wonderful happens. The inspirational story along with the beautiful illustrations make this an awesome story to share with young readers.


  1. We are big Margarita Engle fans and so excited to hear about her new book. Can't wait to read it!

  2. I sure hope we get If the S in Moose Comes Loose, quickly. I have two emergent readers at home who would likely love this one and find ways of creating similar books based on missing letters. And Imani's Moon looks very sweet. I see that one has been out for a while, so I'm kinda bummed that none of our libraries have it, yet. I thoroughly enjoyed your review of Granted -- I still think it's so neat that you won that in a Goodread's giveaway. Wow!

    Have a great cruise week. I've always thought it would be fun to go on a cruise. But with five children, we'll be waiting for a while methinks. lol I guess I'll live vicariously through you! :)

  3. I loved Imani's Moon and some others you shared too. I have Granted on my long list, will read it someday. It's such a fun premise about those wishes! The Caribbean! Wow! I'm envious!

  4. Petra looks adorable. I can't wait to read that one.

  5. If Granted wasn't already on my list, and if I didn't already have a reserve on it, I sure would want to read it now!
    It looks like you had a fabulous reading week Jana. Hope you have a fabulous vacation where the world is warm!

  6. Petra looks lovely - have to find that one. Imani's Moon looks like a good book to pair with The Girl Who Drank the Moon! :)

  7. A few of these were already on my list, but I added If the S in Moose and They Say Blue. Imani's Moon and When the Wolf is hungry are not in the library system near me. Maybe I can get them interlibrary loan. Thanks for the many wonderful suggestions.

  8. I just read Imani's Moon, too, and was struck by what a lovely story it is.