Monday, February 18, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together by Andrea Tsurumi 

The sea creatures all do their thing, but crab does something rather unusual. Crab bakes cakes. When a load of trash is dumped into the ocean, Crab's cakes bring everyone together. This is a book that highlights community and shows that together we can make a difference. The fantastic illustrations show an interesting underwater world and the various emotions of the sea creatures. I was lucky to receive a copy of the book from the author who was giving away a few copies on Twitter. 

The Happy Book by Andy Rash

Camper and Clam are best friends who are happy being together until Camper eats all the cake. The emotions of Camper and Clam then change from happy to sad to angry to scared until they realize that there are many ways of feeling and they are all okay. The illustrations are fun with different colors representing each of the emotions. This is a humorous exploration of feelings that will be useful in the classroom to spark discussion related to social-emotional learning. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion with a review copy.

It's Not Hansel and Gretel by Josh Funk

This is another very humorous and entertaining twist on a fairy tale from Josh Funk, author of It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk. The narrator of the book tries to tell the story the proper way, but Hansel and Gretel have their own ideas about how the story is supposed to go. Both the story and the illustrations, in which some other popular literary characters make an appearance, are quite amusing.

It's Me. (Catwad #1) by Jim Benton

Catwad is a grouch. Blurmp is always happy. They are as different as can be, but they're also best friends. Written as a series of vignettes in graphic novel format, the book tells of their very humorous relationship. This is one of those books kids will love because it contains much ridiculous nonsense. I have to admit I laughed out loud a few times. 

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat #1 by Johnny Marciano & Emily Chenoweth

Klawde is an alien warlord cat, but one who is now on planet Earth because he's been banished from Lyttyrboks for the evil crimes he committed against his fellow felines. When Klawde shows up at Raj's apartment in Brooklyn, Raj is relieved to finally have a friend in his new city. Klawde schemes to return home while Raj has his own problems trying to survive the nature camp his parents have enrolled him in. Klawde may be devious and evil, but when Raj is in need he proves his loyalty to his human. This is a fast-paced, funny read that kids will find entertaining. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a copy of the book.

Monday, February 11, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Max Explains Everything: Soccer Expert by Stacy McAnulty

Max has only been playing soccer for three weeks, but he is very enthusiastic about it. As Max provides readers with his expertise about soccer, it becomes apparent that he is highly distracted on the field. Although Max's tips may not lead to a winning kick, they do show that playing the game is all about having fun. Soccer enthusiasts will enjoy this amusing story, as will those who can relate to not being the superstar on the field. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

Robot in Love by T. L. McBeth

This story is about a robot with heart. Robot has his eye on his love, but being shy and nervous he has to work up the courage to talk to her. The object of Robot's affection is not revealed to the end of the book and it will surprise readers. This would be a great read aloud for Valentine's Day or anytime readers want a sweet, silly story.  

Sweety by Andrea Zuill

Sweety, a naked mole rat, has been called a square peg and has difficulty fitting in. When he gets wise advice from his aunt, Sweety learns an important lesson: be yourself and you will find your people. A delightful and amusing book. Thanks to the publisher, Random House, for providing my book review group with a review copy.

Hello, Crabby!: An Acorn Book (A Crabby Book #1) by Jonathan Fenske

Crabby is a quite crabby crab. Plankton wants to change that. There is lots to interest and amuse early readers. This short book is broken up into chapters, pages are divided into panels, and the story is mostly told through dialogue. This is a book I'll definitely be sharing with my youngest readers who are beginning to show interest in reading graphic novels. I bought one of these books and, after reading it, ordered another because I think this will be a much-loved book.

Dog Diaries: A Middle School Story by James Patterson with Steven Butler

This book is told from the perspective of Junior, a dog who has just been adopted by the "pet human" he refers to as Ruff. After an incident at the dog park, Junior is sent to obedience school where he either learns to behave or gets returned to the shelter. There is a lot that will appeal to kids in this book - there's humor, it's fast-paced, and there are many illustrations throughout that add interest and make it a quick read. 

Over the Moon by Natalie Lloyd

Mallie lives with her family in a gloomy mining town. She is determined to keep her younger brother from having to go to work in the Down Below. She sneaks her way into a challenge that is dangerous, but it gives her the chance to earn the money her family desperately needs. If Mallie is brave enough she can help her family and all of Coal Top. This book has both adventure and magic. I received an advanced reader's copy of the book from the publisher. It publishes in March.

Monday, February 4, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Perfect by Max Amato

A perfectionist eraser is very displeased when a pencil comes along making squiggles, smudges, and drawings on a perfectly clean page. As the pencil draws the eraser tries to erase. The eraser gets more and more frustrated with the drawings of the mischievous pencil until he realizes that his eraser marks can be pretty fun. This is a book that shows its possible to get along in spite of differences and one about embracing imperfection. It's both playful and clever. 

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach

When caterpillar wonders what the others are doing, he learns that he can become a chrysalis and transform into a butterfly. But, for a caterpillar who is extremely impatient two weeks seems like it will take forever. Caterpillar's antics, as he waits to become a butterfly, are amusing. This book not only shows that patience pays off, but gives an introduction to metamorphosis. This book publishes next month, but is currently available through Scholastic Book Clubs.

Everybody is Somebody (Here's Hank) by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

In the last book in the Here's Hank series, an author is visiting Hank's school, but he hasn't read her book. In spite of his difficulties reading, Hank connects with the author who celebrates his imagination. This book has a sweet message about believing in oneself. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for a review copy of the book.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (A Sal and Gabi Novel, Book 1) by Carlos Hernandez

Sal Vidón is adjusting to his new life in Miami where he is attending Culeco Academy of the Arts. During his first few days of school, Sal deals with a bully in a rather unique way. He opens a portal to another universe and a dead chicken appears in the boy's locker. Partly because of student council president and journalist for the school paper, Gabi Real, all of his classmates think he is a brujo, a witch. Sal is struggling at home, as well, because his parents and American stepmom aren't too pleased that he can also bring his deceased mother over from another universe. Sal must manage his unexplainable powers before he destroys the universe, but they are much needed when Gabi's brother's life is in danger. The characters in this book are unique and diverse and there is lots of humor. The book is a lot of fun, but it's also one with heart. Fans of science fiction, especially, will enjoy this one. I read an advance reader's copy of the book. It publishes in March.

To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

Although Bett lives in California and Avery lives in New York, their dads have met and are in a relationship with one another. They want the girls to attend a summer camp so they can meet and become friends. Neither Bett or Avery have any interest in their families merging together and when they are forced to go to camp they vow not to even talk with one another. The book is written in an epistolary format as Bett and Avery correspond through emails and letters. Bett and Avery are both endearing characters, who in spite of themselves develop a sweet bond and grow as they learn what it means to be family. This is a light-hearted read with humor. Thanks to the publisher, Dial Books for Young Readers, for proving my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

The Tragical Tale of Birdie Bloom by Temre Beltz

This middle grade novel is a story of magic and unlikely friendship. Birdie Bloom, an orphan, is doomed to an unhappy, tragical ending. One day the Winds of Wanderly connect her to a wicked witch, Agnes Prunella Crunch. Birdie is determined to make a friend and in the process she shows that with bravery it's possible to change one's destiny. Thanks to the author and publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in March.

Monday, January 28, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet by Curtis Manley

A young girl wonders whether there are other planets in the universe with life on them and explores the science which shows that its very possible. There's a lot of factual information in this book to give readers new insight into our world. The book also shows the vastness of our universe and the celebrates the wonders of what is yet to be discovered. Thanks to the publisher, Roaring Books Press, for a review copy.

 

The Great Louweezie #1 (Arnold and Louise) by Erica S. Perl

Best friends, Arnold and Louise, have plans to go on a picnic, but unfortunately there is a rainstorm coming. Louise insists that she is the Great Louweezie and can predict Arnold's future. Arnold is doubtful, but Louise is determined to convince him. A picnic may not be in their future, but the best friends realize they can have have fun just being together. This sweet story of friendship is the start of a new series for early readers. In the second book, Lost and Found, Arnold and Louise show that friendship is a treasure that can never be lost. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #Book Excursion, with review copies of the books.

Meena Meets Her Match by Karla Manternach

Meena is a creative and enthusiastic third-grader navigating the challenges of friendship and life. Her best friend no longer wants to hang out with her and she feels slighted. In addition, she has a scary experience at breakfast one morning that results in a trip to the hospital. Meena learns she has had a seizure and is trying to understand why everyone suddenly seems overly concerned with her well-being. Meena is a true-to-life character with experiences readers can both can relate to and learn from. This is a delightful read. Thanks to the publisher, I read an advanced reader's copy.

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin

Lillia and her family plan to flee their home in Poland to seek refuge from the war in Shanghai. Before they leave there is a raid while her parents are performing their circus act and Lillia's mother disappears. Lillia doesn't understand what happened to her mother and is heartbroken that they have to go to Shanghai without her. As Lillia strives to understand the new culture in which she is immersed, she also takes on a large role in helping her family survive. An exploration of the devastating circumstances that occurred during WWII, this is an emotional and insightful read.

Monday, January 21, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. You can also follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Bear Needs Help by Sarah S. Brannen

Bear needs help with his shoelaces, but when he asks some of the other animals they all flee. He finally gets some help, but it may not be what readers were expecting. This is an amusing story told with minimal text and charming illustrations. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of the book.

The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome

This story is heart-wrenching. It's narrated by a young girl who lives with her family on a plantation. Every day the family wakes before the sun, the girl goes to Miss Sara Mae's with the youngest slaves, and the girl's brother, Ben, goes to work in the fields. But, one day, they discover Ben has escaped. The perspective of this book is unique as it tells what it was like for the family who is left behind. The end leaves the reader wondering, but also provides a sense of hope.

Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord

Emma has been homeschooled her entire life, but is now starting fifth grade at a public school. This is a hard change for Emma who finds it more difficult than she thought to make friends. Emma's also fostering a pet rabbit she helped her father rescue. Emma's rabbit turns out to be a great pet who helps her find a true friend. This is a sweet, heart-warming story about making friends that emphasizes the need to be inclusive and empathetic. Cynthia Lord also includes information at the end of the book about her own rabbits which inspired the story. Thanks to the publisher, I received an advance reader's copy of the book and was able to hear the author speak about the book at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. The book publishes in March, but it is currently available through Scholastic Book Clubs.

Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz

Bernice Buttman may be known at her school as a bully, but she really wants a friend. When her mother leaves her with her aunt in another town she has a chance for a fresh start. Readers will not only laugh, but also be rooting for Bernice as she tries to be kinder and friendlier. This is a very funny book, but the message about choosing what kind of person one wants to be is heartfelt. Thanks to the publisher, I received an advance reader's copy at the National Council of Teachers of English. The book publishes in March.

Monday, January 14, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. You can also follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Dragon Night by J. R. Krause

As Georgie, who is afraid of the night, is trying to fall asleep, a dragon in one of his books comes to life. They run away together and, through their journey, Georgie learns that the night isn't as terrible as he thought. In return, Georgie, very creatively, helps the dragon with his own fear. This is a sweet story about a magical adventure that results in friendship and, also, a story about overcoming nighttime fears. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of the book. 

The Good Egg by Jory John 

The pressure to be good is almost too much for the one egg who is always on his best behavior and trying to ensure that the rest of the dozen do the same. There are lots of egg-related puns and very humorous pictures. There's also an egg-cellent message that no one has to be perfect all of the time. I received a review copy of the book from the publisher. It publishes in February. 

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

Identical twins, Iris and Lark, are beginning fifth grade, but for the first time are in separate classes. Neither is happy about it and Iris, especially, is concerned for Lark whom she feels she needs to watch over and protect. As Iris navigates the independence that's been forced upon her she explores a mysterious shop that has opened in town. Friendship and empowerment are weaved into this story of mystery and magic. Thanks to the publisher, I received an advance reading copy of this book at the National Council for Teachers of English Annual Convention. This book publishes in February.

Right as Rain by Lindsey Stoddard

Rain and her family have moved from Vermont to New York City. They are all grieving over the death of Rain's older brother and Rain herself feels that she is at fault. The changes in Rain's life seem overwhelming, but new friends help her find her place in her community and find the courage to open up to both friends and family. This book shows how friends and family can support each other through challenges and conveys the importance of coming together as a community to help one another. Rain's story is heart-breaking, but it's also uplifting as she deals with change and the difficult parts of life. Thanks to the author and the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. This book publishes in February.

Monday, January 7, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. To find out what other bloggers are reading, check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. You can also follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Penguin Flies Home (Flight School) by Lita Judge

Penguin loves to fly (with the help of Flamingo), but he misses his penguin friends back home and wishes they could fly, too. When Penguin flies home, he realizes his friends don't have the same interest in flying that he does. Penguin and the other birds, who are also featured in the author's Flight School, are delightful characters who support and encourage each other. This is a sweet story with a message about following one's dreams and listening to one's heart. Thanks to the author for a review copy of the book. 

The New Kid by Jerry Craft

Jordan Banks is less than thrilled to be starting his seventh grade year at Riverdale Academy, a private school in a neighborhood outside of where he lives in Washington Heights. Jordan is not only the new kid, but he is one of the few students of color. As Jordan navigates his new middle school, he struggles to understand how he fits in at his new school while remaining true to himself. This book, a graphic novel, is both humorous and relatable and will spark important discussions about differences and race. Thanks to the publisher, I received an advance reader's copy at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. The book publishes in February.

The Unsung Hero of Bird Song, USA by Brenda Woods

When Gabriel is careless riding the new bike he got for his birthday, Meriwether, a black man from The Other Side of town, saves his life and a friendship is formed. This is a touching story of friendship, but it also gives insight into the time period after WWII and explores the ways in which black veterans were treated. It's also a book that emphasizes the importance of standing up for others. Thanks to the publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books, for a review copy of the book.

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

This is one of those middle grade novels that stays with you long after you finish reading it. It's the story of four kids trying to survive on the streets of a city in India. It's a very powerful story of survival and courage. Read more of my thoughts here