Monday, February 19, 2018

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.  For more information and to find out what other bloggers are reading check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.


Books I've Been Reading...


Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

This book is exactly what the title implies, a book about being kind. The message, that all the little kindnesses we do add up to something big, is sweet. The book will also give children ideas about what they can do at home and at school to be kind. The acts of kindness in the book are simple, yet powerful because each small act can lead to another and another. For anyone looking to inspire kindness, this book is a great choice.

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

In his familiar style, Peter H. Reynolds has given us another short and sweet, but meaningful and inspirational story. Jerome is a word collector who knows the power of those words. This book will spark discussions about favorite words and the use of words to empower and transform. I could read this book, as well as many of Peter's other books, over and over again, both for the message and the art. I am looking forward to seeing Peter H. Reynolds in person this April. He is one of the keynote speakers at the Massachusetts Reading Association Annual Conference.

Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold

I loved A Boy Called Bat and have been eager to read this second book in the series. Bat continues to take care of his skunk, Thor, and navigate his relationships with family and friends as someone who sees the world a little differently. As Bat is on the autism spectrum, he is a model for those readers who face similar challenges in their lives. He is a charming and funny character who learns important life lessons. Thanks to the publisher for an advanced reader's copy of the book. The book publishes in March.

Jake the Fake Stands Up by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach

Jake discovered his talents as a comedian in the first book in this series. In this book, the fame associated with being a comedian goes to his head. Jake learns something about friendship and fame. There's a lot of humor in both this book and the previous one, Jake the Fake Keeps it Real. The numerous illustrations provide additional hilarity, the kind that kids appreciate. For readers who enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this is an alternative to offer. I received an advanced reader's copy of this book, thanks to the publisher, at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference.

Monday, February 12, 2018

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.  For more information and to find out what other bloggers are reading check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Books I've Been Reading...


Nobody's Duck by Mary Sullivan

An alligator finds a duck on his lawn and is determined to find out who the duck belongs to. Alligator not only finds out the answer, but has some memorable experiences while on his quest. This book is told through dialogue and humorous illustrations. I will recommend this to readers who love the Elephant and Piggie books. Early readers will be able to read this book on their own and they will laugh their way through it.

Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli

In this wordless book, crocodile wakes up, gets ready for the day, and heads to work. Readers will wonder what type of job crocodile has and be surprised when they find out. The illustrations are detailed, with a bit of humor. With each read, I noticed something new in the illustrations. Both, the story and illustrations, are very clever.

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani 

Nisha and her family are forced to leave their home because of conflict as India splits into two countries, India and Pakistan, after gaining its independence from Britain. The story is told by Nisha as she writes letters to her mother who died giving birth to her and her twin brother. Nisha's letters show her confusion about what is happening in her country, her wish for things to stay as they are, and her longing for her mother. My heart broke in places and I was moved in others. The author gives some background information about this time period in history in her note at the end of the book. I received an advanced reader's copy of this book at NCTE thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers.

Monday, February 5, 2018

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.  For more information and to find out what other bloggers are reading check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.


Books I've Been Reading...


Elmore by Holly Hobbie

Elmore wishes he had friends, but, unfortunately, the other animals avoid him because of his quills. When Elmore comes up with a plan to put his quills to good use the animals start to see him in a different light. This book is a sweet story about friendship and accepting others. Elmore's resourcefulness is charming. The illustrations are warm and portray the emotions Elmore feels throughout the story. This is one I look forward to reading aloud to my first and second graders.

Absolutely Alfie and the Worst Best Sleepover by Sally Warner

This is the third book in the Absolutely Alfie series, but the first that I've read. Alfie is a second grader who is navigating the ups and downs of friendship. Lulu, who was once a close friend, is having a sleepover, but can only invite five of the thirteen girls in Alfie's class. Alfie really wants to be invited, but she also doesn't want anyone else to feel hurt or disappointed. Alfie's problem is true-to-life and relatable. She's a character who strives to do the right thing and with the support of her family is able to make things better between her and her friends. I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from the publisher at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference. The book publishes in March.

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Caroline is a lonely child. Her mother left her and her father one day and never returned. She has no friends at the school she attends in St. Thomas. Caroline is dealing with the hurt caused by her mother's abandonment, but also the feelings she has developed for Kalinda, a new girl at her school. Caroline, in spite of her struggles with peers and family, is a character who shows strength as she tries to make sense of her situation. Callender's writing is beautiful, bringing the setting of the the U.S. Virgins Islands to life. I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from the publisher at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference. The book publishes in March.

Monday, January 29, 2018

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.  For more information and to find out what other bloggers are reading check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

Books I've Been Reading...


Shelter by CĂ©line Claire

The animals prepare for the blizzard, but when the storm hits two strangers are left out in the cold. Although the strangers, two brother bears, are turned away from each door they go to for help, they show generosity and kindness when others are in need. This is a beautiful and heart-warming book that shows the importance of small acts of kindness.

Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla

Stanley, a comic fan, enters a trivia contest to win tickets to Comic Fest. Although he knows a lot about comics, Stanley is a kid who struggles with anxiety so the contest, a scavenger hunt through downtown San Diego, presents some additional challenges for him. Stanley shows readers what it's like to feel different from peers and that it's possible to cope in a world that can feel overwhelming. Stanley is also like every other kid his age dealing with relationships with friends and family. The plot, in which Stanley competes along with a friend to win the scavenger hunt, is engaging and interesting and will have readers cheering him on. Thanks to the author for sending my book review group, #bookexcursion, an advanced reader's copy of this book.

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

Natalie is a seventh grader whose mom has stopped going to work and spends her days in her bedroom. Natalie does not understand her mother's depression, but she has a plan that she hopes will make things normal again. Her plan involves an egg drop contest she has decided to enter along with her best friend and a classmate. Natalie is a true-to-life character whose attempts to cope with her mother's illness and understand her friendships is realistic.This book deals with a serious issue, but in a way that is hopeful and with some humor. I received an advanced reader's copy of this book, thanks to the publisher, Random House, at the National Council for Teachers of English Annual Convention. This book publishers in March. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

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.  For more information and to find out what other bloggers are reading check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.


What I've Been Reading...


Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty

Earth, who is both informative and entertaining, tells the story of her life. This book gives young readers an introduction to our planet and how it has evolved. It's also a celebration of the place we call home with a reminder to take care of it. 

The Rizzlerunk Club: Best Buds Under Frogs by Leslie Patricelli

Lily is nervous enough on her first day at her new school, but then she gets sick on the playground. One of her classmates, Darby, helps her out and the two become friends. Lily is glad to have a new friend, but their friendship is put to the test when Darby's best friend returns from London. This is a book about the ups and downs of friendship and learning to stand up for oneself. There is a lot of humor in the story, which is enhanced by the illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. This book publishes in February. I received an advanced reader's copy of this book at the International Literacy Association Conference thanks to the publisher, Candlewick.

The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown

The sweetest robot I've ever come across is back in a second book. After leaving the remote island that she lived on for a year, Roz has been repaired and is now working on a farm. Roz enjoys much about the farm, including the farmer's two children, but he also misses his son, a goose named Brightbill. Roz's journey is not just one of survival, but also one in which she strives to protect family and friends. The satisfying ending brings Roz full circle to the place where she feels she belongs. This book is publishing in March, later than it was first anticipated. Peter Brown has stated on Twitter that he has revised the book beyond the advanced reader copy. I think it will be interesting to read the final copy of the book to see the revisions. Thanks to the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, for sending my book review group, #bookexcursion, an advanced reader's copy of the book.

Monday, January 15, 2018

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.  For more information and to find out what other bloggers are reading check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

What I've Been Reading...


All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle

I love slice of life stories. I love them even more when the writing makes me pause to think about the choices the author made and then reread lines to immerse myself in the language and the words of the text. This is one of those books. It's also a book that celebrates the uniqueness of Cuba and will provide some background for readers. The author and illustrator also include notes at the end to tell more about Cuba and its antique cars. This is a beautiful picture book.

Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

Baby Monkey is absolutely adorable and amusing. He's a detective who solves five mysteries, one in each chapter of the book. The story is told through brief text and illustrations. Although there is a lot of repetition in each of the chapters, there is also variation in the text and illustrations that make it interesting. Selznick and Serlin have created a format that is a combination of the picture book and early chapter book. The book is two hundred pages long, but the simple, repetitive text and illustrations will appeal to beginning readers. This is a book I look forward to sharing with my first graders. I read an advanced reader's copy of this book that I received from the publisher at NCTE. Look for it to be published in February.

Rot, The Cutest in the World! by Ben Clanton

A mutant potato is a character I'm sure has not ever made an appearance in a picture book (or any book, for that matter) before, but you will wonder why not after reading this book. He may be a mutant, but he's charming, funny, cute, and will teach readers an important lesson about being oneself. This book is sure to be a hit with young readers who will be amused with the story, but also the dialogue and the illustrations.

The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1) by Sayantani DasGupta

This is a book, based on Bengali folktales, that is interesting, action-packed, and humorous. Kiranmala, the heroine of the story will win over readers who like reading about brave and spunky characters. Read more about my thoughts about this book here.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1) by Sayantani Dasgupta


Kiranmala has spent the past twelve years of her life in New Jersey, living as a typical sixth grader. Yes, she thinks her parents are weird, but don't many pre-teens believe this? Is it so weird that her parents make her dress as a princess EVERY Halloween? That they tell her stories of her real father, the underworld serpent king? Or that they seem to believe she is royalty?

Maybe Kiranmala's parents are a bit stranger than most. On her twelfth birthday, the day of Halloween, she finds out why and her entire world becomes very strange. Her parents disappear, leaving a mysterious note about a spell that has worn off. Two princes show up on her door step. A rakkosh demon is after her. Kiranmala, as it turns out, is an Indian princess after all.

The Serpent's Secret will transport readers to the imaginary world of Bengali folktales, with demons, evil snakes, and untrustworthy kings as Kiranamala goes on a search for her parents. With courage and humor, Kiranmala is an admirable, but fun heroine. Action fills the pages as Kiranmala's quest places her in situations in which she must battle evil and escape the magical powers of those that want to do her and her friends harm. Enjoying this story is possible even without having familiarity with the folktales on which it is based. The author provides background information about the mythical characters that appear in the book in an end note.

I received an advanced reader's copy of this book at the National Council of Teachers of English annual Convention, thanks to the publisher, Scholastic. This book publishes in February.