Monday, December 10, 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. 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...


Best Friends in the Universe by Stephanie Watson

Hector and Louie write a book featuring themselves as best friends. When Hector reveals Louie's secret, the book they are writing goes awry and soon it is titled, "Worst Friends in the Universe." As stories of friendship go, Hector and Louie don't stay mad at each other too long. With two kids writing and drawing themselves into their own book, this is a creative story with humor kids will love. 

I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison

A little girl celebrates the spirit of the season as she walks through the city with her mother. The sights and sounds bring her joy, as does giving to others. With onomatopoeia and beautiful illustrations depicting a snowy day before the holidays, this is a lively and festive read. The message about kindness and giving can lead to discussions about the true spirit of the holidays. Thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for a review copy of the book.

Freya and Zoose by Emily Butler

Freya, a rockhopper penguin, hides away in a hot-air balloon so she can secretly join the crew on an expedition to the North Pole. She is surprised when she discovers a mouse named Zoose is also along for the journey. Freya and Zoose are stuck with each other and although neither one expected the other they learn to get along. This is an adventurous tale of friendship and survival. Thanks to the publisher, Random House, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reading copy of the book. It publishes in January.

The Whispers by Greg Howard

Riley wants to find his mother and he thinks the Whispers, magical creatures in the woods that he has heard stories about from his mother, can lead him to her. Riley is also struggling to understand his attraction to boys which he fears is what caused his mother to disappear. As Riley takes a journey to find his mother, the true story of what happened is revealed to the reader. This is a touching story exploring grief, family, and friendship. I received an advance reader's copy of the book from the publisher at the National Council of Teachers of English Convention.

Monday, December 3, 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. 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...


The Girl With a Mind For Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca

Despite challenges due to her race, Raye Montague achieved her dream of becoming an engineer. This is an inspirational story of determination. The end pages of the book provide additional information about Raye's life.


Mapping Sam by Joyce Hesselberth

Sam takes a nighttime journey and in the process teaches readers about different kinds of maps. The book features a variety of maps and the author includes a bit more information about each at the end of the book. Part informational and part narrative, readers will learn from this book and also be amused by the adventurous, curious cat. This book will be helpful when teaching young students about the uses of maps.


The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk

This book gives an introduction to the sun and the jobs that it does. It's both factual and humorous. The illustrations are really amusing, too.


Click by Kayla Miller

All of Olive's friends have formed groups to participate in her school's annual variety show. Olive hasn't been invited to be a part of anyone's group and is feeling left out and unsure of how she fits in among her friends. With the help of a supportive family member, Olive learns about the challenges of friendship and gains confidence. The book, written in graphic novel format, is relatable and will help readers see possibilities for navigating the challenges of friendship. I received an advance reading copy of this book thanks to the publisher, HMH Books for Young Readers. This book publishes in January.




The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have been traveling around the country in a school bus for five years. They live on the road to leave their past, the loss of Coyote's mother and sisters, behind. When Coyote learns that the park in her hometown is going to be demolished, she knows she must return to keep the promise she made to her mother and dig up a memory box buried before her mother and sisters died. The passengers Coyote and Rodeo pick up along the way not only become friends, but help Coyote on her journey. This is a book that will tug at your heart strings. It's a story about dealing with grief and letting go of the past. It's also a story that shows we all need help at times in this world and we can also be the help that others need. Engaging and beautifully written, this book draws you in and sticks with you after you've finished it. I received an advance reader's copy of the book thanks to the publisher.

Monday, November 26, 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. 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...

Polar Bear Island by Lindsay Bonilla

Polar Bear Island is only for polar bears and that is just the way the mayor likes it. When an adventurous and creative penguin arrives, the mayor realizes the benefits of being inclusive and welcomes others to the island.

Max and the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce

This is a book to hand fans of Big Nate and illustrated chapter books, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid. There's adventure, humor, and a message about achieving one's dreams. It's very entertaining. Read more of my thoughts here.

Two Books to Look for in 2019


Operation Frog Effect by Sarah Scheerger

Eight fifth-graders learn their voices have power and make change in their lives and the community. The story is told through various formats including letters, journal entries, poems, and comics. This book has both interesting characters and a meaningful message. Thanks to the publisher, Random House, for an advance reader's copy of the book. It publishes in February.

The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

The students of Room 117 are the "unteachables," the students who every teacher has given up on. Mr. Kermit has been assigned as their teacher because the superintendent of schools wants to drive him out before he can earn early retirement. Although Mr. Kermit was once a fabulous teacher, he is now simply counting down the days to retirement. Both the students and Mr. Kermit try to remain unengaged in any teaching or learning, but they all begin to realize that they are more capable than they ever imagined. It's both a funny and endearing story. Thanks to the publisher, Harper Collins, I received an advance reader's copy at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Max and the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce Book Review

Before I even opened and started to read Max and the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce, I had readers in mind to recommend it to. The author's Big Nate series is well-loved by many students at my school. Illustrated novels are also a big hit with readers, especially with those who are more reluctant to read. Max and the Midknights is a middle grade novel that is illustrated with comic strip-like panels. Although not a true comic or graphic novel, those readers who enjoy such a format will be attracted to this book.

This book will appeal to kids because of the author and the format, but it's also highly entertaining. Max wants to be a knight, but for various reasons, including the fact that she is a girl, this seems like a dream that will never come true. But, when her uncle is kidnapped by the evil king and she embarks on a quest to save him, she has an opportunity to prove her skills as a knight. It's not only her uncle who needs saving, but the entire town of Byjovia. There is lots of action, adventure, and humor. The setting, which is the middle ages, will also capture readers' imagination.

I predict this book will be one that becomes as popular as the Big Nate series and other illustrated and graphic novels.

Thanks to the publisher, Random House, for providing my book review group, 
#BookExcursion, with an advance reading copy. 
The book publishes in January.

Monday, November 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. 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...

Little Fox in the Snow by Jonathan London

A little fox leaves his den on a snowy day in search of food. Through beautiful, poetic text, London shows what life is like in the forest for a woodland animal trying to survive. The book is written as a narrative, but it gives insight into the realities of our natural world. The illustrations are lovely.

Horrible Harry Says Goodbye by Suzy Kline

The first Horrible Harry book was published in 1988. After thirty years in second and third grade, Harry is moving on to fourth grade, but in another town. Doug can't imagine fourth grade without his friend and Harry avoids talking about it. But as horrible as it feels, Harry must say goodbye. This book is reminiscent of earlier stories as it makes reference to objects and events from previous books in the series. It's a sad farewell for Horrible Harry fans, but the book also ends on a hopeful note. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for a review copy of the book.

Blended by Sharon Draper

Isabella isn't sure where she belongs. Her parents are divorced so she spends one week at her mom's house and the other at her dad's house. Her parents don't get along very well, but both are very protective of her and their time with her. Her mother is white and her father is black which also causes Isabella to question her identity. Isabella is figuring out what it means to be part of a blended family, but she is also grappling with issues related to race after an incident at school. This book explores tough issues that are relevant to young readers' lives, through the eyes of an amazing, relatable character.

A Book to Look for in 2019


How Do You Do? by Larissa Theule

Water Buffalo and Crane are having a hot, ho-hum kind of day until Goat comes along. Suddenly the day is a little brighter. The message of this book: friends can help us see the world in new ways and turn ordinary days into extraordinary ones. Gorgeous illustrations. Thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for sending my book review group, #BookExcursion, a review copy. The book publishes in January.

Monday, November 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. 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...

Got to Get to Bear's by Brian Lies

Izzy gets a note from Bear asking her to come to his home at once. Izzy sets out even though snowflakes have started to fall from the sky. As the storm gets worse, more and more friends happen by to help Izzy get to Bear's house. When Izzy finally gets to Bear's she gets a surprise that will also delight young readers. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. Each of the woodland animals is clad in a sweater, hat or scarf as they journey through the treacherous storm. The details in the artwork beautifully capture the chilliness of winter, as well as the warmth of Bear's home. This is an adventurous tale of friendship, determination, and teamwork. 

Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs by Melissa Stewart

This may just be my favorite book by Melissa Stewart. It features animals who could be considered the underdogs, including those who are small, slow, weak, or shy. Readers will be intrigued by the animals that appear in the book, especially those that they are less familiar with. They'll also learn how these animals' attributes help them survive. This book celebrates animal underdogs, but the message can be applied to the human species, as well.

No Slam Dunk by Mike Lupica

Sports fans will enjoy the play-by-play basketball action in this book. Wes loves basketball and strives to get better, but also to be a good teammate. Dinero, one of his teammates, is more concerned with showing off his basketball skills than being a team player. Wes is also dealing with changes at home. His father, a Navy SEAL, has returned from Afghanistan, but he's not acting at all like the dad he was before he left. As Wes works through challenges both on and off the court, he learns about teamwork, family, and friendship. Although there is enough action to entertain sports enthusiasts, this book also offers a heart-warming story about a boy navigating the hurdles that life has thrown him. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for a review copy of the book.

A Book to Look for in 2019

One-Third Nerd by Gennifer Choldenko

Liam's two younger sisters drive him a little crazy. Dakota is always conducting scientific experiments. Izzy, who has Down syndrome, is always hugging people. The family adores their dog, Cupcake, but he won't stop peeing in their apartment. Their landlord tells them either the dog goes or they will be evicted. Liam, Dakota, and Izzy refuse to give up Cupcake. They are determined to find a plan that will work so they can keep both their dog and their home. The siblings have a lot of personality and, although their relationship has its bumps, they show they care about each other. Liam's story is also relatable as he deals with challenges of divorce, financial hardship, and friendship. With humor and illustrations, this is a fun read, but it's also a sweet story about siblings who support each other. I received an advance reader's copy of the book at the International Literacy Association Annual Conference, thanks to the publisher.

Monday, November 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. 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...

Mission Defrostable (Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast) by Josh Funk

As the previous two books in the series, the setting of Mission Defrostable is the inside of a fridge. This time there's a big, chilly problem - someone has turned the temperature way down and the entire contents of the fridge are at risk. When Agent Asparagus asks them to join a mission to find the villain, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast accept the job. Agent Asparagus leads them to the freezer, but she suddenly disappears and Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast discover they have been duped. There is fun and adventure in this book, but it also highlights kindness and friendship as enemies turn into pals.

The Once and Future Geek (Camelot Code, #1) by Mari Mancusi

This book alternates between the 21st Century and the medieval times of King Arthur. Sophie and Stu are expert gamers who spend a lot of their time playing Camelot's Honor. What they know as a game soon becomes reality. When a valuable sword is accidentally dropped in a well, Sophie, Stu, and Arthur begin a time traveling adventure. Arthur, who is transported to the future, doesn't want to return to Camelot. Sophie and Stu know that if they don't get him back to the past, not only will history change but so will the world as they know it. This is an adventurous, fun twist on the legend of King Arthur. Thanks to the author for sending an advance reader's copy of the book to my book review group, #BookExcursion. The book publishes this month.

A Book to Look for in 2019

Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

Ruby and her mother have just moved to Vermont, another stop on their search for a "forever home." Ruby prefers to be invisible, hiding behind her bangs and talking as little as possible. She is unhappy that her mother has dragged her to Vermont, but what's even worse is that they just arrived and her mother is already in trouble with the law. Ruby also wants nothing to do with the wax museum project her class is doing because she'll have to stand up and talk in front of others. When Ruby meets a neighbor, Abigail, a recluse and outcast, she is intrigued and finds out that there is more to this woman's story than the gossip around town suggests. As Ruby unravels Abigail's story, she learns the importance of standing up for oneself and others. Ruby is one of those characters readers will root for as she finds her courage and navigates the challenges of family and friendship. Her story is empowering and inspiring, showing readers that it's possible to move forward and that one's voice has power. Thanks to the author for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy of the book. This is one to keep an eye out for when it publishes in February.