Monday, November 28, 2016

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.

I attended NCTE in Atlanta this month where I spent three days learning from leaders in the field of literacy. The event was energizing and joyous as I got to network with others who share my passion for the teaching of literacy. When I returned home, my head was swimming with ideas and thoughts, but I also had a duffle bag filled with books. I met many wonderful authors who were willing to take the time to sign books, pose for photos, and chat about their work.  Now that I am home, I am reading my way through the stack of books I accumulated at the conference. 



What I Read This Week...

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louise Braille by Jen Bryant

In the Author's Note at the end of this book, Jen Bryant states that she wrote this book because other biographies of Louise Braille did not capture the essence of what it felt like to be the young inventor. Bryant brings Louise to life in this picture book in a way that helps readers to imagine both his experiences and his emotions as he lost his sight, yearned to read, and developed an alphabet that brought great change to many people's lives. The story of Louise is interesting and inspiring.

The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey

The big bad wolf is out to prove he is not a bad guy. Along with his buddies, such as Mr. Piranha and Mr. Shark, who are also misunderstood he is on a mission to do some good. This is a quick, fun read written in a graphic format. There is also some gross humor included in the book. I imagine the ridiculous, but interesting plot will be entertaining for many of my readers.

Overboard! (Survivor Diaries) by Terry Lynn Johnson

This is the first book in a new series that will be published this spring. In this chapter book, Travis is on a whale-watching tour when the boat capsizes. He is separated from his family, but discovers a girl around his age who is also trying to survive the freezing water. Together they must find their way to safety. I think this book will be an appealing read for many of my reluctant readers because it's an exciting and adventurous story, but also because it's a rather short read.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

This chapter book tells the story of Nikolas, who found the village of Elfham and became Father Christmas. This is a very imaginative story with lots of adventure, but at times it can be dark. The ending was rather sweet with a message to believe in wonder and magic. It's a unique read for the Christmas season.

Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley

I loved Gertie within the first few pages of this book. She made me laugh throughout the book. Many of the decisions she made in the book were not the best, but her passion for greatness made her an endearing character. The author, Kate Beasley, does a wonderful job of capturing the voice and emotions of a child. This was a fun and well-written read. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

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 Read This Week...

The last two weeks have been a little light on reading for me. I did manage to get in one chapter book, which was Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin. I had put off reading this one for a little bit even though I have read nothing but positive reviews about it. Once I started I found myself reflecting back on that day, but I was also eagerly anticipating how the author would bring the book to a close in a way that would bring positive light to a very painful event in our history. As others have commented, there is inspiration at the end of the book. I loved the message about unity at the end and what it shows about how we can face tragedy. I liked how the author intersected the lives of the four characters, from whose perspective the book was told, both at the beginning and the end of the book. In addition to this book, I read a couple of picture books that I just adored. 

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield

This picture book is beautiful and inspirational. The story is based on the childhood of astronaut Chris Hadfield. In the book, Chris spends a lot of time pretending to be an astronaut. Chris is pictured playing alongside his dog, who is sometimes the alien and at other times a co-pilot. When it is time to go to bed, Chris would rather continue to play because he has important work to do as an “astronaut," but also because he is afraid of the dark. Terry and Eric Fan bring a child’s imagination to life with their illustrations of the dark in which shadows appear to be aliens. Chris overcomes his fear after watching the landing of Apollo 11 on a neighbor’s television. He realizes that the universe is so much darker than his room and that he’s not alone in the dark because he has his dreams. The end pages of the book tell about Chris Hadfield’s life and how his dream of being an astronaut came true. In a wonderful message from Chris at the end of the book he writes, “ The dark is for dreams – and the morning is for making them come true.” This is a wonderful picture book to show readers the possibility of overcoming fears and dreaming big. 

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems

Mo Willems has never written a book that I did not love. Nanette is a frog with a big responsibility because today is the day she must get the baguette. She exclaims, “You bet!” and an excited and confident frog is on her way to complete the errand. Unfortunately, Nanette’s lack of self-control gets the better of her and she eats the baguette before it ever gets home. Nanette is full of worry about what her mom will think – she frets, she sweats, she even thinks about moving to Tibet. Mom gives Nanette a surprise that turns her day around. There is much to love about this book. The silly rhymes – who know there were so many words that rhymed with baguette – bring humor to the plot. The illustrations are wonderful as well, containing details that add to the humor. In spite of all the silly humor, Nanette is charming and the story is an endearing one about forgiveness and mistakes.