Monday, February 20, 2017

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...

Pax and Blue by Lori Richmond

Pax is a good friend to Blue, a pigeon, bringing him toast every morning. One morning when Blue follows Pax and gets lost in the subway, Pax knows just what to do to help him. The story is short, some of it told through phrases and dialogue, but it is a meaningful one about friendship and helping those who need it. I think early elementary readers will enjoy this story and it will spark thoughts about kindness and empathy. 

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

I received an ARC of this book at the NCTE conference in the fall. The lives of four very different middle schoolers intersect by chance one afternoon. Virgil is a shy boy who wants to find the courage to befriend Valencia. Valencia, who is deaf, is confident, but without friends. Kaori is the neighborhood psychic and Chet the neighborhood bully. As their lives intersect, friendships are formed. The characters are unique and interesting and the plot is engaging. Readers who have ever felt different or wanted to stand up for themselves will be able to relate to this story. It also speaks to the fact that the universe can bring us unexpected surprises. The book is being released in March.

Monday, February 13, 2017

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...


Bunny's Book Club by Annie Silvestro

This is one of a few books that I read this week that celebrate reading. A book-loving bunny finds a way to sneak inside the library so he can get books to bring back to his home. His book joy soon spreads to his animal friends who want books of their own to read. Bunny and his friends show readers how engaging and joyful reading can be. Both the story and the illustrations are heart-warming and sweet. This is a story that I think will help entice readers into the world of books.

Dragon Was Terrible by Kelly DiPucchio

Dragon is terrible, actually super terrible. He stomps on flowers, chases fuzzy yellow ducklings, and even TP's the castle. The villagers want someone to tame the dragon. It almost seems impossible until a boy comes along with a storybook. The dragon's antics, the illustrations, and the narration all help to make this a very humorous tale. This fun read also has a great message about the power of story.

Hug This Book! by Barney Saltzberg

This ode to books is all about the many things you can do with a book. You can read the book to a hippo, wrap it in a sweater, or kiss and hug and smell it. Suggestions are humorous, but also highlight the love that readers feel for books. The illustrations are bright and whimsical. Any book lover will relate to the message of this book.

Gasparilla's Gold by Sandra Markle

I received this book from children's book author Augusta Scattergood who posted a giveaway opportunity on her blog. Gus is dealing with the recent death of his brother and is sent to an island in Florida to live with his aunt for the summer. Gus becomes involved in trying to protect animals in his aunt's wildlife refuge and search for a treasure. There is mystery and lots of adventure. Animal lovers especially will find the plot interesting. There is also factual information about the animals that appear in the story at the end of the book. 

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander

As a bonus, Augusta also sent me an ARC of Kwame Alexander's newest book. In this book, Kwame gives advice for living life inspired by the rules for sports. Along with rules which read as poems, such as "Even if you're afraid, when you get the chance shoot, launch your best shot" the book includes stories of success and inspirational quotes from famous athletes. Illustrations and photographs, mostly related to basketball, add interest to the book. The inspiration and motivation within this book will appeal to sports fan.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Reading Days


Thank you to Ruth Ayres at Ruth Ayres Writes. She hosts a link-up every week that focuses on the reasons we have to celebrate.

Today I am celebrating found time. A blizzard last Thursday brought over a foot of snow, but also two snow days that gave me some unexpected free time. For me, there is never a question as to how I can spend found time. A snow day means plenty of time to read. I consider this no-guilt reading. Since I would normally be at school and not able to do chores or errands, I don't have to feel guilty about spending time reading instead of doing those things.  With not just one, but two snow days, I had lots of time for reading.


I read an engaging, insightful novel called Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran. This story addresses immigration and motherhood and tells the story of two women, one living in the United States illegally after crossing the Mexican border and another who longs for a child. I had a hard time putting this one down. I also read a middle grade novel, an ARC of Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly that I received at NCTE, but still hadn't gotten to read yet. The characters are four very different middle school-aged kids whose lives intersect by chance, resulting in new friendships. I am in the midst of a professional read, How the Brain Learns to Read by David Sousa, which I am discussing with a group of literacy educators on Voxer. With my found time, I was able to read more of this book. I also started another professional read that I have on my #Mustreadin2017 list, Literacy Conversations in the Classroom: Deepening Understanding of Nonfiction and Narrative by Diane Barone and Rebecca Barone. Both professional books are enhancing my knowledge of literacy teaching.

My found time, with which I was able to get lots of reading accomplished, was definitely time well spent. The found time that I had to spend shoveling, on the other hand, did not quite measure up on the satisfaction scale. With additional snow possibly coming for Monday, there is always the chance of another snow day filled with reading, but I'm not quite so sure my back would appreciate that!

Monday, February 6, 2017

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...


Nope! A Tale of First Flight by Drew Sheneman

It's time for baby bird to leave his nest, but he declares, "Nope!" because he's not going. He looks down from his nest and imagines the dangers that may be waiting for him on the ground. With a little help from mama bird, baby bird changes his "nope" to "yep." This is a mostly wordless picture book, with the expressions of the birds telling most of the story. It's a funny, sweet tale about the fear of trying something new.

Cody and the Rules of Life by Tricia Springstubb

This is the third book in the "Cody" series and, as in the previous two, Cody learns life lessons to navigate the ups and downs of growing up. Cody is convinced by her friend Pearl to trade her special toy, but soon finds she misses Gremlin terribly. When Cody secretly steals Gremlin back, she begins to wonder about whether or not she's done the right thing. Cody is a delightful character, not always making the right decision, but always showing her love for life, family, and friends. The characters are true to life and the issues that Cody faces are those that early readers will find relatable. This chapter book would be one suitable for readers just transitioning to longer texts.     

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Julia, a middle schooler, is unhappy with the fact that she is short for her age. She is also unhappy about the fact that her mother makes her audition for The Wizard of Oz and, along with her younger brother, she is cast as a munchkin. Julia must spend her summer rehearsing, but she soon starts to enjoy herself and take her role in the play very seriously. Julia discovers much about herself through her experiences. Julia is funny and determined. The cast of quirky characters and the plot that gives insight into the experience of acting in a play make it an interesting read. This is a heart-warming slice-of-life story about how new experiences and supportive role models can help one change perspective and grow in self-confidence.