Monday, March 27, 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.

My Reading This Week...


Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

Argyle Fox is frustrated when his plans to play outside are ruined because of the wind. When his mother encourages him to think of something else to do, Argyle finds a solution. This book highlights problem solving and perseverance. It also shows how to turn around a situation that is not ideal. The illustrations are detailed and colorful. The animal characters will appeal to my young readers and I think they will relate to and learn from the message.

Bee & Me by Alison Jay

A little girl is reading in her room when a bee flies in through an open window. The girl befriends the bee and feeds it. Soon the bee multiplies in size and the girl takes a journey atop the bee's back as it flies over the city spreading pollen. This fanciful story is told without words, but the last page of the book provides some brief information about the importance of bees and how to help them. This book has beautiful and interesting illustrations. I think many young readers will appreciate this book, but I think it will especially engage the imaginations of my first graders.

The Gumazing Gum Girl! Gum Luck by Rhode Montijo

Gum Girl is back in her second book. When Gabby chews gum she becomes a superhero whose abilities to stretch and stick allow her to save the day. Gabby has promised her parents that she won't chew gum, but situations that require her help keep occurring and there is a villain out to get her. Gum Girl's adventures are a little silly, but amusing and I think this book will appeal to my young readers. The book has many illustrations and short chapters and will be one I recommend to my second and third grade readers who are transitioning to chapter books. 

Notable Novel...


I don't often share the novels I read that are non-children's literature in my Monday reading list, but I make exceptions when I am particularly fond of the book. This is one of those novels that I greatly enjoyed and would recommend to others.

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Ginny is a teenager with autism. She is also in foster care, but desperately wants to return to her birth mother so she can be reunited with her Baby Doll. As more of Ginny's life before she was placed with her foster parents is revealed, it becomes clear why Ginny would plot to return to an unsafe situation. Ginny is a unique and interesting character. She makes one wrong decision after another, but you'll want to root for her anyway. The book gives insight into a character who sees the world a little different. This is a story of a girl finding her voice and her place in the world. It also shows that even an unconventional and imperfect family can become one's Forever Home.

Monday, March 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...

Charlotte the Scientist is Squished by Carmille Andros

Charlotte the Scientist has so many brothers and sisters that she doesn't have enough room to work on her science experiments. Using the scientific method, Charlotte tries to solve her problem. This is a great book to introduce young students to the scientific method. Charlotte is also persistent and flexible in her problem-solving which makes this a book that would be useful in teaching about the mindsets for learning.

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan

This is book is about a girl finding her voice while trying to manage friendships and figure out how her Muslim and American cultures fit together. The book is also one that shows the power of community. Amina's experiences are relatable while also providing insight into a culture that some readers will be familiar with and others will learn from. This is a lovely book that will help grow compassion.

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

Bat's mother brings home a baby skunk that has been rescued and Bat immediately forms a bond with the animal. Bat tries to convince his mom to let him keep the skunk who he names Thor. Although it's never directly stated in the book, it seems as if Bat has autism. Bat is a funny, heartwarming character with a unique perspective on life. The book has a gentle message about being oneself. This is a middle grade novel I quite enjoyed and I have written a more detailed review here.

CatStronauts: Mission Moon by Drew Brockington

The CatStronauts are sent on a mission to the moon to solve the energy crisis that threatens to leave the world in the dark. This is a pretty cute graphic novel about a group of determined cats who become heroes. There is not a lot of action as there is in other graphic novels my students tend to read, but the students I have shared it with have enjoyed it. I think they are amused reading about cats traveling through space.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Boy Called Bat Book Review


A Boy Called Bat has been on my to-be-read list since last fall. Walden Pond Press is currently highlighting the book on a blog tour, which piqued my interest even more. I was absolutely delighted to win a signed copy of the book through a giveaway on one of the tour stops, the Bluestocking Thinking blog. I read the book the same night it arrived. The book is certainly a wonderful middle grade read.

In the book, Bat's mother surprises him with a baby skunk that has been orphaned and is need of care until it can be sent to an animal rescue center. Bat, an animal lover, immediately bonds with the skunk who he names Thor. Bat is determined to convince his mom to let him keep Thor as a pet, even writing to a skunk expert in order to seek his approval. Bat's adoration for Thor is heartwarming. The interaction between boy and animal will be appreciated by readers who feel a similar love for animals. 

From the beginning of this book, Bat's behaviors indicate that he is somewhat different from his peers. Although not stated in the book, Bat appears to be a child with autism. Through his relationship with his sister and classmates, the challenges Bat faces with fitting in and making friends becomes clear. The story tells about a slice of Bat's life, showing that it's possible to walk one's own unique path in life. Bat's story can help young readers to understand and empathize with others who may be different from themselves. 

A Boy Called Bat is a book about friendship that conveys a gentle message to be oneself. Bat is a sweet, funny character and it was hard to close the book on him. Although the ending was positive and satisfying, it was not all neatly tied up so maybe the future will bring more engaging and charming stories about Bat. 

Monday, March 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...

One Proud Penny by Randy Siegel

Told from the perspective of a penny, this story is both imaginative and informative. A penny tells what has happened to him throughout his life, such as where he has traveled and the places he's been left lost and forgotten. Interspersed throughout the book, are facts about the penny. The illustrations are unique and give the book humor. This book would make a great read aloud, especially in the younger grades when students are learning about money. The book includes end pages explain more about the history of the penny.

Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes by Mary Lambert

This book was so much more than I expected. The story is one of a girl, Annabelle, who is dealing with her dysfunctional family. The fact that Annabelle's mother is a hoarder makes the story interesting. Annabelle was a character I just loved - her voice is true to life of that of a kid, she is funny, and her relationship with her sister is heartwarming. The topic of this book is a serious one, but it's addressed with humor and presented in a way that makes Annabelle's problems relatable. 

The Matchstick Castle by Keir Graff

Brian's summer is extremely boring until he and his cousin discover a very unusual house in the woods they have been forbidden to enter. Brian finds himself in the middle of an adventure that is anything but boring. With its quirky characters and eccentric plot this was a fun read. It was also interesting to imagine the house that is unusual, but also a little mysterious.

Monday, March 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...

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

The story follows a girl and her father hiking through the Grand Canyon as it provides information about the land formation, both from the present and the past. The illustrations are beautiful and give a feel for the vastness of the canyon. With all the information presented, this is a book that may require multiple reads. The end pages include additional information about the Grand Canyon and a note from the author includes information about Jason Chin's research.

Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima

Kelp is born in the ocean, but he doesn't seem to fit in with the other narwhals in his family. When Kelp ventures on land he discovers creatures that look just like him and he wonders where he really belongs. This sweet book has a message about acceptance and finding one's place in the world. The illustrations are lovely, too. The rainbows and unicorns and the sparkles on the cover give the book a cheery tone.

Bird & Squirrel On Fire by James Burks

I was quite pleased and excited to win a copy of this book, as well as Bird & Fire on the Run, thanks to Graphix Books. The Bird and Squirrel is a popular series among many of my students. This fourth book was scooped up within minutes after placing it on the graphic novel shelf. As with the others in the series, this book is cute, funny, and action packed. Even though Bird and Squirrel are back at home they have many adventures in the forest as Bird convinces Squirrel to have a party with him. I loved the surprise ending.

One Amazing Elephant by Linda Oatman High

This story alternates between the perspective of twelve-year-old Lily and Queenie Grace, a circus elephant. The two form a friendship when Lily's grandfather, who was also the caretaker of Queenie Grace, dies. This story, sad and sweet, shows the bonds between humans and animals and the importance of family. The story also draws attention to the issue of animal cruelty and the author's note at the end gives information about the mistreatment of elephants. I think Queenie Grace's story will warm the hearts of my readers who gravitate towards books about animals.