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...
Islandborn by Junot Díaz
Lola has to draw a picture of the place she was born as an assignment for her teacher, but she was too young when she left the island that was her first home and can't remember it. Lola asks her neighbors to tell her their memories so she can complete the assignment. With the help of family and friends, Lola pieces together information about the island to understand the place she is from. Even though not named, the author's background and the story indicate that the island is the Dominican Republic. This is a book about learning where one is from, but also the power of imagination. The story and illustrations capture the beauty of the island and the courage of those who faced struggles during hard times. A sweet book with gorgeous illustrations.
Fish Are Not Afraid of Doctors (Maud the Koala) by J. E. Morris
Maud has a fear of doctors and shots, but when her imagination wanders she forgets to be afraid. This book will be useful for kids who have a similar fear as it shows a strategy that will help. The book is also written in a comic book style which will appeal to early readers who want to read graphic novels. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Random House, for an advanced reader's copy of the book.
Breakout by Kate Messner
Two inmates escape from prison in a small, quiet, and usually safe, town in the Adirondacks. The story is told through the perspectives of three seventh-grade girls, two of them friends from the same school and one a girl who has just moved to town because her brother is in the prison. The book, told through various forms of writing, such as letters, poems, news clippings, and comics, is a compelling read. It explores prejudice and racism and can serve to open up conversations about these relevant issues. I think the structure of this book will attract readers, the plot will keep them engaged, and the struggles of the characters will make them think. This book does not publish until June, but it's one to keep an eye out for. Thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for sending my book review group, #BookExcursion, an advanced reader's copy.
The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet
This historical fiction book is set in Maine, pre-World War II. Augusta has only her French horn, about which she is very passionate, with her when she arrives at her grandmother's orphanage. She not only has to adjust to her new setting, but she is also struggling with feelings that she is not an American and the suspicions of others in the community because her father was born in Germany. Augusta is a determined character who strives to do the right thing to help others. She stands up for herself and those in her community. The book gives historical insight into the prejudices of the time period, but it's also a story about family and friendship. There is much to love about this book from a great storyteller. Look for the book in April. Thanks to the publisher, Candlewick, for sending an advance reading copy of this book, to my book review group, #BookExcursion.
Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen by Candace Fleming
This fiction story is based on the real life story of Strongheart, a dog actor in the 1920s. Director Larry Trimble was looking for a dog to make a star when he came across Strongheart at a Berlin Police Station. Strongheart was just what Larry was looking for, a gorgeous, intelligent, and dramatic dog. Strongheart's acting abilities are amazing, but he also proves to be a superstar for his helpfulness and loyalty. I know many readers who enjoy books featuring dogs and I think they will enjoy reading about this unique and interesting dog.