Monday, April 23, 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 the posts of other bloggers at #imwayr on Twitter.

What I've Been Reading...

A Chip Off the Old Block by Jody Jensen Shaffer

Rocky wants to do something special like others in his family, but he is told he's just a pebble. Rocky goes on a journey across the U.S. to find a way to make a difference. With a hero to root for and lots of puns, this is a fun book. Young readers can also learn about rock formations. Great lesson about never being too small to matter.

Power Forward (Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream) by Hena Khan

Zayd loves basketball and is determined to improve his game so he can impress his coach and move up to the gold team. Zayd's parents prefer that he practice the violin rather than basketball and he gets grounded from basketball when he lies to them. In spite of these obstacles, Zayd will not give up on his dream. This book is the first in a new chapter book series published by Salaam Reads. This book will appeal to sports fans and is accessible for those readers who need shorter books. Zayd is a fourth-grader with interests and problems that young readers will be able to relate to. The story also shows a glimpse of Zayd's family life, giving insight into his Pakistani-American culture. This is a series I am excited to share with middle grade readers who like to read realistic stories centering on sports. Thanks to the publisher for sending my book review group, #BookExcursion, an advance reader's copy of the book.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Mia is a ten-year-old helping her parents manage the Calivista Motel, owned by Mr. Yao, a crooked business man, who takes advantage of the family's financial situation. This book gives insight into what it was like to be a Chinese immigrant in the 1990's, but also addresses issues related to poverty and racism. Because she is poor, Chinese, and learning English, Mia faces challenges fitting in with her peers at school. Mia is also conflicted because her mother would rather she improve her math skills than spend time reading and writing, but Mia wants to perfect her English and be a writer. Mia has many admirable qualities. She is resourceful, dedicated to her family, and stands up for what she believes is right. She proves the usefulness of her English and writing skills when she makes a positive difference in the lives of others through writing. There are many layers to this story, but what I loved the most is that it shows the power of community and the importance of caring about others, even those who may be strangers. This book is part autobiographical as the author spent a chunk of her childhood helping her parents manage motels. This is an engaging story with a main character who will serve as a role model for middle grade readers. Thanks to the publisher, Arthur A. Levine Books, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy of the book.


  1. These all sound good, but I've been especially looking forward to Front Desk. Community is already an important topic all on it's own, but especially so when coupled with issues associated with immigration. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!

  2. We had friends a long time ago who ran a motel. What a hard, hard job it was. Front Desk sounds great, Lisa. And so does A Chip Off The Old Block. It's fun to see that old term used. Thanks!

  3. I loved Front Desk on so many levels most especially because she persevered in her writing and saw how it could bring about change. Definitely a story that will stay with me long after I read it. Looking forward to reading Power Forward!

  4. Can't wait to read Front Desk. Sounds like the characters are memorable and they help readers grapple with important issues.

  5. I can't wait to read Front Desk! I have it, but it's in a room I rarely go in so I need to remember to get in there!

  6. Wow--I had not heard of Front Desk, but it sounds like a must read!

    Happy reading this week :)

  7. It looks like you had a fabulous reading week. Someone talked about Front Desk last week I think, and from what they said, and your remarks here, it is high on my list of books to read.

  8. These are all unfamiliar titles to me, thank you for bringing them to my attention! :)

  9. These are all new-to-me! I want to find a copy of Front Desk! Thank you for sharing!