Monday, June 25, 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 on Twitter at #imwayr.

What I've Been Reading...


The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs by Kate Messner

A few weeks ago I attended a presentation and signing with author Kate Messner at An Unlikely Story Bookstore (one of my favorite bookstores, located in Massachusetts and owned by Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney). I knew she has authored quite a few books, but I was reminded of what a versatile author she is. Her research and writing process are amazing. Although she was on a book tour for her middle grade novel, Breakout, I picked up a copy of The Brilliant Deep, a nonfiction picture book about the coral reefs and Ken Nedimyer who had an idea to restore them. This book provides information about the reefs, but also shows how one person can make a positive difference for our environment. Gorgeous, informative, and inspirational.

Crunch, The Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap

I read this to some classes of first graders the last week of school and they loved it. Crunch is a very shy dinosaur who needs some coaxing to come out of the bushes. With some participation from readers, Crunch reveals himself, showing readers that he's not just shy, but also entertaining.

Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick

A girl's day starts very differently when her class has a substitute teacher. This book is told through a series of letters the girl writes to her substitute and some of the things that get mixed up. Kids will be able to relate to this book and it may also assuage some anxiety about having a substitute teacher.

We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Phoebe is anxious about starting school and very surprised to learn that her classmates are not dinosaurs like her, but children. Because children are so tasty, Phoebe has a difficult time making friends. This is a humorous book with a twist at the end. School just got out for the summer, but I am eager to read this one to students at the beginning of next year.

Junior Ninja Champion: The Competition Begins by Catherine Hapka

A group of kids practice their ninja skills and tryout for Junior Ninja Champion, a reality show featuring an obstacle competition. The kids' love for ninja sports has brought them together and they all have the determination to make it to the finals. Although they are in competition, they work together and support one another. This book will be a good addition to the basket of sports books in my library, especially since it will be a good option for students who have an interest in less traditional types of sports and competitions.

Monday, June 18, 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 on Twitter at #imwayr.

What I've Been Reading...


Bear's Scare by Jacob Grant

Bear, living with his stuffed friend Ursa, keeps his house very tidy. When he discovers a spider web among his books, he and Ursa go on a search to find the uninvited house guest. This sweet story of unlikely friendship between a bear and a spider conveys a subtle message about making premature judgments. The illustrations are quirky and fun with details that are revealed to the reader, but not Bear. Thanks to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for sending my book review group, #BookExcursion, a copy of this book.

Off & Away by Cale Atkinson

Jo's dad delivers the bottled messages that gather in the sea to those who they belong to. When Jo's dad gets sick and can't make the deliveries, Jo must face her fears and set out to sea herself. This is a unique story with equally unique and whimsical illustrations. It's also an inspirational story about facing fears and realizing that our imaginations can make things seem scarier than they really are.

Annie B., Made for TV by Amy Dixon

Annie is often overshadowed by her best friend Savannah who is an outstanding student, great at soccer, and can sing and dance. When Annie tries out for a part in a local show and Savannah gets it instead, their friendship becomes strained. Annie is a humorous character who faces friendship challenges that middle grade readers will be able to relate to. Annie learns the importance of apologizing to a friend and how to cope when she feels like she does not measure up. This is a fun story that will show readers possibilities for navigating the ups and downs of friendship.

A Book to Look For This Summer...


Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

The fact that Marcus stands out among his peers at his school because of his size is both a blessing and a curse. When Marcus gets in trouble for fighting at school, his mother decides the family needs a break and they take a trip to Puerto Rico. While there, Marcus is hoping to find his dad who he barely remembers. As in his previous book, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, this is a story that centers on family and how they support one another. It also gives insight into the culture of Puerto Rico. This book publishes in August. Thanks to the publisher, Viking Books for Young Readers, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advanced reader's copy of the book.

Monday, June 11, 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 on Twitter at #imwayr.

What I've Been Reading...


Drawn Together by Minh Lê

This is a stunning story about a boy and his grandfather and how they connect with each other in spite of speaking different languages. The illustrations by Dan Santat, which tell most of the story, are stunning. Although few words, this book has a powerful message. 

Neck & Neck by Elise Parsley 

Leopold, a zoo giraffe, is jealous. Not of another giraffe, but a giraffe-shaped balloon. In spite of Leopold's feelings, he makes the right decision when his assistance is needed. The illustrations are amusing.

Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages

Katy is a fantastic pitcher. So good that the boys in her neighborhood let her play with them. When Katy tries out for Little League, she is denied a spot on the team because she is a girl. Katy refuses to simply accept this unfairness and, as part of a school project, learns all she can about women in baseball. The book includes information about women baseball players at the end. Historical and showing the importance of standing up for injustice, this is a winner. 

Books to Look For This Summer...


The Dollar Kids by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Lowen is dealing with loss and guilt after his friend dies as the result of a random shooting. When his family buys a house for a dollar they move to a new community where they find it is not so easy to fit in. As Lowen deals with his own internal struggle, his family is dealing with the financial situation they find themselves in when the family business doesn't do as well as expected. The concept of the dollar houses and the small-town setting were interesting. The characters are realistic and I loved the way that friends and family supported each other in the book. This book shows that we can manage tough times with the help of those around us. Thanks to the publisher, Candlewick, for sending my book review group, #BookExcursion, an advanced reader's copy of the book.

Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor

Mavis and Rose have very different backgrounds and family situations. Mavis's mother hops from one job to another so they've had to move around a lot to make ends meet. Rose's family is well-off and lives in the biggest house in a gated community. Mavis and Rose are also similar in that they both struggle to make and keep a friend. When Mavis's mother is employed by Rose's family, Mavis is determined to make Rose her friend. This story of friendship alternates between the perspectives of Mavis and Rose. In addition, some chapters of the book are written from the perspective of a dog named Henry who the girls are trying to rescue so that Mr. Duffy, the gatekeeper, will be happy again. As Mavis and Rose work through their struggles with friendship they help each other grow. One learns to be a best friend and the other learns to be brave and speak up for herself. One of my favorite books is a previous novel by Barbara O'Connor, Wish. With two sweet friends and a lovable dog, this latest novel is just as heart-warming. This book publishes in August. Thanks to the publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux for sending my book review group, #BookExcursion, an advanced reader's copy of the book.

Monday, June 4, 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 on Twitter at #imwayr.

What I've Been Reading...


Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh

Rashin is going to the beach for the first time in America. A she tells the story of her beach trip, she recounts what it was like to go to the beach when she lived in Iran. This book provides insight into two cultures and also captures both the sadness and joy that Rashin feels as she has an adventure in a place that is unlike her old home and makes a new friend. The illustrations are bright and lively. This book, about the beach, is one that can be shared as we go into summer, but it will also be one that will spark discussions about differences in culture and what it feels like to live in a new place.

This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose

A squirrel agrees to be in a book because he thought there would be tacos so when there aren't any tacos he rewrites them into the story. The squirrel's antics are entertaining, but readers will also learn a few squirrel facts. This one will make readers giggle.

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School by Julie Falatko

Waldo and Sassy think their boy, Stewart, does not like school so they want to find a way for him to stay home. Wearing a trench coat, the dogs pass as a human and get into Stewart's school. Because Waldo can speak human, Stewart's teacher and classmates are fooled into thinking he is a new student. Waldo and Sassy manage to help Stewart in more ways than one. Yes, this is a far-fetched story, but it will be right up the alley of those students who love silliness and humor. There are also jokes that adults will appreciate. This is a book I'll definitely add to my classroom library because many of my readers enjoy these types of illustrated chapter books.

Two's a Crowd (Pug Pals #1) by Flora Ahn

Sunny's world changes when her human brings home her new kid sister, Rosy. Sunny is annoyed with Rosy and wishes she never had a sister. When Rosy loses Mr. Bunny, one of Sunny's stuffies, the two pugs are on an adventure which ends in a lesson about happiness and appreciating a sibling. This is an amusing, short read with illustrations on every page. Early readers will enjoy reading about these two sweet pugs.

Books to Look For This Summer...


The Basque Dragon (The Unicorn Rescue Society) by Adam Gidwitz and Jesse Casey

Elliott and Uchenna are members of Mr. Fauna's Unicorn Rescue Society and, after just one day in the club, they are being whisked off to Europe to rescue a dragon. The second book in the series, after The Creature of the Pines, is as adventurous and imaginative as the first. This is an amusing read as well, as the story and characters have a bit of quirkiness. There are short chapters and illustrations throughout which will appeal to many readers. This book publishes in July. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy of the book.

The Rhino in Right Field by Stacy Dekeyser

This is an historical fiction story about a twelve year old with a love of baseball. Nick and his friends play in the field that is right next to the city zoo so there is actually a rhinoceros just over the fence. When a new owner buys the town's minor league baseball team, Nick is determined to win a contest so he can be batboy for a day. Nick finds a way to enter the contest which is on a Saturday, a day that his father requires him to work at their shop, but it means being dishonest. This story has an interesting plot, true-to-life characters, and a heart-warming ending. Nick is an imperfect character, but his determination, work ethic, and willingness to stand up for what's right are admirable qualities. Touching and humorous, this is a great read. This book publishes in July. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy of the book.