Monday, September 16, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Gross as a Snot Otter by Jess Keating

My students have loved Jess Keating's previous books including Pink is for Blobfish and Cute as an Axolotl, so I am thrilled that she has another book that I can share with them. This one will both intrigue and disgust them. The animals featured in the book definitely have some gross characteristics and behaviors. Readers, like I did, will learn some very interesting facts. Thanks to Random House for a review copy. The book publishes in October.

How to Code a Rollercoaster by Josh Funk

Pearl and Pascal are back using their coding skills - this time to ride the Python Coaster at the amusement park. This is an entertaining introduction to coding that also helps to promote girls' interest in the concept.

North America: A Fold-Out Graphic History by Sarah Albee

I learned quite a lot about about the history of the continent of North America from reading this book. It's an amazing and uniquely designed book that can be read as a book or folded out to an eight foot spread. I think kids will want to take their time reading the snippets of history and looking at the illustrations. Thanks to the publisher, What On Earth Books, for a review copy. The book publishes in October.

Happy Fell (Arnold and Louise #3) by Erica S. Perl

My second graders, who enjoyed the previous Arnold and Louise books, will be excited to see the third in the series. This early reader book centered on friendship tells the story of two very different characters, messy and unstoppable Louise and slow, careful Arnold, who don't always agree but appreciate each other none the same.

The Bootlace Magician by Cassie Beasley

The sequel to Circus Mirandus, one of my all-time favorite books, is just as enchanting as the first. Cassie Beasley's writing is amazing, transporting readers to a world of magicians and otherworldly creatures. Micah, now a magician's apprentice, is adjusting to his new life at the circus and trying to understand and perfect his magical abilities. His magic is really put to the test when The Bird Woman, who happens to be Micah's grandmother, sets out to destroy the circus. This is story of good versus evil, but it's also about a brave protagonist finding his place in the world. Thanks to Penguin Young Readers for a review copy.

Monday, September 9, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.


Recent Reads...

Five Minutes (That's a Lot of Time) (No, It's Not) (Yes, It Is) by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick

This is a cute exploration of how five minutes can be an eternity or pass by in the blink of an eye. Kids will be able to relate to the situations, such as having to wait in line for five minutes for an amusement park ride or only having five minutes before bed time, and understand the feelings associated with time either going too slow or too fast. The book ends on a very sweet note. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group with a review copy. 

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

This book follows the lives of four young adults in Spain during the 1950s while the country was under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. It's a captivating story that gave me insight into a dark period of history and reminded me of the importance of remembering and learning from our past. Thanks to Penguin Young Readers for proving my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy. The book publishes in October.

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner

Moth has just found out that her mother has been keeping their family history a secret and that she is actually a witch. This is a story of adventure, as Moth tries to understand her magic and her family's past, and also a story of new friendship. I'm looking forward to adding this graphic novel to my collection and hearing what kids think about it.

Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick

This is a thrilling and suspenseful tale of survival about two kids trying to beat a raging wildfire overtaking the forest in Maine. For kids who like stories of survival or extreme adventure this will be one to hand them.

Monday, September 2, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Across the Bay by Carlos Aponte

Carlitos loves his family and the town of Cataño, where he lives, but he also misses his father. A search through the streets of Old San Juan, helps Carlitos realize that the family he has is just who he needs. The illustrations capture the beauty and spirit of Puerto Rico. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

Just Ask by Sonia Sotomayor

This is a useful book to have in the classroom as it will help kids to understand various disabilities and illnesses and how these differences make the world interesting. It also encourages kids to ask questions when they are curious so they can learn about others. Not only is there an important message about inclusivity, but the illustrations are sweet, too.

The 1000 Year Old Boy by Ross Welford

Alfie Monk has been alive for a thousand years, but he has not aged past eleven. When a tragedy occurs and Alfie is left without any family, he wants to be able to age again. He makes two new friends who are willing to help him keep his secret, but also find a way for him to live a normal life. The plot of this book is unique with a bit of magic and lessons about friendship and life. Thanks to the Random House for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in October.

Monday, August 26, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen

A boy, with a wild imagination, describes his dream school. Many kids will love reading about this fantasy school that is more like a fun park. This book should definitely spark kids' creativity as they imagine their own ideas for the perfect school. It'll be a fun read for the beginning of the school year.

Señorita Mariposa by Ben Gundersheimer

This book, with text in English and Spanish, tells of the miraculous journey of one monarch butterfly as it migrates to Mexico. It's lyrical and beautiful. The author's note at the end gives more insight into the migration of these butterflies and, also, their importance in our world. Thanks to Nancy Paulsen Books for sending my book review group, #BookExcursion, a review copy.

Unicorn Is Maybe Not So Great After All by Bob Shea

Unicorn wants his classmates to pay more attention to him, so he comes up with a plan to be the most fantastic unicorn his school has ever seen. Instead of standing out, he ends up being rather annoying. Luckily, Unicorn has true friends who help him see that he only has to be his magical self.

I Survived The Great Molasses Flood, 1919 by Lauren Tarshis

I have not read an I Survived book in quite some time, but I was eager for this one since The Great Molasses Flood is a historic event that my students always find fascinating when they learn about it. Because it happened in Boston, my students also find the connection to our state interesting. Many students enjoy reading the I Survived books and look forward to each new one, so I am planning to book talk this one at the beginning of the year.

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly

This story, inspired by Filipino folklore, is an adventurous and magical fantasy about a courageous twelve-year-old who takes a journey to save her mother and her island. I have read a few other books by Erin Entrada Kelly and this one is very different and there are definitely some dark parts, but it's unique and engaging. The book publishes in September.

Monday, August 19, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


The Evil Princess vs. The Brave Knight by Jennifer L. Holm

This is an imaginative and humorous story of sibling rivalry. When they are sent to their separate rooms, the siblings realize it's not fun being evil or brave by themselves and they have a moment in which they unite for a common purpose, but in the end being rivals is much more fun. It's an amusing read that readers with a sibling may be able to relate to.

Fairy Science by Ashley Spires

Esther sees the world different from all the other fairies - she is a believer of science, not magic. She is frustrated when the other fairies don't understand the science she tries to teach them. Although she can't convince them entirely of the power of science, her scientific skills don't go completely unnoticed. This is a fun introduction to the scientific method that will inspire inquisitive and creative minds. Thanks to Random House for a review copy. The book publishes in September.

My Tiny Pet by Jessie Hartland

When it is time for the narrator's family to downsize, they give all their pets to good homes because there is not room in their much smaller house. The child still wants a pet and gets the perfect idea during science class. The very tiny pet will surprise readers and intrigue them. I have no doubts that many students will want to do some research about the microscopic creature they read about. Thanks to the Penguin Young Readers for a review copy.

Stargazing by Jen Wang

Christine and Moon are both Chinese-American, yet they are very different from each other. As the two become friends and spend time with each other, Christine expands her understanding of who she is. This is a heart-warming tale, in graphic novel format, that explores friendship, family, identity, and forgiveness. The author's note at the end explains that the inspiration for the story came partly from her own childhood. Thanks to publisher, I received an advance reader's copy at the American Library Association Annual Conference. The book publishes in September.

Monday, August 12, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Stormy: A Story About Finding a Forever Home by Guojing

This is a gorgeous book, both, for its story and the illustrations. Wordless, it tells how a stray dog finds its home with a kind young woman. The illustrations depict so many emotions that the story is absolutely captivating and the way the dog and the woman open their hearts to each other is touching. Look for it in September.

Unicorns 101 by Cale Atkinson

This book is just plain fun and will delight unicorn lovers. Four top unicorn scientists explain everything there is to know about unicorns. The information is creative and humorous and when readers are finished they will have earned a diploma and the title "Unicorn Scientist." Thanks to Random House for a review copy. The book publishes in September.

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson

Amara is finally getting to visit Harlem and she is looking forward to meeting the family she knows only through pictures and phone conversations. The trip is an opportunity to learn more about her family history for a school project, but she's also promised her mother she'll find a way to get her dad and grandpa to start talking to one another again. This is a story about family, identity, and the power of forgiveness. It also reminds us that people and places play a role in shaping who we are. Thanks to Bloomsbury for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. It publishes in September.

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia C. Pérez

Over the summer, four very different girls meet and form a friendship. When one of the girls expresses concerns about the Floras, an organization similar to Scouts, and one of their traditions, the four hatch a plan to raise awareness and make change. Both the writing and the characters in this book are wonderful and it helps to show the power of being an activist. Thanks to Penguin Young Readers for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy.

Monday, August 5, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.


Recent Reads...


The Evil Princess vs. The Brave Knight by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

This is an imaginative and humorous story of sibling rivalry. When they are sent to their separate rooms, the siblings realize it's not fun being evil or brave by themselves and they have a moment in which they unite for a common purpose, but in the end being rivals is much more fun. It's not only an amusing read, but also one that many readers with a sibling will be able to relate to.

Ruby Finds a Worry by Tom Percival

Ruby has a Worry and it gets so big that it starts to take over her life. With the help of a boy she comes across sitting on a park bench, she learns a way to deal with the worry. This is a great book to help children understand that having worries is normal and that talking about them can help. I love the use of color in the illustrations and the fact that the Worry was a character in itself. Thanks to Bloomsbury for a review copy.

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Frank is in love for the first time. Brit is perfect for him except for the fact that she's white and Frank's parents want him to marry a Korean girl. Then there's Joy, the girl Frank fake dates so he can continue to see Brit. I loved the characters in this book. They were realistic and I just wanted to keep reading to see how it would all work out for them. It's humorous and heartfelt. There's already a movie adaptation coming and I can see why. This book publishes in September. Thanks to Penguin Teen for an advance reader's copy.

The World Ends in April by Stacy McAnulty

After getting information from a website, Elle is convinced that the world is going to end when it is hit by an asteroid in April. Under the guise of a nature club, Elle and her friend Mack get other students involved in planning how they are going to survive the asteroid when it happens. Admittedly, the plot of this book sounded unusual to me, but it turned out to be very interesting and engaging. The characters are true-to-life and middle grade readers will be able to relate to the school and friendship challenges they face. Thanks for Random House for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in September.

I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak

When Max arrived as the newest member of his human family, Cosmo, a lovable golden retriever, vowed to protect him always. Now that there has been a hint that divorce in the family is possible, Max needs Cosmo more than ever. To ensure they stay together, Max is training Cosmo for a dance competition. Dog tricks are not so easy for Cosmo because of his age, but he is determined not to disappoint Max. Told from Cosmo's perspective, this is a heart-warming story about the love and loyalty that exists between a dog and his favorite human. Readers will be touched by the bond between Cosmo and Max and be amused by Cosmo's perspective on life and family. Thanks to the publisher, Candlewick, for providing my book review group with an advance reader's copy. This book does not publish until December, but it is definitely one to keep on your radar. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Bear Out There by Jacob Grant

This follow up to Bear's Scare is a sweet book about friendship. Spider likes the outdoors, but Bear prefers being cozy in his tidy house. Even though he'd rather spend the day inside, Bear helps Spider search for his lost kite. For Bear, the day goes from bad to worse, but he realizes the importance of being there for a friend even when the going gets tough. The illustrations are lovely and I don't think I've seen a more adorable spider in a picture book.

Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo

This is another beautiful book following the lives of the Three Rancheros who were introduced in Raymie Nightingale and revisited in Louisiana's Way. Four years after the events of Raymie Nightingale, Beverly is grieving over the loss of her dog and tired of her mother's drinking so she decides to leave home. Although she is convinced that she doesn't need anyone and can take care of herself, she slowly lets others into her lives and realizes the power of community and friendship. I loved the characters in this book and, as always with Kate DiCamillo's books, the writing is lovely. Thanks to Candlewick Press for a review copy of the book. It publishes in September.

More to the Story by Hena Khan

Jameela, who has a passion for journalism, write for her school newspaper, but feels that her ideas for stories never get heard. Life at home has it challenges for Jameela, as well, as her father is traveling a lot for work and her sister has been diagnosed with lymphoma. Hena Khan has written another heart-warming exploration of family. The way the characters relate to each other and navigate the challenges of school and home are true-to-life. The author's inspiration came from Little Women, a book she cherished as a child. The book publishes in September.

Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers by Anna James

Tilly lives with her grandparents and spends a lot of time in the bookstore connected to their house. She is enchanted with the adventures within books and prefers book characters over actual friends. Her own life takes an adventurous turn when she realizes she has the ability to wander through the pages of a book as if it was real life. As she strives to understand this new, magical ability, she learns more about herself including and who her parents are. This is an imaginative and fun read, but also one that will delight book lovers. Thanks to Penguin Young Readers for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

Monday, July 22, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Mighty Reader and the Big Freeze by Will Hillenbrand

Hugo realizes that a classmate, Barkley, is struggling to read a book to his class and decides to come to the rescue. He disappears without anyone noticing and reappears as his secret alter ego to put his superpowers to good use and give his classmate some advice to help him read. Hugo and Barkley give readers an empowering message about reading and the comic book-like format will appeal to many readers.

One Shoe Two Shoes by Caryl Hart

This is a concept book that appears to be about counting and shoes, but an adorable dog and some mischievous mice give the book a fun twist. Even though it's a concept book there is a loose story line with an ending that circles back to the beginning. There's a fun rhythm to the book and bold illustrations that will delight young readers. Thanks to Bloomsbury for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

The Curse of the Werepenguin by Allan Woodrow

Bolt is an orphan who would love nothing more than to be reunited with his family, but instead he's sent to Brugaria at the request of Baron Chordata. Brugaria, with its creepy penguins, is a mysterious and strange place and the Baron is not at all the father Bolt was hoping for. He's a twelve-year-old kid. An evil one who places a curse on Bolt. With the help of a bandit turned friend, Bolt sets out to reverse the curse and save Brugaria. The plot is ridiculous, but the humor is fantastic and it will appeal to kids who enjoy books that are a bit scary. Thanks to the publisher, I read an advance reader's copy. The book publishes in August.

Saving Fable (Talespinners) by Scott Reintgen

Indira travels to Fable where she hopes to be chosen as a Protagonist, but when her auditions go poorly she is assigned to the training for side characters. When odd occurrences happen, like her homework mysteriously disappearing, Indira becomes involved in an adventure to save Fable. This is a fun and imaginative adventure about a girl determined to the be hero of her story. The setting of Fable, which is a world that revolves around stories, is intriguing and will definitely capture the hearts of those with a passion for books. Thanks to Random House Kids for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reading copy. The book publishes in September.

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Ollie encounters a woman about to throw a book in a river. Although she doesn't understand the woman's talk of a smiling man or the warning to avoid large spaces and stick to those that are small, Ollie steals the book. She becomes intrigued with the story, but when she takes a school trip to a farm, it turns out there's a mysterious connection between the book and real life. The trip becomes spooky after the bus breaks down on the way home and Ollie's watch alerts her to run. This is a ghost story, appropriately creepy and mysterious for middle grade readers. But, this isn't just a scary story as the book also explores Ollie's grief over losing her mother and friendship.

Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

The sequel to Small Spaces, which publishes in August, is equally spooky, if not a tad bit more. This time, Ollie and her friends, Coco and Brian, travel to a Vermont ski resort where they get snowed in. When a ghost hunter arrives, the three friends learn about the history of the resort and the ghosts that haunt it. As the mystery of the resort unravels, Ollie, Coco, and Brian must work together to save themselves from the evil of ghosts and the ghost hunter who they thought they could trust. Just like the first book, this is kid horror at its best. I will definitely recommend the series to kids who want a spooky, spine-tingling read. Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy of the book.

Monday, July 15, 2019

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 or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

I Am a Tiger by Karl Newson

A mouse declares he is a tiger. Other animals argue that he is not a tiger, but the mouse always has a clever response to convince them. His argument gets even more ridiculous when a tiger himself comes along. Mouse is a character with a lot of personality - he's both confident and funny. This is a really cute book with a subtle message about being whoever you want to be. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

Truman by Jean Reidy

A sweet tortoise doesn't know where his owner has gone when she leaves for the day with a backpack and takes the number 11 bus, so he sets out across the living room in an attempt to follow her. Truman's determination and bravery will have readers rooting for him. The illustrations, especially those that show the tortoise's view of his surroundings, are wonderful. A charming story about first experiences, being brave, and the love between a child and her pet. 

My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder

It's the beginning of summer, but all Leah has to look forward to are lonely days at home. Since her brother died in an accident, her friends are treating her differently and her parents barely pay attention to her. So, when Leah meets Jasper she is intrigued. The two quickly become friends, but Jasper's life is complicated and Leah becomes a part of her secret. This is a compelling read about loss and the power of friendship. Thanks to the publisher I received an advance reader's copy of the book. Look for this one is September.

My Life as An Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi

Having lived with her mother and grandfather in Alabama, Ebony-Grace has a hard time adjusting to life with her father in Harlem. Much about Harlem seems strange to her, so she copes by retreating into her imagination. Fitting in with friends is a challenge since they can't relate to her talk about outer space and space missions. Through the challenges of her summer in Harlem, Ebony-Grace grows and, as she does, she changes her outlook on her life. Growing up at the time this book was set, in the 1980s, I found the references to that time period interesting. Those who are fans of Star Trek will get even more of the references than I did. Thanks to the publisher, Penguin Young Readers, for a review copy of the book. It publishes in August.

Exploring According to Og the Frog by Betty G. Birney

The tales of Room 26, as seen through the perspective of a kind-hearted frog, continue in the second book in the Og the Frog series. Og learns about adventure and bravery all while making a positive impact on the students in his classroom. I like that the books in this series are on the shorter side which is what some readers need. Also, being a spin-off of the Humphrey series, there will be appeal for readers who enjoyed those.