Monday, January 28, 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...

Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet by Curtis Manley

A young girl wonders whether there are other planets in the universe with life on them and explores the science which shows that its very possible. There's a lot of factual information in this book to give readers new insight into our world. The book also shows the vastness of our universe and the celebrates the wonders of what is yet to be discovered. Thanks to the publisher, Roaring Books Press, for a review copy.

 

The Great Louweezie #1 (Arnold and Louise) by Erica S. Perl

Best friends, Arnold and Louise, have plans to go on a picnic, but unfortunately there is a rainstorm coming. Louise insists that she is the Great Louweezie and can predict Arnold's future. Arnold is doubtful, but Louise is determined to convince him. A picnic may not be in their future, but the best friends realize they can have have fun just being together. This sweet story of friendship is the start of a new series for early readers. In the second book, Lost and Found, Arnold and Louise show that friendship is a treasure that can never be lost. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #Book Excursion, with review copies of the books.

Meena Meets Her Match by Karla Manternach

Meena is a creative and enthusiastic third-grader navigating the challenges of friendship and life. Her best friend no longer wants to hang out with her and she feels slighted. In addition, she has a scary experience at breakfast one morning that results in a trip to the hospital. Meena learns she has had a seizure and is trying to understand why everyone suddenly seems overly concerned with her well-being. Meena is a true-to-life character with experiences readers can both can relate to and learn from. This is a delightful read. Thanks to the publisher, I read an advanced reader's copy.

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin

Lillia and her family plan to flee their home in Poland to seek refuge from the war in Shanghai. Before they leave there is a raid while her parents are performing their circus act and Lillia's mother disappears. Lillia doesn't understand what happened to her mother and is heartbroken that they have to go to Shanghai without her. As Lillia strives to understand the new culture in which she is immersed, she also takes on a large role in helping her family survive. An exploration of the devastating circumstances that occurred during WWII, this is an emotional and insightful read.

Monday, January 21, 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: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. You can also follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Bear Needs Help by Sarah S. Brannen

Bear needs help with his shoelaces, but when he asks some of the other animals they all flee. He finally gets some help, but it may not be what readers were expecting. This is an amusing story told with minimal text and charming illustrations. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of the book.

The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome

This story is heart-wrenching. It's narrated by a young girl who lives with her family on a plantation. Every day the family wakes before the sun, the girl goes to Miss Sara Mae's with the youngest slaves, and the girl's brother, Ben, goes to work in the fields. But, one day, they discover Ben has escaped. The perspective of this book is unique as it tells what it was like for the family who is left behind. The end leaves the reader wondering, but also provides a sense of hope.

Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord

Emma has been homeschooled her entire life, but is now starting fifth grade at a public school. This is a hard change for Emma who finds it more difficult than she thought to make friends. Emma's also fostering a pet rabbit she helped her father rescue. Emma's rabbit turns out to be a great pet who helps her find a true friend. This is a sweet, heart-warming story about making friends that emphasizes the need to be inclusive and empathetic. Cynthia Lord also includes information at the end of the book about her own rabbits which inspired the story. Thanks to the publisher, I received an advance reader's copy of the book and was able to hear the author speak about the book at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. The book publishes in March, but it is currently available through Scholastic Book Clubs.

Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz

Bernice Buttman may be known at her school as a bully, but she really wants a friend. When her mother leaves her with her aunt in another town she has a chance for a fresh start. Readers will not only laugh, but also be rooting for Bernice as she tries to be kinder and friendlier. This is a very funny book, but the message about choosing what kind of person one wants to be is heartfelt. Thanks to the publisher, I received an advance reader's copy at the National Council of Teachers of English. The book publishes in March.

Monday, January 14, 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: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. You can also follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Dragon Night by J. R. Krause

As Georgie, who is afraid of the night, is trying to fall asleep, a dragon in one of his books comes to life. They run away together and, through their journey, Georgie learns that the night isn't as terrible as he thought. In return, Georgie, very creatively, helps the dragon with his own fear. This is a sweet story about a magical adventure that results in friendship and, also, a story about overcoming nighttime fears. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy of the book. 

The Good Egg by Jory John 

The pressure to be good is almost too much for the one egg who is always on his best behavior and trying to ensure that the rest of the dozen do the same. There are lots of egg-related puns and very humorous pictures. There's also an egg-cellent message that no one has to be perfect all of the time. I received a review copy of the book from the publisher. It publishes in February. 

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

Identical twins, Iris and Lark, are beginning fifth grade, but for the first time are in separate classes. Neither is happy about it and Iris, especially, is concerned for Lark whom she feels she needs to watch over and protect. As Iris navigates the independence that's been forced upon her she explores a mysterious shop that has opened in town. Friendship and empowerment are weaved into this story of mystery and magic. Thanks to the publisher, I received an advance reading copy of this book at the National Council for Teachers of English Annual Convention. This book publishes in February.

Right as Rain by Lindsey Stoddard

Rain and her family have moved from Vermont to New York City. They are all grieving over the death of Rain's older brother and Rain herself feels that she is at fault. The changes in Rain's life seem overwhelming, but new friends help her find her place in her community and find the courage to open up to both friends and family. This book shows how friends and family can support each other through challenges and conveys the importance of coming together as a community to help one another. Rain's story is heart-breaking, but it's also uplifting as she deals with change and the difficult parts of life. Thanks to the author and the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advance reader's copy. This book publishes in February.

Monday, January 7, 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: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. You can also follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Penguin Flies Home (Flight School) by Lita Judge

Penguin loves to fly (with the help of Flamingo), but he misses his penguin friends back home and wishes they could fly, too. When Penguin flies home, he realizes his friends don't have the same interest in flying that he does. Penguin and the other birds, who are also featured in the author's Flight School, are delightful characters who support and encourage each other. This is a sweet story with a message about following one's dreams and listening to one's heart. Thanks to the author for a review copy of the book. 

The New Kid by Jerry Craft

Jordan Banks is less than thrilled to be starting his seventh grade year at Riverdale Academy, a private school in a neighborhood outside of where he lives in Washington Heights. Jordan is not only the new kid, but he is one of the few students of color. As Jordan navigates his new middle school, he struggles to understand how he fits in at his new school while remaining true to himself. This book, a graphic novel, is both humorous and relatable and will spark important discussions about differences and race. Thanks to the publisher, I received an advance reader's copy at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. The book publishes in February.

The Unsung Hero of Bird Song, USA by Brenda Woods

When Gabriel is careless riding the new bike he got for his birthday, Meriwether, a black man from The Other Side of town, saves his life and a friendship is formed. This is a touching story of friendship, but it also gives insight into the time period after WWII and explores the ways in which black veterans were treated. It's also a book that emphasizes the importance of standing up for others. Thanks to the publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books, for a review copy of the book.

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

This is one of those middle grade novels that stays with you long after you finish reading it. It's the story of four kids trying to survive on the streets of a city in India. It's a very powerful story of survival and courage. Read more of my thoughts here

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

Long after you finish The Bridge Home, the story of Viji and Ruku and the two boys they meet, Muthi and Arul, will stay in your heart.

Viji and her disabled sister, Ruku, run away from home to escape the abuse of their father. They find an abandoned bridge for shelter and there they make friends with two homeless boys. Together the four face the dangers and struggles of being on the streets in India. To make money, they scavenge through garbage dumps and sell bead necklaces that Ruku makes. They are able to survive on their own, but when two of the children get ill they have to make decisions about who they can trust to help them.

This is a story that highlights the determination and resiliency of four children trying to survive in a world that has proven to be unfair and cruel. The bond between the sisters and the two boys is touching as they grow from strangers into a family. The book also explores loss and grief and conveys hope for moving on when sadness and despair threaten to overcome one's emotions.

The children in this story face a struggle that for many middle grade readers will be unimaginable. For this reason, this is a powerful book to share with them. It will provide insight into the diverse experiences of children throughout our world. A heart-tugger of a book, the courage and strength of the children in this book is an inspiration.

Thanks to the publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books, for the review copy of the book. 
The book publishes in February.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading in 2019


For the past few years, I have joined Carrie Gelson of There's a Book for That and a community of other bloggers to make a must-read list for the year ahead. Again, I am joining in the literary fun! I have made a list of middle grade novels, which will publish in 2019, that I am looking forward to reading. I also have a list of professional books that I either have not finished reading or have yet to start. My goal is to finish these before I buy any others! Visit There's a Book for That or check out #MustReadin2019 on Twitter to find out what others will be reading this year.

Middle Grade Reads



These are the middle grade books I plan to read in 2019:

  • Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat #1 by Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth and Illustrated by Robb Mommaerts
  • To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer 
  • Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord
  • Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (A Sal and Gabi Novel, Book 1) by Carlos Hernandez
  • Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn
  • Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-Mcginnis
  • The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander
  • Maybe a Mermaid by Josephine Cameron
  • Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
  • Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • The Story Web by Megan Frazer Blakemore
  • Refugee 87 by Ele Fountain

Professional Books

  • Beyond Literary Analysis: Teaching Students to Write with Passion and Authority About Any Text by Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O'Dell
  • Understanding Texts & Readers: Responsive Comprehension Instruction with Leveled Texts by Jennifer Serravallo
  • We Got This.: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be by Cornelius Minor
  • What's the Best That Could Happen?: New Possibilities for Teachers & Readers by Debbie Miller