Monday, November 16, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Lubaya's Quiet Roar by Marilyn Nelson and illustrated by Philemona Williamson

Lubaya is a daydreamer and an artist. She likes being alone, sitting quietly, and listening. When her family attends a march, they share Lubaya's posters which everyone agrees speak the truth. This is a powerful story that shows how one can use their voice in quiet ways. 

Geeger the Robot Goes to School by Jarrett Lerner

Geeger is a robot designed to eat unwanted food and supply electricity to the town of Amblerville. Because he is lonely, Geeger decides to attend school. While he is nervous about starting school, with the help of others, he learns to fit in and move past his mistakes. This is a fun and silly start to a chapter book series that I think many readers will love. The short chapters and illustrations will be appreciated by those who don't yet have the stamina for longer text. 

A Thousand Questions by Saadi Faruqi

This book alternates between the perspective of two girls who become friends in spite of the fact that they have very different life experiences. Mimi lives in Texas and is visiting the grandparents she barely knows in Pakistan with her mother. Sakina lives in Pakistan and assists her father who is a cook for Mimi's grandmother. Both girls are dealing with family struggles and they each play a role in improving the other's situation. This a heart-warming story of friendship. The alternating viewpoints and the insight into Pakistani culture also make it a very interesting read. A very beautiful book.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

The President of the Jungle by André Rodrigues, Larissa Ribeiro, Paula Desgualdo, and Pedro Markun

The animals in the jungle are not happy with Lion as King of the Jungle because he only thinks about himself. After a demonstration, Lion is still not listening to them so they decide to elect a new leader. This is a humorous introduction to the election process. 

Unicorns are the Worst! by Alex Willan

Goblin has new neighbors and they are unicorns. Contrary to popular opinion, goblin does not think they are great at all. He certainly does not want to attend one of their tea parties, until an encounter with a fire-breathing dragon reveals the unicorns' helpful traits. Very amusing.

Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds by Elise Gravel

Two birds, an arrogant crow and an inquisitive little yellow bird, become friends and have adventures together in this graphic novel for early readers. There is humor, but also informative facts about crows interspersed throughout the book. It's a delightful read.

Flying Over Water by N.H. Senzai and Shannon Hitchcock

Noura and her family have been granted asylum and are living in the United States after leaving Syria. Noura is adjusting to her new life and trying to understand the animosity towards Muslims that her family encounters. Jordyn, who is dealing with her own family challenges, has offered to be a student ambassador for Noura. The two girls develop a heart-warming friendship in which they support each other and use their voices to make change. The book alternates between the perspectives of the two girls. It's a meaningful and timely read.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Cozy by Jan Brett

After a little day-before-Halloween-snow here in Massachusetts, this was a fitting book to read. Cozy, a musk ox, gets separated from his herd and gives various animals shelter under his warm fur during the cold Alaska winter. This is a very sweet and cozy story in Jan Brett's signature style.

Cat Ninja by Matthew Cody and illustrated by Yehudi Mercado

Claude is the pet of an eleven-year-old boy, but when his city is threatened by villains, he becomes Cat Ninja. This is an action-packed, adventurous, and fun graphic novel.

Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

Readers will learn about the childhood of Cassius Clay, who became the boxing great, Muhammad Ali. The book alternates between poetry and prose and gives insight into history and the life of a sports hero. Very interesting read. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Ellie's Dragon by Bob Graham

As a small child, Ellie finds a newborn dragon. Although not everyone can see him, Scratch grows along with her. This is a poignant story about imagination and growing up. 

Leif and the Fall by Allison Sweet Grant and Adam Grant and illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard

It's fall and Leif knows that means he must fall off the tree, but he's worried that he'll bump his head or skin his knee. Leif and his friends come up with ideas to soften the landing, but nothing works. When Leif finally falls off the tree he discovers that the ideas were more useful than he realized. An amusing story about trying new things and persistence.

Will You Be My Friend? by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram

Over twenty-five years after Guess How Much I Love You, there is a sequel and it's very sweet. Little Nutbrown Hare is on his own exploring until another hare appears to join him in his play. This book wonderfully captures the joys of making a new friend.

Mellybean and the Giant Monster by Mike White

Melly loves games, but the cats who live with him would rather sleep. When the cats lock him out of the house and trick him into burying a shoe, he discovers a hole that leads to a magical world where he meets a giant, grumpy monster. There is lots of action and adventure as Melly helps to save the monster and the kingdom. This is a humorous and very cute graphic novel that I think will appeal to readers on the younger end of the middle grade span.

Serena Says by Tanita S. Davis

Serena and JC have been best friends for a long time, but their relationship seems to be changing. JC who is recovering from a kidney transplant has been spending more time with another classmate. Serena is navigating this changing friendship, as well as challenges of a group project at school. This is a relatable middle grade novel about friendship and finding one's voice. The book publishes next month.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

My Day with Gong Gong by Sennah Yee and illustrated by Elaine Chen

May is unhappy about spending the day with her grandfather because they don't speak the same language. They take a walk through Chinatown, and in spite of their differences, enjoy the day together. This is a sweet story about the love between a granddaughter and grandfather.

Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

In the follow-up to Not Norman, Norman and his owner are back in a story about stage fright and being a supportive friend. The story and illustrations will amuse readers. 

Donut Feed the Squirrels (Norma and Belly) by Mika Song

After the pancakes have been burned, two squirrels, Normal and Belly, are on a mission to obtain donuts from the food truck that serves the delicious-smelling treat. The squirrels' antics are amusing and will give readers a laugh. This a graphic novel that will have readers eager for the second book. 

Summer of L.U.C.K by Laura Stegman

This is a sweet and magical middle grade novel about three kids who befriend each other at summer camp and discover a mysterious carnival. The story is engaging and the characters are wonderful. The book also explores important themes related to courage, self-acceptance, and friendship. Thanks to the author for sharing a review copy with my book review group, #BookExcursion.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

The Purple Puffy Coat by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Daniel Duncan

Beetle gets Stick Bug a very flashy and fashionable purple puffy coat for his birthday and encourages him to show it off through the neighborhood. Stick Bug is not comfortable in the coat or being the center of attention. When Beetle realizes how Stick Bug feels, the two friends find a way to make each other happy. This is a charming story about friendship and the importance of understanding one another and respecting each other's feelings. Thanks to the publisher, Candlewick, for sharing a review copy of the book with my book review group, #BookExcursion. It publishes in November.

William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad by Don Tate

This is an important story about William Still, a historical figure who played a major role in helping enslaved people escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad. He also kept records of those he helped in hopes that he could reunite families. The author's note at the end of the book gives more insight into Still's story and the importance of sharing the remarkable actions he, and other Black Americans took, in the name of justice during this time period in history.  

The Tiny Mansion by Keir Graff

I've only read one other Keir Graff book (The Matchstick Castle), but I like how his stories include quirky characters and a little bit of zaniness. In this book, Dagmar's life has been uprooted when her family, including her annoying step brother, move into a tiny house in a forest. After ignoring a "No Trespassing" sign, she befriends a kid who has his own unique family situation. There is some fun and humor, but the book explores some important issues, as well. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...


Oliver the Curious Owl by Chad Otis

Oliver is very curious about the world, but does not venture beyond his tree until his friend, Bug, falls in the river and gets swept away. Together, Oliver and Bug discover new friends, places, and things. Oliver's delightful adventure will show readers the joy of being inquisitive and venturing outside one's comfort zone.

The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl

Leo and his father love living in the old blue house, but they are forced to move as houses in their neighborhood are being torn down to make room for apartment buildings. This is a beautiful book about a family coping with the loss of their home and moving on to make a new house feel like home. The love between father and son is also very sweet. 

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake and illustrated by Jon Klassen

This is a story of unlikely friendship that is sweet and whimsical. Badger was quite content with his life, but then Skunk shows up with the news that they are to be roommates. Despite their differences, a friendship develops. With a heart-warming, cozy feel to it, this would make a great read aloud in a primary classroom.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

A Bear is a Bear (Except When He's Not) by Karl Newson and illustrated by Anuska Allepuz

After waking up from hibernation too early, a bear is confused about what he is and tries to figure it out. Luckily, the narrator of the book can help. This is simply a fun rhyming book about a very silly and charming bear. 

Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747 by Chris Gall

This is a fascinating nonfiction picture book that details how the Boeing 747 was made. There is also insight into the history of air travel. The illustrations capture the enormity of the aircraft. Those young readers who have an interest in aircraft will especially enjoy this one.

Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein and illustrated by James E. Ransome

Michael takes a train for the first time as he travels with his grandmother from Alabama to Ohio to visit cousins. When he first gets on the train he is only allowed in the "colored car," but after leaving Atlanta the restriction is lifted and Michael meets and befriends a boy who has been traveling in the car for whites. The authors' note provides background information about policies related to railroad travel. This book explores the injustices of the segregation era while portraying a friendship that offers hope. Thanks to the publisher, Candlewick, for a review copy. The book publishes in October.

Speak Up, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow

The spunky and quirky Molly Lou Melon is back in a follow-up to Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, which I can't believe was published nineteen years ago. The message about standing up for friends and remaining true to oneself is heartfelt. 

Closer to Nowhere by Ellen Hopkins

This book is told in verse, alternating between the perspectives of two cousins who are the same age but have grown up in very different families. Cal's mother has recently died and his father is in prison so he moves in with Hannah's family. Hannah does not understand Cal's behavior and is having difficulty with the changes that are happening with her family. The characters are engaging and realistic. The book explores some difficult topics and is also a heartfelt story about family in which two cousins grow to understand each other. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy. The book publishes next month.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Nacho's Nachos: The Story Behind the World's Favorite Snack by Sandra Nickely and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez

Although written for children, I often learn many interesting facts from picture book biographies, and that is the case with this book. The book tells the story of a creative chef, Ignacio, and how he invented the crunchy, cheesy, spicy snack we know as nachos. It's an entertaining and informative read. 

The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica S. Perl and illustrated by Shahar Kober

With still one more day of summer left it may seem a little too early for a book about a holiday that takes place in winter, but this book recently published this month. In this book a family starts a new Hanukkah tradition. It's also a heartwarming story about community and appreciating others. The note at the end of the book provides some information about Hanukkah and explains the author's inspiration for the book. There are also some great suggestions for celebrating community and showing gratitude for the helpers in one's life. Thanks to Media Masters Publicity for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

The Old Man and the Penguin: A True Story of True Friendship by Julie Abery and illustrated by Pierre Pratt

This is a beautiful and charming story, based on true events, about a man who receives a visit every year from a penguin which he helped after finding him covered in oil. It's a story of unlikely friendship, but also has a message about the importance of taking care of the environment. The author's note explains the harmful impact of oil spills on sea creatures. The book publishes in October. 

Planet Omar: Unexpected Super Spy by Zanib Mian and illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik

There is much to love about this series. Omar, who is imaginative and humorous, is a great character, but his friends and family are all equally endearing. In this second book in the series, Omar exhibits compassion and determination as he helps to raise money to save his family's mosque. This is a sweet story about family and community. With illustrations and word art the book is a fun read. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads...

Our Subway Baby by Peter Mercurio and illustrated by Leo Espinosa

This book could not be any sweeter. It's the true story of how a family was brought together because of a subway and love. Very poignant. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

The Invisible Alphabet by Joshua David Stein and illustrated by Ron Barrett

The words connected to each letter, in this very interesting alphabet book, are all things that are invisible to the eye. The illustrations depicting each invisible thing are clever and often amusing. Thanks to Penguin for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy.

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

ZJ is trying to understand the changes that are happening in his life - not only has his father stopped playing professional football, but he is also forgetting things and experiencing mood swings and terrible headaches. This is a heart-breaking book about the impact of brain trauma and how a family copes with the devastating effects of this. Told in verse, it's a beautifully written story.

Twins by Varian Johnson and illustrated by Shannon Wright

Sisters, Maureen and Francine, are navigating the challenges of sixth grade and growing up as identical twins. School and home life becomes even more complicated when they both decide to run for class president. Students who enjoy graphic novels that explore friendship and the ups and downs of being a kid will want to read this one. The book publishes in October, but it's currently available through Scholastic Book Clubs. 

A Grown-Up Reading Recommendation


Good Morning, Monster: A Therapist Shares Five Heroic Stories of Emotional Recovery by Catherine Gildiner

A psychologist shares the stories of five of her patients, all facing challenges due to previous trauma in their lives. The stories are heart-wrenching, but also compelling as they show the resiliency of the human spirit. There is also insight into the therapeutic process and the ways in which healing can happen. Hard to read, at times, but moving. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley, I read an advanced digital copy of the book. The book publishes in the U.S. next week. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Recent Reads

Every Monday, I share books I have recently read. I also participate in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, 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, or follow on Twitter at #imwayr.

Recent Reads


It's Not Little Red Riding Hood by Josh Funk and illustrated by Edwardian Taylor

The third book in the It's Not a Fairy Tale series is as amusing as the previous two. The narrator provides instructions as to how the story should go, but what results is a mixed-up version of the fairy tale with a very "sweet" ending. I have many students who have been eagerly anticipating this book, so I am looking forward to sharing it with them. Thanks to the illustrator, Edwardian Taylor, for a review copy. The book publishes in October.

I  Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James

This is a poetic and empowering book that celebrates all the wonderful aspects of being a Black boy. The confidence of the narrator shines through each page of this book while the ending wraps up the powerful message about self-worth. 

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott and illustrated by Sydney Smith

Based on his own experiences, the author has written a beautifully moving book about what it feels like to be someone who stutters. The boy narrating this story describes his feelings of being different and tells how his father helped him to understand his stutter in a new way. Both the lyrical text and illustrations are lovely.

Puppy Problems (Peanut, Butter, & Crackers Book 1) by Paige Braddock

A dog and a cat are quite content with their lives until their human brings home a new puppy. This is a funny and sweet graphic novel that will amuse early readers, especially those who enjoy reading about pets. I hope it's not too long before the second book is published because I know kids will be asking for it. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

The rescue of the Thai Boys’ soccer team is a fascinating story. The book tells of the amazing collaboration and dedication that made it possible. Even though I remembering watching the story on the news and was aware of the outcome, I found the details of this heroic effort gripping. There is lots of insight into the culture of Thailand, too. Thanks to Candlewick for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy. The book publishes in October.