It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. For more information and to find out what other bloggers are reading check out the host blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.
What I Read This Week…
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa PappI don't know if it's because I'm a reading teacher or because I am a passionate reader, but I always love books about reading. This is a wonderful picture book because it is about reading, but also because it's about a girl, Madeline, who keeps trying even though she is challenged with learning to read. There is a message about persistence, but also about being confident in oneself. This book is a great addition to my collection of books about students faced with learning challenges, such as Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco and Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. I think young readers will enjoy reading about how Madeline read with a library dog and also be delighted by the surprise ending. The sweet, softly-colored illustrations will entice readers, as well.
Pirasaurs by Josh Funk
Josh Funk, the author of this picture book, is a pretty active on Twitter, so I feel like I somewhat know him, but it was nice to actually meet the real person behind the tweets at the ILA conference I attended last week. Pirasaurs is a fun, rhyming book that tells a story of dinosaurs who are pirates, a combination that is sure to please students. There is quite a cast of pirasaur characters, with one in particular who will win the hearts of readers with his determination and problem-solving skills. One of the reasons I enjoyed reading this book, similar to the reason I enjoyed Josh's Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast is the wonderful vocabulary that brings the story to life. I particularly loved the line, "I love to slurp and belch and burp with buccaneering beasts." Well, who doesn't? I think the story and illustrations will engage and amuse young readers.
Hilo: The Great Big Boom by Judd Winick
At the ILA conference last week I was also lucky enough to get an advanced reader's copy of the third graphic novel in the Hilo series. My students fell in love with Hilo when they read the first book and eagerly anticipated the second which they also loved. Of course, they've asked for the third book and been a bit disappointed to hear that, according to Amazon, the book will not be available until 2017. I almost felt like I had a piece of gold in my hands, as I walked out of the exhibit hall clutching my copy thinking about my reluctant readers, who until reading Hilo have never expressed much interest in reading, and all the students who will be excited to know I have the book. I imagine that my students will be hooked on this book in the first few pages since it contains humor, action, and mention of bodily functions. The adventures of Hilo, a robot who doesn't know much about where he came from, and his human friends, D.J. and Gina, continue in this book as they are trying to find their way back to earth. There's a surprise towards the end that opens up potential for an interesting storyline in a fourth book. This is a series that has engaged my readers and I just hope Judd Winick keeps them coming.
Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson
Sometimes I am hesitant to read a book when there has been a lot of hype about it because I often expect too much and am a bit disappointed. There has been a lot of hype about this book, I did read it, and it turned out that it actually exceeded my expectations. This is a heartwarming story, one that may cause tears, but also smiles. When Ms. Bixby suddenly can't finish the school year because of a serious illness, three friends skip school in order to give her the last day she deserves. The story is inspiring and hopeful. I was pleasantly surprised that there were many parts of this story I found funny. This is a well-written story with a plot that makes you wonder and characters who are real and memorable. I highly recommend this one.