Monday, September 19, 2016

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.  For more information and to find out what other bloggers are reading check out the host blogs: Teach MentorTexts and Unleashing Readers.

What I Read This Week…

Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis

This picture book begins, "Yelfred and Omek have been best frints since they were little blobbies." The story, of two best friends who get into an argument, is a familiar one, but the use of inventive language gives it an amusing and playful twist. The cartoon illustrations are fun, as well. I plan on reading this to students soon and I think they will enjoy trying to figure out the meaning of the invented words.

How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln: A Story About the Nation’s First Woman Detective by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk

Abraham Lincoln may never have been inaugurated as the 16th president if not for Kate Warne. This biography tells the story of the first woman detective who discovered the details about a plot to attack Lincoln and played a key role in ensuring he arrived safely in Washington, D.C. The book provides insight into an historical event and also shows how a woman was able to accomplish something so hugely important at a time when women had limited opportunities.

The Inventor’s Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford by Suzanne Slade

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were both curious and had dreams to become inventors. Edison’s inventions were a success, but Henry’s seemed to flop. Throughout the story Henry asks himself, “What’s his secret?” The secret, finally shared between the two over dinner one night, helps Henry learn the power of perseverance. The end pages provide additional facts about Thomas and Henry and their inventions.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas

I have been anticipating the release of this picture book because I loved, both the story and the writing in the author's chapter book, The Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: A Memoir by Jacques Papier. This picture book was just as imaginative and beautifully written. It's a story about the Uncorker, a lonely man living above the ocean whose job it is to deliver bottles found at sea. The Uncorker is unable to deliver a message, and although he feels quite sorry about this, the outcome ends up bringing him much more happiness than he expected. This is just a lovely story about togetherness and celebrations.

Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton

As a young child Lonnie Johnson loved to build and create. He later achieved his dream of becoming an engineer even in the face of challenges. When he invented the super-soaker water gun, he again did not let challenges get in his way as he tried to make it a success. This true story of an inventor shows the benefits of effort, problem solving and persistence.

Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang by Victoria Coe

I have been looking forward to reading this sequel to Fenway and Hattie. Thanks to the author, Victoria Coe, I received an Advanced Reader Copy last week. In this story, Hattie has a new pet, a bunny who Fenway thinks is evil. Fenway's confusion about the bunny soon grows into jealousy that leads to trouble for both Fenway and Hattie. As in the first book, the story is told from the perspective of Fenway giving the reader insight into the mind of a dog. The emotions that Fenway expresses give this book heart and the imaginative look at how he tries to figure out the human world makes it an interesting read. 

The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore

The science fiction, dystopia genre is not usually one that I choose to read, but I received this book at the International Literacy Association when I attended a meet-up with a group of middle grade authors. I probably would not have read this book if I had not met the author and been given the book, but once I began reading it I could not stop. There is so much imagination in the pages of the book and there is a bit of a mystery, as well. When I got to the end of the book, I still wanted to know more about the characters so I was glad to hear from the author on Twitter that there will be a sequel.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

This graphic novel is a blend of realistic fiction and fantasy that tells a meaningful story of two sisters, one who is unhappy about moving to a new town and another with a life-threatening disease. It's about ghosts, but also family, friendship, and courage. The graphics are wonderful, pulling me into the foggy, ghost-filled atmosphere and the Day of the Dead celebration to enhance my experience of reading the story. This story is both engaging and touching.

Wish by Barbara O'Connor

Charlie, whose own parents are not able to give her adequate care, has just moved to a new town to live with an aunt and uncle she hardly knows. She desperately wants to go back to her old life and her temper often gets the best of her. A stray dog and an unlikely friend help her learn about family and kindness. There was not a character in this book I did not like and the plot was interesting. Although Charlie's situation will pull at your heart strings, this is a sweet and heart-warming story.


  1. I've been very curious about Uncorker. Thanks for your review.

  2. We just finished reading Wish too - What a powerful story. Thanks for telling us about How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln - What a great book to add to our collection of biographies.

  3. Lots to love here, & thanks for sharing about The Firefly Code, a new title to me. I have Wish from the library, will get to it soon, along with Ghosts, too! I enjoyed Whoosh a lot!

  4. I loved The Uncorker and can't wait to read Ghosts. And I am very curious about The Firefly Code. Thanks for sharing.

  5. My TBR list just exploded! I think I added all of these titles to my library hold list. I'm really excited about The Uncorker.

  6. Best Frints is so adorable, I really enjoyed the way it put a fresh spin on an age-old story, and the illustrations are just the cutest!

    1. I loved the illustrations, too! So adorable and colorful!

  7. Yay, lots of great books! I loved Uncorker, the quiet but moving story.
    So jealous you've read Fenway! I can't wait to get a copy!

  8. I loved Best Frints in the Whole Universe! I think it would be great for teaching about using context clues to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words. I can't wait to read the next Fenway & Hattie book! I'm supposed to receive a copy, but haven't yet! The first one was a big hit in my classroom! Hope you have a great week!

  9. I just finished The Firefly Code today and agree with your comments. I read it in one sitting and am glad to hear there will be a sequel!

  10. Really looking forward to reading Ghosts - anything Telgemeier writes is golden. :)