Monday, December 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...

Once Upon a Winter Day by Liza Woodruff

After our first significant snowfall last week, there is no denying it's time for winter-themed reads like this one. This is a sweet winter story about a boy who follows the mouse tracks he discovers in the snow and imagines what the animals in the snowy wood have been doing. It's a book that celebrates winter, nature, and imagination.

This is Your Time by Ruby Bridges

In the dedication, Ruby Bridges describes her book as a "letter of peace." In her letter, addressed to children, she tells her story and encourages readers to embody the love and grace that's needed to make change and heal our world. The photographs included in the book add to the richness of the history Ruby tells and her message. Informative and inspirational.

Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey 

The sidekick from Pilkey's Dog Man series, Li'l Petey, stars in his own book in which he is president of a comic club. Along with Molly, the tadpole who is vice-president of the club, they help the other tadpoles face their fears about writing. The mini-comics the tadpoles write are included in the book. This book is lots of fun and has an empowering message about being an author, illustrator, or creator.

Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure by Jeff Kinney

Rowley is writing a medieval adventure about a boy named Roland, who goes on a journey to the Ice Fortress to rescue his mom from the White Warlock. The book alternates between the adventure story and Rowley's conversation with his pal Greg who has offered to help him with his writing. There is lots of silly kid humor in this book, but it made me laugh, as well.

Monday, December 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...

My Rainbow by Trinity and DeShanna Neal and illustrated by Art Twink

A mother-daughter team have written a story, based on their real-life experiences, about identity, acceptance, and self-expression. Trinity is a trans-gender girl who wants long hair like her dolls. She's also autistic and doesn't like the itchy feeling when her hair grows out. Her mom and her brother figure out a way to give her the hair that makes her feel like a rainbow. This is a very sweet and joyous book. 

Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Kenard Pak

A young girl walks to her Grandma's house the morning after a blizzard and discovers all the ways there are to hear snow. There are lots of great sounds words and the book provides an interesting perspective on the beauty and wonder of snow. This is a sweet winter-themed read, but also one that celebrates the special moments spent with family. 

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

A dog argues that he is the main character of the book which first appears to be about a cat and then a snake. After a few surprises, the dog takes control of the book and it finally becomes about him. This is a cute and funny book. Early readers will be amused. 

Of a Feather by Dayna Lorentz

This is a heart-warming story about a life-changing friendship told in alternating perspectives of Reenie who has been sent to live with an aunt she has never met and Rufus, the baby owl she helps rehabilitate. It also includes interesting insight into the sport of falconry. Thanks to the author for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy. The book publishes in February. 

Monday, December 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...

The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol by Arthur A. Levine and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

With his magic and kind spirit, Nate Gadol helps others by making whatever they need last longer. He was responsible for the Hanukkah miracle that enabled oil to last for eight nights. When two immigrant families are scarce on resources at the holidays, Nate runs into his old friend, Nick, and knows just what to do. This story is an enchanting imagining of how a modern Hanukkah tradition began. Specks of gold incorporated into the illustrations give the book a bright, shimmery feel. 

Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globe Trotters by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Don Tate

This nonfiction book about the Harlem Globetrotters tells the story of how they came to be a team and gives insight into their role in changing the history of basketball. Their story of persistence and talent is fascinating. The author's note at the end is very informative, as well. I also found the illustrator's note, in which he describes the research he did to create the artwork for the book, interesting, too.

Willa the Wisp (The Fabled Stables Book #1) by Jonathan Auxier and illustrated by Olga Demidova

This short, illustrated chapter book is enchanting and adventurous. Auggie is a caretaker at Fabled Stables which is filled with unique creatures, some magical and some mysterious. When a new stall appears with a sign that says, "Wisp," Auggie goes on a brave mission to save the creature from danger. This book is just as delightful as the author's middle grade novels.

Halfway to Harmony by Barbara O'Connor

In her classic style, Barbara O'Connor has written another middle grade novel about a sweet friendship with quirky characters that includes an endearing dog. Walter is grieving the loss of his brother when he meets his new neighbor Posey and they become involved in an adventure to find a lost hot air balloon. It's a heart-warming story about loss and courage. 

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.