Monday, June 21, 2021

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...

To Carnival!: A Celebration in Saint Lucia by Baptiste Paul and illustrated by Jana Glatt

Melba is excited for Carnival, but she wakes up late and misses her ride to town. As she makes her way to town on foot, she meets friends and the journey itself becomes part of the fun. The illustrations are bright and detailed, capturing the festiveness of a community celebration. The back matter gives further insight into St. Lucia and Carnival.

Full Moon by Camilla Pintonato

Rabbits plan a secret full moon celebration and invite their forest friends to attend. This is a very sweet and magical story highlighting the beauty and wonder of the natural world. 

Something Stinks! by Jonathan Fenske

There is a terrible stench and skunk invites readers along to figure out where the smell is coming from. Readers will be amused that they can see the cloud of stench trailing behind Skunk, but Skunk does not. The book includes lots of humor that will appeal to kids and the illustrations are really entertaining.

Linked by Gordon Korman

Like other books by Gordon Korman, this is an engaging read with realistic middle grade characters. A school community comes together after a swastika is discovered on the wall of the middle school. The book explores important and relevant themes related to tolerance and forgiveness. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advanced reader's copy. The book publishes in July.

Summer Reading Recommendation


The Therapist by B. A. Paris

I was intrigued by this psychological thriller and read the book in one day while at the beach. There were secrets and twists and it had me guessing up until the end. I read a digital review copy and the book publishes in July.

Monday, June 14, 2021

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...

Butterflies Are Pretty...Gross! by Rosemary Mosco and illustrated by Jacob Souva

Butterflies are gorgeous to look at, but readers can find out some pretty gross facts about them, too, by reading this book. The interesting information, the format of the book, and the fun illustrations will all appeal to readers. This book is the first in a series and I look forward to finding out the topic of the next one. 

I Am the Shark by Joan Holub and illustrated by Laurie Keller

Great White Shark thinks he's the best shark in the book, but keeps getting one-upped by sharks who are better at something than he is. This is an amusing book with lots of facts about different shark species. Shark books are pretty popular among my students and they'll love the humor of this one.

When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling and illustrated by Aaron Asis

This is a sweet book about the special moments of summer and the bond between a girl and her grandmother. Lola's grandmother visits from the Philippines and they enjoy many summer activities and meals together until she has to return home. The poetic text and the gorgeous illustrations capture the joy of summer and the love that exists within families. 

Better with Butter by Victoria Piontek

Marvel is a sixth-grader coping with anxiety. She rescues a goat from a group of eighth-graders who are mistreating the animal and is allowed to keep her temporarily. Butter, the goat, helps Marvel deal with her anxiety and becomes her emotional support animal. This is a realistic and heart-warming story about finding courage. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advanced reader's copy. The book publishes in July.

Summer Reading Recommendation


Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have been eager to read this book since back in January, I think, when I heard Taylor Jenkins Reid had a new book publishing. I enjoyed The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but I think I loved this one even more. The setting, the characters, and the plot are all fantastic. Malibu, surfing, the eighties...perfect summer read!

Monday, June 7, 2021

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...

No Pants! by Jacob Grant

Pablo and his father are going to a party. They are almost ready, except Pablo does not want to put on pants, so his father must convince him. A couple of twists add to the humor of the story.

Percy's Museum by Sara O'Leary and illustrated by Carmen Mok

Percy moves to the country after living in a bustling city. Although it seems at first that there is nothing to do, Percy starts exploring and realizes there is much to enjoy about the world around him. This is a sweet story about the wonders of the natural world and friendship.

Toasty by Sarah Hwang

Toasty is made of bread, but wants to be a dog. When Toasty meets a girl who wants a dog, but is allergic, his dreams come true. This book, with its message about embracing one's differences and uniqueness, is both amusing and heart-warming.

Ahmed Aziz's Epic Year by Nina Hamza

Ahmed Aziz is having a pretty terrible school year. He is not thrilled to have moved from Hawaii to Minnesota. His father has a serious illness for which he is undergoing treatment. And being Indian American in a school that is mostly white, he is finding it hard to fit in. I really felt for Ahmed as he navigated a difficult school year and was rooting for him throughout the book. This is a fantastic story with a message about being true to oneself. Thanks to the publisher for a digital advanced reader's copy.

Adult Reading Recommendation


Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford

This is a memoir about complicated family relationships and resiliency. There were parts that were tough to read, but it's a very beautiful, honest, and moving book.

Monday, May 24, 2021

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...

Amira's Picture Day by Reem Faruqi and illustrated by Fahmida Azim

Amira is excited to celebrate Eid, but she is also disappointed that she will miss picture day at her school. After the celebration, Amira figures out a solution so she can be a part of picture day, too. The author's note at the end includes additional information about Eid. This is a heart-warming picture book with bright and joyous illustrations.

Buck's Tooth by Diane Kredensor

Now that Buck is old enough to enter the talent show he needs a talent, but his tooth keeps getting in the way. This is an illustrated, graphic novel-like chapter book that younger readers will find amusing.  

Harry Versus the First 100 Days of School by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Pete Oswald

This chapter book tells about each of Harry's school days leading up to the 100th day. It's an endearing story that is a realistic portrayal of the life of a first grader and includes some kid humor, too. The book publishes in June.

Beach Read

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

This past Sunday, we had temperatures in the eighties for the first time since last summer, so I got to enjoy my first beach day of the season. My beach read was The Maidens, the upcoming book by the author of The Silent Patient. The mystery was interesting and I enjoyed the setting which was both idyllic and eerie. It was an engaging, quick read for me as I read most of it while at the beach. The book publishes in June.

Monday, May 17, 2021

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...

Hair Twins by Raakhee Mirchandani and illustrated by Holly Hatam 

This sweet, fun story is about a father and daughter, who are Sikh, and the special relationship they have as a result of a shared tradition in which they help each other take care of their hair. The text is poetic and the illustrations are filled with joy. 

I'm On It! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading) by Andrea Tsurumi and Mo Willems

Goat shows Frog the many things he can do and Frog tries to outdo him. While Goat seems to be graceful and confident, the game quickly gets out of hand for Frog. This is an entertaining, funny, and clever story. I think it will be a hit with early readers. 

Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You adapted by Sonja Cherry-Paul, written by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi and illustrated by Rachelle Baker

Written for middle graders, this book introduces readers to the history of racism. The style is conversational and presents powerful and complex ideas in an accessible way for the intended audience. An important book.

Monday, May 10, 2021

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 Bruce Swap by Ryan T. Higgins

Kevin sends a letter to his cousin Bruce to say he's coming over for a fun visit. Bruce never gets the letter and when Bruce leaves to go fishing Kevin arrives. The woodland animals think their wish for a fun Bruce has come true, but soon find out that having fun is not always fun. This is another very fun book in the Mother Bruce series.

Chicken Little and the Big Bad Wolf by Sam Wedelich

Chicken Little is not scared of a wolf until he has an encounter with one in the barnyard. At first, the other chickens decide they need a plan to protect themselves, but after a little investigating they find out they have misjudged the wolf. This is an amusing story about friendship and the importance of not making assumptions. 

Fearless by Kenny Porter and illustrated by Zach Wilcox

Kara misses her friend, Alice, who has moved over the summer and is wondering why she isn't keeping in touch any longer. Determined to find out why, Kara goes on an adventurous bike ride to Alice's new hometown. Readers who are fans of graphic novels about friendship and growing up will enjoy this one. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group with an advanced reader's copy.

Monday, May 3, 2021

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...

Blue Floats Away by Travis Jonker and illustrated by Grant Snider 

Little Blue is an iceberg who gets separated from his parents and floats away. His journey takes him far away and includes a transformation that makes it possible for him to see new things. Little Blue's story of change introduces readers to the water cycle. The illustrations created with cut paper are fun.

The Thingity-Jig by Kathleen Doherty and illustrated by Kristyna Litten

Bear finds a Thingity-Jig and needs help bringing it home, but his friends are not interested in helping. With creative problem-solving, Bear succeeds in getting the job done himself and both he and his friends enjoy playing with the Thingity-Jig. This is a fun book that may inspire readers to build their own contraptions.

Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn and illustrated by Victo Ngai

This book is incredibly moving and powerful. Inspired by the author's own experiences, it tells of a family's journey as they leave their home in search of a new one. The poetic text, a series of wishes, is enhanced by illustrations that depict the family's emotions. The story is heart-wrenching, but ends with hope. Thanks to the publisher, Scholastic, for providing my book review group with an advance reader's copy.

Wonder Walkers by Micha Archer

Two children take a walk and wonder about what they see as they explore. The book is poetic, consisting mostly of questions the kids have as they interact with nature. It will give readers a new way to think about the world around them. The artwork is beautiful. 

Billy Miller Makes a Wish by Kevin Henkes

On his eighth birthday, Billy wishes for something exciting to happen. Over the course of the next few days, while missing his father who is away and helping take care of his sister, Sal, Billy's life is filled with interesting situations. This is a sweet story about the joys and challenges of being a kid and the sibling of a younger sister. The book is a companion to The Year of Biller Miller, but can be read on its own.

Monday, April 26, 2021

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...

Hugo and the Impossible Thing by Renée Felice Smith and Chris Gabriel and illustrated by Sydney Hanson

This book is going on my list of top favorite picture books. A bulldog named Hugo is curious about what's beyond the Impossible Thing and, although the other animals tell him getting to the other side is not possible, he's determined to try. Hugo is an endearing character who shows readers that even a difficult goal can be achieved. 

The Smile Shop by Satoshi Kitamura

A boy is excited about buying something with the money he's saved until he loses most of it down the drain at the market. He visits what he believes to be a smile shop and learns how a smile can improve one's outlook. 

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly

Books with quirky, charming characters, like Marisol, are always favorites of mine. An illustrated chapter book about friendship and overcoming one's fears and anxieties, this is a sweet story. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley, I read a digital review copy. The book publishes in May.
 

One Small Hop by Madelyn Rosenberg

This is a science fiction middle grade novel set in the future. It's an adventurous and funny story about friendship and the environment and shows the importance of small acts to make a difference for the planet. Thanks to Scholastic for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion with an advanced reader's copy. It publishes in June.

Starfish by Lisa Fipps

I've been hearing how great this book is and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Ellie’s story is heart-wrenching, but also empowering. It addresses self-acceptance, standing up for oneself, and bullying, making it an important book for middle grade students to read. Written in verse, it's a quick read. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

Monday, April 19, 2021

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...

Bindu's Bindis by Supriya Kelkar and illustrated by Parvati Pillai 

Bindu loves wearing the bindis that her nani sends her from India. When Nani visits, Bindu witnesses xenophobic behavior at the airport and later feels hesitant about getting on stage for a show at her school. Nani helps Bindu to rebuild her confidence. Both the story and colorful illustrations are beautiful.

Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Charlie Alder 

Doggo's life is the same every day, but he is happy enough. His humans think differently, so they bring home Pupper who, unlike Doggo, is full of energy and questions. Pupper learns to behave at charm school, but also helps Doggo realize the importance of having fun. This is an amusing and charming early reader book.

Too Small Tola by Atinuke and illustrated by Onyinye Iwu

This is a delightful chapter book that is the start of a new series. Tola is an endearing character who is small, but determined and kind. The writing is wonderful, with lots of figurative language, pulling the reader into Tola's life in a large city in Nigeria. I'm looking forward to reading more about Tola. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

Bea is For Blended by Lindsey Stoddard

I have loved every one of Lindsey Stoddard's books and this one is no exception. Bea is adjusting to her new life as part of a blended family now that her mother has married. In addition, she has formed a girls' soccer team and is dealing with unfair treatment from a coach who favors the boys' team. This is a heart-warming story about family, friendship, and fighting for what's right with lots of soccer action. Thanks to the author and publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with a review copy. The book publishes in May.

Adult Reading Recommendation

Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny

My school is on break this week, which means I can spend a little bit more time reading. This was the first of my vacation reads. It was a quick read and really sweet and poignant. I thought it was going to be a love story, and although it was, it was also much more. It is the story of a woman (who happens to be a second grade teacher) and the extraordinariness of living what, is in many ways, a normal, ordinary life. I loved so much about it including the fantastic writing, the quirky characters, and the small-town setting. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

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...


If Bees Disappeared by Lily Williams

This book introduces readers to honeybees, a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder that is causing bees to die, and the chain reaction of consequences that would result without bees. There is a strong message about the importance of bees, but also one of hope for the small creature that makes a big difference in our world. The illustrations are lovely.

The Little Library by Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas

Jake is reluctant to visit the school library, but once there, with the help of the librarian, he finds a treasured book. When the library is closing for the summer, Jake uses his book to work on a project to surprise his class and the librarian and make it possible to continue borrowing books. This is a lovely celebration of books and libraries.

A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu, and You by by Mike Barfield and illustrated by Jess Bradley

This book contains one- or two-page comic book style spreads providing a brief informational snapshot of interesting things related to the human body, the animal kingdom, and earth and science. Written from the perspective of the thing being described, each of the snapshots is amusing. This book is probably one that readers will revisit again and again rather than read all in one sitting. Educational and entertaining.

Knight of the Cape (Definitely Dominguita) by Terry Catasus Jennings and illustrated by Fatima Anaya 

Dominguita is going to prove to a bully at school that girls can be knights. An adventure to do good deeds leads her to new friendships. This is a sweet and charming chapter book.

Ways to Grow Love (A Ryan Hart Story) by Renée Watson

This is a chapter book that I absolutely love and along with the first book, Ways to Make Sunshine, think is a must-have for elementary classrooms and libraries. In this book, Ryan is navigating relationships with friends as she spends time at a summer camp. She's also awaiting the arrival of a sibling. It's a sweet, heart-warming book about friendship, kindness, and love. Thanks to the publisher for providing my book review group, #BookExcursion, with an advanced reader's copy.

Leonard (My Life as a Cat) by Carla Sorosiak

This is a story about being human as told by a cat who is actually an alien. On his 300th birthday, he wishes to be a human park ranger at Yellowstone, but ends up as a cat in South Carolina. Olive rescues him and helps him learn about being human and what it means to be part of a family. It's fun and heart-warming. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy.