Monday September 2nd, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult reads!


My last almost 2 weeks of reading was vacation reading so exclusively novels – read by the pool, on the plane and out on the lanai during a trip to Maui. Even though the view was this beautiful, I did manage to read!

#IMWAYR It's a Book for That

In the last two weeks I read . . .

Rules by  Cynthia Lord

Don’t ask me how I hadn’t read this novel yet. But I hadn’t, and I had sure been missing out. A story of courage, of mistakes, of normal preteen self-consciousness wrapped up in the character of Catherine who has grown up with a brother with autism. Such an important perspective – how is it for the sibling of the child with special needs? It turns out that while Catherine is far from perfect, she is beautifully brave and compassionate and real. Loved this title.

Rules #IMWAYR It's a Book for That

When Life Gives you O.J. by Erica S. Perl

Everything I had heard about this title was about it being funny. And it certainly was funny but there was much more to this novel than humour. I loved how it explored preteen friendship and the dynamics of family relationships – from annoying to amazing.

#IMWAYR It's a Book for That

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

I read this aloud to my children and we all adored it. Such an interesting and engaging book. Set in 1899, we learn about Calpurnia who is born into a family of boys and has a huge interest and curiousity about the natural world. Calpurnia “fits” best with her Grandfather who spends his days surrounded by the natural world, his notebooks, specimen jars and notebooks. This title has everything I love in a book – it is all about nature and wonder, there is much to learn about another time and a wonderful relationship between grandfather and granddaughter is shared. Plus it is funny and is wonderful as a read aloud title.

Evolution of Calpurnia Tate #IMWAYR It's a Book for That

The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes by Kelly Easton

This is an odd little title – part fantasy, part adventure, part magic. Liberty Aimes has much to discover about the world when she escapes her strange home and cruel father. I can see kids finding this an interesting read. For me, it was okay at best.

#IMWAYR It's a Book for That

Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood

I really liked this little middle grade novel that centers on friendship, family and raising chickens! Prairie has a lot of adjusting to do when her family moves, her grandmother moves out and after years of homeschooling, she is sent to school. Lovely family dynamics. Believable characters and a well told story.

Prairie Evers #IMWAYR It's a Book for That

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I was well prepared that this book could be a hard read – emotional, heartbreaking, sad beyond measure. And it was all of those things. What nobody told me was how much this was just the day to day story of beautiful people in a horrible time and how these people would haunt me as I rooted for them to make it through. What a story. A testament to the human spirit and its capacity for love and compassion.

The Book Thief #IMWAYR It's a Book for That

What’s next? I am currently reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer and then plan to read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. With my children, I am reading The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens. 

30 thoughts on “Monday September 2nd, 2013

    • In my household, John Stephens is an important name! His titles are so much fun to read aloud. We read The Emerald Atlas on our spring trip. We’re only a little bit worried that we haven’t heard anything about the publication date of the third book in this trilogy. I am curious about The Book Thief movie – I will either go see it or close my eyes even if there is a commercial – not sure if I want my images of these characters changed.

  1. What an absolutely gorgeous location Carrie! I would certainly say that you got to read a lot, and some of my faves too. I love Prairie Evers and Calpurnia Tate. RULES is a big favorite for me. My daughter is almost Catherine’s age and her younger brother has autism, but she won’t read the book..ugh! I have also shared RULES with a couple of girls who have brothers with autism and it is amazing to see how they connect with it. Have a great week!

    • Thanks Gigi! We did enjoy this vacation a lot. I wonder if your daughter doesn’t want to read the title because she doesn’t want to talk about her reactions. Kids this age can be so private with feelings and emotions. My guess is she will pick it up eventually. Such a special book.

  2. Hi there Carrie! We missed you last week. Congratulations on having read The Book Thief – that is a HUGE book. I envy you. How I wish I could have found the time to read it for our current bimonthly theme (although I know Fats has reviewed this previously). The view that you just shared is simply amazing. How beautiful. You must have packed a lot of books to take with you! I have a copy of Calpurnia Tate still unread in my bookshelf. 😦 Hoping to get to it soonest, thank you for the lovely review. Kind of reminded me somewhat of TS Spivet.

    • Calpurnia Tate is a must read even if your reason is that you can continue gazing at the beautiful cover! I really loved this book a lot. One of my favourite titles ever to have shared with my children. The Book Thief is a beautiful book. The characters are incredible. I do hope you can find some time to read it soon.

  3. Welcome back home! Although, judging from that picture you posted, I don’t know if I’d want to be back to reality. 🙂

    I absolutely loved the book RULES. Such a wonderful story.

    It’s funny, when I first read THE BOOK THIEF I didn’t like it, but the longer the story sat with me, the more I realized just how special it was. It’s one of those books that grew on me over time.

    • Beth, I can see that with The Book Thief. Those characters just sit with you. Rules is a fantastic read. I need to get reading more Cynthia Lord! We did have a wonderful holiday but I am okay being back – the break was perfect right before the launch of a busy September!

  4. Wow–I’m amazed you got so much reading done with that view!

    The Book Thief is one of my all-time favorites–such a powerful book. I hadn’t heard of Prairie Evers–with the raising chickens, I’m wondering if it would be a good companion to Wendelin Van Draanen’s middle grade novel Flipped.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Natalie @Biblio Links

    • That’s right – I forgot about the raising chickens in Flipped! Prairie Evers was a real treat. I bought the book and my daughter read it first. She raved about it. A perfect middle grade title – lots of discussion about friendship and settling in to a new school.

  5. Beautiful photo & place, Carrie-nice to get away isn’t it? I’ve had book groups with Rules several times, always a wonderful experience. Several teachers have used Calpurnia Tate as a read aloud because of our many nature trips-works very well for good conversations! I liked it very much too. Thanks for the talk about Prairie Evers-sounds nice. And, The Book Thief-I read it when it came out & just bought a paperback copy because mine is long gone somewhere, probably with a student! I want to re-read again before the movie. I’ve often wondered why noone ever wrote about the everyday German families who had the challenge of surviving when they didn’t like what was happening? And you’re so right, here is the everyday life of one-a fabulous story, but complex as well. Thanks for all!

    • I so agree Linda – The Book Thief offers us a perspective not often shared. And I keep saying it, but those characters were just amazing. Representing so many types of reactions to a truly horrible and tragic time. My husband is now reading Calpurnia Tate – as my children have continued to sing its praises!

  6. Great titles shared here, Carrie. Amazed you got so much reading done with that view! Happy you had such a wonderful vacation.
    Some new titles here for me, some I’ve heard but haven’t read yet. But did read and love Prairie Evers. Love this kind of middle grade fiction much better than the more “mature” type.
    Great, fun post. Thanks for sharing your vacation reading with us.

  7. Your post reminded me that I have been in the middle of Calpurnia Tate for….well, an embarrassingly long period of time. And I love the story, so I have no idea why I haven’t finished it up. Glad to hear that it made for a good read aloud–will keep it in mind for my boys. They are both pretty interested in historical fiction. The photo you shared from vacation was gorgeous! What a wonderful place to read. Isn’t Rules wonderful? I often include it on the syllabus for my Children’s Lit class (and once or twice for Adolescent Lit as well). It’s always a huge favorite. And I always tell myself I am NOT going to reread it because I just don’t have time, and then I pick it up and start and end up rereading it because it’s just so good. Her novel Touch Blue is also good, though I didn’t like it quite as well as Rules. Are you back to school this week? If so, enjoy!

    • Yes – school begins tomorrow! Hope we stored up enough relaxation energy! I hope you can finish Calpurnia Tate – maybe begin again and do it as a read aloud. My kids thought it was fantastic.

  8. Wow, Maui? Nice I have always enjoyed Rules and it is well paired with Out of My Mind by Sharon Drapper. I was fortunate to hear Dr. Kelly talk about her book Return to the Willows. It is a gorgeous book.and true to the original story. I am very glad to hear you want to read Mr. Lemoncello’s Library because I am determined to read it soon if I can get my hands on a copy. Maybe we will read it at the same time.

  9. The beauty of Maui and the company of books such as these – truly you were in paradise! Zusak’s book is such a masterpiece – so many layers of meaning and feeling, a powerful book.

  10. I loved, loved, loved Calpurnia Tate. Hearing that you read it aloud to your children made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It is an incredible story, and I can imagine listening to it and enjoying the beautiful language. Thanks for sharing your review.

  11. Carrie – Wow! Your holiday sounds heavenly! Looks like a little slice of paradise! I, too, love RULES and use it as one of my Lit Circle books for grade 6. Lots of great discussion about dealing with disabilities in a family. I have not yet read Calpurnia Tate but your description has me hooked and I can’t wait to read it! We read Book Thief in our book club last year – it certainly leaves a mark on the soul. Thanks, as always, for your inspiring list.

  12. Love your choices, as always, Carrie! The Book Thief is one of my all time favorites. I’ve read it and listened to it and was amazed by how powerful it was even though I knew what was coming. For some reason, I’ve never read Rules, and When Life Gives You O.J. sounds like a must-read. Glad you had a wonderful vacation. Thanks for sharing!

  13. So many of your titles this week are on my “need to read” list! I too loved When Life Gives You OJ. Humor perfectly frames all that we love in families and all that drives us crazy about families. Aces Wild carried on with that balance quite well, too. What is everyone thinking about Fire Chronicle? Definitely a different feel with kids not being together. I kind of think of this one as Michael’s hero journey. Enjoy your last bit of time before you head back into the classroom!

    • We are enjoying The Fire Chronicle Very fast paced. It is different with the two story lines but we are enjoying both. Have you heard anything about the third title? I really like reading his work aloud. Find it lots of fun.

      • RandomBuzzers interviewed him last year:

        I can’t find a publication date, but I don’t know why I’m thinking it will be spring 2014. Maybe somebody in your house will want to pour through the interview questions to find how long we have to wait! In the interview, he did say it will be primarily Emma’s story and the cover will be black, which will fit well with the themes in the book. Hmmm. Having listened to them only on audio, I can only imagine they’d be great fun to read aloud, though I must say I’d certainly be influenced by Jim Dale’s cadence and tone; he’s fabulous.

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