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!
Happy Back to School everyone!
This week was about sharing a lot of favourite titles with my new class. I am thrilled to announce that I have a multiage class of students – Grade 2/3/4. Sixteen of these children were with me last year. We have launched right into the celebration of books in a wonderful way. Wordless titles. Nonfiction books. Lots of picture books! Our first chapter book read aloud is Marty McGuire Digs Worms by Kate Messner.
Finally this weekend, I found the time to read some “new to me” picture books I pulled from my public library and school library. My favourites of the week:
Desmond and the Very Mean Word written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams and illustrated by A.G. Ford
Gorgeously illustrated by A.G. Ford, this title handles forgiveness and its power in a totally accessible and meaningful way for children. An engaging story of negative interactions between boys where the negative tension is finally soothed through gestures of apology and forgiveness. A wise adult helps Desmond navigate feelings of vengeance, anger and upset. Set in South Africa and based on a true story in Desmond Tutu’s own childhood.
Rabbityness written and illustrated by Jo Empson
Visually – wow. So much to this story. It is a celebration of self and creativity and joy. It is about inspiration. It is about loss and grief and moving on. A story told equally through text and illustrations.
Read me a Story, Stella written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
I am a big fan of Gay’s Stella and Sam – I love the connections to nature, the endless questions, Stella’s brave persona and Sam’s style of hanging back until he is sure. This book has all of the magic of the other Stella and Sam books and there is a love of literacy and books thrown in the mix. What could be better?
The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter This story is based on true events surrounding the invasion of Iraq in 2003. An incredibly brave and determined librarian worked quickly and creatively to protect the books in Basra’s Central Library from the destruction caused by the bombing. A story of heroism and hope in the midst of the ugliness of war. This book could be shared with older primary students and would be relevant right into high school.
Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter Another incredible story of courage based on true events. I think stories of violations of children’s right to attend school are stories that must be shared. This book tells the story of a little girl living in fear in the middle of Taliban rule. School offers her much more than education. My own children leaped up after I read this story to them, yelling in outrage about the injustices revealed in this book. They immediately made connections to The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis that we read a few years ago.
I finished Cinder written by Marissa Meyer Honestly, I was surprised by how addictive this story was for me. I thought it would be a light read but I was drawn in to the drama and intrigue despite suspecting some of the secrets unveiled late in the novel quite early on. I will definitely continue with this series. Futuristic, fantasy/sci-fi with fairy tale elements and high drama. Can see this being a huge hit for (older) middle school/high school readers.
Next up? I have just started Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein and also want to get to Jinx by Sage Blackwood.
Happy Reading everyone!
Oh, my, I must get Rabbityness for my daughter. She is a senior in high school who loves rabbits and is getting her portfolio together to apply to art schools 🙂
It is an absolutely inspiring title for a young artist!
Hi there Carrie, I see a lot of familiar titles here: Rabbityness and Librarian of Basra which is also one of my favourites. Nasreen’s Secret School also looks like a lovely picture book. Have you heard of Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran? It’s an autobiographical novel, and I was thinking that this could be a good companion book for much older readers – basically touches on the same theme. Very powerful read. I would have to find Desmond and the very Mean Word – looks like something I could share as well with my teacher-students here in Singapore.
Myra – I just started Desmond as a read aloud today. We only got through 4 pages because there was so much discussion. Then kids wanted to write! It is a powerful story We will continue reading over next few days. I don’t know of this novel. Thank you for the suggestion.
Hi Carrie, Wow 2nd, 3rd AND 4th! That is quite a range. You will certainly be able to share a wide range of books this year. I really like the looks of the Jeanette Winter books. I also really got into Cinder and was very surprised by it. Have a great week!
Thanks Gigi! I am very excited about this class! And they are a big book loving bunch! Yes – Cinder was a great surprise.
I’ll look forward to your new range of books accommodating readers, although you always have a fantastic array of titles! 🙂 I couldn’t stop reading Cinder as well… holding off on the sequel, etc. because of all the other TBR books taunting me…
Lots of options with this new class. I do have a huge range of reading levels but kids are super keen and discussions so far have been rich and interesting. It will be a fun year!
Oh I’m glad you loved DESMOND AND THE VERY MEAN WORD. I really enjoyed that one too. 🙂 I need to check out THE LIBRARIAN OF BASRA. That one looks really interesting.
These Jeanette Winter titles do such a great job of introducing themes and stories to students. Many will lead to further reading I think. Desmond is a great book. Reading it aloud to my class and they have so many questions and comments.
Rabbityness looks incredible! Hmmm, off to add yet another book to my Amazon cart! I also love the Stella & Sam books–this is one we haven’t read yet. My boys loved the first Marty Maguire book. We need to get the next one. The Desmond Tutu story looks really interesting as well. I love discovering “new to me” books! Thanks, as always, for sharing. Have a wonderful week!
My pleasure Elizabeth. Stella and Sam are such endearing characters. I think you will really like this Desmond Tutu title. My class is loving it!
Thanks for sharing about Cinder. I have had the book for ages, and I haven’t gotten around to reading it. My past high school students LOVED it, and many liked SCARLET even more. I definitely need to get this book off my TBR shelf and into my hands, based on your review.
Have a fantastic week!!
It was a very happy surprise – how much I enjoyed this title. I now want to read Scarlet asap!
My 7th & 8th grade book club loved Cinder! I really enjoyed it as well, and was surprised to discover that Scarlet was even better! I can’t wait to see where this wild story goes.
It is certainly a title that was impossible to put down – hoping Scarlet is the same. ANd I love that even though it is a YA title – I think many MG readers could handle it. Nothing too extreme to put it only in the YA genre.
The Librarian of Basra is one of my very favorites. Many kids think that biographies are about people who are no longer living, so that book always surprises them when there is no “end” to her story–because she’s still living. 🙂 I will definitely check out Nasreen’s Secret School–it sounds like a good one that will remind on those tough days at school how very lucky we actually are. Thanks so much for sharing these, Carrie.
My pleasure. I totally agree with you about biographies! Such a wonderful way to introduce kids to true heroes and when they are still living, it is even more powerful.
I just loved The Librarian of Basra! I hope you enjoy Escape From Mr. Leomoncello’s Library, I LOVED it. I wanted to start it all over again after I finished it.
It is a great read so far! Can see it being wonderful as a class read aloud.
The cover for Rabbityness looks like it could inspire an art project for you! 🙂
Both of those Jeanette Winter’s books sound eye opening. And your review of Cinder is convincing me to keep at it . . . it’s been on my bedside all summer, neglected for other titles.
You are beginning to know me and my art project inspiration ideas! So true. I thought exactly the same thing! Yes, try Cinder. A fun read!
LOVE Cinder! I still need to read Scarlet, but my students say it is just as good.
The PBs sound great; need to get to some of them 🙂
Happy reading this week!
I also want to get to Scarlet. This series seems like so much fun!
I get ridiculously happy when I discover I’ve read a lot of the books on other people’s IMWAYR list! I think I’m going to have to end up reading all of Jeanette Winter’s books because they are so good.
So true – I am a big Jeanette Winter fan.
LOVE this list, Carrie! As always, I read your list and make “knew-new” connections! I KNEW Jeanette Winter’s Librarian of Basra – but not Nasreen’s Secret School. I KNEW about Sam and Stella books but this one is NEW to me! Also new is the Desmond Tutu book and Rabbityness looks amazing! Thank you for sharing! How is your second week of school going so far? I’m behind on posts and writing my book but that’s what hockey try-outs and back to school will do! Happy sunny reading week! : )
Adrienne – thanks for stopping by and sharing your connections. I am having a WONDERFUL first week! Read the kids Me, Jane today as we are reading Marty McGuire Digs Worms. Had a big discussion about biographies and now they want me to read them one everyday. Don’t know if I can promise that but inspired by the passion!
Multi age? That rocks!! I end up with multiage groups, but don’t have them full time. And have I ever mentioned I Love your header image?
I adore Marty (of course) and I’d love to find that Desmond book. It would go well with my unit when I do Lions of Little Rock. (I also use The Other Side during that unit)
I have Cinder on my piles… I keep moving it toward the top and other things interfere. Maybe once I’m done Nerdbery (only 2.5 to go!)
Multiage is pretty awesome! One of my little girls described us as “a harmony” when I told them we had three grades in the class. 🙂 The header image is a bunch of my student’s art work and a photo of a reading lesson – thank you for the compliment. All of their art makes me smile! Desmond is a fantastic book – we aren’t even finished reading it and have had two read aloud sessions. There is so much to discuss. We talk about the concepts everyday! Forgiveness is a pretty amazing and challenging thing at any age.