Monday October 21st, 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! Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read!

I read many picture books this week. Unfortunately, many were just okay. Yet, many were wonderful. These picture books stood out:

Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon

Just. Delightful. And then some!!! Oh, do I love this book! I love the quirky teacher – her style, her passion, her celebration of just about everything! I love Ralph’s avoidance strategies. I love Daisy’s ability to see a story in everything. I love that Ralph spends lots of time lying under his desk. And I love the story of the inchworm. Inspiring for little writers? Oh yeah! But also just such a warm representation of a primary classroom. Swoon.

 Ralph Tells a Story #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Crocodile who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino

The illustrations in this story are absolutely charming. Meet a little crocodile that abhors water. He watches his siblings from afar and finally gets enough courage to dive in himself. Cured of his water phobia? Hardly. And it turns out there is a very good reason why not . .

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Little Red Writing written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

I have seen much #booklove for this title so I will get this out in the open quickly: I, personally, did not love this book. I love Melissa Sweet’s illustrations as I always do. I find the storyline clever and full of possibilities for writing workshop activities. But . . . I worry that this title doesn’t have enough stand alone enjoyment factor as a picture book. Did I read it and feel transported? No. Did it make me laugh? No. Did it evoke emotions? No. Was it just a great story? Not sure. I’m reserving final judgement until I try it out on kids. There was enough to like that I am including it as a title I enjoyed but . . . jury is still out.

Litte Red Writing #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay up Late by Mo Willems

Not sure how I had yet to read this Pigeon title. Read part of it with a student in a reading conference this week and then nabbed it from her book box when recess started. As always, I am delighted by Willems’ ability to engage the reader to participate so actively in his stories. My students adore the Pigeon!

Toads on Toast written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Colin Jack

I liked how Mamma Toad schemed to save her little toadlets from Fox and his cookbook full of toad recipes! In the end, we learn that a truly simple and delicious meal can truly save the day (and the toads)! Lots of humour and delightful illustrations.

Toads on Toast #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bear and Bee by Sergio Ruzzier

Some confusion. A worried bear. A clever bee. A made-to-be-friendship. Sweet and simple. Perfect for story time.

Bear and Bee #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also read two wonderful nonfiction picture books:

What does it Mean to be Present? by Rana DiOrio and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

We practice mindfulness in our classroom (read more about the Mind Up curriculum here) so I am very excited to share this title with my students. It highlights with various daily examples what it really means to be present in the moment.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers by Natasha Wing with art by Julia Breckenreid

I continue to be impressed with the variety of picture book biographies available to share in the classroom. This title had me stopping numerous times to carefully examine the images in the book. I learned many things about colour and can see this being a wonderful title to share with children of all ages.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Novels I read:

The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata

A quiet, introspective story about a 12 year old girl, her brother and her grandparents during a wheat harvesting season. Family dynamics are beyond believable and ring with all that is true about relationships that span generations and cultures. And wow did I learn a lot about the seasonal work of harvesters! True, the plot is not fast paced but can see this being a story that speaks to the inner voices of many preteens. A lovely book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Girl, Stolen by April Henry 

I have had a terrible cold all weekend and found this to be the perfect title to read while sick in bed. Certainly suspenseful but calm enough to put down when extra rest was needed. Still, I raced thorough this book in a day and enjoyed learning so much about being blind from the main character. Even though this is a YA title, I can see mature MG readers finding the text and story line easy to navigate and not too upsetting.

Girl, Stolen #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up from my very large TBR pile? Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord Very excited to begin this title! I also have a number of picture books and nonfiction titles I want to test out on my own children this week. I am finishing my first chapter book read aloud with my class (Marty McGuire Digs Worms by Kate Messner) and think I’m going to read them The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor next.

28 thoughts on “Monday October 21st, 2013

    • It’s true about the kid tested piece. Sometimes I am totally wrong – kids like the story in a completely different way than me. This may be the case with Little Red Writing . . .

  1. Wow–you’ve been busy! 🙂 I ordered Little Red Writing for our library but it hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ll be curious to see how it’s received by our students and teachers. We’re trying to update our biography section this year, so I’ll definitely give An Eye for Color a look.

    Have a good week!

    Natalie @BiblioLinks

    • An Eye for Color would be a great addition to your biography section! I am trying to read more biographies to my students – they are so fascinated by the real life aspect to a story. Currently we are reading The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos.

  2. Hi there Carrie, now I really have to find Little Red Writing – so happy to hear your candid thoughts about it. I love Cynthia Kadohata’s novels, but I can’t see my eleven year old wanting to read it by herself. If she reads it with me, probably, but its leisurely pace takes a great deal of getting used to and requires stamina for most readers. I haven’t read any of Mo Willems’ pigeon picture books yet – I have yet to explore most of his books. He is just something else, isn’t he. 🙂

  3. I really want to read What Does it Mean to be Present! None of our libraries have it for loan though! I might have to do a blind order based on your recommendation 🙂 Mindfulness is something my co-teacher and I are always touching upon with our students, and this book does look like a very sweet one to share with them. Have a great week!

  4. Love your point about kid testing. I am often very surprised by my kids’ reactions to books, my older son especially. He will absolutely love books that I think would bore a kid silly, and he will be meh about a book I think has huge kid appeal (recent example: Carnivores and Nino Wrestles the World). It must be fascinating to have a whole room full of kids to test books on! I bought Little Red Writing a couple of weeks ago but haven’t read it yet–I glanced at it and discovered that it doesn’t look very accessible for my kids. So it’s one I will read/use in my Children’s Lit classes. Love Melissa Sweet’s art, tho. Think I’ll purchase the mindfulness title. Working on that one with my kids!

    • And sometimes it is a group read aloud that enhances the whole experience and makes a book even more enjoyable. I find sometimes my own children like a book but when I share it with a whole class, they might love it. And sometimes the opposite is true. So many kids, so many books so it all works out!

  5. Oh, my! The cover for Toads on Toast! If the title doesn’t hook you, the cover illustration sure will. Hope you’re finally shaking your cold. I’m at the tail-end of mine, but a nap and a book sure sound good right now! 🙂

    • Thanks Lorna. The day at work today was long and no naps or cozy reading corners to be found! I also loved the cover of Toads on Toast. It was a picture book in a stack of very mediocre books and it truly saved my reading evening! Quite cute.

  6. Bear and Bee was such a sweet story! Loved both the illustrations and the text. Simple, but effective.

    Interested to see your thoughts on Little Red Writing. I’m also a Melissa Sweet fan, which is why this book is on my list, but I haven’t read it yet, despite all the buzz. Need to find out for myself!

  7. One of the teaches I work with uses mindfulness in her classroom so I must find “What Does It Mean To Be Present?” for her. Thanks for it, Carrie & for Toads on Toast too. Seems like such a funny book. Hope you’re feeling better today! And thanks for each review!

    • Thanks Linda. Trying to recover. So hard to be away. And I had an author visit today so couldn’t be away! What does is Mean to be Present is a great book to support the mindfulness curriculum.

  8. Our first graders love Ralph Tells a Story! I think they’d like your other picture book choices, too. I’ve been thinking about mindfulness a lot lately, so I’m curious about What Does it Mean to be Present? Thanks for sharing so many titles!

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