Monday April 28th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?


Because last Monday I was away (and technology free) reading and walking the beach with my family, I am sharing two weeks of reading in this post. Warning: it’s a little long!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. The best way to grow your TBR list!

I read some fantastic picture books, both fiction and nonfiction. Here are my favourites:

Nassredine written by Odile Weulersse and illustrated by Rébecca Dautremer

What an important story to share with children to illustrate so perfectly the message that we can’t please everyone and in fact, there is often someone, no matter what, who will be critical of what we do. So much to this story: patience of a wise father, sensitivity in young Nasreddine and the gossipy judgement of “others.” Even though this tale is set in another place and time, it is very relevant to children today. The illustrations are absolutely stunning.

Nasreddine #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell

Enter the beautiful undersea world of little Minnow, one of King Neptune’s fifty daughters. Minnow, unlike her sisters, seems not to have a special gift or talent.  But her persistence and curiosity allow her to discover the story behind the strange and wonderful object that she found and to share it with all who want to find out more. A longer story, perfect for children who love fairy tales and fantasy elements.

The Mermaid and the Shoe #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Orani My Father’s Village by Claire A. Nivola 

This beautiful book tells the story of Nivola’s visits to Orani, the tiny Sardinian village where her father was born. A special place – full of memories, community, simplicity. A gorgeous celebration of family history. The author’s note in the back is well worth reading.

Orani #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Highest Number in the World written by Roy MacGregor and illustrated by Geneviève Després

One of my students says it best: “This is a really good book because Gabe’s grandmother saved the day. She did this by convincing Gabe that she was lucky.” Hockey, wise grandmothers and sports heroes. Quite the book. My students have written reviews of this title that I hope to blog soon. It was very popular with boys and girls alike but I really liked that our little hockey loving heroine was a girl!

 the highest number in the world Roy MacGregor

Flight of the HoneyBee by Raymond Huber and illustrated by Brian Lovelock

A fantastic introduction to bees – told as one scout’s story. The pages are incredibly illustrated – the bees look like they are dusted in gold dust. Learn about pollination, how bees dance, life in the hive, etc. Gorgeous nonfiction title for the elementary classroom.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Big Blue Whale written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Nick Maland

All about the blue whale. As always, Nicola Davies manages to deliver a lot of information in such lyrical text. The illustrations by Maland are really interesting and add to the feel of the book. Such majestic creatures, blue whales.

big blue whale #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Jazz Baby written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by R Gregory Christie

What fun this would be to read aloud with little ones. Music sings out via the rhythm of the words. Energy, movement, fun!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dog Loves Counting by Louise Yates

Just so much fun. Help a little dog who can’t sleep count things – like three toed sloths and five-lined skinks and the seven stripes on the racoon’s tail. Playful, clever and sweet. Would make a very interactive story time for little ones or be the perfect book for buddy reading with Kindergartens.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Guinea Dog by Patrick Jennings (young MG)

One of the most entertaining “wants a dog, parent says no” books out there. And Fido is certainly some pet. Hilarious. Spirited. Perfect for those students ready to handle longer chapter books. I am reading this with my Jr. Book Club (Grades 2 and 3).

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo (MG)

I read this book in one early morning sitting with some strong coffee and lots of tears. It has so much that I love – true humanity, history, truth and sentimental simplicity. Not is any sappy or overly dramatic way. Just a true story told. Good people are sometimes hard to find. This book has a collection

with a name like love #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer (YA)

Wow. Hard to find words to describe the intensity and interesting aspects of this story. Set in the jungles of Gabon, this novel is about a boy and his relationships with chimpanzees. No doubt, there are messages of conservation that come through loud and clear. But this book is also about being alone, finding connection, chasing dreams and finding home. Days after I finished reading this book, I wanted a chance just to peek again at the characters – human and chimp to see how they were faring. It was that real to me.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Golden by Jessi Kirby (YA)

I often see books categorized as a “coming of age” story and this truly is that. What is it like to be on the brink of your future? How do our choices define what lies ahead and how connected are we to where we come from? This book has a lot to it – mystery, soul searching, family and friendship connections. Much of it bittersweet.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos (YA)

An interesting title – one that deals with mental health issues, abusive families and an amusing look at teenage life. More about character than plot. The search for self and meaning through the muddy waters of family dysfunction and depression. Complex. Painful. Well done.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (YA)

This book has been sitting on my shelf for ages and so I put it on my #MustReadin2014 list. What took me so long to pick it up? It was all kinds of amazing. I loved pretty much everything about it. The characters. The honesty and vulnerability of the narrator. The family dynamics. The truths. The humour. Wow, wow, wow. READ this book, if you haven’t already!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Countdown by Deborah Wiles (MG)

I am more and more impressed with Wiles with every title I read. This is the first novel in her Sixties trilogy and it is fantastic. It is everything a middle grade novel should be. Preteen  everyday issues (family and friendship drama) in the context of this time in history – the Cuban Missile Crisis. So well written and full of nonfiction elements – songs, ads, headlines, photographs. The reader steps right into the life and times of these characters and lives their fear over world events and conflict. Highly recommended. My eleven year old daughter is now reading this book.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I continue reading Jinx’s Magic by Sage Blackwood to my own children. I am starting All That’s Missing by Sarah Sullivan and have a number of nonfiction titles I picked up from the library that I’m eager to read.

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 35/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 213/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 15/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 56/65 complete


24 thoughts on “Monday April 28th, 2014

  1. Wow! What a ton of amazing books! I hadn’t heard of Countdown – it sounds like a great title to add to my historical fiction section. So many of my histfic books end up in one or two time periods… and the 60s really isn’t represented at all! I got an ARC of Threatened at ALA, but still need to read Endangered first.

    • The great thing with Threatened and Endangered is that they have similar themes but are not a “series” so you can read them completely independently of each other. Countdown is fantastic! Revolution is the next in this sixties trilogy. I look forward to reading this when it is released.

  2. Wow! You had an amazing week of reading. 🙂 As per usual, I just put a bunch of picture books on my to-read list. 🙂

    I absolutely loved Guinea Dog. Such a fun, endearing book. I wanted a Fido of my very own by the end. 🙂

  3. I missed your post last week! Now it’s my turn to be gone -traveling today. I have Countdown ready to go and Revolution on preorder. I’ve heard nothing but good things! I’ve had Mermaid/Shoe since it came out, just haven’t gotten to it! Beautiful picture of your children 🙂

    • Thanks Michele – it was so great to get away and have family time and lots and lots of reading! I LOVE Deborah Wiles! So I am very excited to read Revolution as well. I think you will really like Countdown.

  4. I kept my list handy, Carrie, knew there would be more than one I would need to add. Thanks for taking the time to tell about each book. I especially loved the look of Nassredine and Orani. I need to get to Threatened, loved the first book, too. Have a super week!

    • You would love both Orani and Nassredine. Books to take time with and lots to ponder. Threatened is quite the story. I loved it and raved so much that my husband is now reading it.

  5. Wow- such an amazing reading list.Every one of those MG books sounds wonderful. Sherman Alexie is a favorite of mine- even though I have to be careful about who gets the book,it’s a bit adult for most of my sixth graders.

    • I agree that this Alexie title needs some maturity. I do want my own children (in sixth grade) to read it but not for a bit. It was just so well done. Loved the main character’s perspective and acceptance of basically everyone. Especially appreciated the way he spoke of his parents and how they truly did their best. Refreshing.

    • I LOVED Sparky! Sloth by mail order, doesn’t get better! The reading and beach walking was pretty dreamy. Add in some deliciously strong coffee and gorgeous views. Heaven. I think you will be very impressed by both Endangered and Threatened. I highly recommend both titles!

  6. So many amazing books! Absolutely True Diary is the only sacred title on my syllabus for Adolescent Lit–the only one I would never EVER consider removing from the course. It is certainly on my all-time top 5 YA novels list. I do love a book that makes you laugh and cry–sometimes on the same page. Guinea Dog looks like one my son would enjoy–he is still enjoying chapter books that are for younger kids, and I’m going to go with that as long as I can! And your description of With a Name Like Love makes it sound so wonderful. Isn’t Nasreddine gorgeous? I LOVED the illustrations so much. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new K.G. Campbell book. Need to get Jinx’s Magic right away too–I want to know what happens next!

    • Yes, Absolutely True Diary is just so real and true. It certainly amused me but also I found it so deeply touching. Guinea Dog has a great main character – his voice is very likeable – in some sense better for readers a little older even though the storyline suits younger kids. So perfect for your son. Yes, Nasreddine is absolutely gorgeous. I really loved it. Of course, I now want my own copy. Just finished a chapter of Jinx’s Magic with my kids. We are loving it and ended tonight on a new stage in the plot!

    • Thanks Kellee! It didn’t hurt to have four quiet days away – the fact that I got up hours before everyone else to read and savour my coffee and the view allowed me to get lots of books in!

  7. I have so many comments that I am going to need to keep scrolling up to remember all of my thoughts as I read this awesome post. Your description of THREATENED brought me back to a very warm, happy place. I was so touched by that book. The characters will always linger with me. Sherman Alexie is my favorite author, so I am so thrilled that you liked ABSOLUTE DIARY.

    I am taking your recommendation, and I put a hold on DR. BIRD’S. Thank you! I am so excited to read it and will keep you posted.

    • Thanks Ricki. Yes, Threatened is really a wow title. I am so pleased I got my husband reading it so we can talk about it. This Alexie title completely surpassed my expectations. I was blown away. Hope you enjoy Dr. Bird’s Advice. . .

  8. We missed you last week Carrie. I had to check twice to see whether you included a belated post. Great to see you back with so many wonderful reads to share. I pinned a few of your titles here particularly the Nicola Davies ones for picturebooks. The Absolutely True Diary is one of my greatest YA reads too – we discussed that in my book club for adults here, and we were in awe of Sherman Alexie’s voice, the vulnerability and uncompromising truth. Beautiful writing with equally interesting and quirky illustrations. So glad to see you enjoyed yourself and was around the beach too. I miss the beach!

  9. Seriously, quite a collection of reviews on your post this week! Like others said above, I’ve now added more picture books to by library requests! I hope you had a wonderful vacation from technology-reading and beach walking sound better than blogging 😉 Have a nice week!

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