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 novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.
Because last week I hadn’t finished any novels, I am starting with the fact that I managed to finish both titles I had on the go.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Illustrations by Jim Kay
Yes, I now see why people rave and rave about this book. Beautifully tragic. Grief. Anger. Pain. Necessary steps on a journey towards healing and acceptance. Unforgettable. And whoa, can we say Jim Kay? These drawings are spellbinding.
The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher
I really liked Stolen by this author. This title just didn’t pull me in in the same kind of way. It was okay but . . not great. An easy book to put down and some parts of the story just irritated me. Like the terrible grammar Damon used – but not consistently. I was expecting more . . .
Picture books I enjoyed:
Grandfather Gandhi written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk
Wow. Wow. Wow. These illustrations are simply incredible! I read the story once and then just picture walked my way through it multiple times again. Gorgeous. Also important messages about inner peace and resolve. Big shoes to fill when Gandhi is your grandfather. But bigger lessons to learn. My only complaint – I wish more of Gandhi’s story was shared in the back of the book. Midway through reading this title to my own children, we stopped so I could give them more background info via the internet. I would need to develop background knowledge with my students for them to fully get everything from this story.
Hansel and Gretel by Rachel Isadora
No surprises with the story line here – it’s the usual Hansel and Gretel story. But, the illustrations – wow! Set in the forest of Africa, this version is bright, colourful and features native animals and foliage. Gorgeous.
The Fort that Jack Built written by Boni Ashburn and illustrated by Brett Helquist
Jack has built a fantastic fort. Piece by piece, his family reclaims portions of it and it slowly disappears. Rhyming. Repetition. Delightful for buddy choral reading.
A featured read aloud:
Ape written by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Vicky White
After finishing The One and Only Ivan, I knew I had to share this title with my students
Ape is a visually stunning book! A book to pore over again and again marvelling at the details – both visual and written. Vicky White’s close up portraits and lifelike illustrations fascinated us while Martin Jenkins’ text provided so much new information it was difficult to turn a page without endless questions and observations. We used this title to prompt “turn and talk” sessions and to do some summary writing responses.
The students had some great questions like:
- How many hours in a day do baby bonobos stay attached to their mothers in a hug?
- Just how viscous can chimp fights be?
- How long does it take gorillas to build their nest each night?
- Doesn’t the smell of durian fruit start to make orangutans ill?
- Would any of these apes get along with other apes (like bonobos and gorillas?)
- Which ape is most like us?
Up next?I have just started The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Reading Goal updates:
2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 42/100 novels complete
Goodeads Challenge: 281/650 books read
#MustReadin2014: 16/30 complete
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 69/65 complete
Some pretty intense reading in this list!
Some was – it’s true. But pretty great!
Wow. Just by the cover I can tell that Hansel and Gretel will be stunning. Though I wonder if there’s some sort of cognitive dissonance happening as you read because Hansel and Gretel are such Germanic, European names — is it strange to see the story being told through an African lens? Of course, if it is, I’m sure that’s only an issue for adults who read the book. 😉
I love fairytales set in different places as when I know the story well, I can focus on the unique illustrations, cultural references. Isadora has done a number of these titles – fairytales set in Africa. Princess and the Pea I have read and didn’t like as much.
I have Grandfather Ghandi on hold for me at the library, I’ve heard such great things about it! I also have on hold a book called The Tree House Jack Built. There will probably be some similarities! I was hoping to get my hands on Ape, but our library doesn’t have it 😦 I’m getting ready to do a summer book club using Ivan, thought that would be perfect! Hope this week goes well for you, Carrie!
Ape is so great. I have blogged about it before. Students just adore it. And the illustrations – whoa . . .
Good point on Grandfather Ghandi, I was hoping for more as well although I did adore the book… have it as a special blog feature post in a few weeks… 🙂 I now have Ape that I THINK you might have shared before… maybe in a non-fiction book share? A Monster Calls- still sticks with me over a year since I read it… getting up the guts to read other Ness books! Happy reading to you!
I did share Ape before – a few times on certain lists as I adore it! Fun to share after Ivan. I haven’t read other Ness books but think that needs to change asap.
I hadn’t heard of Ape…and I loved that author/illustrator combination on Can We Save The Tiger. Requesting it at the library right now! And Hansel and Gretel looks amazing!
In Reading Workshop today I counted three different children who read Ape and then put back on our Recently Read shelf. The students got so much from this title. I hope you enjoy it!
The Killing Woods was a bit much for middle school, and Monster Calls just didn’t speak to me. Some weeks are like that. I need to go line up some more books for this week!
So true – Killing Woods very heavy – the whole “game” played in the woods was too dark and strange.
I loved that Patrick Ness took that story & with the illustrations, made it something good for certain students. Love the idea of the Hansel & Gretel, & will look for Ape-sounds great. Thanks Carrie, still best wishes to you & your colleagues!
Thank you Linda. You are always so kind! I agree that this Ness title with these illustrations makes it all the more powerful. I also really like the work of Dowd so another reason I wanted to read this title. So sad about her early death from cancer.
I felt the same way about THE KILLING WOODS. STOLEN is one of my favorites, so I was really let down by the title. It took a lot of energy to find some positive things to write about when I reviewed it. I would try another book by Lucy Christopher because I loved STOLEN so much, but this one felt unpolished. Thanks for your honesty.
I agree – I would read another book because Stolen was so powerful but this one was just not for me. I noticed your Goodreads review did really highlight some of the positives 🙂 The woods were really well described I agree. But the whole idea of this game and the details of that . . . Not for me.
I’ve heard so much about A Monster Calls. I was trying to decide between getting it as an audiobook or as a text, but if the images are that spectacular, I guess my decision is made. I hope you are enjoying Tupelo Landing as much as I did.
They are that spectacular. A must read and “view”
I know exactly what you mean about Rachel Isadora. I believe we featured a lot of her works when we did our fractured fairy tale reading theme a few years back. Really amazing illustrations. I am sooo happy that you loved A Monster Calls. I couldn’t stop talking about that book after I’ve read it. A distinctly powerful read with its own voice – it blindsided me. Ape looks absolutely beautiful. Pinning that book cover right now.
A Monster Calls is one of those titles that will be memorable always. So powerful, absolutely.
I really enjoyed The Fort that Jack Built because of the sweet interaction between him and his grandmother. That’s a rare relationship in picture books.
Agreed. I really liked that too!
The cover of Ape is amazing! WOW! I am so glad you finished Monster Calls and found it to be a powerful read. It’s one I’d like to reread at some point–but first I need to finish the Chaos Walking series. Grandfather Ghandi is one I’m going to request that my library purchase–but I’ll be sure to build some background knowledge with my son first. I appreciate the heads-up, as I rarely preview books before I read them to him and often don’t realize that a title really needed some scaffolding until we’re halfway through it. We’ve read a few Rachel Isadora titles over the past year (I especially loved the art in Ben’s Trumpet), and I’d like to read this one too. The cover is very appealing. I didn’t finish any books on my own last week, and I decided to take an hour to myself this morning and finish Jinx’s Magic (which was just wonderful). Enjoy your reading week!
We are almost finished Jinx’s Magic – will finish it with my kids this week. Yes, wow, wow, wow to A Monster Calls. What a book.
Well waiting to hear the results of the strike vote and reading through IMWAYR blogs. Hoping that even a YES vote won’t result in a full walk out! I love the Rachel Isadora version of Hansel and Gretel and Grandfather Ghandi looks like a great addition to our biography section. Ape is a book I bought because of you! Love it! A Monster Calls is very intriguing and your review is making me want to read it ASAP! I’ll be out on the front line at 6:30 am – we should know more by then I would assume. xo
Hi Adrienne. Thinking that next week lots of reading might happen – just not so much reading aloud. Hang in there. These are challenging times . . .