Monday November 21st, 2016

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Each week I share a reading photo of the week. This photo of students book shopping before school started was part of my Celebration post this week.

 Monday November 21st, 2016 There's a Book for That

We have continued to explore themes for our #classroombookaday titles. Suggestions for this theme included hope, faith, finding the beautiful and grappling with expectations.

 Monday November 21st, 2016 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. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.


On the blog:

Celebration: The Formula The secret to book love in the classroom. Although, IMWAYR community, I know you know this so very well.

Books I enjoyed:

Many of these titles will likely be part of my #MockCaldecott list this year! Very excited to be narrowing down my list.

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh

A gorgeous book – Tonatiuh gives us an interpretation of the Mexican legend how the volcanoes Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl came to be. So much additional information in the author’s note, glossary and bibliography.


Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Boris Kulikov

I had no idea that Louis Braille was so young when he invented braille. I also didn’t realize, as Bryant points out in the back matter, that so many inventors were teenage inventors. Amazing. This is not just a fascinating story that is beautifully illustrated, it is also full of a wealth of additional information in the final pages. One thing that broke my heart a little here was how much young Louis wanted to be able to read books on his own. Again, this speaks to the importance of access to literature for all kinds of readers.


Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph written by Roxane Orgill and illustrated by Francis Vallejo

I am blown away by this title and kind of have no words. These poems. This art. These small moments of a day captured in one incredible photograph. Nonfiction and poetry combine to tell the story of one day with a goal of one photograph – snapped by Art Kane in Harlem,1958. Would make a beautiful gift book. Trying to justify gifting it to myself.


Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

The art in this book is beyond, beyond. Absolutely stunning. An incredible biography made accessible to children. I particularly appreciated the back matter here. Information on Motifs and symbolism in Basquiat’s work is something I will certainly share with students when we explore this book. Steptoe’s author’s note is very important too. Especially this:

“Basquiat’s success seemed to me to begin an era of inclusion and diversity in fine arts where there had been little to none. This meant as a young African American artist coming up that my chances of having my voice heard and achieving mainstream success were majorly expanded.”


Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great Blondin by Matt Tavares

This is an interesting story of balancing acts and feats that are all kinds of incredible. First, not to be believed and then, seemingly not all that impressive. Except, they actually become more impressive. Jean François Gravelet who became the greatest tightrope walker in the world and acquired the name the Great Blondin was truly an incredible acrobat and performer. In 1859, he made his first walk across the falls and went on to make even more spectacular crossings. Crowds that at first had absolutely no faith in his abilities later seemed disinterested. This is a testament to public fickleness and has nothing to do with the accomplishments of the Great Blondin. Back matter reveals that in sixty five years as a rope walker,he was never injured. Pick up this book to get a peek at some of his incredible performances.


Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

Oh, this book. I had heard of this orchestra in the news in the last year and knew I had to own this book. There are so many reasons to share this story with children. It is a story of hope, of change, of perseverance, of the power of music and the beauty of community. A story of transformation.


Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

My class is Ben Hatke crazy. Like, madly, deeply obsessed. Graphic novels are read, reread and shared around the room. Julia’s House for Lost Creatures is never on the shelf as someone is always using it to draw the creatures located inside. “Hasn’t he done something else?” I am frequently asked. So finally, I got my act together and purchased this book. It is full of all kinds of fabulous Hatke-esque characters and its star – the Goblin, is one to root for. This will be loved, I know. Now, I just need to figure out how to introduce it to our classroom collection without some kind of stampede.


Big Bear Little Chair by Lizi Boyd

Lizi Boyd does the most amazing things with books – getting us to look at the page in new ways. This is part concept book about opposites, part story book and part work of art. There are so many ways this title could be used in the classroom.


Bjorn’s Gift by Sandy Brehl

I read an ARC of this engaging historical fiction title in the summer and forgot to share it. This is a sequel to Odin’s Promise which I haven’t read but found picking up this title and just beginning to be easy.

From Goodreads:

Set in Norway during World War II, Bjorn’s Gift continues the adventures of Mari, a young Norwegian
girl who faces growing hardships and dangers in her small village in a western fjord. German occupation troops and local Nazi supporters move closer to her family’s daily
life, and her classmate Leif becomes active in the Norwegian Nazi youth party. Mari struggles to live up to her brother Bjorn’s faith in her, as she becomes more involved in risky resistance activities, trusting only her
family and a few close friends.

I connected quickly with the character of Mari and loved her connection with her family. I love that Brehl chose to  look at this time in history and focused on this one family, and more specifically this one girl. Mari’s life becomes about daily difficult decisions and she must focus on protecting her family and trying to understand the actions of those around her. Living under Nazi occupation hits a small village hard. This novel asks the reader to imagine how absolutely everything is not the same during war times. Trust is fragile and invaluable at the same time. A wonderful historical fiction title.


Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick

This is the kind book I try to avoid when I hear about it. But it lures me at the same time. Picking it up is about being brave and open to all kinds of emotions. The vulnerability showcased hits too close to home. A Dad who has a stroke out of nowhere. His teen children and wife need to find a way to cope. I have teen children. I can’t even imagine something like this happening to us. This book immerses its reader in the experience pretty fully. It is hard. I was often weepy. But, Sonnenblick can take us to these sad and scary places and remind us of our strengths and the power of others to get us through. Highly recommended.


Reading Progress updates:

*Note: I am 50 books behind on my reading challenge this year. 50 books! This doesn’t usually happen. But then, it’s been quite a year. Moving and setting up a new classroom ate into my reading time for months. A saner person would embrace forgiveness and say, this year, I might not meet my challenge. Me? Not ready to throw in the towel yet. I have report cards to get through and then, I am determined to plow through and reach my goal! Which includes reading 19 novels still . . .

2016 Chapter Book Challenge: 56/75 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 304/400 books read

Progress on challenge: 50 books behind! Yikes!

#MustReadin2016: 22/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 42/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2016: 44/50 books read

Up Next? I am reading Little Man by Elizabeth Mann (look for this one!) and The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

12 thoughts on “Monday November 21st, 2016

  1. Carrie,
    I love Duncan T. Have you read his book Separate is not Equal. It’s about a true story that happened here in California. It’s about civil rights. Ciao from Rome,
    Lisa Celaya

  2. I need to make time to come visit you and read these picture books. The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes isn’t available at the VPL. Thankfully, Nobody likes a Goblin & Falling over Sideways are. I’m really looking forward to the latter since I attended a Brain Injury support group with my mom after her accident. I’ve see these individuals and their families.

  3. The shelves are so pretty! My library shelves are black, so the dust is so visible. I love Sonnenblick, even though he has sad topics. He does lighten them with tremendous doses of humor.

  4. I have Six Dots and now I am determined to read it soon. Thanks! I am also really looking forward to Radiant Child. I so hope you love The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I enjoyed it so much.

  5. I have always loved following your book journey, especially the one inside your classroom. I’ve been curious about the dots above your books for #classroombookaday. What do they represent?


    • Every week we vote on our favourite titles of the week. I represent the votes with magnetic circles after everyone has voted. Students also write about what they think the theme of the week was and indicate which book best exemplified the theme. The votes are for favourite books though.

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