Must Read in 2015: Summer Update

Summer reading is here! How have you been doing on your #MustReadin2015 list? Progress? Ready to dive back in this summer? it’s time to share!

Must Read 2015 logo

My #MustReadin2015 list has 24 titles on it and I have completed twelve. Exactly half and a summer of reading ahead! Numerous titles on my list are currently packed with me on a trip where I plan to read a lot! So I am hoping to complete two or three more titles from my list this week.

Sometimes I look at this list and worry that I won’t get to these titles but honestly, every time I complete a novel from this list I revisit my original reasons for including it back in December and am so glad these titles on my TBR list have that special Must Read status!

The novels I have read since our spring update:

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby 

There is reason for all of the raving about this YA title. The characters are so very unique – different, mysterious but so very appealing. The story is full of intrigue, suspense, mystery and magic. It is haunting and sad yet full of hope and transformation. It is one of those books that must be experienced and the less you read about it in advance, the better because each surprise, each “around the corner” is so delicious.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby Must Read in 2015 Summer Update There's a Book for That

Jack by Liesl Shurtliff

We finished this book on the very last day of school. The best response, “This book was so perfect because it had more than one happy ending!” We loved how Jack tied to Rump in such unexpected ways. Another fantastic read aloud by Shurtliff! Can’t wait for Red!

Jack by Liesl Shurtliff Must Read in 2015 Summer Update There's a Book for That

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

Whoa Maggie. What a girl you are. Voice bellows from the pages. What a family. So much that is challenging. Not much that is perfect. So very endearing. A fantastic book about family.

The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern  Must Read in 2015 Summer Update There's a Book for That

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Early on I wasn’t so sure about this novel. There was nasty middle grade interactions that made me absolutely cringe. Cruelty, insensitivity, racism. Miserable stuff. But midway through, I began to love the friendship developing between Apple and Evan. Evan is a kid I wish existed in every school – so many young people need him to help navigate the social world that can be so cruel. He approaches it with wise perspective and personal strength. He’s just plain smart and really right on so many levels. I look forward to more books from this debut author.

Blackbird Fly

The Shadowhand Convenant by Brian Farrey

I read this title aloud to my children. We read the first in the trilogy about a year ago and were completely captured by these unique characters in such a fresh fantasy story. This story continued to keep us guessing right until the last pages.

Shadowhand Covenant Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

If you have been participating in #MustReadin2015 and written an update post, please share using the #MustReadin2015 hashtag!

Want to know more about #MustReadin2015? Read here This post also includes links to all of the bloggers who wrote Must Read in 2015 lists.

And now for a confession and an apology.

Confession: I have messed up a little with these update dates. Originally, I had planned 3 updates and somehow, I looked at 2014’s schedule and got back to four updates. Call it over eager. Mostly, it is about busy and not checking carefully and actually creating more posts not less! So I apologize if you weren’t planning to update until September. I will still host an update as originally planned on September 3rd. As always, update posts are purely optional – it is fun to see how people are doing with their lists and what books they are loving. Join in if you would like 🙂

Apology: I can’t create a link up for leaving post links below as I am away and staying at a hotel with terrible internet access that keeps kicking me off. Thankfully I had prewritten most of this post earlier! Please leave links below in the comment section

Happy Reading to everyone! Crossing titles off a list or making choices as the mood hits – it’s all reading! Enjoy!

 

 

 

Monday May 18th, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week. This photo perfectly captures what happens when a new, impatiently waited for title arrives in our classroom library! An instant list posted to the cover and a happy little smirk for the first reader!

Monday May18th, 2015 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.

imwayr

I wasn’t able to post a #IMWAYR post last week so this post captures two weeks of reading.

Favourite picture books (fiction and nonfiction)

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach 

One of those read alouds that must begin again as soon as it ends – this isn’t the story it first appears to be. Adorable, hilarious and full of delight.

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Have You Seen my Monster? by Steve Light

There are monsters everywhere – look very closely. You might also find a triangle, a circle and a quatrefoil. Yes, really.

Have You Seen my Monster? Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton

A chicken. With arms. Wings? Nope, none of those. Henny learns to embrace her unique possibilities. Quirky but sweet.

Henny Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I Don’t Like Koala written by Sean Ferrell and illustrated by Charles Santoso

Is your stuffed animal watching you? This little koala just might be. An odd little book about a stuffed creature that is not beloved but is everywhere.

I Don't Like Koala Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

I, Fly The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Jennifer Plecas

Wow, such learning happens when a fly arrives to plead his interest quotient to a bunch of children studying butterflies. Such voice! I can’t wait to share this with a class.

I, Fly Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Outstanding in the Rain by Frank Viva

So very, very clever.

Outstanding in the Rain Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries. Four Families. One Delicious Treat. written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

This book does so much. As we travel through time with a recipe for a simple summer dessert, we are treated to a history lesson that is much more than how kitchen utensils and appliances have changed. I am in more than a little bit of awe.

A Fine Dessert Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Emu written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne. Papa Emu plays a starring role in this nonfiction title. Read my review here.

Emu Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Drive: A Look at Roadside Opposites by Kellen Hatanaka

There is a commercial I have seen a few times that celebrates a driving experience that has the children in the back seat fully plugged into their devices while the parents sit peacefully in the front seat pleased as can be to be avoiding noise, arguments, etc. from their children. While I will admit to ordering my children at times to “Be quiet!” I don’t want them zoned out on a device while we are in the car. I would prefer that they are watching the passing scenery, drawing or listening to an audio book. Even, oh my goodness, using the time to think and be. So I love this book that honours the view out the window and connection to the world as we travel through it. Tuned out to be tuned in is not my idea of the way things should be. Look out the window and notice! This book gives one a great starting point for lots of examples.

Drive- A Look at Roadside Opposites Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

In novels, I read . . .

A graphic title

Zita The Space Girl by Ben Hatke

I don’t always love graphic novels with lots of adventure and action. But this one? It’s a keeper! I now want all three titles for my classroom collection.

Zita The Space Girl Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Yes, it is really as good as you’ve heard. Beautifully written, beautifully imagined. An absolute must, must read!

Echo Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard

I read this in almost one sitting. One family, almost completely cut off from the rest of the world have their lives shaped and controlled by a step-father’s prophecies about the future. What happens when the one who protects might also put you at risk? How can one boy live a double life? Haunting. Upsetting. Utterly addictive.

Watch the Sky Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

A story about family and connection, grief and moving on. Ari and her older brother Gage are basically homeless – couch surfing and staying in shelters while trying to turn their lives into something stable with a real future. The secrets, the instability, the worries are huge. Can they keep their little family together and still hope for the future? I couldn’t put this one down.

 Paper Things Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

The Shadowhand Convenant by Brian Farrey

I read this title aloud to my children. We read the first in the trilogy about a year ago and were completely captured by these unique characters in such a fresh fantasy story. This story continued to keep us guessing right until the last pages.

Shadowhand Covenant Monday May18th, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 25/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 188/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 10/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 40/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 18/50 books read

Up Next? Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin My children and I waited (and waited and waited some more) for the 3rd title in The Books of Beginning trilogy to be released. Finally, it is here and so we are happily reading The Black Reckoning by John Stephens. The Emerald Atlas was published in 2011 and The Fire Chronicle published in 2012 so as you can see, our wait was long!

Monday February 3rd, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

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. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

I celebrated many happy #booklovish things on my classroom blog this week. Read here for a few smiles (especially if you have read Rump by Liesl Shurtliff).

My favourite picture books (both fiction and nonfiction) reads of the week:

Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka

The sequel to A Ball for Daisy which won the Caldecott Medal. I know not everyone loves Raschka but I really do. And I think that this title is so special. It completely captures the feeling of suddenly realizing you are lost and the absolute joy of being found.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lucky Ducklings written by Eva Moore and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

This is based on a true event where a bunch of little ducklings did get lost down a storm drain and had to be rescued. Wonderful illustrations. Well written repetition. A perfect title for reread after reread.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Voyage written by Veronica Salinas and illustrated by Camilla Engman

A book that definitely needs more than one read. This one is philosophical and contemplative. How do we face what is new? How do we begin to belong? How are we understood? How do we manage the unknown? What makes us feel a part of things? How do we extend compassion and welcome to others? All of these questions are addressed as a little duck finds itself in a new place and moves through a range of emotions from confusion and fear to joy and calm. Would children navigate this book on their own? Not sure. I think it would be best in a read aloud/discussion situation.

The Voyage #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

My Elephant by Petr Horáček

Often for little ones, it seems everyone is too busy for play and fun. This is the case for the boy in this story. Grandma and Grandpa are often occupied but his elephant is never too busy! Elephant and boy get up to all kinds of imaginative antics.

My elephant #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Questions, Questions by Marcus Pfister

Any book which inspires wonder and questions gets points in my world. Questions about the natural world and some stunning illustrations – like the one of the whale with this text:

Does a whale make up a song so other whales will sing along?

This would be a wonderful mentor text for children’s own natural wonderings . . .

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Under the Snow written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Constance R Bergum

It really is one of nature’s most interesting mysteries and magic – where does everything go in winter? How do animals survive? What do all of the creatures we see at other times of the year do all winter long? Children often know some things about hibernation – but what else might happen during the cold, cold winter? Which creatures really do sleep winter away? Informative and beautifully illustrated. Feel like you are peeking into winter hiding places of animals and creatures that seemed to disappear. Of course, this would be perfect to read with Kate Messner‘s Over and Under the Snow

Under the Snow #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Jumping Penguins illustrated by Marije Tolman with text by Jesse Goossens

This is a gorgeous and engaging animal concept book – I featured it this week in my Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday post. An amazing blend of facts, whimsy and wonder.

Jumping Penguins #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

What if you had Animal Hair? written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam

I bought this on a whim with a Scholastic order because I recognized Sandra Markle as an author of lots of nonfiction. I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried out a page with my own children and they insisted we read the whole book. And then we had to look through it all again and choose which animal hair we would most like to have. Lots of information about animal fur and hair – told in an engaging way and connected to our everyday life. For example, did you know that . . .

If you had three-toed sloth hair, you’d never be alone. Because of the algae, your hair would be home to many different kinds of harmless insects.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Frog and Friends: Frog Saves the Day written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Josee Masse

I continue to be impressed with this set of Frog and Friends titles. This one has two distinct stories inside featuring lots of adventures with the animals that live near frog. This title features a dramatic rescue and some serious confusion about what exactly a train might be. Lots of pictures, interesting dialogue and well told stories.

frog saves the day #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

 The Vengekeep Prophecies written by Brian Farrey

I read this aloud to my children and it was often difficult to put it down and enforce bedtime. Gripping, full of adventure, magic and the perfect blend of humour and fantasy to keep both of my eleven year old listeners (one boy, one girl) captivated. This is really well done fantasy. It is fresh with many unexpected twists and turns. We loved the main character – a mediocre (at best) thief from a long line of thieving tricksters, the Grimjinxes, Jaxter Grimjinx has heart and morals that one might not have expected. Lots of action. Many disasters. Ethical choices. And magical and fantastical creatures that surprise, amuse and astound. My children instantly asked if there is more of this Brian Farrey writing out there to feast their curious eyes upon. Both were thrilled to hear that there is a next title: The Shadowhand Covenant. If I was the prophecy kind . . . I would say for certain that there will be more time with these characters in our read aloud future.

Vengekeep Prophecies #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Living written by Matt de la Pena (One of my #MustReadin2014 titles)

While this is fast paced and full of action, I don’t recommend anyone bringing this along for a vacation read. I would not want to be in a boat, near a boat, near the ocean, on a beach or anywhere tropical and islandish when reading this book. In fact, I think if ever I might have taken a cruise, this book might have convinced me not to! I had to start there because this book has a lot of OMG scary disasters and survival. It also has mystery, deception and dystopian themes thrown in. And at this point, I can say no more without giving away important plot points. Well written YA fiction for certain!

The Living #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Next up? I am reading Marie Lu‘s The Champion to finish the trilogy. After this, I think I will read Far Far Away by Tom McNeal. I have started Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo with my children. So, so good! With my new Junior Book Club at school, I am reading Charlotte’s Web .

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 8/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 79/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 5/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 30/65 complete

Happy Reading to all!