Monday, September 21, 2015

#IMWAYR - September 21

A huge thank you to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts for cohosting the kidlit version of It's Monday, What Are You Reading? I love it personally to find out what others are reading, and, as a coach, I love to share it with teachers to help them find new titles to share with their own students.

I haven't contributed for awhile, but in the last week, I've read some books that are definitely worth sharing.

I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien caught my attention because of the front cover. As there is a  call for more diversity in books and the need for all children to see themselves in a book, this is a picture book that would do just that. The story focuses on 3 children that are new to a school in America. Each student spends a great deal of time thinking about the talents they had in their former homes; now, the language, the words, the writing, their contributions in class are difficult for them, and leads to sadness and confusion. There is a nice shift within the story that allows each child to feel some success with his/her classmates by the end of the book, but I wonder if that is a simplification of  the actuality. Regardless, the story would lead to great conversations within classroom communities.

See You Next Year by  Andrew Larsen and Todd Stewart was another lovely story about a family that returns to the same beach each year. This would be a great book to use with students in a narrative writing unit. I especially like the narrator's story about the Sunday at the beach, beginning with watching the tractor on the beach as it rakes the beach, and ending with the people leaving the beach in the evening and the gulls returning. Not all children will have the background knowledge or experience to relate to this story, so finding multiple books about experiences children might have would be good.

Leo: A Ghost Story written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson is a testament to children's imagination and the value of friendship. Leo is a ghost who is not appreciated by the new family who moved into his house, leading him to leave that home and search for something better. I love the words and illustrations that occur when Leo encounters Jane, who has decorated the sidewalk with imaginative drawings and asks him if he wants to play Knights of the Round Table with her. I love the nods to creativity and friendship.

Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth by Jeff Anderson was a fun frolic. I looked forward to this book because it was by Jeff, and I so enjoyed the story - quirky characters whose storylines come together in humorous, and sometimes empathetic ways. This is a slice of middle school that Jeff writes very well.

I hope you all have a great week of reading!


  1. Karen, I saw your post on FB, but it doesn't look as if you've linked up on Jen's or Kellee & Ricki's post. I've seen others talk about Zack Delacruz, sounds fun for the middle school kids. And Leo, A Ghost Story looks very cute. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Linda - Thanks for the heads up but I think I'm #27 on the linked list. I do need to add Kellee and Ricki's link though!

  2. "Leo, A Ghost Story" is such a sweet little book - I love Mac Barnett! "I'm New Here" would be a good pick for my library groups - we have a lot of kids adapting to life in a new country (we're in Canada, but there's a lot of similarity). It's certainly a simplification of the actual settlement process, which is different for every person, but the stories seem to have a hopeful, optimistic perspective, which could be comforting for kids wondering if they'll ever feel like they belong or fit in.

  3. "I'm New Here" seems like a great book to provide all students. I would love for my ESOL students to read it alongside nonESOL students. I think it would open the door for great dialogue. I had to the please to hear Jeff Anderson speak a late last year, he provided all of those in attendance "Zack DelaCruz". The book is hilarious. I'm not sure if my local school carries the book. It might still be up for review at the district level.