Showing posts with label its monday what are you reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label its monday what are you reading. Show all posts

Monday, January 14, 2013

Splendors and Glooms - Looking for Newbery (2013 style) / It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

In an effort to organize my time more efficiently, I decided to make this post both one for our Looking for Newbery series as well as for IMWAYR meme.


So many people were talking about Splendors and Glooms by the masterful Laura Amy Schlitz, I just had to read it. 

As an adult, I absolutely loved this book - the magic, the darkness, the plot, how different characters are highlighted, the cliffhangers, the story plots that are so intricately woven together. All amazing! That being said, I'm not sure how I would use this book with my 5th grade students, but I know that is not a criteria for why a book is awarded a Newbery medal. 

Schlitz is a master storyteller, and Splendors and Glooms is a masterful story.  I would not be at all surprised if this book wins some Newbery love on January 28.


After reading Bill's Looking for Newbery post about The Summer of the Gypsy Moths, I knew I needed to reread it this weekend because for some reason I hadn't purchased it the first time.  Here's what I thought in both my first read and my reread:

I loved it! The author is Sara Pennypacker, of Clementine fame. I really enjoyed this read, and since I sometimes judge a book's success by how many tissues I use while crying at happy or sad parts (even when they're predictable), I can tell you this book had a 5-tissue ending. :)

I will definitely be remedying that not-buying-this-book immediately!


 I also read Twelve Kinds of Ice and Almost Home this weekend.  Both books will be getting their own posts soon, but for now let me just say about both... BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Head on over to Teach Mentor Texts to see what everyone else is reading right now as well.  So many books, so little time!  What a delicious problem to have!

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - Aug. 20

Wow!  It's hard to believe that my #summerbookaday time has almost come to an end.  It's fun to look back and see what I've read over the summer, and it will be great to share with my students very, very soon.

The past two weeks I've read a variety of books.  A little more than a week ago, during #PB10for10 event, I posted a list of 10 nonfiction picture books I loved.  I had literally just purchased (and read) all but one of them, so 9 of those books make my list for this week.  If you haven't checked out these books, you really should.

In addition, I read six adult books.  Some were just guilty pleasures (I love spy/intrigue and beach setting books), but one stood out as a book I would recommend to people looking for something really unique.  It was Heft by Liz Moore.  Heft was recommended to me by a friend who has impeccable taste in books, and once again, she did not let me down. Great story that develops characters over time - since I'm so character-driven when I read, this was perfect. Would highly recommend it to any adult book clubs!!

Children's books I read:

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver -- I'm not sure how I missed reading this book when it first came out. But with this author coming for a free visit for our 4th and 5th graders at our school in the beginning of October, I needed to remedy not reading it immediately. So glad I did! I know Lauren Oliver as the author of the Delirium trilogy, which I love, so it makes me happy to know she can write for a younger audience as well.  Liesl is a little girl who recently lost her father and is locked in the attic by her step-mother. Po is the ghostly presence who comes from The Other Side to spend time with Liesl and eventually embarks on a journey with her. Will is an apprentice to alchemist who spies Liesl in her attic window and becomes attached to her without even knowing her.  I love how the three characters' stories intertwine. This will be a great book to share with my students.

Bird and Squirrel on the Run by James Burks -- This will be a fun graphic novel series for kids to follow. Bird is a happy go lucky character, and Squirrel worries about everything. They make a great pair as they have a cat that chases them throughout the book. Fun!

About Average by Andrew Clements -- This is another book by Andrew Clements that I think kids will enjoy, and to which they will relate. The idea of not having anything but average skills in many areas of life seems to be a theme in this time of competitiveness around us. This is a sweet reminder that we all have something special to offer.  For more about this book, check out Bill's review.

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger -- What a great addition this is to the Origami Yoda series. This book might be my favorite because the focus is more on the girls this time. And it's also interesting to see how Angleberger dealt with Dwight, the originator of the Origami Yoda, not being at McQuarrie Middle School this year. Fun book to add to my Tom Angleberger tub.

Knight of the Lunch Table: The Battling Bands by Frank Cammuso -- I'm happy to be adding this book to my graphic novel bookshelf. The Knights of the Lunch Table series was a well-loved one in my classroom last year, and I predict this book and the other two will be widely read again this year.

Please join Kellee and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts, who are the cohosts of this wonderful Monday event!  I love finding out what others are reading, and start planning my next week's reading using some of the participants ideas. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - July 23

I didn't get as much read this week - oldest daughter was home on vacation for a week from DC and I was putting last touches on a workshop I'm actually doing today - but what I did read was so amazing, I had to share at least a short post today.

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine -- Ironically, I had been reading this book when I saw Bill review it on our blog. In my humble opinion, I couldn't agree with him more that this was an amazing book, and one that deserves extra notice next January. This book will be part of my class this year - trying to decide what is the best fit - whole class read aloud or a book club. Really leaning toward whole class -- would be a genre I don't read a lot (historical fiction), and it's a wonderful story I want to share with as many children as possible. The Lions of Little Rock definitely makes the list of my Top 5 favorite books so far in 2012, and that's high praise this year when so many wonderful books have been published.

Floors by Patrick Carman -- Floors was also recommended by my blog partner, Bill, and what a great recommendation it was! The setting is the Whippet Hotel in NYC. This is not just any hotel; this hotel has so many mazes and hidden parts it was sometimes overwhelming to keep track of everything, but always fun and adventurous. I know Bill just picked up the ARC of the book that is the sequel to Floors, so I'm hoping it will tie up some loose ends about the ending of this first book for me. But I think kids will love the zaniness of the Whippet Hotel -- it's like a hotel and amusement park all wrapped together.

Porch Lights by Dorothea Benton Frank -- Just started reading books by Dorothea Benton Frank this summer - why did I wait so long? This is her most recent one with Sullivan's Island as a background. I love her Southern characters. But I do get famished while reading her books because the cooking described within is amazing!  **Note: this was my adult read for the week; not a children's book.

Please join Kellee and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts, who are the cohosts of this wonderful Monday event!  I love finding out what others are reading, and start planning my next week's reading using some of the participants ideas.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - July 9

Because I took a break last week from posting, I have read so many delicious books in the last 2 weeks, I'm not sure where to start, so I think I'll just share the highlights by category.

First of all, as I've mentioned on twitter, I have become addicted to our public library this summer.  I go to the library and least once a week, and never bring home less than 8 books each time.  This is a picture of my most recent haul: you'll see some YA titles, some middle grade chapter books, and two adult books by authors I love.  In addition, here is the bookshelf in my living room  - the 3rd shelf and the 5th shelf are all library books.  I plan on having plenty to read at all times this summer!

Really good middle grade reads in the past 2 weeks:

  • Close to Famous by Joan Bauer : I enjoyed this book so much I really need to read more by this author. Love the backdrop of the main character being a good cook but a great baker, however she can not read or write. She just memorizes recipes from the Food Network. I worked up an appetite reading about all the different cupcakes and muffins she baked. Some of my favorite lines from the book:
    - When Foster holds a cookbook she gets from the bookmobile over her heart, the librarian says, "That's where a book should be carried."
    - "There's nothing wrong with having a different way of learning. What's wrong is when people blame you for it."
    - "Cooking is about life. It gives us what we need to keep going, and it gives us something to share with other people."
    "But for now, I'm going to make the world a better place one cupcake at a time."
    A must read!!!! 
  • King of the Mound: My Summer with Satchel Paige: I was at our public library reserving books, and I just happened to check my GoodReads. Noticed that a friend I trust for recommendations had recommended this sports historical fiction. For any students who really enjoy baseball, and liked We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson, this would be a perfect fit. I enjoyed so much about this book: each chapter is sequentially titled with what inning it is and whether it is top or bottom of inning (so clever), the main character had polio but learns to overcome some of the disease's obstacles, the main character and his father have a very strained relationship which made for good reading even when I didn't like the dad, and the best part of all was how the author took real events from the life of Satchel Paige and fictionalized their context for the story. The author takes a good look at the bigotry of the time as well without being too preachy. I would agree with my friend, Susan, who recommended this book - King of the Mound is a must read (and now for me, a must buy!!). 
  • The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng: I enjoyed Cheng's Where the Steps Were, so when I saw this on our public library's new book shelf, I grabbed it. In addition, several twitter friends have read it lately. Anna, the main character, could be a member of the #nerdybookclub. She always has a book at hand. I love the artwork where it shows so many great titles Anna has read. More of a girl book as a little girl is trying to find where she fits with the other girls in her grade; she would much prefer to read rather than be involved in their drama. 
  • Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: This book was recently recommended by my friend, Tony. He thought it would have an appeal for both boys and girls, and I have to agree. It appears that this will be the first in a series of books by Lissa Evans. I loved several things about the book:
    - almost every chapter ends with a cliffhanger
    - the clues that the main character, Stuart, has to follow that were basically sent to him from the past by a relative he's never met
    - Stuart's dad has language that will be fun to share: "I shall be preparing a Neapolitan speciality, with fungal and caseous addenda" translates to I will making a mushroom and cheese pizza - a great way to have kids play with words
    - the role magic plays in the story
    - map on inside cover to hep with locations of main events
    Great read and a wonderful book to share with my students. 
  • Capture the Flag by Kate Messner: Really enjoyed this book. Definitely has a good guys / bad guys thing going on. I think kids will really enjoy the antics of the four children trying to solve a big mystery, and will laugh at loud at what befalls some of the adult bad guys. In addition, they will enjoy the silliness of the plot along with the idea of a secret group of people trying to protect things, references to video games to help capture the bad guys, and references to Harry Potter by one of the main characters. This was just a fun book! 
Adult books I would recommend from the last 2 weeks:
  • Plantation by Dorothea Benton Frank: What a perfect book to read on a summer's day - full of lovely, quirky characters and the charm of the South.  I currently have her latest, Porch Lights, in my TBR pile.
  • Island Apart by Steven Raichlen: This book literally just came out this month, and I was fortunate enough to get in from the "new books' shelf at our public library. It was a perfect summer read - it is set on Martha's Vineyard, it talks about amazing food, and there is a romance piece, but not an over the top one. Reading this makes me want to head to Martha's Vineyard asap for some amazing seafood. 
  • Calico Joe by John Grisham: I really enjoy John Grisham as a writer, but this is an entirely different side of him. He tackles a story about baseball, with one narrator, the son of a so-so Mets pitcher who had a serious anger management issue. Even with the one narrator, the story is told in two parts, jumping back and forth, between current day and 1973. This is a work of fiction, but Grisham seamlessly fills in the story with real players and real games.  Great for baseball fans, but also just a well told tale.
Professional book I am currently reading:
  • Opening Minds by Peter Johnston: I am participating in a #cyberPD that begins this week.  I have read the first 3 chapters, and will be writing a reflection about them to be posted this Wednesday, July 11.  I participated in this #cyberPD last year, and loved the interactive part of it.  After you post your own reflection, you head to other participants' blogs and post on theirs as well.  It culminates in a twitter conversation with all participants.  For more info on this great opportunity, check out the details at Cathy's blog, Reflect and Refine
Please join Kellee and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts, who are the cohosts of this wonderful Monday event!  I love finding out what others are reading, and start planning my next week's reading using some of the participants ideas.