Monday, November 7, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 11-7-16


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

I've been such a neglectful blogger lately. I guess I'm just finding it hard to do ALL THE THINGS lately. and have let some things slide. Hopefully I can get back in he blogging groove soon. In the meantime, here is what I've been up to reading the past two weeks.


I finished reading with my ears:

The Heir by Kiera Cass  
 
 

I'm seriously irked with how this book ended, which is basically with no resolution. Cliffhangers are one thing, but just refusing to resolve a story because you know there's going to be another book really raises my hackles. But I guess I'm a glutton for punishment because I still want to read the next book in the series.  


Picture books that stood out in the pile:

A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson 
Lovers of classic children's literature will fall in love with Andrea Davis Pinkney's A Poem for Peter, which pays tribute to Ezra Jack Keats's Snowy Day. The writing is simply stunning, though this book feels like it's more for adults and scholars of children's literature than the children themselves. Regardless it is an absolutely gorgeous piece of art. 


The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell, illustrated by Charles Santoso
Kids behaving badly? Blame the snurtch. It's kind of like a bad behavior monster that follows us around like a deranged guardian angel. 


Penguin Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith
A cranky penguin who complains about everything gets a lesson on appreciating what you have from a wise walrus. I loved the juxtaposition of the short, simple text on all the pages, coupled with the wise walrus's lengthy soliloquy toward the end of the story.

Lane Smith's illustrations are simple yet highly stylized and are most certainly worthy of Caldecott consideration.
 



Currently reading:

March: Book 3 by John Lewis an Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell 


Currently reading with my ears:

The Cost of All Things by Maggie  Lehrman

Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10-24-16


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

Last week was exhausting but rewarding. I had parent-teacher conferences on Wednesday and Thursday, which went really well. The parents at my school are always a pleasure to talk to. Then on Friday this happened:
That's right. I was in the room where it happens.  It is safe to say that Hamilton has ruined musicals for me. Nothing will ever be better than that. By the end, I had tears streaming down my face and I couldn't even cheer for the cast because I was so stunned by what a brilliant work I just witnessed. I was tired by the end of the show, but I didn't care. I wanted to see it all over again. I'm still trying to figure out how I can see it again soon. As if it wasn't hard enough to see it the first time.

Then yesterday, my husband and I participated in our very first 5K. We've been training with the Couch to 5K app all summer and finally ran a 5K. It's hard to believe I went from someone who couldn't even run for 30 second at a time to running a 5K.

You'd think with all the excitement of this past week that I wouldn't have any time to read, but lo and behold, I had a great reading week. Let me share it with you...

I finished reading:

The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse 
A sold, page-turning historical fiction/mystery

 
 Snow White by Matt Phelan
 An interesting and provocative retelling of Snow White set in the roaring 20s. Instead of seven dwarfs, Snow White encounters a group of seven young rapscallion who try to protect her from her wicked stepmother.


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

Pirasaurs! by Josh Funk, illustrated by Michael Slack
Nobody drops dope picture book rhymes better than Josh Funk. He manages to elevate rhyming picture books from cheesy and groan-worthy to cheer inducing and wanting to give him and the person reading the book the biggest hive five ever. 


The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright, illustrated by Jim Field
We all have a little mouse and lion inside us. I'm already thinking of all the ways I can use this book in the library with students. 


Dirty Rats? by  Darrin Lunde, illustrated by Adam Gustavson
After reading a book about the virtues of rats, I'm wondering if maybe the author could write one about mosquitoes, because I can't imagine there being anything to justify the presence of those bloodsuckers on the planet. ;) 


The Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest by Steve Jenkins 
As much as I find reading books about climbing Mt. Everest fascinating, I also can't help but think that the people who do are straight-up cray. Would be a good non-fiction supplement to give students reading Peak by Roland Smith.  


Saved by the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 by Julie Gassman, illustrated by Steve Moors 
As Mr. Rogers says, when bad things happen, look for the helpers. That's just what this book celebrates on the most tragic day in our nation's modern history.


Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis  
Told in a completely made-up language, readers in Du Iz Tak will have to spend a lot of time reading the pictures to interpret the story. But with Carson Ellis's beautiful and endearing illustrations, readers will have no problem with that. I could see this book being a Caldecott contender.


Currently Reading:
 
The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs 


Still reading with my ears:

The Heir by Kiera Cass  
 
 

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10-17-16


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

This is going to be a crazy week. I have parent-teacher conferences on Wednesday and Thursday and then... I'm going to be in the room where it happens because I'M GOING TO SEE HAMILTON ON FRIDAY!!!! I can hardly contain my excitement!

But in the meantime, check out what I've been reading lately:

I finished reading:

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

This book has a little bit for everyone: it's got grit, romance, tragedy, tied up with a dash of magical realism. It's a quick, page-turning read, but it is by no means an easy read. In fact, finishing the book will leave you with more questions than answers. Because while the book has a resolution, it also leaves you feeling unsatisfied. You want more answers. But conflicts in life don't always get tied up with a neat little bow and so even though you close the book feeling frustrated, that also makes a lot of room for some really good discussion and rumination.


Currently reading:

The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse


Currently reading with my ears:

The Heir by Kiera Cass  
 

Monday, October 10, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10-10-16


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.


Last week I posted:

Guest post: Sam Maggs, author of WonderWomen: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History  
Beethoven's Heroic Symphony by Anna Harwell Celenza, illustrated by JoAnn E. Kitchel


I finished reading with my ears: 

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin
Lovely story about friendship, family, and grief. Have the tissues handy with this one. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile:    

Dolphin SOS by  Roy and Slavia Miki, illustrated by Julia Flett
A beautiful story about citizens coming together to rescue dolphins trapped in an icy cove. 


The Memory Tree by Britta Teckentrup
A gentle, comforting story about how we remember our loved ones after they're gone. 


Dragon Was Terrible by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli 
How do you tame the savage beast? That's what the king, the knights, and the villagers are trying to figure out. A hilarious story that will no doubt be a read aloud hit. I may even be able to use it as a mentor text about supporting your thesis (just HOW was dragon so terrible?) :)  


Currently (still) reading:

American Street by Ibi Zoboi



Currently reading with my ears:  

The Heir by Kiera Cass

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Beethoven's Heroic Symphony by Anna Harwell Celenza, illustrated by JoAnn E. Kitchel

When 19th century classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven discovered that he was going deaf, at first he despaired, for surely his life and livelihood were over. But as he sat at his desk and attempted to write his brothers a letter, a melody filled his ears and wouldn't let go. It was then Beethoven realized that, "My ears might be failing, but music has not abandoned me. If I can imagine music, then I can write it!"

When he began writing the Eroica Symphony (Italian for "Heroic") Beethoven was initially inspired by the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte whose destiny it was to rid France of their tyrannical king. But when Bonaparte betrayed his people and declared himself emperor of France, Beethoven all but destroyed the symphony he initially called The Bonaparte Symphony.

Thankfully, his friend Ferdinand saved the music and helped Beethoven to see that the symphony was never really about Bonaparte at all and that it was about trying to find the hero in us all.

I enjoyed reading this small snippet into the life of one of my favorite composers. The more I learn about Beethoven, the more I realize he was kind of the bad boy, rock n' roll musician of his day. And that was made even more evident in Beethoven's Heroic Symphony by JoAnn E. Kitchell's illustrations of Beethoven with a mane of wild, spiky black hair. He looks more punk rock than classical composer and I kind of love that.

Also check out Anna Harwell Celenza's books about other classical masterpieces:
Bach's Goldberg Variations
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue
Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite
The Farewell Symphony
Vivaldi's Four Seasons
Pictures at an Exhibition
Saint-Saƫns's Danse Macabre


Beethoven's Heroic Symphony by Anna Harwell Celenza, illustrated by JoAnn E. Kitchel
Expected publication: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Pages: 32
Genre/Format: Nonfiction Picture Book
Audience: Middle Grade
Disclosure: Finished copy provided by publisher

If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Guest post: Sam Maggs, author of Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History



I'm pleased to have Sam Maggs on the blog today, author of Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History, which is in stores today.


From Goodreads:
Ever heard of Allied spy Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim woman whom the Nazis considered “highly dangerous”? Or German painter and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, who planned and embarked on the world’s first scientific expedition? How about Huang Daopo, the inventor who fled an abusive child marriage only to revolutionize textile production in China?

Women have always been able to change the world, even when they didn’t get the credit. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs introduces you to pioneering female scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors—each profile a study in passion, smarts, and stickto-itiveness, complete with portraits by Google doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino, an extensive
bibliography, and a guide to present-day women-centric STEM organizations.




What to Read After Wonder Women

In my new book, Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History, I wanted to make as many stories of amazing women in STEM throughout history as accessible as possible. Of course, trying to fit profiles of twenty-five ladies (plus 35 more, in sidebars!) into one book means that I didn’t have the opportunity to write as much about each of them as one could – they all deserve their own film franchises and comic books and television shows, frankly.

Luckily, there are many incredible biographers whose work you can check out after finishing Wonder Women if you’d like a closer look into these ladies’ lives. Here are some of my favorites from my research days.

Around The World On Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride.
Peter Zheutlin, Citadel, 2008.
The full story of Annie Londonderry’s nineteenth-century cycling journey around the globe is told in exceptional fashion by Zheutlin, an actual relative of the pioneering woman herself. Annie, one of the first women to excel at self-promotion, is done justice in this biography that aims to shed light on why this young Jewish mother decided to take such an unusual path.

Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s First Female Rocket Scientist.
George D. Morgan, Prometheus Books, 2013.
When George Morgan struggled to get his mother’s obituary published because of a lack of corroborating sources, he began a lifelong journey to track down as much information as he could about her past. What he discovered was the story of America’s first female rocket scientist, a truly moving tale that Morgan writes partially fictionalized in the era in which it took place to really give the reader that mid-century feel.

The Life of Anandaibai Joshee, a Kinswoman of the Pundita Ramabai.
Caroline Healey Dall. Roberts Brothers, 1888. Available free online.
If you can take a little era-appropriate long-windedness and views on race, Dall’s biography of Anandibai Joshi is worth a read, if only to hear from Anandi in her own words transcribed by Dall. The first Hindu woman ever to set foot in America, and the first Indian woman to get a Western medical degree, Anandi accomplished more in her brief twenty-two years than anyone could ever hope.

Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions.
Michael Helquist, Oregon State University Press, 2015.
I think about how awesome queer birth-control advocate Dr. Marie Equi was at least twice a day, so get fully familiar with her inspiring and intense life story with this new biography – horse whips and all. Yeah, don’t you want to read about her now?

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies.
Ben Macintyre, Crown/Archetype, 2012.
Elvira Chaudoir was just one of the many spies involved in Britain’s epic espionage double-cross during World War II – one that was instrumental in their success at Normandy – but she was the only bisexual Peruvian party girl heiress to be one of those spies. Learn all about Elvira (codename Bronx) and her associates’ antics in Macintyre’s thoroughly-researched book.

Nurse and Spy in the Union Army.
S. Emma E. Edmonds, W. S. Williams & Co., 1865. Available free online.
Though undoubtedly a little hyperbolic, Sarah Emma Edmonds’ autobiographical account of her time as a Union spy during the Civil War is not only fascinating because of all the spying, but also because she did it all while disguised as a man. And no one ever noticed. That’s some Alanna: The First Adventure business right there.

Do you have a favorite biography of a kick-butt woman in history? Let me know on Twitter @SamMaggs, and I hope you enjoy Wonder Women!


Visit  the other blogs in the Wonder Women blog tour:


Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs, illustrated by Sophia Foster-Dimino
Published: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 240
Genre: Nonfiction
Audience: Adult/Young Adult
Disclosure: ARC and finished copy provided by publisher

If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound

Monday, October 3, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10-3-16


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

I spent all last week fending off a very stubborn cold, but despite finally succumbing and having to take a sick day on Friday, my week ended pretty well, by getting to hang out with one of my favorite authors. :)

Last week I finished reading with my ears:

Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football by John U. Bacon
I found Bacon's author talk at U of M's Rackham auditorium when this book first came out much more engaging then the book itself, which is riddled with many confusing tangential sentences, making difficult to follow on audio. Any fan of Michigan football would definitely enjoy this book, but I didn't really learn anything new from reading the book than I did hearing Bacon give the abridged version in his author talk.


Picture books that stood out in the pile:
 
We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
Obvi. Who wouldn't pick this hat trick out of the picture book pile? I will refrain from writing a review so as not to spoil anything. It's not like I need to convince you to read it anyway, right?

 
Wings by Christopher Myers 
What do you do when you have wings but no one cares that you can fly? A thoughtful and profound picture book I will definitely want to add to my collection.


To Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space by Dr. Dave Williams and Loredna Cunti
Everything you wanted to know about bodily functions in space


Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal 
Messner's use of verbs in this beautifully written picture book is worthy of study, emulation, and admiration.


Teacup by Rebecca Young, illustrated by Matt Ottley
Spare, lyrical text and stunning illustrations make for a need to read this book more than once to understand its profundity. Lots of comparisons (and contrasts!) to draw in this story to Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.


Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Benji Davies
The idea that all stories begin with "A little bit of nothing" is a wonderful, unintimidating way to introduce story writing to students. As it is, I will be reading this book to my 8th graders to kick off NaNoWriMo. 


Still reading:

American Street by Ibi Zobo 



Currently Reading with My Ears:

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin