Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 1-16-17


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 reviewed:

Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel


Picture book that stood out in the pile last week:

I Won a What? by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Robert Neubecker
For anyone who read and loved Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, then you'll enjoy and appreciate this book.


I finished reading with my ears:

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm 
I can't think of anything that has made my reading heart happier in recent months than revisiting Key West with Beans, the Curry family, and the Diaper Gang one more time in this delightful book that brings a level of fun and mischievousness that you don't often find in historical fiction. I love how, despite this book taking place during the Great Depression, it's not a depressing book. And even though it tackles some tough topics, it does so with a lightheartedness and humor that shows how, despite hard times life not only goes on, but can be lived with great gusto. 


Currently Reading:

The Bombs that Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel

There is nothing Jameson loves more than green pants. He has a whole closet full of them. Every time he is offered the opportunity to try out a different color of pants, he manages to find creative ways to get rid of them.

When Jameson's cousin Armando and his fiancee Jo ask him to be the ring bearer in their wedding, Jameson must make a difficult choice: wear a tuxedo with BLACK PANTS or don't be in the wedding at all. Whatever will Jameson do?

Green Pants is an absolutely delightful picture book about the ways in which young children attach themselves to beloved objects like a blanket or stuffed animal. In this case, Jameson's love for green pants is not only his source of affection and attachment, but these pants are what give him the chutzpah to be the unique and fun kid that he is. Wearing black pants to a wedding feels like a betrayal of his identity. Jameson's decision is not just about being in a wedding to him. It is an existential crisis for the kindergarten set.

And as an added bonus, you'll never be able to read this book again or look at the cover without singing this song in your head, with an obvious word substitution. This earworm has burrowed itself into my brain ever since I opened the box from Candlewick with the advance copy of this book inside. And now I've burrowed it into yours. You're welcome.

If you want to read the most entertaining review ever to be written about Green Pants, head on over to 100 Scope Notes and read Travis Jonker's review. I mean Travis's Green Pants's review.


Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel
Expected Publication: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 40
Format/Genre: Picture Book
Audience: Primary
Disclosure: Advance 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, January 9, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 1-9-17


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 read:

The Story Diva and Flea by Mo Willems, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
A sweet story of an anxious, sheltered dog who befriends a vagabond cat. Flea helps Diva see more of the world than just her small apartment courtyard and Diva helps Flea to understand what it's like to have a loving, stable home. By itself this story is already lovely and endearing, but set against the elegant backdrop of Paris, it becomes quietly and unexpectedly enchanting. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

Nanette's Baguette by Mo Willems
Who knew so many things rhyme with baguette? A great book to read aloud, with a baguette to share of course. 
  

Triangle by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Another mischievous and thought-provoking yarn from dream team Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.This one hits bookshelves in March. 


Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel 
Another Candlewick title to hit bookshelves in March. I have a full review of this one going live tomorrow. 


Currently reading with my ears:

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm 
It feels so wonderful to be back in Key West with Beans and the Curry family. It feels like I'm putting on a favorite old pair of jeans. Just happiness, love, and comfort.  

Monday, January 2, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 1-2-17


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.

Happy New Year! I'm hoping that 2017 can right some of the wrongs of 2016. Over on my teacher blog, I wrote about my One Little Word for 2017.

Last week I posted about my favorite books of 2016



Last week I finished reading with my ears:

Rising Strong by Brene Brown
While I enjoyed Daring Greatly better than Rising Strong, I think that mostly had to do with the fact that Daring was my first foray into the work of Brene Brown and so I had many aha! moments while reading that book. I had fewer Aha! moments with Rising Strong, but it is not less inspiring and important work. Where Daring Greatly talks about the need to be vulnerable and stand in the arena, Rising Strong discusses another important topic: what happens when you enter the arena, dare greatly, and fail? How do we rise from our disappointments, failures, and heartbreaks?


The Crown by Kiera Cass    

This series has definitely been a guilty pleasure read and I found myself enjoying this one more than the others in the series. 


Picture books I read last week:

Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson
Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell 
Before Morning by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes

Currently reading with my ears:

The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster  

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Favorite Books of 2016



In 2016, I set the goal to read 500 books.

 I read 534.

60 were novel-length and of those 60, half of them I read with my eyes and the other half I read with my ears.

Of those 534 books that I read in 2016, here were some of my favorites. In the interest of full-disclosure, links will take you to my Amazon Affiliate page, so if you buy any of them, I receive a small percentage.


Favorite Picture Books - Inspirational
 
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
In order to get through the next 4 years, I'm gonna have to read a whole lot more books about inspiring and heroic women like RBG.


Preaching to the Chickens by Jabari Asim, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
John Lewis represents all that is good and right in our country. Before he was making Good Trouble, as a child, he was taking care of his family's flock of chickens and also preparing for his aspirations as a preacher at the same time. An endearing look at the childhood story of the man who has become known as America's moral conscience and who has always been on the right side of history. 


A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

This book is EVERYTHING. If you love books, it will resonate strongly with you and hopefully it will make you want to share it with every child in your life.  
  

Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead
If you teach writing, you're going to want this book because once you finish reading it, you will want to write and create. A book that manages to inspire readers to say, "I want to do that and I CAN do that!" is a rare gem indeed.



School's First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson
A book that is an absolute must-read on any first day of school, no matter how old your students are. And if any picture book of 2016 were to be considered for a Newbery and not just a Caldecott, it would be this one. Adam Rex's writing has that exact distinguished quality that the Newbery committee saw in Matt de la Pena's Last Stop on Market Street



The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
David Litchfield, you had me at piano. And you kept me turning pages at this tender, quirky prodigal son story. 
 


Favorite Picture Books - Humor

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.  


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?) :)   



Favorite Middle Grade Novel:

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar  

I didn't read much middle grade this year but what I did read was pretty amazing. This book is simply stunning. It is magical realism at its finest. Despite being middle grade fiction, I wouldn't hesitate to put this book in a high school classroom. In fact, I'd recommend it to anyone who read and loved Bone Gap.  



Favorite YA Novels

The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely
I had the pleasure of hearing Brendan talk about the premise of this book at a Simon & Schuster dinner at NCTE and it immediately became my plane reading on my flight home. It did not disappoint. This modern retelling of The Odyssey takes place on a roadtrip and has a feminist spin. Kiely's desire to celebrate consent, coupled with his protagonist's honorable desire to help his grandfather, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, visit the place where he was married so he wouldn't forget his wife, makes him one of the most memorable protagonists of 2016.


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
In her new novel, Ruta Sepetys does just as she did in Between Shades of Gray -- brought to light a moment in history that no one ever knew about. In this case, it's the biggest disaster in maritime history. Told in short chapters via four characters' alternating points-of-view, this book will leave you staying up late into the night to finish as you say to yourself, "Just one more chapter."


The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner
 This is a book that takes place during 9/11 but manages to not be ABOUT 9/11. It's a reminder to us all that despite great tragedy, life goes on and the world keeps turning. It's a book that took me back to that fateful day in September of 2001 and what I was feeling, but it reminds me that the students I now teach weren't even born yet when it happened.

Monday, December 26, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 12-26-16


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 hope you all had a wonderful Christmas yesterday. Now that I am on Christmas break, I am hoping to catch up on some reading.

Last week I finished reading with my ears:

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff  
As someone who is from Michigan, this book hit the right notes of confirming what I already knew and learning more about the tragedy and corruption that continues to plague this once prosperous American city. LeDuff's inclusion of his own family history and vignettes at first seems out of place, but as the narrative unfolds, you come to see that it's what grants him the implicit permission and authority to editorialize and also tell the story of Detroit.


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:
 
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
In order to get through the next 4 years, I'm gonna have to read a whole lot more books about inspiring and heroic women like RBG.


If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Colin Jack
A fun, funny, and lighthearted romp through a world where dinosaurs are quite convenient and useful pets.


Edible Numbers by Jennifer Vogel Bass 
I dare you not to be hungry for a colorful salad after reading this. Great companion to Edible Colors


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

I read this book between all of my Walden committee reading so that's why it's taking me so long to finish this one. Otherwise it would have been finished a long time ago. John Lewis is one of my heroes.


Currently reading with my ears:

The Crown by Kiera Cass   

Monday, December 19, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 12-19-16


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 has been such a bad reading week for me. The only thing I finished reading was:

A Pug's Guide to Etiquette by Gemma Correll
So that tells you the kind of fluff I needed to read this week.  But as a pug owner, I have to tell you, this guide to etiquette is both hilarious and enlightening. Just when you think your pug is the only one to behave in such a strange manner, you come to find out that all along, it was just good etiquette for your pug to behave in such a way. :) 

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



Currently reading with my ears:

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff