Monday, March 20, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-20-17


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 finished reading:

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
There is no doubt this book is beautifully written. It kind of reminds me of a mashup of The Road and The Book Thief. I just couldn't get past the idea that this book felt more like adult literary fiction than YA.  


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo 

If you teach high school, this book must go in your classroom library. 

 
Egg by Kevin Henkes  
Egg has a magic about it that we've come to expect from Kevin Henkes. Both in its gentle, soothing illustrations and darling story. I could see this book being a Caldecott contender but especially a Geisel contender.

 
Sad, the Dog by Sandy Fussell, illustrated by Tull Suwannakit
When a dog's cruel owners abandon him when they move away, the new family that moves into the house takes him in as theirs. A sweet, heartfelt story about how pets sometimes find us instead of the other way around. 


Currently reading:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I'm only on chapter 3 but I'm already completely gutted. This book is so important and a much-needed conversation starter. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-13-17


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 finished reading:

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner
This book kind of reminds me of a cross between All the Bright Places and The Summer of Letting Go.


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
Pugs? Greedy? Never! 

 
This is Our House by Hyewon Yum 
Stories are how houses become homes. 


Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song by Gary Golio, illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb
Powerful picture book about the story of how "Strange Fruit" came to be Billie Holiday's most well-known song despite the fact that her record label refused to record it. There's quite the air of "Nevertheless, she persisted" in this amazing story. 


Currently reading:

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo 
I'm only on chapter 7, but I was sucked into this story from the very beginning. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-6-17


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.

Hi friends! Check out my current giveaway, a signed copy of A Boy Called Bat by Elena K. Arnold


Last week I reviewed:

Martina and Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Brett Helquist


I finished reading:
 
The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan 
If you never thought to consider where that chocolate bar you're eating came from, it might be a good idea to read this book. It will break your heart and then make you want to take action. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile:

It Is Not Time for Sleeping by Lisa Graff, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
A wonderful bedtime story. Lauren Castillo's illustrations are perfection. 

 
Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song by Gary Golio, illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb
Powerful picture book about the story of how "Strange Fruit" came to be Billie Holiday's most well-known song despite the fact that her record label refused to record it. Another example of the recent rallying cry that Mitch McConnell inadvertently created: "Nevertheless, she persisted." 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Signed Giveaway: A Boy Called Bat by Elena K. Arnold


Thanks to Walden Pond Press for providing readers of A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust with the opportunity to win a signed copy of A Boy Called Bat by Elena K. Arnold, illustrated by Charles Santoso


On Sale: 03/14/2017
ISBN: 9780062445827
ISBN 10: 0062445820

From acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso, A Boy Called Bat is the first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum.


For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.


But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Critical Praise
“Delightful, endearing, and utterly relatable, Bat Tam is destined to be a dear and necessary friend for young readers. I adore him and his story.” — Anne Ursu, author of The Real Boy

“Written in third person, this engaging and insightful story makes readers intimately aware of what Bat is thinking and how he perceives the events and people in his life. With empathy and humor, Arnold delves into Bat’s relationships with his divorced parents, older sister, teachers, and classmates.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Comfortably familiar and quietly groundbreaking, this introduction to Bat should charm readers, who will likely look forward to more opportunities to explore life from Bat’s particular point of view.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Brimming with quietly tender moments, subtle humor, and authentically rendered family dynamics, Arnold’s story, the first in a new series, offers a nonprescriptive and deeply heartfelt glimpse into the life of a boy on the autism spectrum.” — Booklist

Check out the educator's guide for A Boy Called Bat.

About Elana K. Arnold
Elana K. Arnold grew up in Southern California, where she was lucky enough to have her own perfect pet—a gorgeous mare named Rainbow—and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She is the author of picture books, middle grade novels, and books for teens. She lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. You can find her online at www.elanakarnold.com.
 




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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Bret Helquist

Phil Bildner writes about the rivalry between Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with the enthusiasm of the sports lover that he is. This book reads in a conversational way that makes you feel like you're talking to your friends around the watercooler instead of reading a picture book biography.

This book also has the added benefit of having a demonstrable thesis statement to show students as an example of what it means to make a thesis and then support your argument. The thesis being this:

"...these two women formed the greatest rivalry in the history of sports. No, not the history of women's sports -- the history of ALL sports."

I can't wait to share this book with students. I may even challenge them to create their own thesis to argue whether they agree with Phil's or not. I'm sure there will be many students in my neck of the woods who would say that Michigan/Ohio State football is the greatest rivalry in sports, but as long as they can back up their thesis, at least I got them fired up and ready to argue. 

So not only is this a great picture book biography that gets students talking, but it is one that a teacher can approach as a mentor text in a variety of ways. I love when picture books give me easily identifiable writing lessons. 


Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Bret Helquist
Expected publication: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 40
Format/Genre: Picture book biography
Audience: Middle Grade
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, February 27, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading 2-27-17


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.

Hi, friends. It's been a few weeks since I've done and It's Monday! post. I'm up to my eyeballs in Walden committee reading so it's difficult to navigate that along with maintaining a blog. So this week's post will be a small snippet of what I've been reading over the past few weeks.


I recently reviewed:

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


Recent favorite picture book reads:

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol
An old grandmother just wants to be alone with her knitting but her grandkids won't leave her alone. She must go to extreme measures to find some peace and quiet. Hilarious and charming, this Caldecott honor is sure to be a read aloud hit. 


The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Kathryn Brown
A beautiful picture book biography about a woman who chose to move to a destitute part of Chicago to better the community. A true social justice heroine. 


Martina and Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Brett Helquist
Full review coming soon


Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
This is the ultimate mentor text. Not only is it a tribute to some amazing poets, but the style of each poem embodies the poet to whom is being paid tribute. You can be sure I will be pulling this book out during Poetry Month.


I finished reading:

Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz
An intriguing novel in verse about a young man who loses his family in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Advance Review: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

When Will's brother Shawn is killed, Will knows that he must avenge his brother's death. So he grabs the gun out of Shawn's dresser drawer, gets on the elevator to leave his apartment building, and over the course of the next six floors and 60 seconds, Will is stunned by who gets on the elevator with him at each floor.

The fact that this novel takes place over a single minute AND is a novel in verse is both innovative and gusty. Major props to you, Mr. Reynolds. However, I'm sure there will no doubt be people who read this book and spend their time overanalyzing the time frame,  saying, "This couldn't possibly have happened over a single minute." I was certainly temped to do that very thing. And who knows? Maybe those overanalyzers are right. But here's why I chose not to overthink Reynolds's stylistic choice: If I did, I'd be missing the point. The point is that Will has only six floors convince himself that he's doing the right thing by following "The Rules" of his family and neighborhood. In a single minute, he is on his way to enacting vigilante justice for his brother and possibly ruining his own future. This complex moral crisis is not the time to nitpick on timelines. It's a literary convention. As readers, let's just appreciate how it helps move the story forward.

I was elated that a friend of mine who works for Simon & Schuster and knows what a huge Jason Reynolds fan I am sent me the bound manuscript of his newest YA novel. I can't go too long without getting my Jason Reynolds fix, you see. But here is the downside of getting to read such an early copy of the book: I HAVE NO ONE TO TALK TO ABOUT IT! And I need to talk to someone. What the heck happened at the end?! I guess I'll just have to wait until someone else reads it before a consensus can be reached (or perhaps a spirited disagreement. Who knows?)


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Expected Publication: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Atheneum
Pages: 240
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel in Verse
Audience: Young Adult
Disclosure: Bound manuscript 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