Monday, July 9, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-9-18


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:

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
This book. It is so beautiful and important. I can’t believe the tenderness and love with which Krosoczka handles his incredibly difficult childhood. The nuance in his perspective on his mom’s addiction and grandparents’ alcoholism is something I hope everyone takes away from reading this graphic memoir. Humans are flawed and complex. Love them anyway. Pre-order this if you teach middle school or high school. In the mean time, watch Krosoczka's TED Talk, which is basically this book but in TED Talk form.


Rebound by Kwame Alexander
The prequel to the Newbery-award-winning The Crossover, we now get to read the story of Chuck Bell, father of Josh and JB, main characters of The Crossover. This book was good, but nothing will ever beat the magic and swag of the first book. 

How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation edited by Maureen Johnson
Wonderful compilation of essays, interviews, poems, and stories of resistance


Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris
I liked the idea of this book more than the execution. There was a lot of good information but you had to sift through a lot of the anecdotes and self-indulgence to get to the meat of the book. I still recommend it for people who want to try mindfulness meditation, just know you’re likely going to be doing some skimming.


Picture books that stood out in the pile:


What is Chasing Duck?
There's a Pest in the Garden
My Friends Make Me Happy
My Toothbrush is Missing by Jan Thomas
An adorable new early reader series that will speak to the heart and humor of Elephant and Piggie fans. Just like The Pigeon is hiding somewhere in all of the Elephant and Piggie books, this series' shtick is that each book mentions a turnip completely out of left field.


Currently reading:

Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex Texts, Complex Lives by Jennifer Buehler

Monday, June 25, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 6-25-18


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:

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson


I finished reading:

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Incredibly sad story but very tender in its handling of grief


Picture books that stood out in the pile:

Crunch, the Shy Dinosaur by Cirocco Dunlap, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
A fantastic interactive story that just begs to be read aloud.


A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by E.G. Keller
Any time you can troll Mike Pence with a story of love and acceptance I’m all for it.


Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
A prince finds his knight in shining armor


Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam by Fawzi Gilani0-Williams, illustrated by Chiara Fedele
Two young girls, one Jewish, the other Muslim, who are neighbors and friends and in spite of what history says about the animosity of these two religions, draw from their faith to look out for each other. A beautiful story that reminds us to be curious and kind in the face of differences.


Currently (still) reading:

Rebound by Kwame Alexander
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries blog tour


I'm honored and excited to present the book Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries on the blog today.

Unbelievable TRUTHS about outrageous people, places and events—with a few outright LIES hiding among them. Can you tell the fakes from the facts?
Did you know that a young girl once saved an entire beach community from a devastating tsunami thanks to something she learned in her fourth-grade geography lesson? Or that there is a person alive today who generates her own magnetic field? Or how about the fact that Benjamin Franklin once challenged the Royal Academy of Brussels to devise a way to make farts smell good?  
Welcome to Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries! You know the game: Every story in this book is strange and astounding, but one out of every three is an outright lie.
Can you guess which stories are the facts and which are the fakes? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable! Don’t be fooled by the photos that accompany each story—it’s going to take all your smarts and some clever research to root out the alternative facts. 

From a train that transported dead people to antique photos of real fairies to a dog who was elected mayor, the stories in this book will amaze you! Just don’t believe everything you read. . . .

This book is so relevant right now. 

You might be asking yourself how a book about histories and mysteries is so relevant to our current time. Well, I'll tell you. It encourages kids to dig deeper. To find the subtle clues in a text that might indicate a lack of truth-telling. It encourages doubt and to seek answers beyond what is just handed to you. I love this book, but even more I love the IDEA of this book and I hope Paquette and Thompson keep making them. 


About the Authors:
Ammi-Joan Paquette loves caves, hates mushy bananas, and is ambivalent about capybaras. She is the author of the novels The Train of Lost Things, Paradox, and Nowhere Girl as well as the Princess Juniper series and many more. She is also the recipient of a PEN/New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award honor. Joan lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, where she balances her own writing with her day job as a literary agent. You can visit her online at www.ajpaquette.com.

Laurie Ann Thompson loves capybaras, hates caves, and is ambivalent about mushy bananas. She is the author of several award-winning nonfiction books, includingEmmanuel’s Dream,  a picture book biography of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, which was the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award and was named an ALA Notable Book and a CCBC Choice, among other accolades. She lives outside Seattle with her family, and you can visit her online at www.lauriethompson.com


Now available in paperback:


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Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 6-18-18



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 finished reading with my ears:

Posted by John David Anderson
A wonderful story that will particularly appeal to those in-between readers who are too old for middle grade novels but not quite mature enough for young adult fiction. Posted is a wonderful story that examines middle school friendship dynamics - bullying, bystanders, adding a new friend to a circle, and the pain of friends who outgrow each other.


Picture books that stood out in the pile:

Drawn Together by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat
A young boy and his grandfather have difficulty communicating (whether that's a language barrier or just a generational one is ambiguous, but likely intentionally) but find drawing as their means of connecting with each other. A story with a beautiful message and equally beautiful illustrations. I could see this one being in Caldecott contention. My only criticism is that I found the middle of the story a little muddled and confusing, but the ending was absolutely stellar.


I'm Sad by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
“I don’t like you just 
when you’re happy
I like you all the time.
When you’re sad or angry
or bored or anything else.”


A perfect, simple story for kids and adults alike that reminds us all that it’s ok to be sad and sometimes we just have to let ourselves be sad without feeling the need to constantly put on a happy face for everyone.


The Girl with a Brave Heart: A Tale from Tehran by Rita Jahanforuz, illustrated by Vali Mintzi
A beautiful folk tale with parallels to Cinderella, but with a much more powerful message: when people are sad, they can't always communicate what they need and so we must listen to their heart instead of what comes out of their mouths.


Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Simone Shin
A young boy named Niko draws lines and shapes and scribbles to represent all sorts of feelings he experiences in the world. A lovely story that can help kids grasp the idea of abstract thinking. Would be a great prompt to get students to visually represent an abstract feeling on paper.


The Big Umbrella by Amy June and Juniper Bates
A book that you think to yourself, "Well, this is weird," as you're reading it, but then as soon as you finish and close the book, you then mull over how despite the text's simplicity and oddness, the story and the message are so deep and timely.


I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet
The new girl Vanessa is bullied on her way home from her first day at school and one of her classmates can't stop thinking about her for the rest of the night. While the story is wordless, the images are powerful and can help spark conversations about what empathy means and how we can find the courage to follow the voice in your head that tells you to do the right thing.


Maximillian Villainous by Margaret Chiu Greanias, illustrated by Lesley Breen Withrow
Poor Maximillian doesn't seem to fit in with his family's villainous ways. When his parents give him an ultimatum, he manages to find a way to be villainous in his own kindhearted way.


Currently reading:

Rebound by Kwame Alexander
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 6-11-18



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 was devastated by the news of Anthony Bourdain's death. So I wrote a piece about what he meant to me:

Remembering Anthony Bourdain with No Reservations


Last week I finished reading:

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Written with an incredible point of view: the collective LGBT voices who died tragically and unnecessarily as they observe modern day LGBT youths struggling and going about their lives. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile: 

Take Your Octopus to School Day by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Diana Schoenbrun 
How can you not love a kid with a pet octopus named Thurgood? 


No Hugs for Porcupine by Zoe Waring
Prickly porcupine is sad that no one will hug him, but soon one of his woodland friends will find a solution to show his affection.


Play with Me! by Michelle Lee
Nico and Pip both have different ideas of what “play with me” means. One wants to play games, the other wants to play the cello.


Valensteins by Ethan Long
Love doesn’t have to be about hugs and kisses. Sometimes it’s just sitting quietly looking at the moon together.


I Just Want to Say Good Night by Rachel Isadora
A tale as old as time: it’s bedtime and a little child does whatever she can to avoid going to bed. In this case, saying good night to everyone and everything in her village. Loved the nod to Good Night Moon.


The Funeral by Matt James
A lovely examination of death and sadness and how children remind us that even in death, life goes on.


Currently reading:

Rebound by Kwame Alexander


Currently reading with my ears:

Posted by John David Anderson