Monday, August 14, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 8-14-17


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 ALAN's Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award committee announced their five finalists and I couldn't be more excited to share them with everyone:

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (As of 8/14 this book is only $3.26 on Amazon. This is an amazing deal. Buy it now if you haven't read it.)
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
I love each and every one of these finalists and picking a winner was so incredibly difficult. But the winner will be announced today at noon so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, read the official press release from last week's finalist announcement.


Last week I finished reading:
 
Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess 
A hero's journey of a young man who sets out to discover the truth about his family. A wonderful YA novel in verse by an author who has mastered the format. 


Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
A compelling coming-of-age graphic memoir of a 15-year-old-girl discovering her sexuality while away at summer camp. While the subject matter is on the mature side, the story itself is fairly innocent and would work for both high school and middle school students.


Paperboy by Vince Vawter 
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book yet. On the one hand I found the ending to be redemptive and satisfying, but on the other hand, there's a sadness and loneliness that permeates the narrative that's hard to shake. I suspect it will be a book that grows on me as time passes. I already can't get this story and its characters off my mind. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

Meditate with Me: A Step-by-Step Mindfulness Journey by Mariam Gates, illustrated by Margarita Surnaite
A wonderful, accessible book to use to introduce kids to mindfulness meditation. I loved the sparkle jar metaphor for how our minds look when we need to be more mindful. I might have to get a few sparkle jars for the library.  


A Small thing... but Big by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Hadley Hooper 
A young girl who is afraid of dogs meets an old man at the park who convinces her to pet his dog, then to walk the dog. The ending is both humorous, delightful, and surprising. A great book to foster growth mindset.


Currently reading:

Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 8-7-17


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:

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp


Last week I finished reading:

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore 
I loved almost everything about this book. The way that urban kids are portrayed here gives them a sense of agency and seeing them beyond just a label. Lolly, the main character, is more than just an "at risk" youth. The characters in this book, while set in the projects, are by no means written in a way that makes us pity them. Their lives are rich even if their pocketbooks aren't. I wrote a lengthier review of this book on Goodreads, so if you're interested in reading my thoughts there, feel free to check it out. I did find one thing about this story a tad problematic, so I'll be interested to read what others think of this book once it's published. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
Oh my heart. This book is the cat version of what I'm living right now with losing one of my dogs. It's both heartbreaking, beautiful, and uplifting all at the same time.


Some Pets by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
Smart, spare rhyming text is perfectly paired with Brendan Wenzel's bright, lively illustrations. This is sure to be a read-aloud hit, but make sure you have another picture book lined up afterward because this one won't take long to read.  


Currently reading:

Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess 


Currently reading with my ears:
 
Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

 
Madeline Finn hates reading. Because every time she tries, she always gets a heart sticker instead of a star sticker, and she wants to be a star.

But one day she goes to the library and meets Bonnie. Who is a great listener. And doesn't judge her when she struggles.

Bonnie is a dog.

And reading this book has made me even more determined to get my dog certified to be a therapy dog so I can bring him to our school library and have kids read to him every day. That would make me happy, him happy, and the kids happy. It's a win-win-win. :)






Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp
Published: October 1, 2016
Publisher: Peachtree
Pages: 32
Format/Genre: Picture book
Audience: Primary/Middle Grade
Disclosure: Library Copy

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, July 31, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-31-17


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:

Captain Pug: The Dog Who Sailed the Seas by Laura James, illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans
Patina by Jason Reynolds


Picture books that stood out in the pile:
 
Please, Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
Fun metafiction picture book that makes kids think about what happens to characters after you close a book.


The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
Sometimes the best gift you can get is time with the people you love

 
Grandad's Island by Benji Davies 
A quiet yet joyful story about death and grief of a loved one

 
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp 
Full review coming soon

 
Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List by Katie Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have read this less than a week after having to say goodbye to my beloved dog, Guenter, but this is a beautiful story that will start to help kids wrap their minds around the idea of their own beloved dogs not being there forever. 


Currently Reading:

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore 
I am loving this book so far. It reminds me so much of my favorite Jason Reynolds book, When I Was the Greatest.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-24-17


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.

RIP sweet Guenter
The past month has been really difficult, but the past few days especially. We had to say goodbye to our sweet pug, Guenter, on Friday and my heart is completely broken. At first I felt guilty for grieving the loss of a dog much deeper than many of the people in my life who have passed on, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I totally have permission to take this as hard as I need to. Afterall, he spent every single day with us for almost 12 years of our lives. How can that not hurt beyond measure when he's suddenly just not there anymore.





Anyway, I did get a little bit of reading done this past week despite my abject sadness over losing my dog.


The Lemonade Stand Cookbook by Kathy Strahs
A fabulous cookbook to include in school libraries for the budding chefs, bakers, and entrepreneurs in your life. I love all the colorful pictures of the recipes included in this book along with the equally colorful and organized layout.


Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith
Hilarious take on the Little Red Riding Hood story.


Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
A beautiful picture book about the ways a family gets their farm ready for the winter. I especially love the author's note at the end that describes how Doyle writes letters to a class of 3rd graders every year and then at the end of the year, they come visit her farm, help with some of the chores, and then have lunch together.

 
Real Cowboys by Kate Hoefler, illustrated by Jonathan Bean
A beautiful book that challenges masculine norms from one of the most mythical and masculine of jobs in American culture: the cowboy.


A Hungry Lion, or a Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Ruth Cummins
A book that manages to be both totes adorbs and darkly funny. Fans of Jon Klassen will love this one.


Alan's Big, Scary Teeth by Jarvis
A hilarious book that is sure to be a read aloud hit about an alligator who loves his big, scary teeth and finds himself in a pickle when said teeth go missing.  


Currently reading:

Patina by Jason Reynolds 

Monday, July 17, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-17-17


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.

It's been a stressful past couple of weeks as I've been trying to nurse a sick dog back to health. Almost 3 weeks ago, this little guy was diagnosed with diabetes, ketoacidosis, sepsis, and pancreatitis. He spent 3 days at the 24 hour emergency vet and has had many visits back for vomiting and inappetence. So my reading life has taken somewhat of a hit due to the anxiety of a dog that has been on death's door. He was starting to show signs of improving, like getting his appetite back and playing with some of his toys. But yesterday he had a huge setback by excessive vomiting and so I had to take him back to the emergency vet, because of course this had to happen on a Sunday when our regular vet isn't open. So yeah, reading hasn't quite been on the forefront of my mind these days. But I have gotten SOME reading done. Here's a highlight of some of my favorite books from the past couple of weeks:


Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes
I have always loved books that focus more on character than plot, and this book has that in spades. Beatrice Zinker always sees the upside to life... because she spends so much time upside down.

This is an absolutely darling early chapter book to transition 2nd-4th graders into longer novels. I can't wait to read Beatrice's next upside down adventure.
 



Pig the Winner by Aaron Blabey 
I'm guessing my love for this book is obvious based on what I wrote above, but I may have snorted from laughing so hard while reading this I'm the bookstore.


King Baby by Kate Beaton 
I love Kate Beaton's books. That is all.


Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel  
Stunning picture book about the beauty and wonder of life. I can see this one being a Caldecott contender. 

 
The One Day House by Julia Durango, illustrated by Bianca Diaz 
This beautiful book is a testament to what can happen when welcoming and diverse communities come together to pitch in and help their neighbors.  


Oh yeah, and in between all the stressful dog stuff, I did get a chance to attend nErDcampMI last week and it was by far the best year yet! Check out my Storify archive for a rundown on how it all went.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7-3-17


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 posted:

Reflections from ALA 2017 


Last week I finished reading:

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
This was a hard book to read, but the characters are memorable and you really root hard for the main character, Charlie. 


Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L and Matthew Holm
Jennifer and Matthew Holm are dream team graphic novelists. Just like with Sunny Side Up, the sequel is full of heart and humor that will take away some of the sting of the difficult situation Sunny's family is going through. But what really elevates this book and the first book for me are the delightful visual details from the 1970s that make it more than just a decade of questionable fashion and home decor. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story by Rebecca Langston-George, illustrated by Janna Bock
She was warned. She was given an explanation. She was almost killed. Nevertheless, she persisted. 

 
Today by Julie Morstad 
Anything Julie Morstad illustrates is beautiful and brilliant and this book is no different. It's kind of like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure in re: all the small but significant decisions we make in a day (what to wear, how to wear your hair, what to eat for breakfast, etc.)


After the Fall by Dan Santat 
Humpty Dumpty loved sitting on his wall watching the birds. After he fell, he was afraid to get back up on his wall. Fear and anxiety plagued him. But eventually, he found the courage to get back up. Rife with rich metaphor and symbolism, After the Fall is a kidlit celebration of a phoenix rising from the ashes.  


Charlie and Mouse and Grumpy by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes 
Love this quiet, gentle, yet quirky series.