Monday, September 18, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9-18-17


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:

Saving Marty by Paul Griffin  

A book with lots of parallels to Charlotte's Web.  


I finished reading with my ears:
 
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 

An important read but definitely hard to read. I'm for sure interested in watching the TV series now.
 

Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

Rulers of the Playground by Joseph  Kuefler
Joseph Kuefler mines the wealth of material that are playground dynamics. Lots to discuss here, which makes this a great classroom read aloud.

Beyond the illustrations themselves, the overall concept, layout, and design of this book is top notch. It sort of put me in mind of something you might see in a music video.



I Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
A book that is a perfect example of why Rudine Sims Bishop's article about Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors is so important. Love your hair. Love your skin. Love who you are. 


Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal 
A sweet picture book that defines certain virtues and vices through the lens of cookies. 

Currently reading with my eyes:

Alexander Hamilton: Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough 




Currently reading with my ears:

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
 

Monday, September 11, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9-11-17


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 hard to believe 9-11-01 was 16 years ago. And yet, at the same time, it's also not hard to believe. Given all that has happened in our country in the past 6 months let alone the past 16 years, it does actually feel like a long time ago.


Last week I finished reading with my ears:

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance   
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book, but I don't think it's the enlightening book the hype made it out to be. I think Vance made way too many generalizations based on his own personal experience, sprinkling his narrative with a few studies here and there to sound more credible, but I never really felt like I got a clear picture of the people he was speaking for. I got a clear picture of his own family, but I don't think he did a good job of transferring his personal experience to generalizing an entire group of people. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

It's NOT Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor 
Jack is not pleased with the narrator of this story who tells him to do things he would prefer not to like sell his cow, throw away the magic beans he got for the cow, and climb the beanstalk that will lead him to a giant's castle.

 
The Book of Gold by Bob Staake  
A beautiful story that takes a young boy a life of apathy to a lover of learning, all in the quest for the elusive Book of Gold. What he gets instead is a rich life full of knowledge and travel. 


Maurice the Unbeastly by Amy Dixon, illustrated by Karl James Mountford  
Maurice isn't like other beasts: he eats kale and alfalfa and his roar is actually a beautiful, melodious high A. His parents send him to the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts to teach him to behave more uncivilized. Despite his less-than-straight-A student performance, Maurice eventually finds a way to show his usefulness at the Abominable Academy.  

 
Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins 
Rupert loves wordless picture books. He thinks they're very artistic. So he sets out to create a wordless picture book, but his chatty friends are making that impossible. Another hilarious story by Ryan T. Higgins that is sure to produce raucous laughter during read alouds. I especially love the cameo from Mother Bruce. 


Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith
Oh my goodness. This is one of the most stunning literary picture books I've read in a long time. If you want to teach kids about effective ways to use repetition, to show contrast, and to include sensory details, share this book about a young boy who lives in Cape Brenton, Nova Scotia, a seaside mining town, and ponders the beauty of his town above ground, while also thinking about the darkness of the mine where his father works, which he also realizes is his lot in life when he gets older. 


Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin by Duncan Tonatiuh
This book is a beautiful celebration of cultures and a reminder to us all that our differences are just an opportunity to learn from each other.


I'm currently reading with my eyes:

Saving Marty by Paul Griffin  

A book about a boy who saves a pig who's the runt of the litter and becomes his pet? Nah. This won't put anyone in mind of any particular children's classic. ;)


Currently reading with my ears:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 

I paused listening to this for a couple months because it was difficult to listen to but I've decided I need to finish this. I'm a little over halfway through now.    

Monday, September 4, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9-4-17


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 Labor Day! I've enjoyed this long weekend but am looking forward to going back to school tomorrow. Last year I fought for the librarian position at my school to be full time and thankfully, they agreed. So I am just the librarian this year and don't have to teach English. As much as I love teaching English, doing both at the same time was just way too much on my plate. I am loving the opportunity to teach classes and also move around the building to visit students and teachers in their classrooms.


Last week I read and enjoyed:

Second Grade Holdout by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
A fun and funny sequel to First Grade Dropout.


Strong is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves by Kate T. Parker 
A beautiful photographic series that proves strong means many things: it can be confident, wild, resilient, creative, determined, kind, fearless, joyful, independent, or all those things at once.

 
More-igami by Dori Kleber, illustrated by G. Brian Karas 
Joey loves things that fold. So when he learns the art of origami at school, he exasperates his family by folding any piece of paper he can get his hands on: his homework, his sister's sheet music, the money in his mom's purse. He soon tells his troubles to Mr. Lopez at his favorite restaurant, Muy Mexicana, and a partnership is soon born.This book won my heart. Everyone deserves a Mr. Lopez in their life. 


Whose Moon is That? by Kim Krans 
Absolutely stunning ink and watercolor art in this story of a cat who ponders the question of who owns the moon. I would love to own one of the prints of this book to hang in my house. I'm off to Kim Krans' website to see what's available...


I'm currently reading with my eyes:

Saving Marty by Paul Griffin  


I'm currently reading with my ears: 

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Beauty and the Beak by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp

Welcome to Day #1 of the Beauty and the Beak Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of Beauty and the Beak by Deborah Lee Rose and Janie VeltKamp (8/27/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Deborah, plus 5 chances to win a copy of Beauty and the Beak!
Deborah's Research
People often say to "write what you know," but I tell students "write what you can learn." I knew almost nothing about bald eagles when I started researching Beauty and the Beak. I searched out information everywhere I could—from books, documentaries, and articles online, and by visiting a nearby wildlife center where I watched trained staff handling live birds of prey as Janie does. Most important of all, I spent countless hours on the phone with Janie, learning from her about her experiences with Beauty, and about bald eagles. Her encyclopedic knowledge helped me tell Beauty and Janie's story in Beauty and the Beak as if I had been there while it was unfolding. My talks and emails with Janie also helped us capture the story of bald eagles as a raptor species that was almost wiped out on the U.S. mainland. My most unexpected research experience was seeing a wild bald eagle in flight for the first time in my life, at a reservoir not far from my home!
*****
Blog Tour Schedule:
August 29th — Word Spelunking
August 30th — Chat with Vera
August 31st  — Late Bloomer's Book Blog
September 1stLiving Simply
Buy: Persnickety Press Follow Deborah: Website | Facebook | Twitter Follow Janie: Website;| Facebook
BEAUTY AND THE BEAK is a new, nonfiction picture book about Beauty, the wild bald eagle that made world news when she was illegally shot, rescued, and received a pioneering, 3D-printed prosthetic beak. BEAUTY AND THE BEAK follows Beauty close up from the moment she uses her baby beak to emerge from her egg, through her hunt when she uses her powerful adult beak to feed herself, to the day her beak is shot off leaving her helpless. This brave and heartlifting story continues through her rescue, into the months of engineering her 3D-printed prosthetic beak and intense hours of her beak surgery, to the moment she takes the first drink of water by herself with her new beak. BEAUTY AND THE BEAK captures the spirit and courage of this amazing bird and America’s national symbol―whose species was nearly wiped out by human activity, only to be restored and thriving because of environmental conservation and human compassion. This book will resonate with stories of other animals endangered or in need, and with stories of humans, from young children to military veterans, in need of prosthetic limbs, who are being given new lives with state-of-the-art devices. The book includes expanded information about bald eagles as a top predator species, their near extinction in most of the U.S., their successful reintroduction back into the wild, and efforts to conserve this critical raptor species today.
About the Authors: Deborah Lee Rose is an internationally published, award-winning author of many beloved children’s books. Jimmy the Joey: The True Story of an Amazing Koala Rescue is a Reading is Fundamental/Macy’s Multicultural Collection title and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Students K-12. Into the A, B, Sea was named to the New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing. Deborah helped create and directed communications for the ALA/AASL award-winning national STEM education website Howtosmile.org, and helped created STEM activity apps for Lawrence Hall of Science which have been downloaded more than one million times. She also served as Director of Communications for Lindsay Wildlife Experience, which includes one of the first wildlife rehabilitation hospitals established in the U.S. Deborah lives in Walnut Creek, CA, and speaks at book events, conferences, schools and libraries across the country. Visit her website at deborahleerose.com.
Jane Veltkamp is a raptor biologist and rehabilitator, wildlife educator, trained nurse, and master falconer. She led the team who developed Beauty the Bald Eagle’s prosthetic beak and has lifetime care of Beauty. Jane is founder and executive director of Birds of Prey Northwest, in Idaho, a raptor center which educates the public about raptor conservation, including through live raptor programs, and has provided medical treatment and rehabilitation to thousands of injured birds of prey to return them to the wild. She spent ten years of her career reintroducing ospreys and peregrine falcons to regions where they had disappeared from their habitat in South Dakota and Indiana. She rescues and cares for Bald Eagles, including Beauty, by permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Jane lives near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and is also the eagle expert for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's Native American Aviaries. Visit her website at birdsofpreynorthwest.org.
About the Persnickety Press: Persnickety Press is the sister imprint of the Cornell Lab Publishing Group. Persnickety publishes a broad range of books for children and young adults, both fiction and nonfiction, from picture books through teen titles. Our books focus on empowerment, showing young people that what they do matters, what they care about is worthy of their attention and dedication, and even as children, they can make a real difference. 

GIVEAWAY
  • One (1) winner will receive a copy of Beauty and the Beak
  • US mailing addresses only

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Monday, August 21, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 8-21-17


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 first day of school! This year I am  not teaching English at all and am exclusively the K-8 librarian at my school. I'm sad that summer is ending, but I'm also super excited to hopefully spread a love of reading even more throughout my building now that I can devote myself to that role entirely.

Last week ALAN's Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award committee announced the winning book:

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Serving on this committee has been an honor. Dill, Lydia, and Travis's story is one that I'll not soon forget. Picking just one was soooooo hard because all of them had equally memorable stories and characters. The remaining finalists are:
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 8/21 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


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

The Sound that Jazz Makes by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Valasquez
"Jazz is a downbeat born in our nation,
chords of struggle and jubilation,
bursting forth from hearts set free
in notes that echo history."


A rhythmical chronology of the history of jazz with heartfelt words and stunning illustrations. 


 
The Friend Ship by Kat Yeh, illustrated by Chuck Groenink
While out in search of a Friend Ship, you might end up finding yourself on a ship of friends. 

 
Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee, illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre 
A beautiful, quiet book that is so needed in classrooms and libraries right now. As a little girl sees the fear and hatred all over the news, she asks her parents what she can do to make the world a better place. A testament to the small things we can do and a reminder that we all belong to each other.

 
The Cello of Mr. O by Jane Cutler, illustrated by Greg Couch
In this beautiful, touching story, we see the world through a young girl in a war-ravaged city and find love, community, and kindness through the smallest of gestures. A testament to finding humanity in even the darkest of times.  


Currently (still) reading:

Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds  



In other non-book news, after a month of being sad from losing our sweet pug, Guenter, we're working on mending our hearts just a bit by rescuing this sweet little guy and adding him to our family this past weekend. His name is Reggie:



He has already decided that I'm his Mother Bruce. Dude has imprinted on me like a baby gosling.

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