Monday, August 4, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? 8-4-14

Originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers also host a kidlit version of It's Monday! What are You Reading?

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.

Holy cow! How is it August already? I start teaching again in two weeks! :O Guess I've gotta get busy reading these last two weeks of freedom, huh?

Last week I reviewed:

Noggin by John Corey Whaley
Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ty Templeton

I finished reading:

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Beautiful art and somewhat intriguing storyline, but it felt like the story was missing a thread to tie it all together. I just didn't quite connect with it the way I was hoping to. Nevertheless, it was a quick read and worth the short time it took to finish it. And of course, I'm looking forward to the #yalit101 Twitter chat about this book on August 26th at 8 PM ET. 

Picture books I really enjoyed:

Gravity by Jason Chin
Sparse but wonderful nonfiction text with stunning illustrations. Could see this one being a Geisel or even Caldecott contender. 

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
If the picture book illustrator is Steve Jenkins I will read it. His paper collage art is always so detailed and visually intriguing, as you wonder how he could possibly do such miraculous things with paper and some scissors. This nonfiction title by Jennifer Ward includes a pleasant and informational rhyming quatrain about a different bird and the type of nest it builds on a two-page spread, along with some added information about each bird on the facing page. 

I finished reading with my ears:


After the End by Amy Plum  
Strange premise, but an engaging read. I still get really irritated with the trend in YA lit today that series books can't stand on their own and there has to be a "to be continued..." Cliffhanger endings are one thing, and I don't mind them as long as most of the conflict that has been building in said novel has been somewhat resolved, but to leave something completely unresolved just to pick it back up in the next book really annoys me. 

The Elite by Kiera Cass  
Speaking of picking it back up in the next novel... While I can't call myself a fan of this series, I also can't stop listening to it either so I guess there's something to be said for that.  

Currently and still reading:

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family by Kathleen Flinn 
I hope to have this book finished this week. Flinn will be visiting a local bookstore on August 20th so I want to make sure I have it at least finished before then. 

Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom by Katie Wood Ray 
Don't let the subtitle of this book fool you. No matter what grade level you teach, if you are a teacher of writing, this book is worthwhile.

Currently reading with my ears:

The One by Kiera Cass

Posts last week from my teaching blog:
Storify archives curation: July #nctechat and #titletalk 
My beef with "Word Crimes" 
Advocating for students should not mean silencing teachers


  1. I hadn't considered Gravity as a Geisel contender... good call!

  2. Can't wait to read Gravity, good to read your opinion! :) Mama built a little nest- new to me, another to-be-read! Happy reading week to you!

  3. I enjoyed the The Selection series-it was a bit goofy at times. I would like to try the audio version to hear if the narrator captured the voices the way I imagined them. I love audio books, they provide that extra dimension that allows you to more fully enjoy the reading experience. My public library never has anything remotely new so I tend to be jealous of all these great libraries that offer titles like The Selection series on audio.

  4. Wondrous Words is indeed a must, I agree. I'll note about the twitter chat for This One Summer. I liked it because I think our older students will, just a summer isn't it? I will look for Gravity, still haven't seen it, but it's been well reviewed in a lot of places. Thanks, Beth

  5. Love, love, love Wondrous Words! Agreed that there is information for all levels there.

  6. I use so many of Katie Wood Ray's ideas in my college classroom! You are absolutely right: important PD reading for ALL teachers of writing. I start back in 2 weeks too. So much to do! Hoping to get to This One Summer in time for the Twitter chat. I'm sure the book doesn't take very long to read, so SURELY I can manage to finish it!

  7. I will look for Gravity. I'm especially keeping my eyes out for great NF recommendations for my 4th graders because I know it's one of my book gaps!

  8. I know what you mean about The Selection series. I had to read all three, despite the fact that I found them to be annoying and seriously flawed! What is that all about?!? Thanks for the warning about After the End. I want to start the series, but I really dislike cliffhangers. Maybe I will wait a while. Thanks for your thoughts on Noggin; I just went and grabbed it off the shelf! Have a great reading week ~Megan

  9. Isn't Gravity awesome? I am excited to share with my class this fall. I just got a copy of Noggin and can't wait to read it! :-) Thanks for the recommendation of Wondrous Words.

  10. This One Summer is new to me (as of today), and I think it is a book I'll really like.
    I also requested Gravity from my library, so I hope they get it soon!
    My students love The Elite series, but I just haven't had the WANT to read it. Is the audio good?
    Happy reading this week! :)

  11. Thanks again for sharing about Noggin. I loved your review. I don't own that one, but I am going to go hunting for it. :) I hope you have a fabulous week.