Monday, October 6, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10-6-14

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.

Last week I finished reading with my ears:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This is one of those books that I have a feeling will make much more sense upon reading it a second time. It's also a book that sort of silences the false presumption that YA lit isn't rich or deep enough in literary elements to be taught in classrooms. And while I know there's a lot of good stuff happening here, it also was a book that didn't resonate with me. I enjoyed it while I was listening to it, but it's not a story that I will remember much about in a few days after I've moved on to my next book. 

My favorite picture books from last week were:

Two by Kathryn Otoshi
Kathryn Otoshi is the brilliant author and illustrator of one of my favorite picture books, One. This time in Two, she explores friendship dynamics when someone new enters the picture. Not only that, but she throws some math in for good measure.

Rex Wrecks It by Ben Clanton
One of my favorite picture books of 2014. The words and the pictures are in perfect, delightful simpatico. Add this one to your read-aloud pile; that's an order. I need to write a longer review of this ASAP. 

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales 
Not gonna lie. Viva Frida gave me the feels. I know others have criticized it for not giving enough insight into Frida Kahlo's life in the story itself, but to me, this book is so much bigger than just a biography of Frida Kahlo. It felt like a living, breathing poem and was simply enchanting. Somebody needs to give Yuyi Morales a Caldecott already.

Currently reading:

Winger by Andrew Smith
Celebrating Writers: From Possibilities to Publication by Ruth Ayers with Christi Overman

Currently reading with my ears:

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman 
I'm not entirely sure how I'm liking this book. It won a Printz honor, but I'm trying to figure out why it was categorized as YA in the first place. Seems more like adult nonfiction to me.  

Current giveaway:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Posts from my teaching blog:
5 things I loved about last week
Changing my writing tune


  1. I may have to take a look at Viva Frida. It's hard to get my students to read biographies, but they might pick up picture books.

  2. Definitely looking for Frida, now! I felt the same way about Charles and Emma - it has never caught on with my kids, although I enjoyed it.

  3. I felt the same way about Charles and Emma. I am glad I listened to it and overall I enjoyed it, but it isn't one I am rushing to put in readers' hands. Winger, on the other hand...LOVED that one and I try to make everyone read it. I hope you enjoy it! ~Megan

  4. This is the first time I've seen Rex Wrecks It--looks adorable! I still haven't read Kathryn Otoshi's books but really need to. I felt much as you did about We Were Liars. While it's very well-written, it felt a bit like a stunt to me and definitely didn't resonate with me at all. And I'm with you on Viva Frida--loved it! I was a bit meh when I read it silently to myself, but when I looked at it with my son and read it aloud with him, it really really worked in a big way!

  5. I don't know One, and now Two, so thanks for those. Will find them, Beth. I'm still interested in Charles and Emma, but even without reading it, wonder what student would be interested. I have Winger, need to get to it!

  6. I put Rex on hold after seeing your review on Goodreads, I noticed it already came in for me so I'll get to it soon! I really enjoyed Liars, but I understand how not all books resonate with everyone. Viva Frida was not my favorite, so I'm opposite of you there! But I did love Two :) Felt like I could go to my daughter's school and read it to a few people....

  7. I love the cover of The Book Thief! How creepy!
    Enjoy Winger--it is such a good book!
    I want to read so many of these PBs, but I am overloaded on PBs from the library so I will put them on my TBR and order them later :)

    Happy reading this week!!!

  8. I haven't read One, but it has been on my list. Now, I have to add Two! I also listened to Charles and Emma, and I would agree that it seems more of an adult nonfiction to me. That is a good point!

  9. Winger is spectacular in my opinion. I hope you enjoy it! I am adding Rex Wrecks it to my TBR list as well! Thanks.

  10. I've been intrigued by Charles and Emma for the longest time, I didn't realize it was categorized as YA. Loved your description of Viva Frida - I have to find it soon.