Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Monday! What are You Reading? 10-16-17


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:

Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex


Picture books that stood out in the pile:

The First Garden: The White House Garden and How It Grew by Robbin Gourley
I miss the days when the White House was occupied by a family that saw the importance of bringing communities together. Reading this in 2017 just made me sad for what used to be when the Obamas lived in the White House.


Still a Family: A Story About Homelessness by Brenda Reeves Sturgis, illustrated by Jo-Shin Lee
A book that tackles homelessness with gentleness and subtlety while also pulling no punches. There are no euphemisms for the sake of sugar coating here. The author respects the young readers’ intellect and ability to process difficult subject matter.

 
The Good for Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper
For a button that does NOTHING, it's sure making red, yellow, and blue bird feel ALL THE THINGS.


Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey  
A humorous look at an important theme of being true to yourself and the price of fame. 


Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown 
This was the read-aloud hit of the week with students from Kindergarten all the way up to 5th grade. 


I finished reading with my eyes:

Alexander Hamilton: Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough 
 

This Hamilton biography is not nearly the slog that the Chernow one is, but it is still dense and involves a time-commitment. Don’t count on finishing it in a matter of a couple days. In addition to accessible but still challenging text, Brockenbrough provides excellent backmatter to help readers better understand the time period. What stands out the most in this Hamilton biography is what a man of principle he was, which was ultimately his hamartia, losing his life in a duel to his political rival, Aaron Burr.

I finished reading with my ears:

Alex and Eliza:A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz
Hamilton fans, don’t miss this historical fiction of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler’s love affair and marriage.


Currently reading with my eyes:

Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today by Cynthia and Stanford Livingston


Currently reading with my ears:

Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail by Jonathan Chait

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex

Poor orange. In a rhyming picture book about fruit, he feels left out. But even when Friedrich Nietzsche gets a rhyming couplet, orange starts to feel even more excluded.

This is an absolutely hilarious picture book that will appeal to both younger and older readers. Younger readers certainly won't get the Nietzsche reference, but they will get that it's meant to juxtapose the unfairness that orange doesn't get to rhyme with anything while a long, unusual name like Friedrich Nietzsche gets a mention?



This page took the book from funny to me laughing so hard I was crying


Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex
Published: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pages: 48
Format/Genre: Picture Book
Audience: Primary/Middle Grade/YA/Adults
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, October 9, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10-9-17


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:

A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle


My favorite picture books from last week:

Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex
Full review coming soon! Spoiler alert: LOVED IT!


All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Mike Curato
A book that celebrates family, community, and the ingenuity of the Cuban people.say


Santa Rex by Molly Idle 
Despite Rex's and his dino friends' destructive nature, Christmas just wouldn't be the same without being able to celebrate with them. 


Currently (still) reading with my eyes:

Alexander Hamilton: Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough 
 

I've been reading this one for a while. It's really dense, but it's super interesting and it's not nearly as difficult to get through as the Ron Chernow book. 


Currently reading with my ears:

Alex and Eliza:A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz
Because Hamilton.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle

"Although William lived in the magical land of fairy tales, he preferred pastries to princesses, kitchens to kingdoms, and recipes to the Royal Reporter."

And in the very first sentence, Penny Parker Klostermann had me hooked. But then again, this blog does have the word Foodie in the title, so you know, captive audience and all.

Fractured fairy tales are one of my favorite genres of picture books because I'm a fan of subversion, what can I say. But with the genre becoming so saturated these days, it's hard to find a fractured fairy tale that stands out. But Penny Parker Klostermann found her niche in her main character, William, who manages to upend all of the fairy tales by taking the apple from Show White, the beans from Jack and the Beanstalk, and the pumpkin from Cinderella and turning them into Baked Apples with Caramel Drizzle, Bean Soup with Smoked Ham, and Pumpkin Pie with Cream and Candied Pecans.

Well whatever will happen in the fairy tales now when the very source of conflict has been completely changed? The answer is sure to surprise and delight you.


A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle
Published: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 32
Genre/format: Fractured fairy tale/picture book
Audience: Primary/Middle Grade
Disclosure: Finished copy provided by publisher

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, October 2, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 10-2-17



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.

After spending a lot of time doing our research and due diligence, last week I got rid of my 10-year-old Saturn Vue and bought a fully-electric Chevy Bolt. It drives like a dream and I love that I will never have to buy gas ever again! Even though I'm a little worried about the ability to quickly charge it if we ever want to drive it further than its 242-mile range, I also know that we still have my husband's car and can use that if we need to. I also know that the demand for more and better electric charging stations won't increase until more people start buying electric cars so I decided I wanted to be part of the change to make that happen.

Anyway, back to book stuff...

Here are the picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

Nina by Alice Briere-Haquet, illustrated by Bruno Liance
This book took my breath away and made my hair stand on end. The text is absolutely like nothing I've ever read before in a picture book and the illustrations were equally as powerful as the text. This book will be on my list of go-to picture books to give to Middle and high school teachers to show them that picture books are not just for little kids. In fact, some of them, like this one, are for much older and more mature readers. If you're an adult and you love Nina Simone, you'll want to read this book.


Melvin the Mouth by Katherine Blanc, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
 A book that pays homage to the childhood antics of Mel Blanc that led him to become the legendary cartoon voice actor known as "The Man of 1,000 Voices." While not a true biography, the book does have some biographical backmatter at the end.


Last Laughs: Prehistoric Epitaphs by Jane Yolen , illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins
Funny poems and short, informative text about dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.  

 
Momma, Where are You From? by Marie Bradby, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet
A book that immediately put me in mind of George Ella Lyon's poem, "Where I'm From."  


Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning 
An important book that shows a beautiful family of color celebrating the joys of ordinary life.


Currently (still) reading with my eyes:

Alexander Hamilton: Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough 



Currently reading with my ears:

Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail by Jonathan Chait

Monday, September 25, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 9-25-17


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 with my ears:

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


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:
 
The Rain Stomper by Addie Boswell, illustrated by Eric Velasquez
A young girl, upset that the parade has been spoiled by pouring rain, decides to march to the beat of the thunder and create her own parade.


Allie's Garden by Sabra Chebby, illustrated by Marla Osborn
Fun rhyming verse and adorable illustrations made of vegetables make this board book perfect for any budding baby foodie. My only criticism is that it didn't seem long enough. The story ended just as it was gaining momentum.  

 
I Like, I Don't Like by Anna Baccelliere, illustrated by Ale + Ale
 A jarring book that should be read to kids with plenty of discussion and room for questions.  


When Snow Falls by Linda Booth Sweeney, illustrated by Jana Christy


Currently (still) reading with my eyes:

Alexander Hamilton: Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough 



Currently reading with my ears:

Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail by Jonathan Chait
I'm hoping this book will give me some, well, hope. Because we're in some very dark political times right now.  

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.