Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 4-24-17


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.

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.

Hello friends! It's been a few weeks since I've done an "It's Monday!" post. I'm still learning to navigate award committee reading along with pleasure reading. I'm enjoying the new challenge of reading for an award committee but it's proven difficult to commit to my own personal reading as a result. It's also become apparent that books have invaded every surface of my house. - even moreso than usual. I need to get better about keeping my books organized. But... it will get better now that we finally redid our family room and now have these gorgeous bookshelves on both sides of our fire place.


Anyway, I digress. Here's a snippet of what I've been up to in my reading life the past few weeks...


Current giveaway:

On Bird Hill + On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Bob Marstall


I finished reading:

A Hundred Hours of Night by Anna Woltz

Interesting YA novel about a girl from the Netherlands who escapes to New York after a family scandal only to find herself without a place to stay and with Hurricane Sandy on the way.  


I finished reading with my ears:

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah has had an extraordinary life. The fact that his very existence was against the law in apartheid South Africa shows the strength and resilience of his character that he has made it as far as he has in comedy, and now hosts one of the most popular political comedy shows in the world. But more than anything, this book is a testament to the love of a mother and son. You learn very quickly in this book that Noah learned his resilience from his mother and while they didn't always see eye to eye, he clearly got his spunkiness from her.


Picture books from the past few weeks that stood out in the pile:

The Artist and Me by Shane Peacock, illustrated by Sophie Casson
This book affected me deeply. Vincent Van Gogh, one of the greatest artists of all time, was judged and bullied mercilessly, even by young children who looked down on his art as crazy and garish. This is a fictionalized account of a young boy who came to recognize the error of his ways when, despite bullying Van Gogh as a child, was offered one of his paintings by the artist himself and refused to accept it, running away from the crazy artist. Now as an old man, he stands in a museum in Paris, looking at the priceless painting he refused so many years ago, wishing he had been kinder to the man. 

When I shared my feelings about this book on my social media spaces, I immediately had two teachers at my school arguing over who got to borrow it first so they could share it with their students. I deferred to the art teacher for obvious reasons. :)


We Came to America by Faith Ringgold 
"In spite of where we came from,
Or how or why we came,
We are ALL Americans,
Just the same."


An important message of diversity and inclusion and how our differences are what unite us.



Big Little Hippo by Valeri Gorbachev 
Adorable illustrations. Would be a good read aloud for Pre-K as the theme is the desire to no longer be little. 


Hoot & Honk Just Can't Sleep by Leslie Helakoski  
When two eggs get mixed up in a storm, a gosling and owlet end up in the wrong nest and wonder why they want to sleep at the wrong time and don't like to eat what the other babies do. A cute rhyming story with scant words and a fun, bouncing rhythm.  


Currently reading with my ears:
 
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

I'm almost done with this and it has been an incredibly powerful and important read. I recommend every teacher and librarian read this book no matter what grade you teach (though I would only recommend it for high school libraries and classrooms).  

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blog Tour + Giveaway: On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Bob Marstall

Welcome to Day #3 of the On Duck Pond Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of On Duck Pond by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall (4/11/17), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Jane and Bob, plus 10 chances to win a set of On Bird Hill and On Duck Pond!

Duck Parade by Jane Yolen
Ducks wiggle-waddle,
Ducklings diddle-dawdle
Down to the pond
With a quick-quack-quack.
Tails sassy-saucy,
Drakes busy-bossy,
Down to the pond
For a quick-quack-snack.
©2017 Jane Yolen. All rights reserved.
*****
Stop by Late Bloomer's Book Blog tomorrow for Day #4 of the tour!
 
Blog Tour Schedule:
April 10th – Word Spelunking  
April 11th – Mrs. Mommy BookNerd  
April 13th – Late Bloomer's Book Blog  
April 14th – Mundie Kids  
April 17th – Life Naturally  
April 18th – Chat with Vera  
April 19th – The Kids Did It  
April 20th –  Books My Kids Read  
April 21st – Marianna Frances
From award-winning and NY Times bestselling children’s author of more than 350 books, Jane Yolen, and award-winning illustrator, Bob Marstall, On Duck Pond is the first sequel to the acclaimed On Bird Hill, which launched the children’s picture book series written for the esteemed Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the world authority on birds. 
 In On Bird Hill, Yolen and Marstall took readers on a surreal journey with a boy and his dog, as they stopped, looked, and noticed things along their path—ultimately discovering the miracle of the birth of a baby bird. On Duck Pond continues the journey of the boy and dog story, this time in a new place—a serene pond, filled with birds, frogs, turtles and other creatures going about their quiet business. Their intrusion stirs the pond into a cacophony of activity, reaching climactic chaos, before slowly settling back to it’s quiet equilibrium. 
This beautiful and enchanting sequel is sure to delight On Bird Hill fans and millions of readers and fans of Jane’s popular classics.
About the Author: Jane Yolen has authored more than 350 books, including the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon, which every budding young ornithologist owns, You Nest Here With Me, which is a popular new favorite, and the New York Times bestselling series How Do Dinosaurs. Jane Yolen’s books have been translated into over 20 languages and are popular around the world. Janes husband, David Stemple, was both a well known bird recordist and a professor of computer science and he taught the entire family how to identify birds. Many of Jane’s books are about wildlife subjects, especially the winged kind. Jane lives in Hatfield, MA. Visit her online at janeyolen.com.
About the Illustrator: Bob Marstall is the illustrator of nine nonfiction children’s books, including the The Lady and the Spider, which sold over a quarter-of-a-million copies and was a Reading Rainbow selection. Bob has also been honored with an ALA Notable; an IRA Teachers’ Choice; a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children; and three John Burroughs selections.
In addition, two of Bob’s books are included in the New York Times Parent’s Guide’s “1001 Best Books of the Twentieth Century.” Bob Lives in Easthamton, MA. Visit him online at marstallstudio.com.


About the Cornell Lab: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Our hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet. birds.cornell.edu

GIVEAWAY
  • One (1) winner will receive a set of both On Bird Hill and On Duck Pond -- a great Earth Day gift!
  • Must be 13 or older to enter and have a US mailing address
  • Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 4-3-17


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 reviewed:

The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan


Last week I read:

I Am Pan! by Mordicai Gerstein
I have always had an aversion to Greek mythology due to having to learn about it via really boring worksheets in 6th grade -- and then later in college having to take multiple choice tests in a children's lit class that only policed whether you read and didn't assess your understanding.

But this picture book/graphic novel hybrid is entertaining, funny, and fun to read. This book and others like it might help cure my mythology aversion. 



I also read:

Giant Squid by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann 
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse 


I'm currently reading:

A Hundred Hours of Night by Anna Woltz



Currently reading with my ears:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
 

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan

Charlie Law lives in Little Town and his new neighbor, Pavel Duda, is a refugee from Old Country. The people of Little Town hate Old Country. So Charlie quickly discovers that his budding friendship with Pav causes him all kinds of problems both at school and while he's out and about. As life in Little Town further deteriorates after a bombing and invasion from Old Country, Charlie finds himself in a life or death struggle to save his family at the sacrifice of someone else's.

The Bombs That Brought Us Together is both a beautiful story of friendship in the gravest of circumstances and a chilling dystopia that feels not too far into the future from our own reality. It gets to the heart of people's tendencies to fear what is different and to allow that fear to turn into hate.

     "Can't they just live here with us... in harmony or whatever? I said. "It's not as though they're perfect."
     "It's not as easy as that, Charlie," Dad said.
     "It's not charlie," Mom said. 
     "Why?" I said. 
     "The fact is, they don't like us, and we don't care much for them. We're not compatible. End of story. And anyone replacing one controlling Regime with another is hardly a progressive move, is it?" Dad said.
     "Our ways are different, Charlie," Mom said. 
     "But how can I not like them when I don't even know them?" I said. 

For those students (and adults) who love dystopia and are struggling with the state of the world, this would be a great book to include in a middle school or high school library. The vague and allegorical nature of the setting lends itself to lots of interpretation and connections to many conflicts in the world right now. This book has my highest recommendation to share with students and to read for yourself.


The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
Published: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 361
Genre: Dystopia
Audience: Young Adult (Middle School and High School)
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, March 27, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-27-17


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:
 
March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
A must-have for every middle school and high school library. This series is so moving. I really hope Congressman Lewis will be at ALA to accept his Printz Award in June. Hearing his speak is at the top of my bucket list. 


The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
So many dystopias feel far away into the future. We think to ourselves. That couldn't possibly happen in my lifetime. But this one really hits home because what drives the narrative is xenophobia. Hatred of the outsider. It is a book I will be putting in my school library and recommending that teachers put in their classroom libraries.


Bob, Not Bob by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Poor stuffed up Louie. He wants his mom. But every time he calls for her, his dog Bob comes running instead. Because, you know, when you're stuffed up, Mom sounds like Bob. I have come to the conclusion that Audrey Vernick writes the best picture books ever. No contest. And this collaboration with Liz Garton Scanlon is no different. 


Other Books I read and enjoyed last week:

Click, Clack, Surprise! by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds


I'm currently reading:

A Hundred Hours of Night by Anna Woltz


Currently reading with my ears:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Monday, March 20, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-20-17


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:

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
There is no doubt this book is beautifully written. It kind of reminds me of a mashup of The Road and The Book Thief. I just couldn't get past the idea that this book felt more like adult literary fiction than YA.  


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo 

If you teach high school, this book must go in your classroom library. 

 
Egg by Kevin Henkes  
Egg has a magic about it that we've come to expect from Kevin Henkes. Both in its gentle, soothing illustrations and darling story. I could see this book being a Caldecott contender but especially a Geisel contender.

 
Sad, the Dog by Sandy Fussell, illustrated by Tull Suwannakit
When a dog's cruel owners abandon him when they move away, the new family that moves into the house takes him in as theirs. A sweet, heartfelt story about how pets sometimes find us instead of the other way around. 


Currently reading:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I'm only on chapter 3 but I'm already completely gutted. This book is so important and a much-needed conversation starter. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-13-17


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:

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner
This book kind of reminds me of a cross between All the Bright Places and The Summer of Letting Go.


Picture books that stood out in the pile last week:

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
Pugs? Greedy? Never! 

 
This is Our House by Hyewon Yum 
Stories are how houses become homes. 


Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song by Gary Golio, illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb
Powerful picture book about the story of how "Strange Fruit" came to be Billie Holiday's most well-known song despite the fact that her record label refused to record it. There's quite the air of "Nevertheless, she persisted" in this amazing story. 


Currently reading:

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo 
I'm only on chapter 7, but I was sucked into this story from the very beginning. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-6-17


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.

Hi friends! Check out my current giveaway, a signed copy of A Boy Called Bat by Elena K. Arnold


Last week I reviewed:

Martina and Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, illustrated by Brett Helquist


I finished reading:
 
The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan 
If you never thought to consider where that chocolate bar you're eating came from, it might be a good idea to read this book. It will break your heart and then make you want to take action. 


Picture books that stood out in the pile:

It Is Not Time for Sleeping by Lisa Graff, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
A wonderful bedtime story. Lauren Castillo's illustrations are perfection. 

 
Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song by Gary Golio, illustrated by Charlotte Riley-Webb
Powerful picture book about the story of how "Strange Fruit" came to be Billie Holiday's most well-known song despite the fact that her record label refused to record it. Another example of the recent rallying cry that Mitch McConnell inadvertently created: "Nevertheless, she persisted."