Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? 6-18-18

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.

I finished reading with my ears:

Posted by John David Anderson
A wonderful story that will particularly appeal to those in-between readers who are too old for middle grade novels but not quite mature enough for young adult fiction. Posted is a wonderful story that examines middle school friendship dynamics - bullying, bystanders, adding a new friend to a circle, and the pain of friends who outgrow each other.

Picture books that stood out in the pile:

Drawn Together by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat
A young boy and his grandfather have difficulty communicating (whether that's a language barrier or just a generational one is ambiguous, but likely intentionally) but find drawing as their means of connecting with each other. A story with a beautiful message and equally beautiful illustrations. I could see this one being in Caldecott contention. My only criticism is that I found the middle of the story a little muddled and confusing, but the ending was absolutely stellar.

I'm Sad by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
“I don’t like you just 
when you’re happy
I like you all the time.
When you’re sad or angry
or bored or anything else.”

A perfect, simple story for kids and adults alike that reminds us all that it’s ok to be sad and sometimes we just have to let ourselves be sad without feeling the need to constantly put on a happy face for everyone.

The Girl with a Brave Heart: A Tale from Tehran by Rita Jahanforuz, illustrated by Vali Mintzi
A beautiful folk tale with parallels to Cinderella, but with a much more powerful message: when people are sad, they can't always communicate what they need and so we must listen to their heart instead of what comes out of their mouths.

Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Simone Shin
A young boy named Niko draws lines and shapes and scribbles to represent all sorts of feelings he experiences in the world. A lovely story that can help kids grasp the idea of abstract thinking. Would be a great prompt to get students to visually represent an abstract feeling on paper.

The Big Umbrella by Amy June and Juniper Bates
A book that you think to yourself, "Well, this is weird," as you're reading it, but then as soon as you finish and close the book, you then mull over how despite the text's simplicity and oddness, the story and the message are so deep and timely.

I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoet
The new girl Vanessa is bullied on her way home from her first day at school and one of her classmates can't stop thinking about her for the rest of the night. While the story is wordless, the images are powerful and can help spark conversations about what empathy means and how we can find the courage to follow the voice in your head that tells you to do the right thing.

Maximillian Villainous by Margaret Chiu Greanias, illustrated by Lesley Breen Withrow
Poor Maximillian doesn't seem to fit in with his family's villainous ways. When his parents give him an ultimatum, he manages to find a way to be villainous in his own kindhearted way.

Currently reading:

Rebound by Kwame Alexander
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris


  1. I enjoyed both Posted and Rebound, but the rest of these I'll have to wait to get in our area. They look very good. I've been especially intrigued by Drawn Together. Thanks for sharing, Beth!

  2. I read Drawn Together this week, too. I'm definitely looking forward to checking out the other books on this list. These books are great for helping kids develop empathy and build relationships. Have a great week!

  3. Wow, I'm waiting impatiently for so many of these picture books!!!

  4. I think that I Walk with Vanessa is going to be one of my favorite picture books of the year. I think about it often.
    Thanks for your review of Posted. I have the book, and I haven't gotten to it. I have a neighbor who is in the in-between audience stage that you describe, so I am excited to read it and give it to her. I appreciate your recommendation. ;)

  5. Posted was a good book. It looks like you read some picture book jewels this week. Drawn Together looks fabulous as does I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness. (Well they all do) I wish they were available in my library system now!

  6. I have "Drawn Together", still need to open it! I enjoyed Niko Draws A Feeling very much, a look at the diverse way people think, and I loved The Big Umbrella, wishing it were that way everywhere! Thanks, Beth. Posted and I Walk With Vanessa are on the list!

  7. Some really great picture books on your list! I've quickly read Drawn Together, but want to reread before I review. Need more time with it. Loved I'm Sad. I think it has such a great message.
    I was in downtown Ann Arbor yesterday and saw the bookstore you often post about :) Didn't have time to go into it but did visit Blank Slate :)

  8. You had a lot of great picture books this week. I also really enjoyed Posted and was surprised at how much my 11 year old enjoyed it, but she is kind of between MG and YA at times so I think you clarified it for me. Thanks for the post!

  9. Sad, Vanessa, and Drawn are all picture books I REALLY want to read!
    And I loved Posted--I think it is so well written, has so much to talk about, and fits a perfect reader need.

    Happy reading this week :)

  10. I just 'read' I Walk With Vanessa - and found it really well done. I am looking forward to finding Niko Draws a Feeling - and Sad - perfect for introducing emotions through picturebooks! - Myra (GatheringBooks)