It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6-24-13

This weekend was the much anticipated Bridal Shower/Bachelorette weekend!  I sit here in a daze of realizing how lucky I am to be loved by so many amazing people.  I will share a shot from the special day in the next post :)  Because I read so darn much this week, and because I usually write my posts on Sunday night, I am allowing myself a pass on writing reviews due to my desperate need for sleep!  If you want details/honest opinions on any titles please ask in the comments section.  Otherwise, I will wait to add reviews to Goodreads when I get a spare minute! 

**Had to come back to add my reviews!**

Thanks to Jen & Kelle at Teach Mentor Texts for hosting!

Books I Read this Week:

The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan
Katherine Tegen Books, 2013 (8/6/13)
Realistic Fiction
128 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

Sure, with its length, white space and large text size this book looks like an easy read, accesible to second graders and third graders.  But when you begin discovering the tone and themes of the story it is easy to realize that this book shouldn't be wasted at too young an age.  Just because they can read the words does not mean they are understanding the story, we know that :)
Written in short, simple sentences, first person narrator, Jack, unpacks his feelings on being overlooked by his musician mother for the majority of his life.  When Jack spends part of the summer with his grandmother he is given clues as to why his mother act as she does.  (This doesn't explain why his father isn't winning any Father of the Year trophies, but we can let it slide.)  Jack desperately needs to feel taken care of, staying with his grandmother he gets the opportunity to care for others, which proves to be just as important.
The cover might entice animal loving readers into what appears to be an outdoorsy story, and they will be disappointed if that is all they are looking for.  Yes the wilderness and animals are within this short story, but this story of self discovery is much more than that, perhaps too much for some of the readers this will attract.  But then there is the other side of this: perhaps young readers will pick it up and be amazed at what they can learn and understand when presented "big" ideas in a little package.
The Truth: There are few loving creatures on this planet that can compare to a dog.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
Graphic Novel
First Second, 2013
173 pages
Recommended for grades 8+ 

My relationship with food:  I love good food.  I also love a lot of bad foods.  I love cooking if: I have enough space, the right ingredients don't cost half a paycheck, I have the correct cookware, and best done with or for someone that makes me smile.  My reality of cooking: I often find myself too tired to create what I would like to be creating.
With a reality like that you would think I'd find none of myself in the pages of this book.  Wrong!  Yes Lucy grew up around gourmet cooking, and she herself is a true foodie, but she is also 100% down to earth about food.  The drawings are colorful and sweet.  Each section of her story is divided by a recipe that came from the previous section.  
More than a story of food, also a story of one young girl growing up, and how food follows her through each phase of her life.  Loved the back, filled with photographs of the people and places and times in her story.
Fun read, for foodies or not!  I made the recommendation of grade 8+ due to nudity and sexual references.  They are not crude, but when deciding on adding a book to a classroom library you might like to know beforehand what's inside!

The Sasquatch Escape: The Imaginary Veterinary: Book 1 by Suzanne Selfors, illustrated by Dan Santat
Little, Brown and Company, 2013
216 pages
Recommended for grades 3-6

FUN!  Another book about a boy being sent to his grandparent's house for the summer, this time a grandfather.  However, 10 year old Ben is not having a summer like Jack (above).  Ben is plunked in a tired old nothingfunhappenshere town, and isn't very hopeful about having an enjoyable summer.  Things change when he meets labeled Trouble Maker, Pearl.  The two friends realize that something weird is going down at the old empty button factory.
Full of adventure and heart, and awesome Santat illustrations and embellishments, this book will be fun to share with kids!  As I was reading it I thought of how excellent it would be as a read aloud.  I can't wait to add this book (and later the series) to my classroom library!
In the back you will find some great extension activities for art and writing.  I loved one of the writing activities asking kids to write a scene where a squirrel and a snake are comparing motherhood-I can use this in my science unit on animal classification, what a creative way for kids to show what they know!

Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Houghton Mifflin, 2013
Novel in Verse: Humorous/Realistic
120 pages
Recommended for grades 2-5

What a great mentor text this is for poetry writing!  I am feeling wheels turning around how to use this as a mentor text throughout the year.  Students could try a hand at all the various poetic forms (ballad, couplet, double dactyl), try incorporating new poetic techniques (assonance, metaphor and refrain), while learning poetic terms (rhyme, rhythm) and having fun!  
You will love this book, a sure addition to the classroom library!

Odessa Again by Dana Reinhardt
Wendy Lamb Books, 2013
196 pages
Recommended for grades 3-6

Fans of A Year Without Autumn and 11 Birthdays will enjoy this time travel story.  Here we have Odessa, parents recently divorced, father getting remarried and mother moving into a new house.  These kinds of changes are the real deal issues so many of our students are dealing with, and they can be heavy on young shoulders.  None of Odessa's family issues are taken lightly, but the book does not have an oppressive feel due to the fantasy element.  Odessa finds a spot in her attic bedroom that she can jump through to go back in time 24 hours.  When she does it a second time it is 23 hours earlier.  Each time she jumps she loses an hour on how far back she can go.  Once Odessa figures this out she has a lot of choices to make on how to use her opportunities.  Odessa starts with fixing little things around her and her friends or school situations, often very little things.  When Odessa realizes that she can do more with this discovery she begins focusing on not just herself, which is when Odessa begins to grow.
I wasn't enamored with the writing or the story, but I know that kids will find this idea very, very cool!

Picture Books I Loved:

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Feel free to leave a note!


  1. I loved And Then It's Spring. I can't wait to see her new book. I'm going to pick up Gone Fishing on my next trip to the library.

    1. Oh, her new book is so much better! Not to say that this one isn't so sweet, but I loved it even more! Gone Fishing is so fun!! Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Did you LOVE Relish? I did! I look forward to hearing about The School for Good and Evil. It's on my TBR list.

    1. Loved Relish, even though I thought it would be a bore fest for a non foodie like me. I was so wrong about that one :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I've only read Like Bug Juice (which I loved), but I want to read so many of the others that you talked about- thank you so much for sharing!!!

    Happy reading this week :)


    1. It was on Teach Mentor Texts that I first saw Bug Juice, then was happy to have it sent for review. It looks fun, and perfect for my classroom (always a bonus!). Thanks for stopping by :)

  4. Some wonderful titles here. I have purchased On a Beam of Light but haven't read it yet. Excited. Hope you got enough sleep for a brand new week of reading!

    1. I loved On a Beam of Light, I look forward to sharing it with my class. I am hoping to feel rested soon, it's not really happening. Isn't summer our time to relax?!

  5. Hard to wind down! I am still teaching until the end of the week!

    1. Oh my goodness..just seeing this now...and this must be: Your first night of summer vacation?!?! If so, Hurray!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts