It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10-28-13

Visit our hosts Jen & Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their reviews as well as links to all the other blogs participating in the book sharing fun!

Books I Read this Week:

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Amulet Books, 2013
Historical Fantasy
392 pages
Recommended for grades 8+

I have been carrying this book around sneaking pages whenever I have time, reading a chapter or two before bed, while I eat my lunch, in short, it's been a close friend for a few weeks now.  With no desire to rush to a conclusion, I've savored this book for the slow unveiling of truths, picking up historical tidbits from 1918 woven throughout.
Set during WW1 and the epidemic of the Spanish Influenza sweeping through the west coast, and during a heighten period of spiritualism, when people wanted desperately to contact lost loves for some solace.  Where there is demand for something there will be people to take advantage, and in this story one such character is accused to be capitalizing on peoples' desire to contact loved ones through spiritual photography.  Cat Winters makes us wonder if there is more fact than fiction to the art contacting lost loves through one brave and determined young lady named Mary Shelley Black.

Stronger than Steel: Silk Spiders and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope by Bridget Heos
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2013
Nonfiction Informational
Recommended for grades 4+

Stronger than Steel is part of the Scientists in the Field series, which features two other books that have made the Maine Student Book Award list in recent years: Saving the Ghost of the Mountain and The Mighty Mars Rover (on this year's list).
Filled with excellent photographs, this book takes readers deep into a subject they likely have very little background knowledge on: transgenics, and specifically, using spider genes in other animals!
Scientists know that spider silk is incredibly strong, but hard to harvest from spiders.  Putting spider genes into sheep and silkworms might be the answer to easier harvesting...maybe.  Some of what I read in here blew me away, and I think it will amaze many kids too.  
I say 4th grade and up for recommendation, knowing that it might be a bit tough for most 4th graders.  Those kids that eat up nonfiction might have a great time with this title though!

Tommysaurus Rex by Doug TeNnapel
Graphix, 2013
Graphic Novel: Fantasy
139 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

If you loved Bad Island and Cardboard for the beauty of the drawings, the depth of the stories and the sprinkles of humor, then you will find yourself enjoying Doug TeNnapel's latest story.  Beginning with the death of a beloved dog-I know, grab your tissues dog lovers-young Ely is sent to his grandfather's farm in hopes to take his mind of the loss of his dog.  
Remember slimy Marcus from Cardboard?  You'll find another despicable antagonist in this tale, drawn to bully perfection.  Though, like Marcus, you will discover that this meanie has hurts of his own that he is trying to hide.
So, the giant dino on the cover, can Ely really keep her as a pet?  

Currently Reading:

On Deck:


Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great reading week!


  1. OOOH. That Shadow of the Blackbirds looks interesting. Adding to my TBR list.

  2. I'm going to have to agree with Angie. I've got to read "Shadow of the Blackbirds!" It looks great.
    Mrs. Brown Loves Bookworms

  3. The Boy on the Wooden Box is such an important book. I read it quickly and then passed it on to my parents. I bought Tommysaurus Rex for my son and think I will sneak it back over the winter holidays and catch up on the many graphic titles I have been meaning to read. Cardboard is on that list!

    1. I am finding the The Boy on the Wooden Box has a writing style that might appeal to student readers, as the voice in the novel has a childlike tone to it-at least to the point I am at. Tommysaurus Rex is sweet and funny and gross at times, but I find that I love Cardboard so much that it's a hard one to top :)


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