Sunday, February 2, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 2-3-14


Visit our hosts Jen & Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for their reviews as well as links to all the other bloggers participating in the book sharing fun!  There are so many new books to discover, and so many great conversations to be a part of!
Get your library cards out!

Books I Read this Week:

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Alfred A. Knopf, 2013
Historical Fiction
256 pages
Recommended for grades 5-8

This didn't mistakenly win a Newbery Honor, it well deserves it.  It's almost one of those books that I find myself weary of reviewing (especially while Sunday-night-pregnant-lady-tired), because I can't give it nearly the beautiful description it deserves.
So I won't bother tonight.  What I will bother doing is saying that this book is unlike any other children's literature I can think of.  An interesting historical setting-with a backdrop of an important pigeon migration that was unknown to me.  Main character Georgie is one that you can fall in love with right away because she is just chock full of personality.
Go on, check this title out, you will be glad of it!

Stranded by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts
Scholastic, 2013
Adventure/Survival
176 pages
Recommended for grades 3-7

This series has been very popular among my fourth graders, and after reading it I can see why.  
As the title and cover suggest, this story finds 4 siblings, from a blended family, stranded on an island.  Kids love stories with no adults in them, it let's their imaginations run wild with a story.  How would they react if they were one of the kids on the island?  It's fun, and better written than I had expected.  I was easily wrapped up in this story after the first few chapters.
This is one of those titles that will appeal to those boy readers that have trouble getting into stories.

Below by Meg McKinlay
Candlewick Press, 2013 (first US edition)
Realistic Fiction
218 pages
Recommended for grades 5-8

An interesting story set in an Australian town that had the damn opened up, and was drowned.  The town was rebuilt nearby with residents all starting over in a fresh new location.  While not heard of all that frequently, this is not an unheard of event.  In fact, it happened here in Maine to a town called Flagstaff.  
The idea of a town sitting at the bottom of a lake is enough to get your mind spinning.  How creepy, how sad, or...how fun to explore!  In Below Cassie is drawn to the sunken town and the allure of the unknown.  
The story starts out slow.  By starts out I am referring roughly to the first 100 pages...But once you add in a kind male classmate with a mysterious past and a shifty town mayor  trying to keep the old town well below the surface of the lake, things do become interesting.

Literally Disturbed: Tales to Keep You Up at Night by Ben H. Winters, illustrated by Adam F. Watkins
Price Stern Sloan, 2013
Poetry
64 pages
Recommended for grades 4-7

I am perhaps disturbed for loving this genre, but there's no denying it, I love a good creep out.  As a kid I would have enjoyed this right alongside my Scary Stories books!
While I wouldn't give this to just any 4th grader, some are much more sensitive to this genre than others, I will say that the poems are not all meant to scare.  Some of the poems within this text are quite humorous, and once you add those creepy drawings you've got a nice little book to read in the dark of night.

I'm Currently Reading:


(Audio)

On Deck:


Thanks for stopping by!
Have a wonderful reading week!




20 comments:

  1. I like how you offer age appropriateness for each book. I have the Stranded book somewhere in a box waiting to be cataloged. I am a fan of the Survivor television series. Getting caught up on cataloging will be my goal in March after book fair. I will have to look into Literally Disturbed. My students love Goosebumps and the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books I am certain they would like your suggestion too.

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    1. Thanks Julee, I too always appreciate knowing a suggested age range for titles that are new to me. Literally Disturbed has very creepy illustrations-which really bring the poems off the pages!

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  2. So glad you loved One Came Home - I read it in the spring and was so impressed. What a character, I agree! I have a copy of Stick Dog but haven't read it yet - look forward to hearing what you think. Might get my son to read and let me know if it will be a good title for my classroom. I have so many books on the go right now! Not a bad problem to have :-)

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    1. Stick Dog...Not sure how I'm going to craft that review...let's just say your second graders might enjoy it more than I am ;) I have had a fair amount of student interest in it, so I'm happy to have it in the classroom library, regardless of my experience with it!

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  3. I've been curious about the Stranded book series... glad to read your thoughts on it... :) Good to hear about Literally Disturbed as well. Happy reading week to you!

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    1. I put off reading this title for a long time, even though it was popular with my students. I was happily surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Sometimes a celebrity name on the cover makes me a little wary, but he did have a co-author here :)

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  4. I read One Came Home way back in the year because I had an ARC and really liked it. Since I had read it so long ago, it had dropped off my radar for the awards. I completely agree - it was excellent and worth of a Newbery Honor!

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    1. I kept waiting for it to be available on audio in Maine libraries...I bet they will have it available now! What a unique story, I already miss reading it!!

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  5. Lots of great reading, Nicole. I am waiting for my copy of One Came Home - have heard wonderful things about this book. But Below sounds interesting as well. I lived for a time near a lake in upstate New York which was really a flooded valley - very creepy, I used to think!

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    1. At one point in Below the kids bring masks and a pair of flippers to explore the most shallow part of the lake. That would be so incredibly cool, and was fun to imagine!

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  6. I STILL have not read One Came Home. I have taken it home a number of times and it always gets returned unread. Now with a Newbery win I will never get my hands on it! Have a great week! ~Megan
    http://wp.me/pzUn5-1QJ

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  7. I was disappointed in Stick Dog. Even my 5th-grader was bored! Stranded looks like a terrific read-aloud for him, so I'm off to order. Thanks for recommending it! I have One Came Home from the library right now--hoping to start it this week, but I really want to finish a few other books first. Like Carrie, I have so many different books going right now!

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    1. Yeah...I finished Stick Dog today...thank goodness. I'm glad some kids are liking it, but it certainly isn't one I will be singing praises for.

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  8. Hi there Nicole, you have so many new titles here that I am unfamiliar with! I am intrigued by your review of One Came Home, I am always on the lookout for new titles to booktalk to my book club of young readers (aged 9-14 yo), and this one seems like it would fit nicely to a historical fiction genre which we haven't had yet. Will bookmark this one for future reference.
    Like you, I am also in for a good creep-out. Literally Disturbed sounds like my kind of poetry book! The book cover looks great. Thanks for sharing all this.

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    1. Hi Myra, I think One Came Home would be an awesome historical fiction book for that age range. The mystery surrounding the body that is brought home-and assumed to be main character Georgie's older sister-is enough to get kids flipping pages. Georgie begins looking at one of the male characters in a teenage girl sort of way, which is why I said 5th grade would probably be the lowest grade I'd safely recommend it to. That and the murder mystery...as a classroom teacher I feel the need to be more reserved in my recommendations :)

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  9. One Came Home is definitely on my list, just didn't get it read before the awards. Thank you for all the other titles, especially for the younger readers, & I too love those scary tales, will be sure to find Literally Disturbed!! Thanks for all!

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    1. A colleague of mine shared Literally Disturbed with me, otherwise I don't think I would have known about it! There are so many new books put out each year. Which is why the It's Monday posts are so helpful!! Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I didn't know that Jeff Probst was an author! I think it's funny that he writes survival stories as well as being the host of Survivor.

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    1. Haha, it is kind of funny to picture Mr. Survivor sitting at a desk writing away. I wonder how the process works when there are two authors. I've never been sure whether one does the bulk of the work or not. Either way, the kids thought it was very cool that Jeff Probst wrote the book :) And hey, he seems like a cool guy, so all the more power to him for expanding his horizons!

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