It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 2-9-15

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers.
Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews!

I feel like this winter these post should be called: It's Monday! WHERE are you reading? Why? Because it's another snow day, and I will be reading at home! :)

Please pardon the super short reviews...time is of the essence!

Books I Read this Week:

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
Candlewick Press, 2014
475 pages
Recommended for grades 5+

Loved it! Seriously, if you, or someone you know, is looking for a nice hefty book to get carried away in, this is it! Well, only if you have a great sense of humor and appreciate a good case of mistaken identity! Baba Yaga, that old crack up!

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, Book 1) by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Scholastic, 2014
295 pages
Recommended for grades 4-8

When has Holly Black ever let us down? Here she's working with friend Cassandra Case, which is so cool. I want to write books with my friends! The opening to this story might just leave your mouth hanging open, and your fingers fumbling to turn the page. The ending has the same effect, so stand by for book 2!

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora
Roaring Brook Press, 2014
Realistic Fiction
166 pages
Recommended for grades 6-9

A story about three literate 9th graders-more literate than any 9th grader I've ever met, spouting off lines from classic American literature-who want to encourage kids to read To Kill a Mockingbird in honor of their recently deceased teacher. To do so, they create a plan to hide all copies of the book in as many libraries and bookstores as they can get to in the state of Connecticut. I found it to be odd. Could this really happen? Would this really happen? I don't know.

Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis & Gary Kelley
Creative Editions, 2014
Poetry (illustrated)
Recommended for grades 5+

Though this book will look accessible to readers as young as third grade, the content is certainly not suitable for such young readers. In particular, the full page illustration of lynchings is haunting, and not one I would be willing to share with young students. The age the content is appropriate for might be turned away by the picture book format-unless they have teachers and librarians showing them that picture books are powerful things!
A piece of WWI history brought to life through poetry and gorgeous illustrations.

Chernobyl's Wild Kingdom: Life in the Dead Zone by Rebecca L. Johnson
Twenty First Century Books, 2015
64 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

Awareness of the nuclear explosion, and devastation left behind, that happened in Chernobyl in 1996. Scientists have been, and are, studying the effects of radiation in plants and animals in the Exclusion Zone. Fascinating look at how animals are thriving and suffering. I would have enjoyed more photographs, and perhaps more of a focus on the animals, given the cover and title. There was a lot of scientific background on radiation-probably necessary- but also a side story on the nuclear explosion in Japan, which felt like an add on. 

Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina by Rodman Philbrick
Blue Sky Press, 2014
184 pages
Recommended for grades 5-8

Loved it! Philbrick has that way with words to bring you right into the character's world, right smack dab into their here and now. I liked Zane right away, and rooted for him throughout the story. A New Hampshire boy plopped in New Orleans just before Katrina strikes will need some rooting for if he's going to make it to safety! Does the end feel too neat and tidy? Perhaps, but I loved the rest of the story enough to find it just possible enough.

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I read Egg & Spoon this week too, and agree completely with your review! Lots of fun to get lost in and Baba Yaga was so well-written and hilarious!

  2. Egg & Spoon is on my #MustReadin2015 list and we own it so very excited to dive in soon. Also planning to read Cartwheeling soon - was just sent a copy. All that snow is certainly great for your reading time!

  3. Thanks for some great ideas! I was interested in Egg & Spoon, but never got to it last year. Your description makes me want to add it back to my list.... I have a copy of The Iron Trial in my classroom library, but can't keep it in long enough to get to read it. I may have to grab it the next time it comes in; it sounded great, and I really want to read it. I just recently read Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere-- another Hurricane Katrina story, and it was a tough read-- so vivid! I don't think I'm quite ready for more of that right now, so Zane may have to wait awhile. Have a great week!

    1. I need to read Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere. Zane (I am guessing) is a much lighter take on Katrina, which has me wondering which is better: introducing kids to the event in a gentle way, but perhaps offending the people that lived through it in a much more devastating way, or to show kids the harshness of Katrina, but risk frightening them.

  4. I'm waiting on Egg and Spoon and I Kill the Mockingbird from our local library, but I excited to learn about some of these other books. I'm going to have a look at Chernobyl's Wild Kingdom: Life in the Dead Zone before I purchase it for our library, although it sounds promising.

  5. Hi there Nicole - your day of reading sounds very idyllic indeed. I read Gregory Maguire's Wicked and nearly abandoned it - I struggled with it a great deal, which makes me hesitant to pick up another book of his. But I'm glad to read your thoughts about Egg and Spoon.

    1. Funny, someone I know just said something similar about Wicked. This is my first Maguire novel, and while it was certainly lengthy, it was easy to follow. Baba Yaga is perhaps the best part of the book :)


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