It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3-30-15

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!

Since February, I've been reading up a storm! Earlier this month I gathered with the rest of my colleagues on the Maine Student Book Award Committee to create the Maine Student Book Award List for 2015-2016! This meeting, where we take a serious look at over a hundred books that made our "short" list, is the most thrilling meeting of the year! Eight librarians and four teachers discuss and laugh and agree and disagree on what we think are the best books for readers in grades 4-8. There is certainly a range of opinions to this end, which is what makes the list so diverse and special. And of course, it's for the kids! 
Want to check out the list? 

Books I've Recently Read:

Night Sky Dragons by Mal Peet & Elspeth Graham, illustrated by Patrick Benson
Candlewick Press, 2014
Traditional Literature
Recommended for grades 2+

Set in a han* on the Silk Road, young Yazul is at odds with his industrious father, who thinks Yazul should spend less time playing with his grandfather and more time being useful. But when bandits threaten the safety of the han, it is Yazul and his grandfather that save the han.
Gorgeous illustrations!

*a han was a place of safety on the Silk Road

Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
279 pages
Recommended for grades 6+

I loved this survival story, even though I typically despise reading stories set in winter settings-I'm in Maine, winter can feel never-ending...
What to expect:
-Strong female protagonist
-Dog sledding
-Loss of a parent

Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata
Atheneum, 2015
Realistic Fiction
228 pages
Recommended for grades 4-8

This book burrowed deeply inside my heart. Jaden is a young boy from Romania, adopted by American parents when he was four. Jaden had plenty of time to grown without a bonded family, and the effects are lasting. When Jaden's parents are ready to adopt another child, Jaden has a mix of emotions that he can't put a finger on.
The family travels to Kazakhstan to adopt a baby. But "their" baby was given to another couple. The new baby they are urged to bond with seems vacant and not quite well. Jaden doesn't want to bond with the new baby, but he does befriend a four-year-old boy with some developmental disabilities. Does Jaden see himself in this young boy? Whether he does or not, Jaden bonds with the boy and begs for his parents to adopt this boy instead.
As a mother, this book hurt at times. I wonder how kids will experience it.

I'm Currently Reading: 

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. ADORED Ice Dogs, although I completely understand what you mean about endless winter! Half a World Away was less of a slam dunk, but Read Thread Sisters has been very popular, and I hope that students who read that will pick up the Kadohata. Hope this week is warmer for you!

    1. I haven't read Red Thread Sisters, or heard of it! Was it painfully sad at times, like Half a World Away?!
      This week is supposed to be warmer, but it snowed all day today!

  2. I love the list! Wow, some incredible titles. I have Half a World Away on my TBR list. It looks fantastic, although emotional.

    1. I can't wait to read your thoughts on it! Your heart is enormous, so I imagine it will pull at your emotions!

  3. You always feature books that I want to get and share with my son! Both Night Sky Dragons and Ice Dogs look like surefire hits for him. I am trying to make myself read Half a World Away, but as the mom of two children adopted at older ages and both with varying degrees of Reactive Attachment Disorder, I have a feeling that it's just going to make me mad! At least it's short so I wouldn't be mad for very long, LOL.

    1. Oh my goodness, you are the perfect reader for Half a World Away, so you can share your real and personal reaction! I came to the book from a very different angle than you would be. Just think of how powerful your review could be! Now I feel like I must know how you feel about the book ;)

  4. If Half a World Away wasn't already on my list it sure would be now. Night Sky Dragons looks like a book that would fit in with a unit on ancient history. I'm not so sure about Ice Dogs because really I'm not much of a snow or a dog person...

    1. Ha, if you don't want to spend time with snow or dogs, you will be smart to avoid Ice Dogs ;) Night Sky Dragons is a quick read, could be a read aloud in one sitting. I hope you enjoy Half a World Away!

  5. Night Sky Dragons and Ice Dogs look and sound terrific, Nicole. Thanks for sharing about them. I like books by Mal Peet, & this one should be good too. Half A World Away sounds so sad, but will note it.

  6. I traveled to Kazakhstan late last year, and I'm glad to know of a book that has that setting. I also enjoyed Kira Kira by Kadohata so I would definitely be looking out for Half a World Away. Will add to my multicultural text-set as well.


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