It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7-27-15

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've got a chunk of reading to report out on, so I will keep things brief!

Books I've Recently Read:

Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr
Candlewick Press, 2015 (US edition)
Realistic Fiction
232 pages
Recommended for grades 3-6

Set in the fictitious Mathildewick Cove in Norway, we follow young Trille and his best friend Lena on some crazy, some heartfelt and some downright sad adventures in their lives. The title is a strange one to me.  Waffles have a significant part to the story, but I wouldn't say the adventures are centered around interesting choice for the story's name. I think the cover and interior art match the nostalgic feel the story gave me. These kids have the kinds of outdoor adventures many kids miss out on today, and that makes me love this story. 

Catch you Later, Traitor by AVI
Algonquin Young Readers, 2015
Historical Fiction
296 pages
Recommended for grades 4-8

It's AVI, so whether you love him (of course) or don't care for his work (who would that be?), you are already excited about (of course) or not interested in (who would that be?) reading this book!
Based loosely on some of AVI's own experiences during childhood, this story is set in the early 50s. Pete's father is accused of being a communist and Pete is shamed at school by his teacher for it. Pete becomes a total outcast, even forbidden to talk to his best friend anymore and she is ultimately sent away to boarding school (in part) to be separated from Pete.
While historical fiction is known to be a tough sell, and knowing that many of our youth are unfamiliar with communism in America and what it meant to average families, I would imagine teachers and librarians are going to have to sell this one to many readers. And that cover, it gives the perfect feel for the detective stories and radio shows Pete enjoys in the book, but will it attract or deter young readers? Time to find out!

The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Walden Pond Press, 2015
Science Fiction/Realistic Fiction (?)
372 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6

I wanted to LOVE this book, as I have a special affinity for the main character's name: Rory :)
A strange affliction has struck Rory and turned him green. He is hospitalized with another kid with the same condition, his arch nemesis, the school bully. The boys now suspect they are green AND have superpowers. Rory can teleport and the bully, Tommy-Lee, can open any lock. Do they really have superpowers? Who knows. The book is wild and crazy as the kids sneak out at night to take on the evil of London-though really they just add much more chaos.
The author's note at the end of the story was one of my favorite parts of the entire novel!

Guys Read: Terrifying Tales Edited by Jon Scieszka
Walden Pond Press, 2015
Horror/Fantasy/Short Stories
229 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

Creepy cool! Awesome authors-as usual-come together to scare the pants off their readers. Beware, Gidwitz is in here and things get bloody and...well, terrifying! Dav Pilkey has a short comic, which I thought would be Diaper Baby silly, but was actually a great addition to the collection! I think my favorite tale is Nikki Loftin's "Licorice Needles". What if.... ;)

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Dial Books for Young People, 2015
Historical Fiction
320 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

Hands down my favorite book of 2015 thus far. I am itching to read this book to students, to talk and share the experience, to bring it to life with others. So much emotion-pain and hope-blended into a WWII story unlike any other I have read. What a great addition to collections as students study this era in history. I could have kept reading about Ada forever. Though Ada's story might seem so specific to her experience as an unwanted girl with a clubfoot, so many children will relate to being let down by the very ones that are meant to love us unconditionally, our parents. As readers step inside Ada's story and feel her pain and understand her distrust, they might also learn to let someone in, one tiny step at a time.

The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood
Scholastic, 2015
Historical Fiction
179 pages
Recommended for grades 4-7

Also another of my favorites of 2015! I fell straight in love with Theo and so longed for him to find a speck of happiness in his upturned life. After losing his parents in a car accident at age four, Theo was raised by his grandparents. When his grandparents are placed in a home, Theo's gruff uncle Raymond is the only family he has left. When they land in a boarding home in Florida Theo is out of his element and has to cope with his uncle's awful moods. Uncle Raymond holds tightly to anger over his experiences in the Vietnam War.
A beautiful story of finding yourself even when you are far from all you know.

Lost in the Backyard by Alison Hughes
Orca Publishing, 2015
136 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

A boy gets lost in the woods behind the house of family friends. Relying on his limited knowledge of an outdoor class he has been taking in school, and tidbits of survival novels he was supposed to read but didn't, Flynn stumbles around until he is out of the woods. Short and accessible, there is certainly a readership for this one.

Ms. Rapscott's Girls by Elise Primavera
Dial Books, 2015
263 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

So strange....Ms. Rapscott takes in girls that parents ignore. She supposedly teaches them what they would otherwise not learn. She also has corgi helpers that walk and dress like humans but don't speak. I could have passed on ever reading this one, just too out there for me.

Button Hill by Michael Bradford
Orca Publishing, 2015
253 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

Yup, this one is creepy and complicated. Kids will learn that they never want to journey to Nightside through the old grandfather clock in the basement. Nightside is scary and unpredictable and the widly unraveling plot will wow some and perhaps lose others. I LOVE scary books, so I'm a tough judge. This was no Night Gardener, it wasn't bad though ;)

I'm Currently Reading:


  1. Great assortment of books. All of these are new to me. Here is my weekly report. Happy reading!

  2. What a lot of great books! I'm definitely in the AVI fan club. I used to tell my students that if they didn't like one book by Avi to try another because he can write such different stories well. This new one sounds good, too.

    1. You are so right about Avi's variety! After reading this comment I had a vision of all of Avi's characters getting together to mingle. That would be a diverse group of characters!

  3. I also really enjoyed The War that Saved My Life and The Way to Stay in Destiny.

    1. If only kids like historical fiction as much as adults ;)

  4. These books ALL sound amazing. Especially excited about the Waffles one, as I did not realize it was set in Norway and I love all things Scandinavian.

    1. It is a sweet story, it felt like just as I was getting to know the characters and the cove, that it was over :(

  5. I am looking forward to this new Augusta Scattergood title. And the fact that you rate The War That Saved my Life so high puts it higher up on my TBR list!

    1. I think you will just love it. The mother in you will ache for Ada.

  6. Thanks, Nicole and friends! As a big fan of historical fiction (surprise!), I can't wait to read War That Saved My Life. And I just read Avi's new book. Thank goodness for teachers like you who share our books with your students. Hats off, big time!


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