It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-17-15

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'm deep in the middle of the giant undertaking that is: moving and setting up a new classroom! Classrooms come in so many different shapes and sizes, each school has different things they allow you to do or have in your classroom, and moving in to a new school means getting comfortable and familiar with both aspects. Hopefully before school begins ;)

Books I've Recently Read:

Like a River: A Civil War Novel by Kathy Cannon Wiechman
Calkins Creek, 2015
Historical Fiction
336 pages
Recommended for grades 6+

A moving novel that follows two unlikely soldiers in the Civil War, a young boy trying to fill his brother's shoes, and...well the other one doesn't want you to know why he isn't your typical soldier!
As the novel changes perspective, readers will be given a broader view of what was going on in the war at the time the novel takes place. A large focus turns to experience many prisoners had at Camp Sumter, which is a setting I don't think I have come across in another children's book.

Half a Man by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Gemma O'Callaghan
Candlewick Press, 2015 (First U.S. Edition)
Realistic Fiction
53 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

I love this short story about how young Michael comes to know the whole man inside his grandfather. Michael was always told not to stare at his grandfather when he came to London to visit Michael's family. Much later, Michael goes to stay with his grandfather on the small island of Bryher, and it is during this summer stay that Michael and his grandfather grow closer than they have ever been. Michael learns what his grandfather lost, which is so much more than the missing skin and bones that grabs the attention from onlookers. The relationship Michael grows with his grandfather  just might be one of the most important his grandfather has known since he was in a fiery ocean explosion.
Under the dust jacket is a different, yet similar cover. I love the hidden cover so much more than the exterior cover. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Little Robot by Ben Hatke
First Second Books, 2015
Graphic Novel/Science Fiction
135 pages
Recommended for grades 2+

A sweet story of a (nameless) little girl that finds a robot floating down a stream in a box. The robot becomes the girl's friend, perhaps her only friend. But when the robot yearns to be around others like himself, the girl becomes jealous. A classic battle between trying to keep our friends close and ultimately pushing them away. Will the girl be able to come to terms with the robot being his own being, with his own preferences and friends? Well, has Ben Hatke let us down yet?
Other things worth noting: young female mechanic, living in a trailer park, feeling like an outcast.
The fluid and vivid panels are wordless for stretches, as the girl is the only human character with much presence. I picture using the beginning of the book with a document camera to talk with a class about how to read graphic novels and how to read and process the story with no words-and to remind readers to slow down and take in the art!

I'm Currently Reading:

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Oh, those all sound good, but I'm especially intrigued by the Michael Morpurgo (always a winner in my library) and the Ben Hatke, whose books I always love. Thanks for sharing. Jody

  2. Nice variety. I have a Michael Morpurgo book coming up soon on my review stack. It will be the first I've read by the author. Here is my reading week. Happy reading!

  3. Did you redesign the blog? Very pretty and blue! I don't think I will ever catch up with everything Morpurgo has written!

  4. I am very excited to find Little Robot and bring it into my classroom! Good luck with your classroom set up! Are you going to share photos?

  5. Hi there Nicole. It's the second time that I've been seeing The Curious Tale of the In-Between - sounds like my kind of read. Michael Morpurgo is so prolific! I can't keep up with all his novels.


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