It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-1-16

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!

It's August, which means teachers everywhere are feeling a mix of

Blogging has been harder than ever this summer with a toddler and a new baby, plus the general summer days of no schedule (sigh). And though the reviews have been slower to come, the reading is still happening. And when I do get a chance to type, at lease I have cute company...

And at least my older distraction is irresistible...
A mom can't complain!

Books I've Recently Read:

The Journey trilogy! Check out my post this past week to see some thoughts and enter to win the first two books!! 
All three books are gorgeous and thoughtful. I love them!

Just Like Me
By Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2016
Realistic Fiction
256 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

A story about an adopted Chinese girl trying to identify with who she is while not giving in to pressure from others to be "more Chinese."
The writing is so easy to read, it's just natural. I can truly picture a cabin of young teen girls acting this way. Aside from the heavy themes of adoption (two other main characters are also adopted from China) and feeling different from peers, there are strong messages about conflict resolution. I know, you didn't expect there to be conflicts among a group of teen girls... 
I loved it, and highly recommend it!

Hour of the Bees
By Lindsay Eager
Candlewick Press, 2016
Realistic Fiction/Fantasy
368 pages
Recommended for grades 5+

I brought this book with me to the hospital when I had my son. This book was company when I needed to sleep and couldn't, the characters became close friends of mine over the days I was stuck in a small quiet room. Let's face it, I loved being still and calm when home is rarely that!
I say the book is realistic and also fantasy. There are two storylines here that meld in the end. You decide the genre for yourself, it doesn't really matter, it's beautiful no matter what we call it.
Give this book to readers that need hope in the face of dementia taking a loved one. Give it to readers that believe strongly in magic. And read it yourself, you'll be glad you did.

Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans!
By Gary Northfield
Candlewick Press, 2016
288 pages
Recommended for grades 3-6

Look at the cover. You know this book is going to be a little bit weird, and you have high hopes that it's also a little bit smart and a big bit funny. I'd say it must have hit the mark because I read it fairly quickly, which isn't the case when I'm dying of boredom! 
I'm thinking my fourth graders will get a kick out of this character. Were there many, many things that made me scratch my head? Yes. Like, how does a fake mustache make the zebra unrecognizable by others? Suspend reality for this one!!

By Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Balzer + Bray, 2016
288 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

My son's namesake.
This book is not new to us, if you're reading children's lit blogs, you are more than familiar with Pax
And it lived up to all the hype for me.

The only problem is that I'm running out of days in the school year to fit all the novels I want to read aloud.

Curse of the Were-Hyena
By Bruce Hale
Disney-Hyperion, 2016
224 pages
Recommended for grades 3-6

Two best friends notice that their favorite teacher is acting rather strange all of a sudden. 
There are monsters in the night and a strange new museum exhibit in town. 
When the kids seek help from the owner of the comic book store, she has lots of insight into what might be happening to their teacher. 
Things were a bit too convenient for my liking, and the illustrations were too cartoony for me.
I'm sure I can find some eager hands to put it in to in September though!

I'm Currently Reading:

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Nicole, I haven't visited in a while. My apologies. Congratulations on your second baby! Beautiful, beautiful children. Like you, I loved Pax and Hour of the Bees. I don't know if you know that I moved schools and grades and will be teaching a Grade 4/5 next year! So we will have to keep talking MG novels!

    1. Thank you, Carrie! It's been another busy summer-notice how I'm lucky enough to time my babies just right for maximum time off with them ;) I am so excited that you will be teaching 4th/5th, since I have always loved seeing what you are reading/creating with your students! What a lucky school to gain you!

  2. Liked Just Like Me and Julius Zebra well enough. Hour of the Bees was definitely fantasy. It, as well as Pax, was so sad. Thank you for reminding me of many Summer's when the only time I had to read was when sweaty toddlers took naps on me! Enjoyed it while it lasted, but do not miss it AT ALL!

    1. Hour of the Bees is a sad book. I don't know why it spoke to me so strongly, but it did. Maybe because I've seen my own grandfather succumb to dementia. Sometimes I don't know if a book will speak to kids as much as it does to adults-this book is one of those that I wonder about.

  3. I'm glad you loved Hour of the Bees. It is such a beautiful story. And I totally understand the two competing emojis about back to school. I'm both excited and also not wanting summer to end either.

    1. It is such a beautiful story. It reminded me in ways of The Lightning Queen.

  4. So many good books...and such adorable little ones! I still want to read Pax.

    1. Thank you! :) I never get tired of looking at them!
      Read Pax, you'll be glad.


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