Sunday, January 29, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1-30-17

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 and recommendations!

As Boy #1 gets older, the fun grows and grows and grows. Bedtime stories are full-on serious business now. For the first year and a half it felt like it was mostly for me... Now the books are piled on the bed with gusto by the boy, and the request for repeat readings is never a surprise.

What's he into this week?:

Every time I read this one I think of Ame, so reading it twice a night is ok ;)

This cracks him up nightly.

He finds this hilarious!

I can't even explain what's going on with this selection. We read this every night 2-4 times. Seriously. And long before bedtime he reminds me that we will be reading it that night!

Books I Read this Week:

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet
Candlewick Press, 2016
Historical Fiction
385 pages
Recommended for grades 6-8

This story takes off the moment it begins. You know those books that you think about constantly when you're not reading them? You wonder what lies on the next page, and you think about what you would do in so-and-so's shoes? This is one of those books for me. Maybe it was because I was as unsure of what was really going on as Noah/Jonah/Wallfish was! Curiosity and the thirst for learning about history was a driving force as I read this story. I loved it.
The recommended age is a tough one this time. The main character is finishing up 5th grade, but the typical 5th grader is unlikely to reach for this on their own. Even with a glorious book talk this one might be a hard sell to a reader that young. As you expand the readership upwards, you run the risk of middle schoolers not wanting to read a book about a 5th grade character (even if he and his family are awesome).

Science Comics
 Volcanoes : Fire and Life by Jon Chad
First Second, 2016
Graphic Novel/Nonfiction/Science Fiction
122 pages
Recommended for grades 3-6

I LOVE this series! The blend of fictional elements with nonfiction elements, complete with in your face artwork is a win.

In this installment I was less impressed than with the others, but I don't think that will be the case with young readers. I found the science fiction side of this story to be beyond far fetched, and felt like it was a forced side storyline. I also found some of the non-paneled pages to be hectic.
Even with that less than rave review, I am still excited to get this into the hands of kids, as I don't thin they will mind what bothered me.

Science Comics
Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks
First Second, 2016
Graphic Novel/Nonfiction/Fish Narrator ;)
120 pages
Recommended for grades 3-6

This one hit it right out of the park again (I loved Science Comics: Dinosaurs). I find the style of this graphic novel to be more reader friendly. Maris Wicks collaborated with Jim Ottaviani on Primates. (Which a student borrowed and never returned and noI'mnotbitter)
Coral Reefs is full of relevant information for kids that want to be conscious of their impact on the environment. It (of course) explores the types, stages and functions of coral reefs, but also goes into detail explaining the various creatures that call the reef home.
This series belongs in classrooms where kids can get their eager little mitts on it at any time!

I'm Currently Reading:

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1-23-17

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 and recommendations!

Have fun watching the awards this morning! I have an inservice day, so I won't be celebrating with my students until the day after. 

Books I've Recently Read:

To Stay Alive by Skila Brown
Candlewick Press, 2016
Poetic Narrative/Historical Fiction
304 pages
Recommended for grades 5+

I know the story of the Donner Party, after-all, I am a big Nathan Hale fan, but don't think you will find any hangmen here to break the tension. (I'll let some of you scratch your head at that one.)

The stark style to this novel in verse gives you the feeling that words, like supplies and rations, must be used sparingly. Each step of this journey was arduous, and to imagine children journeying, and a baby being born into this trek, were almost too much at times. And then it gets worse, so much worse. This book hurt me. The words pulled me in, and though the words were not overbearing, the emotion of it was, at times. 

A Boy Called BAT by Elana K. Arnold
Illustrations by Charles Santoso
Walden Pond Press, 2017
Realistic Fiction
208 pages
Recommended for grades 2-5

An enjoyable story about a boy nicknamed Bat, who happens to be on the autism spectrum. This is the first in a series, and will be a most welcome addition to my classroom library.
Bat doesn't relate well to the emotions of the people closest to him, and often misreads situations. When his veterinarian mother brings home a rescued skunk kit, Bat does all he can to convince his mother to allow him to raise the kit until it is old enough to be released. Don't expect Bat to simply beg and plead though, that's simply not his style!

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
162 pages
Recommended for grades 4+ (as an independent read)

If you don't find sparks of inspiration,  lines you want to lift, or quotes to fill your walls and notebooks with, then you have no business reading any more books. Ever. 

As with many biographies I love, I find myself faced with wondering if children will take to the book with the same interest and dedication. Melissa Sweet is known for her whimsical and vibrant art, which will certainly attract young readers, but even so, the text may plod at times for children in fourth grade or below. I say this mostly because I don't think kids give a hoot about where details such as where E.B. White worked. Don't get me wrong, I found this book to be most interesting.

I'm Currently Reading:

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