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:

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Cloud and Wallfish- that' an interesting title!

  2. Some Writer has been on my TBR list for a while. To Stay Alive sounds really intense but I love the cover. I will definitely have to pick up a copy of A Boy Called Bat. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Some Writer will be worth the wait! But don't's too good ;)

      The cover for To Stay Alive is one of the things that drew me in, it is beautiful in its harshness.

  3. Bat was interesting. I can't get kids to check it Cloud and Wallfish. Maybe it's the cover? The title?

    1. Historical fiction is typically a hard sell. Compounded with a title and cover that are 100% unhelpful in determining what the book will be about is going to make it even harder to get kids choosing it on their own. However, if they do crack the cover the story literally takes off from the first page!

  4. I'm looking forward to Bat. I'm not sure if I have it in me to read To Stay Alive. I enjoyed Cloud and Wallfish. I'm sorry to read in Karen's comment that it isn't circulating well.

    1. Cloud and Wallfish has grabbed right ahold of me. Like I said above, genre, title and cover are not going to entice kids to grab this one on their own...

  5. Oh dear...I feel like I ought to read To Stay Alive, but I just don't know if I can (or really want to)...

    1. I hear you. I don't know if I would tell anyone to read it. Though I think adults will find this sadder than kids will. After having my boys I experience books so differently. The ideas of losing a romantic love or a child will not hit young readers the way it does adults that have experienced those relationships. (my two cents)

  6. Nicole- thanks for stopping by to enter the giveaway on my blog. (I hope I can use that word on your blog and not pick up those fake librarians and teachers trolling Twitter to get free stuff.)


    I have heard a lot of great things about Cloud and Wallfish, so I think I'll give that one a try next. I adored SOME WRITER. So much to see and come back to.

    1. Ha! They are listening...
      I'm loving Cloud and Wallfish, wondering if the time and location will be too much for some young readers. However, I will never stop shouting praise for the historical fiction genre!

  7. I am very much looking forward to Bat! Thanks for reminding me of it. I really loved Some Writer too (was disappointed it didn't win anything yesterday) and did have the same questions about child readers. I think I would have liked it as a child, especially after reading Charlotte's Web, but I'm not sure about less bookish children. Hoping some teachers will test it and let us know on their blogs!

    1. Oh yes, bookish children will eat up most anything ;) This would be so powerful after reading one of White's books. I think kids would care more after falling in love with one of his stories.

  8. Seeing a lot about the Bat book. I should see if we have it in the store.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts