Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Jen & Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts host a meme every Monday that invites people to share the children's and young adult books they have been reading over the past week and what they plan on reading the following week.

Past Week:


I am within the final 100 pages, but will still be working on this one. I just attended a workshop with an intense focus on culturally responsive teaching and how to have Courageous Conversations About Race. I appreciate the way the book challenges the status quo and helps encourage us to find our voice. I look forward to continuing the journey with my peers that went to the conference.

Newbery Challenge

Shadow of a Bull was an interesting look at bull-fighting and a young man deciding his future. I found the author the most intriguing though. Maia Wojciechowska and her family fled Poland during WWII. During her life she mastered five languages, lived in many countries, braved parachuting, bull-fighting, and many other things. She seemed to have lived a vibrant life. I would have loved to meet her.

Caldecott Challenge

The Christmas Anna Angel had some awesome folk art details, but the story itself was a bit lengthy for me and didn't hold my attention unfortunately. This isn't really one I would recommend.

Picture Books I Enjoyed

Rocket is again adorable and I loved the interaction between him and the owl. This is also a great way to show how the writing process works. Nighttime Ninja is sure to be a hit with my many students that are always requesting ninja books. The illustrations are fantastic and the plot is just too fun.

Picture Books for the Older Crowd

It's not that young children can't or shouldn't read these, but I think adults will get the humor and/or intentions of the author just a bit better. I believe that All My Friends are Dead was truly written for an adult audience. It is definitely filled with humor, but though the jokes aren't really inappropriate, they just aren't kid jokes. With the Sendak book, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, I was not as sure who he was writing for beyond just communicating. The work is filled with politically charged subtexts through the illustrations though he was simply using two nursery rhymes as the main text. Without adult input, I am not sure that children would get what he was doing because I am not altogether sure myself. This is a great discussion starter about poverty and homelessness no matter the age of the readers though.

Concept Book

Tana Hoban's books are so simple, yet filled with information and fantastic pictures. I snagged this one for the pre-k teachers to use during their dot unit. Count and See goes well with dots as each number has dots to represent it. I am ordering a copy for us to use next year with our Dot Day celebration. 

Favorite Book of the Week

Splendors and Glooms had such a fantastic sense of place. I loved falling into the book each time I picked it up. The characters were full of life and won my heart. The mystery and adventure kept me enthralled. I can't wait to talk this one up to everyone I see. 

The Coming Week:
I have just started Three Times Lucky, a middle-grade mystery set in the south. I am about to begin I, Juan de Pareja for the Newbery Challenge. I am also going to hit some of the books we just got and are just starting to process. It should be a good reading week.


  1. Splendors and Gloom... I need to make a spot on my soon to read list for that one!

  2. I really enjoyed Three Times Lucky! Such inventive and unique characters. Have fun with it! I keep hearing about Splendors and Gloom. Think both my daughter and I need to read it.

  3. Shadow of a Bull and Splendors and Glooms sound especially intriguing. I remember reading about Maia Wojciechowska somewhere - she apparently led a very interesting and adventurous life.

  4. I gotta admit, The Christmas Anna Angel isn't one of my favorite Caldecott books either. As you say, it's much too long. I started the audiobook of Splendors and Glooms last week and finally decided to switch to the print. The narrator just wasn't cutting it for me. I really enjoy the story, though!

  5. Interesting to highlight Picture Books for older crowds. I might have to take a look for myself!

    1. I think I read a few last week too or at least fairly recently. I keep telling my older students, sometimes the picture books really are for older people.

  6. I've got Nightime Ninga on my list to order for my library. You can never have enough ninga books! I've got Rocket Writes a Story waiting for me to pick up at the public library. I just finished Three Times Lucky. It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but once I did I couldn't put the book down.

    1. Good to know it takes awhile to settle in. Three Times Lucky just isn't capturing me yet even though it came hily recommended.

  7. I know I have the ninja book somewhere on my TBR pile. We like ninjas in our house. I've started Splendors and Glooms but need to read more so I figure out where the story is going!

    1. Funny, I found another ninja book today - The Three Ninja Pigs. It's a fun fractured folk tale. The rhyming was not my favorite, but who can resist ninja pigs really?