Tea Rex may cause you to laugh so hard that liquid shoots out of your nose so maybe you shouldn't actually drink tea while reading this.
Dreaming Up has a combination of concrete poetry, illustrations of children building, and photos of incredible architecture related to the children's play and the poem. There is also a lot of good information at the back of the book. You can look inside on the author's site. I can't wait to use it next year with my students and then have them explore with building materials.
When I Was Eight is a picture book memoir of the year that Margaret Pokiak-Fenton left her village to go to school because she is determined to learn how to read. This is a shorter version of the chapter book they published earlier called Fatty Legs. Here is a look inside.
I love Tito Puente: Mambo King/Rey del Mambo. My students and I had such a fun time reading this book and listening to Tito play. First we watched the book trailer before the book was released.
Then we found out about the author and illustrator.
Finally, when the book arrived, we watched Tito perform on Sesame Street -
-- then we listened to him play with his band while we read the book together. Fabulous!
This Book of Animal Poetry is breathtaking. National Geographic never fails to take amazing nature photos. To top it off, they are paired with a wide variety of fun poetry.
We March shows history in simple terms and powerful pictures.
This is my all-time favorite Scaredy Squirrel! He is a hoot as he braves the perils of camping.
Ball is a wordless picture book that fully expresses the joys of being a dog with a ball.
Tea Cakes for Tosh was a warm story of the relationship between a boy and his grandmother, but it was also about cookies and provided a recipe! I love any excuse to bake. I wrote about it here.
And in the final spot...
I laughed so hard reading Stick Man's Really Bad Day. The situations that he gets himself into are incredibly hilarious. I defy you to read it without at least grinning. You may moan and groan too, but I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard and so did my students.
Novel Length Books
Almost Astronauts shared a fascinating yet depressing bit of history of women in the space program. I am so in awe of them and what they did and so disappointed that things changed so slowly and still need to change with regard to equality.
I laughed, cried, interrupted people to read portions aloud, and had a fabulous time reading Openly Straight. I reviewed it here. I will not forget Rafe anytime soon.
This was another book that brought hefty doses of laughter and tears. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass is a story of bullying, but it is more than that. It is also a story of family relationships. I think it will be empowering to many readers. Here's a great review by Jessica at Rich in Color.
I adored Kiara/Rogue. She touched my heart. I loved seeing inside to know what motivated her behaviors that would otherwise be difficult to understand.
I hope many people get the chance to know Kiara.
I am J was the first book I can ever remember reading with a transgender character in the starring role. This book was certainly eye opening. I appreciated seeing this perspective and getting just a small idea of some issues that transgender teens face. It's more complicated than I had imagined and the homelessness statistics took me by surprise. I found this book to be difficult to read because of the intensity, but completely worth it.
I can't even express how much I love Aristotle and Dante. Over and over again I would pause holding my place in the book just to think about it. Saenz has a wonderful way with words, but again, this was a book that brought me to tears. It was a story of two friends going through good times and very bad times. It was also a story of family love. It's just about perfect.
Eleanor and Park is a funny, sad, and fabulous story of two "misfit" kids. I loved the 80s references and the sweetness of their friendship. Very witty.
Doll Bones was a delicious snack. Slightly creepy, but mostly a fun adventure.
For all out creepy I would have to go with The Diviners. Libba Bray can completely freak me out.
And finally, for a little fantasy, The Girl of Fire and Thorns series. The Bitter Kingdom finished off the series with a bang. Elisa is strong and intelligent and I loved to cheer her on and see what she would come up with next.
What books have you enjoyed so far this year? Be sure to leave a link if you posted today!