Sunday, October 18, 2015

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Last Week: 

 At Rich in Color a review of 
Never Always Sometimes 
by Adi Alsaid

Picture Books
All of the picture books were okay, but there were a few standouts. Funny Bones by Duncan Tonatiuh is a fun look at the life of Posada, a man whose calaveras have become famous around the world. I loved the mix of Posada's drawing style with Tonatiuh's collage. There is quite a bit of text, but it is interesting. I think it would be cool for upper grade students especially to write calavera poems like those in the book. It would also be great to bring in modern political cartoons to discuss how those have been used and their purpose.

Eric Carle's book The Nonsense Show was very fun and would be great to use when discussing nonsense poems or surrealism.

Lailah's Lunchbox would be a wonderful book to read with a child or students to introduce the concept of Ramadan. 

Symphony for the City of the Dead was definitely the best of this bunch for me. I really enjoy well done narrative non-fiction and this story was compelling. I have always been fascinated by the history of Russia. From my Goodreads review: This is a unique look at the Siege of Leningrad. It follows Dmitri Shostokovich and his life up to and beyond WWII and how his music played a role in the siege. I was fascinated by the story. The story was told powerfully. It was very hard to look at the death though. The numbers are mind-numbing. There was a point where I was overwhelmed by the horror, but Anderson must have known that it would be difficult for readers to continue because right after that, he turned he focus to people who did amazing kind and loving things. He started to share stories of people who were brought together during the siege rather than torn apart.

This will be a story that stays with me.

Untwine was a quiet story. It opens with a tragic accident, but after that not many big things happen. It's a lovely, yet painful story of how one family deals with their loss.

Challenger Deep was a difficult story to read.  It's another book that was on the National Book Award longlist. The beginning is very confusing until the reader realizes that not everything is real. Also, the way that medication and treatment is depicted seemed problematic to me. I appreciated the writing though.

I did make one more attempt to finish Harriet the Spy.  While it will never be a favorite for me, I do understand why some people have a fondness for it. KT Horning sent a link to this post that helped me get a glimpse into the past and what the book meant to some readers. I'm glad I tried the audio. Somehow that worked better for me. I still don't appreciate the sheer meanness that flowed out of Harriet's pen, but I did like hearing more from Ole Golly.

The Coming Week:I will be participating in a blog tour for the book One Word from Sophia so will be re-reading that.  I will also finish and review Out of Darkness.  I got an ARC of What We Left Behind by Robin Talley so am hoping to get to that one too. I picked up The Marvels this week, but forgot to bring it home from school so was disappointed I couldn't read it this weekend. That is at the top of my list. I hope you have a great week filled with wonderful books!

Reading Challenge Updates:
Diversity on the Shelf/Diverse Books - 186/100
Goodreads - 458/520
#MustRead2015 - 44/53
Diversity Reading Challenge - 12/12
Pura Belpré Challenge -86/86 (some were read prior to this year)
Around the World with Books Map


  1. Hope you enjoy Marvels! I'm glad I got a chance to see Mr. Selznick talk about it last week. It's always so interesting to hear the author talk about their work. I also reread with a new lens!

  2. I will look for Symphony for the City of the Dead, know something of that time, but will be interested to read this one. Challenger Deep is also on my list, but I don't know when I'll get to it-too many books! Thanks, Crystal, have fun with Sophia-a cute book!

  3. I've added Symphony for the City of the Dead to my list of possible gifts to give list. I'm not sure if I am ready for it yet, but it sounds like the kind of thing my son and partner would like.
    I never finished Harriet either.

  4. Several here that I'm now very eager to read after reading your reviews. Harriet the Spy is such an interesting book--it's really quite shocking! Harriet is extremely unlikeable. I reread a couple of years ago and admired Fitzhugh's writing but did find the book fairly challenging to my sensibilities!

  5. Wow, lots of books to add to my reading list....I also adore narrative nonfiction, and I'm always looking for new things to read and share, so I think I need to get my hands on Symphony for the City of the Dead - I actually studied this period a bit during my history degree, so I'd be interested to see a new take on it. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. I would most likely read Symphony for the City of the Dead primarily because I fell in love with The Grisha trilogy which was set in Russia - will have to look for it!