Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I love that Kellee and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts have this set up for Mondays. It keeps me reading and everyone's reading journey adds to my own.  Between this and Donalyn Millers' Book-a-Day Challenge, I am having an excellent reading summer.  Over the past week I have read 20 books. I'll share a few of them here. 

Newbery Challenge: I made quite a bit of progress this week. I finished The 21 Balloons which was quite the adventure. It reminded me somehow of Mr. Popper's Penguins with the formality of the speech and writing. King of the Wind was a great horse adventure, and my favorite of the week was A Door in the Wall. It is a brief, but wonderful story set in the middle ages.

Caldecott Challenge: Arrow to the Sun and Ashanti to Zulu were up this week. The illustrations were great in both, but Ashanti to Zulu's text was superior by far. Debbie Reese does a fantastic job explaining about how Arrow to the Sun is not truly a Pueblo Tale and how McDermott has presented a very flawed picture of the Pueblo people.

Young Adult: Chopsticks (trailer here) was quite an experience for me this week. It is a novel told without a traditional narrative. The reader must gather information from images of programs, notes, photographs, and all types of objects. There are also videos and audio playlists that you can access online. If you take advantage of all of the media it becomes much more than a novel. In addition, the story is a bit of a mystery. I recommend it not just for the story, but for the overall package. 

Non-Fiction: A fun one this week was Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an All-Brother Baseball Team. I had no idea such teams existed. Another great one was The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins that I reviewed here.

For this week: I have piles and piles of books just waiting for me. I am excited to have Code Name Verity in my hot little hands and I will finish up The Latte Rebellion. Have a great week of reading!


  1. Would you recommend purchasing Chopsticks? It was at my local Half-Price Books the other day, but I had just read a conversation on Twitter about how it was a bit ho-hum (even confusing). Thoughts?

    I can't wait to read Code Name Verity!!

  2. It is definitely not Nobel prize worthy, but it's unique delivery and style make it stand out. I also think that the confusing aspect is quite deliberate. Without spoiling, I have to say that there are reasons why it is difficult to understand and the confusion isn't necessarily a bad thing. It makes it a great book for discussion. The high school in my district purchased it (that's where I picked it up). I would almost like to have it for myself to go over the illustrations some more. I can also see that people might like to have youtube open and take the time to listen to the songs while reading it. I did a little of that. If you have teens, I think it is a good purchase especially for those casual or reluctant readers. Great example for inference too.

  3. I should probably do an author study on Steve Jenkins. I love his books that I have read and I keep finding that he has more and more books. I love how he does non-fiction picture books. We have loved all of the ones we have read. I keep hearing about Code Name Verity but I don't know if I've added it to my TBR yet. Off to check!

    1. Have you been to his site? There is a great video that shows how he creates his illustrations. It would be perfect to use with an author study.