Sunday, November 18, 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.

You may find more complete information about what I am reading at or by clicking on the Goodreads widget along the side of my blog.

The Past Week

Historical Fiction

Two of these are part of my effort to read many, many novels-in-verse this month as I am working on my NaNoWriMo project which involves poetry. Witness was powerful and I appreciated the many perspectives of the community as the KKK moved into this small Vermont town. This isn't the typical southern view. It was a bit confusing sometimes because there were so many characters to follow, but I am not sure another format could have handled that any better. Crossing Stones was also about rights, but this time women's rights. It is truly amazing to see in both of these books, how many people determine that entire groups of people are beneath them simply because of race, religion or gender.

Leon's Story grabbed my attention and was a very quick read. I was pulling biographies for fifth graders when it caught my eye. I couldn't put it down. It is essentially an oral history written down. Leon was a black man growing up in the twenties and thirties. He details many injustices and indignities that he and his family faced including the death of his father caused by young drunk white men. His story is one of perseverance and strength.

Picture Books

My favorite of these had to be hello! hello! Matthew Cordell speaks to us of unplugging and getting out to say hello to the many wonderful things in the world there are besides devices. I can't wait to share this one. I ordered it immediately after reading it. I think you will too.

Thanksgiving Books

Both of these excellent books contain a list of things that the narrator is thankful for and both are great books to use during Thanksgiving. The focus is on the act of giving thanks. They are great examples that many cultures participate in some form of giving thanks and that the Pilgrims were not the first or only people to celebrate Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to using them this week in some of my classes along with Grace Lin's Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and Our Journey by Lyz Jaakola. Pat Mora has a video here about writing the book Gracias.

Here is a video of Chief Jake Swamp explaining about sacredness of the eagle feather, but also about the importance of being thankful.


I loved the poems in this collection. Since I lived in San Antonio, I especially appreciated seeing many references to places and things familiar to me. One of my favorites was the short prose piece titled Museum as it referenced the McNay which my aunt took me to when I was young. Many of the poems were hard hitting as they dealt with conflict and wars in the middle east and the people who have been affected the most. Here she reads two of her poems from this book.

This next video I am just including because I love the poem and it is fun and makes me laugh. This poem was not in the book, but happily, I stumbled across it online.

The Coming Week:
I am guessing this will be a slow reading week with the holidays, being almost 9,000 words behind on my NaNoWriMo project and having my son come home from college for Thanksgiving. I just started Because I am Furniture and I may read M.C. Higgins the Great for Nerdbery, but other than that, I may not get much accomplished and that will be just fine. Have a fantastic week of reading!


  1. Some great titles. I really need to get a hold of Hello Hello. I love Cordell's Another Brother. This title (Hello Hello) has a really important message I want to spread. I just did some book ordering. Looks like I need to start another list!

  2. Hello Hello sounds great. I'll have to look into it.

  3. Oh there is just so much I love about your post. For one, I read and reviewed Crossing Stones - must be early this year when we were at the tail end of our Novel-in-Verse bimonthly theme. I also came up with a list in case you might be interested to check it out for your Nanowrimo (

    I also own a copy of Hesse's Witness but have not gotten around to reading it yet. Her "Out of the Dust" is also a very powerful novel-in-verse. I fell in love with her writing when I read her Letters from Rifka and there was no going back since then. And Honeybee, such love there. I also read and reviewed this for Poetry Friday, I think. Such a beautiful beautiful book. Naomi Shihab Nye is an absolute favorite.

  4. Thanks! I will check out the list. :)

    I really love "Out of the Dust" though it is a tough book to get through without tears. I haven't seen Letters from Rifka though. I will look for it.