Sunday, December 16, 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
Except for the books House Held Up by Trees, Millions of Snowflakes and Skippyjon Jones, everything I have read in the past week has been something off of the Nerdy Book Club nominees for the Nerdie Awards. And everything was a LOT. 

I will highlight the best of each format here.

Picture Book
Each Kindness grabbed my heart and shook it around a bit. It reminded me of Larger Than Life Laura in that the characters in the story had an opportunity to show kindness and they make a choice. This would be a perfect book for use with Wonder or others that discuss how we interact with those around us and what an impact we can make.

Bomb was just an amazing look through the many machinations that were occurring in the race to get this most terrifying weapon first. I thought that it was helpful to have read one of last years' Nerdy nominees for some background - the Feynman graphic novel. These two books would work well paired together.

Young Adult
No Crystal Stair is fiction, but reads like non-fiction. Sometimes it was hard to remember that it was a novel simply based on a real person. Lewis Michaux was quite the character. I appreciated the unique way he thought and rationalized his actions as a child. He wanted a bicycle. So when his mother told him something like the Lord helps you when you get to working on it too, he went out and helped himself to someone else's bicycle. He seemed to have interesting boundaries about what belongs to people, but I had to admire his style. He was sassy for sure and it was fascinating to see how he grew into his purpose in life as he learned his history and shared the African American culture with those around him through his bookstore in Harlem.  It sounded like a fantastic place. He certainly had the gift of hospitality. It was also interesting to read the book about Lincoln and Douglass in the same week, since this book referenced Frederick Douglass many times. What especially stuck with me is what Frederick's slave owner said about how educating the slaves would make them unfit for slavery. This was a thought provoking book and highly entertaining.

Graphic Novel - YA
I found Friends with Boys to be a lot of fun. The main character is starting high school, but has always been home-schooled, so this is a big transition for her. There were serious aspects to the story, but I appreciated the underlying humor. This was one of the more light-hearted books that I read this week and I really needed it at the time.

Graphic Novel - Elementary
Just have to say that Giants Beware! was an absolute hoot. It's a completely ridiculous, but charming adventure with a fierce and fabulous giant slayer named Claudette. I have many students that will go nutso over this one.

For more on this, see my earlier post here. I found Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky to be heartbreaking at times, but worth it. It seemed that the teens are speaking from their hearts and I appreciated their distinct individual voices. This is a beautiful and powerfully emotional work.

Early Chapter Book
I loved, loved, loved Sadie and Ratz. Hannah has named her hands Sadie and Ratz and tells us all about the things they love to do and the trouble they can create. A great look at sibling interactions with a nice helping of humor.

I was also reading Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry this week, but did not finish yet.

Not my faves:
Skippyjon and Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses were two that I could have skipped. Skippyjon is quite popular with many of my students, but it bothered me on a culturally responsive level with its accents and Spanglish. Lies is made up of things I usually enjoy - folktale retellings and poetry, but somehow this one just didn't sit right with me. It seemed like the violence was even more forced than in other similar books such as A Tale Dark and Grimm, but I am sure there will be fans. 

For Next Week:
Hopefully, I will finish off Roll of Thunder and more of the Nerdy nominees so that I can vote by the end of the week. Then watch out, because bookaday will be on. Should be a great week.


  1. Wow! That's a lot of books. I still need to read Bomb. I too enjoyed Friends with Boys. Have a good week. Here are my plans

  2. Holy Moly, you read a LOT last week! Way to go! I loved Friends with Boys...Faith Erin Hicks is awesome!

  3. Wow! What a list! I LOVED The House Held up by Trees! And I agree, Each Kindness is absolutely stirring. An important book to share.