Sunday, February 3, 2013

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 Goodreads or by clicking on the Goodreads widget along the side of my blog.

Newbery Challenge

And so I come to the end of the challenge with a fabulous book. Gorillas are apparently short on words. Ivan says, "Humans speak too much. They chatter like chimps, crowding the world with their noise even when they have nothing to say." Ivan keeps his speech brief, but with beauty. Katherine Applegate used few words, but they were well chosen and powerful. I look forward to putting this book into many hands over the years.

Nerdies Shortlist Books

I am in awe of this gorgeous book of poetry. National Geographic photos of animals from around the world accompany this collection. The poems are a mix of serious and funny and many are favorites. I will be using this one often in the future and have already shown it to many staff members.

Grave Mercy was quite the unique fantasy. A handmaiden of death is the main character in this fantasy/coming of age novel. It is a hefty doorstop type of book, but I fairly flew through it. There is quite a bit of action and intrigue. I will be happy to get the next installment.

Bonobos were the star in Endangered. I appreciated seeing this picture of The Congo and learning a bit about those sweet Bonobos. This was quite the survival story. I won't forget it soon.

Sleep Like a Tiger has beautiful peaceful illustrations. I totally understand why they gave it a Caldecott Honor. The illustrations are whimsical like the bumblebees fluttering around underwater with the whales. They puzzle me, but in a good way.

My favorite award book this week, aside from Ivan, was definitely Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I fell in love with the characters and basically drowned in the story. I read it straight through and finished around 2:30 in the morning. Fortunately it was a Friday night. There is an excellent interview with the author here

Christopher Myers seemed to be having a lot of fun in H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination. The two characters keep one-upping each other in their efforts to be seen as the most awesome H.O.R.S.E. player. Funny and I think students can easily relate to such an exchange.

Back to Front and Upside Down! helps people to see and maybe understand what it would be like to have dyslexia. I appreciate the book because I think it helps to build empathy and I like having more books that show diverse experiences, but the story was not terribly compelling.

I also shared Green, Each Kindness, and This is Not My Hat with classes this week, but they were re-reads for me. Love these.

Random Picture Books

It's fun to think of waking dragons up and getting them out of their jammies and help them brush teeth. It's also fun to think of polar bears frolicking around in the morning. So they were fun, but not out of this world.

Professional Reading

I have been hearing about this book since December when several Nerdybookclub members started tweeting about it. There is a Facebook group and they have had at least on Twitter chat. This convinced me I should make the purchase and I am glad I did. Penny Kittle (@pennykittle) outlines specific ways to help lead students to a love of reading which in turn leads to development of the skills they will need for college and throughout life. She shares examples from her own teaching. I appreciated that she shared successes, but also shared some of the rough spots in her teaching too. I will be happy to pass this one on to colleagues.

The Coming Week
While I work on a crocheting project, I am listening to The Mark of Athena and I am enjoying it so far. I will likely finish it next week. I also just started Libba Bray's The Diviners as part of my effort to finish all of the books on the Nerdy Awards shortlist. I have 640 books on my TBR shelf on Goodreads, so if I finish those two, I have plenty more to read. Have a great week of reading.


  1. Congratulations on making it to the end. Of course, there really is NEVER an end, is there. I'm having trouble finishing Mark of Athena even though I adore Riordan-- I have an afghan to finish, so maybe I should get the audio version. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Congratulations on your Newbery Challenge completion. So, so impressive. Especially since I'm wallowing in the 1940s, trying to get back into it! It's hard when so many good contemporary books distract me! :) I hadn't heard about Aristotle and Dante before this week, but it's recognition and subsequent validation by you and others has moved it up higher on my list. Have a great week!


  3. A student of mine just finished Grave Mercy last week. Your description of it brings Kristin Cashore's Graceling to mind--I bet he'd like that next. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Congratulations on finishing the challenge! That is an amazing accomplishment! You certainly read some great books this week, too. I have Aristotle and Dante on board for this week, I've heard such fantastic things and your review makes me want to read it even more. Grave Mercy is such a fun book. It checks out constantly at my library. I have been meaning to get to Endangered at some point too. Ah! So many books to read! (You inspired me to check, and I have 679 books on my Goodreads to-read shelf!)

  5. Sleep Like a Tiger wasn't on my radar until Monday, but I want t read it now. It's added to my library list, so hopefully soon. My 3yo picked Waking Dragons off the library shelf this week, so we'll be reading that soon, too. Her tastes are typically a little less discriminating ;)

    Maria @novalibrarymom

  6. I liked Sleep Like a Tiger - I got hooked looking for the little orange ball and the wheel on every page. There were a few pages I couldn't find them... but it looked like they were on most pages.

    Grave Mercy sounds intriguing... I don't think I'll get all the Nerdie short list books in, but that one sounds great.

  7. Grave Mercy is on my list for this week. I've been meaning to read it for a LONG time.

  8. I cannot wait to read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe so am so pleased to see how much you liked it! I am so impressed with your Newbery challenge reading! Must have been delightful to finish it with The One and Only Ivan.