Monday, February 4, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading? 2/4/13

Books Finished This Week:

I finished a number of non-fiction picture books that I picked up at the library last week

A Rock is Lively by Diana Hutts Aston is a great book to use as a mentor text.  I am doing a unit right now about research and will be talking to students soon about informational text structure.  This will be one of the examples that I use.  I love how this book helps the reader learn about rocks and makes the information accessible to everyone.

I learned so much about Ben Franklin from this book!  Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd is a Sibert Honor book and I can see why.  The book highlights the most important accomplishments of Ben Franklin's life in a simple way and has beautiful pictures to accompany the information.

This book caught my eye when I was at the library.  A book about hair?  So intriguing.  This is a good example of how any topic can be researched and made interesting.  The book is structured like a timeline and tells fun facts about hairstyles throughout history.  I will definitely bring this one in as a mentor text for our research unit as well.  I recommend Big Wig by Kathleen Krull to students and teachers alike.

Professional books finished this week:

Speaking of research, Energize Research Reading and Writing: Fresh Strategies to Spark Interest, Develop Independence, and Meet Key Common Core Standards by Christopher Lehman is a must-read for teachers in grades 4-8.  I was able to apply strategies immediately and am planning lessons for my research unit based almost entirely on these amazing strategies.  I appreciate the way that the author makes the process of researching accessible to students and reinforces the good practice of giving students ownership and independence in their research.  I would highly recommend this book to ALL teachers.

I highly recommend this one as well.  I am working on a unit using American Born Chinese and wanted more lessons that addressed the particular conventions of graphic novels.  I ordered this one along with another book about teaching graphic novels and the book Understanding Comics by Scott McLeod.  Even though this one is written for teachers of grades 3-6, I found plenty of excellent strategies to use with my 8th graders.  I am excited to go in and make a graphic board of our visualizations with The Outsiders which I am reading aloud.  I am also going to use some great ideas for vocabulary instruction this week.  I really liked the way Terry Thompson organized Adventures in Graphica with the comprehension strategies in mind.  The ideas in this book would absolutely work in seamlessly into reader's workshop.

The rest of the books from this week:

When the TinTin movie was released last year, my husband was over-the-top excited.  He grew up in Spain and this was one of his favorite comic series.  I really enjoyed the movie and wanted to read some of the comics after finding out that it was about a reporter who solved mysteries.  I enjoyed this comic, although it is quite racist since it was written so long ago.

I have a confession to make.  I was not as thrilled with The False Prince as many people were.  I thought it was a good book, but it was not one I would rave over.  I think it had to do with the fact that so many people were raving about it that my expectations were so high and the book just couldn't live up to them.  I was thrilled when I was approved on Netgalley for The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen because I wanted a chance to give this series another try.  I am so glad I did because I LOVED this book.  I think I need to go back to read The False Prince again because these characters are amazing and I love the adventure in this book.  Jaron is stubborn, but loving and I can't wait to see what happens for him in the next book.

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate is a moving story about a refugee who has just arrived in the United States.  Kek is trying to adjust to life here while at the same time grieving for his brother and father who were killed in front of him and not knowing what happened to his mother.  I really enjoyed the voice of Kek and the confusion he felt at not knowing some of the things in this culture was so realistic.  This is absolutely one I will recommend to students because it is one that will help them build empathy.  Understanding the immigrant experience is so important and this book is one that will help all readers get it.

I loved The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington.  This was a fun read and a great horror story that I will absolutely recommend to students.  See more in my review here.

What I am Currently Reading:
I started the book Bomb.  After seeing the ALA awards on Monday, I was happy that I had this one sitting on my shelf at home.  So far, I am loving how engaging this story is.

What's Next:
I will read Just One Day by Gayle Forman for sure.  I also will probably start Book Love by Penny Kittle.  I then have literally hundreds of books to choose from so I will just pick based on my mood this week.


  1. Oh good! I have The Dead and The Gone at home...must read. I finished Just One Day this week. It's a quick read. I need to get to Bomb as well. Have a great week!

  2. Can't wait to hear what you think of Just One Day. I'm hoping it lives up to Forman's excellent previous novels!

  3. Kim Harrington has some really great mysteries out. I love her Clarity and Perception and keep waiting for a third book.