Monday, July 21, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? July 21

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? --From Picture Books to YA is a weekly meme started by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. This is a chance for bloggers to recap their week of reading and share their plans for the next reading adventures they will take. Visit the host blogs for a list of great blogs participating in this meme and a whole bunch of titles to add to your to-read lists.

This week was another great reading week for me.  I keep going to the library, which is very fun, but it keeps adding books to an already huge TBR pile.  This week my job is going to be weeding out the shelves.  I am hoping to keep only the books that I know I will read.  I have a very bad habit of buying clearance books at Half Price Books.  A lot of times the books I get are very intriguing on the day I buy them, but then they sit on my shelf for months (or years) getting passed over.  I am overwhelmed right now by the number of books in my house.  I have about 10 boxes of young adult titles that will not work for my 4th grade classroom next year.  I have to sort through those books and then find some good middle school or high school homes for most of the collection.   I also just need to get rid of some of the books on my shelves.  Luckily, there are a number of free little libraries around my neighborhood.  I will be stocking some of them with my discarded books.  

Books I Finished This Week:

Adult Books:

I loved this book.  I am a huge mystery fan so the inherent mystery in this one really pulled me in.  I also am a book nerd so the idea of a secret book society and this amazing sounding bookstore really pulled my heartstrings.  I also thought the technology used in the book was really cool.  I am not sure if it was science fiction or if some of the technologies actually exist, but I was really impressed! 

Graphic Novels:

I got this one mostly because it is set at a camp.  The story was okay.  I wasn't too impressed.  I think some middle schoolers might relate and enjoy this book.  

This was a fun book to read.  I am not so sure about the format, with some comics that are inserted between the chapters of the main story.  I think some readers would find these confusing.  Overall, I thought the book was entertaining and I will keep an eye out for a copy to include in my class library. 

This is an amazing graphic novel.  It would be an excellent text to share with middle grade students to start a conversation about the holocaust.  This is a story of a grandmother who is telling the story of her experiences to her granddaughter.  I will absolutely be buying a copy for my classroom.  

This is another graphic novel that does a great job of introducing a difficult history topic.  The Storm in the Barn is set during the dust bowl and would serve as a good starting point to teach about this time in the history of the USA.  This is another one that I will be looking for to add to the class library.  

I am really impressed with Matt Phelan at this point.  This is another great graphic novel that really piqued my curiosity.  I had not heard of two of the three world travelers in this book and it was really interesting to read about their adventures.  

Picture Books:

The whole time I was reading Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems, I was thinking about how fun this would be as a mentor text.  The cars are so varied and so imaginative.  I think it would be fun to have students imagine their own car and work to write a car poem of their own. 

I was drawn to this picture book from the cover.  It just seemed like an important book to read.  It was really interesting to read this biography of an artist I had never heard of before.  

Middle Grade:

This is an amazing book that will be a powerful one to share with students.  I can imagine there would be very deep conversations that could come out of it.  I would like to highlight the idea that you should be kind because you never know what people are dealing with in their private lives.  I think this author also did a good job of showing how the problems with girls start and are perpetuated usually through rumors.  I think it would be a good book to help girls to see that you shouldn't always believe it when someone tells you that someone else said something about you.  I am definitely considering this book for a read aloud early in the school year.  

I like the way the illustrations and comics were integrated into this novel.  It is a fun book and I also like how some really rich themes were brought out throughout the story. I know it will be a big hit in the 4th grade classroom.  

Young Adult:

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen is a retelling of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, but it is so much more than that too.  Here is what I wrote on Goodreads: 
I picked up Briar Rose expecting a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I got that and so much more in this book. As she did in The Devil's Arithmetic, Jane Yolen writes a heartbreakingly beautiful story of loss and survival. I was swept up into the story and immediately wanted to solve the mystery. What comes is another tale of the Holocaust and the atrocities committed during the war. This author does such a good job of teaching history while at the same time telling a compelling and riveting story.

Books I am Currently Reading:

I am still reading Crafting Digital Writing and The Literacy Teacher's Playbook.  I also started reading Gulp! by Mary Roach.  

What's Next?

I am trying to start a book in Spanish.  I need to start during the day and not try to get into it at night before going to sleep.  My brain just isn't into working so hard before bed.  I still have a stack of library books, so I will probably dig into some of them.  I also want to get to some books about writing in order to get some inspiration there.  

What are you reading this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!


  1. Wow! You certainly ARE reading a lot! I read Mr. Penumbra on spring break last year and enjoyed it. I also like Mr. Terupt a lot. Flora & Ulysses will definitely be a big hit with your 4th graders. It's so quirky!

  2. You read so many great books this week! I could so relate to your comments about the library and the TBR stack--and also buying books that seem like must-reads at the time and then they languish on the shelves. My whole house is full of those books! How neat that you have some free little libraries in your neighborhood! Do you think you'll ever want to go back to teaching middle school? I just started Because of Mr Terupt yesterday so I was so happy to see your positive review of it today--I'm enjoying it so far but I'm only a few chapters in. Isn't Matt Phelan incredible? Storm in the Barn is gorgeous. Flora & Ulysses makes a surprisingly good read-aloud if you can figure out how to share the illustrations. My son and I really enjoyed it.

  3. I also read Matt Phelan this week - Bluffton. I have Storm in the Barn and need to read it. I just think he is so talented. Isn't Flora & Ulysses wonderful? I read it aloud to my own children and it was so much fun.

  4. So many wonderful reading opportunities you're having! :) I just requested Hidden, thanks for the reminder!

  5. Lots of great choices - I love being able to have so much library time in the summer!

    (Just a tip - I would either make the pictures of your book covers larger or at least consistently include the title and author in your descriptions (or both) - it can be really hard to figure out what some of them are to go find them!)

  6. Oh wow, 'discarded books' just tugged at my heartstrings, how I wish I live next to your place! I would have loved to give your books a new home. I just read Hidden this week as well and enjoyed it - would be featuring it for our current reading theme. It's the first time I'm hearing of Yolen's Briar Rose - I know about her Devil's Arithmetic but haven't read that one yet. Same with Counting the Stars by Lois Lowry. Would have to find those two in our library. :)