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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


Last Week’s Posts

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

top ten tuesday real or fake dear dragon busy builders Life Before

Tuesday: Ten Books that Have Been on our TBR Shelf Since Before we Started Blogging

Wednesday: National Geographic’s Real or Fake

Thursday: Dear Dragon by Josh Funk

Friday: Blog Tour with Author Guest Post, Review, and Giveaway!: Busy Builders, Busy Week! by Jean Reidy
**Giveaway open until Thursday!**

Sunday: Author Guest Post!: “Courting the Reluctant Writer” by Michele Bacon, Author of Life Before


 Last Week’s Journeys

Never Insult a Killer Zucchini

A fun A-Z book focused around wacky science fair experiments and real science. I’ll be reviewing this one because it is a great buy for the classroom.

A Child of Books

Wow. I am a huge fan of Jeffers’ work, and this one is one of his best. It is a book that readers will love because it is a love letter to books and reading and imagination and childhood and art and life. I look forward to reading this one to my students and reviewing it.

Nameless City

This is a new favorite graphic novel, and I cannot wait to read the sequel! The setting is perfect–I love the premise that surrounds the Nameless City. I’m also fascinated by the two main characters–two opposites that should be enemies but instead work together.

Iggy Peck

I love Andrea Beaty’s other two books in this series, so I am so happy to finally get to read Iggy’s story. I love Beaty’s focus on intelligence, creativity, and individuality.


It’s been a busy week in my house between attending doctors’ appointments, preparing to teach for the Fall semester (which starts today!), and attending a bunch of events to gear my son up for pre-k. I definitely feel nine months pregnant because I can’t seem to keep my eyes open to read at night. I am in the midst of three incredible books which I share in my next section below. 🙂


This Week’s Expeditions

more happy than not

Ricki and I, with our other NCTE presentation member, Wendy, are working on finishing our NCTE presentation on Erasing Identities before my dear friend goes on maternity leave, so More Happy Than Not jumped to the top of my need-to-read list because it is the anchor text for our presentation. What a fascinating premise. We look forward to sharing our presentation to you in November.

all fall down

I’m still listening to All Fall Down which has gotten to a point where I don’t want to get out of my car or talk to anyone on the phone because that means I have to stop listening. I really like how different this book is (though I don’t like how the cover makes it seem more generic than it is).

After More Happy Than Not, I have to decide if I’m going to read something for the blog or something for NCTE/ALAN. We’ll see next week!


black like me

I haven’t made progress in this book this week, but I am really looking forward to getting back to it. John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me is referenced often, and I know it used to be required reading in schools in the 60s. I am halfway through and really enjoy it.

see you at harry's

I am also a bit more than halfway through Jo Knowles’ See You at Harry’s, and I love it. Last week, many of you shared that I better buy some tissues. I am prepared! I am very glad I put this on my #mustreadin2016 list!

shooting kabul

I started Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai last night. MY GOODNESS. I could not put it down. At one o’clock in the morning, my husband rolled over and said, “It is so bright in here!” So I decided to be a good wife and turn out the light. I will definitely be finished with this book by next week.


Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday pirasaurs mustread2016 risking exposure

Tuesday: Back to School Picture Books

Wednesday: Pirasaurs! by Josh Funk

Thursday: #MustReadin2016 Fall Update

Friday: Risking Exposure by Jeanne Moran

Sunday: Author Guest Post

 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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“Courting the Reluctant Writer”

Disclaimer: I am not a certified teacher. In fact, I am in awe of anyone who can teach classes of students every single day. I lack the patience, training, and wherewithal to do the work you do. Thank you!

I have the good luck to instruct young writers through workshops in schools, bookstores, libraries, and writing clinics. I love helping young writers discover their voices and tell their stories. To that end, I’ve collected a bag of tricks to help draw out reluctant writers. To help you court reluctant writers, I’m sharing three:

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation don’t matter.

Students with ADHD, ASD, dyslexia, and a slew of other challenges, often feel throttled by proper spelling and grammar. Take away the mechanics of grammar, and you’re left with story.

So let go. Not forever, but for now. Removing those restrictions lets students write freely. It helps them find their voices and the stories they’re eager to tell.

I know grammar is important. (Full disclosure: Grammar may be my first love.) But while I’m nurturing young writers, I tell them to forget that “stuff.” Ignore the mechanics. Save grammar for another week. Every writer needs a copyeditor, anyway.

Show—don’t tell—teens that their voices are unique.

I use this every time I host a writing workshop for teens or tweens. After talking a little about voice and perspective, I explain that talking about writing gets you nowhere. You have to write.

I assign a scene—the same scene—to every student. The exercise is short and sweet—7-8 minutes of writing—and I write along with them. When time’s up, students share, and I respond with positive comments about how each piece is unique.

Reluctant writers aren’t the first to share, but after three or four students read their scenes, everyone gets the picture: you are unique. No one can write from your perspective.

This is especially effective if I read my own piece and cite details students included but I neglected or forgot. Never underestimate the power of being wrong.

Fan fiction is your friend.

This is my very favorite trick. I preface this exercise with a disclaimer about plagiarism. Nothing—nothing—is more freeing to a reluctant writer than writing in a world he already loves.

Hogwarts is already a fully-imagined school, complete with hidden passages, secrets, and hundreds of interesting students. Imagine you, a muggle, woke up in Harry Potter’s dormitory and had to fake your way through potions with Snape.

What if you had boarded Eleanor & Park’s yellow school bus as a fellow student? Show me their relationship and your bus ride through your own eyes.

If you were Trunchbull, how would you next thwart Roald Dahl’s Matilda? (This is particularly fun for late elementary school writers.)

Instead of struggling to imagine a scene, students start with Hogwarts, Rainbow Rowell’s vivid characters, or the evil Trunchbull’s avarice. Fan fiction is freeing, because the hardest work is done. Using a scene, character, or setting from a beloved book, students also come to writing with passion.

I love working with students to build characters, find their stories, or strengthen their prose. But those workshops—all of them—are infinitely easier if students are passionate. If they’re bought in, they’re digging deeper, focused, and ready to tell the best versions of their stories.

And then, eventually, I ask them to do more.

The thing is, the Harry Potter saga is (mostly) over. Roald Dahl has been dead more than 25 years. Eleanor & Park are good to go…but who is this new character my student has created on Eleanor & Park’s bus? Why is he watching Park court Eleanor instead of focusing on his own interests? What’s happening at his house?

That student has created a new character, sparked by fan fiction. What’s more, the spark and the passion will stay with that student. Insert that new character in a new scene, and the passion is still there. What’s more: sharing their passions will ignite new passions in their peers—inside the classroom.

Everyone wins.

I’m on the lookout for more tricks, but these three consistently inspire students to write; I hope one of them resonates with you.

*with great thanks to Jo Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, and Roald Dahl

Michele Bacon Headshot

About the Author: Michele Bacon writes contemporary fiction for adults and young adults. Most of her stories begin as ideas scrawled on random scraps of paper, stuffed into pockets or joining her computer-bag detritus. Life Beforeis her debut novel. Michele lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and three small children.

Life Before

Life Before

About the Book: Seventeen years is a long time to keep secrets, so Xander Fife is very good at it: everyone believes he has a normal family. If he can just get through this summer, he’ll start his real life in college with a clean slate–no risk, no drama, no fear.

Xander’s summer plans include pick-up soccer, regular hijinks with friends, an epic road trip, and—quite possibly— the company of his ideal girlfriend, the amazing Gretchen Taylor.

Instead of kicking off what had promised to be an amazing summer, however, graduation day brings terror. His family’s secrets are thrust out into the open, forcing Xander to confront his greatest fear. Or run from it.

Armed with a fake ID, cash, and a knife, Xander skips town and assumes a new identity. In danger hundreds of miles from home, one thing is clear: Xander’s real life is already in progress and just getting through it isn’t enough.

Thank you, Michele, for this post, and thank you, Cheryl, for connecting us with Michele!

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busy builders

Busy Builders, Busy Week!
Author: Jean Reidy
Illustrator: Leo Timmers
Published June 14th, 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Summary: In this bright, bold picture book, a cast of animal characters are building a brand-new playground in a local park for their community! Each day of the week contains a different construction plan as the steam-rolling, digging, and planting gets underway.

Tuesday! Mix day!
Pipe and boards and bricks day.
Stack, spin, pour it in.
Give the fence a fix day.

Wednesday! Load day!
Take it on the road day.
Hoist, haul, pull it all.
Something being towed day!

The construction project comes together for a joyful, rhyming walking tour of a neighborhood, where young readers can learn the days of the week while watching everyone work as a team!

Kellee’s Review: This book is more than you would guess from the synopsis and title. It is a story of hard work and team work told with fun rhyming text and silly animals which makes it a book that kids will want to read and adults will want to share with them. And the fun of this rhyming text is multiplied significantly because of the realistic-looking, yet super-silly illustrations. After reading each page, you have to spend extra time looking at everything that is going on in the illustrations. For example, on Tuesday (see the poem in the summary), the giraffe is carrying bricks to an elephant who is building something, but he is in mid-trip. What is going to happen?! You don’t completely know because the next page jumps to the next day, so it would be so much fun to predict with young readers. 

Ricki’s Review: As a mom, I get a bit tired of the repetition within concept picture books, so I was really excited that this book was different! I have dozens of ABC/Count to Ten books, and my son knows the basic animals on a farm, but he doesn’t know the days of the week very well! After we read this book, I was able to talk to my son about some of the regular things that we do on different days of the week, and he’s started to use their names more regularly. This book would be a great addition to classrooms as teachers introduce calendars. It is fun, engaging, and silly, and we have a lot of fun reading it. The illustrations add a lot of energy to the text, and I couldn’t help but smile as I read it. This book will keep us busy for quite a long time!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In addition to a fun read aloud and a book that students will want to read over and over again, Busy Builders, Busy Week would make a fun writing mentor text for students to wrote their own rhyming text about what they do during their week. They can use the rhyme scheme of the text to emulate the rhythm of text.

Click here for a free classroom curriculum guide and storytime kit!

Discussion Questions: What is the rhyme scheme of the text?; What could you learn from the Busy Builder’s collaboration to help you with successful group work in class?; How did the Busy Builders work together to be successful?

Flagged Passages:

Busy Builders Busy Week! by Jean Reidy_Sunday_illus © 2016 by Leo Timmers

Read This If You Loved: Dump Truck Duck by Megan E. Bryant, How to Track a Truck by Jason Carter Eaton, With Any Luck I’ll Drive a Truck by David Friend

Recommended For:

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

Author Guest Post: “ENGAGING THE PICTURE BOOK CROWD” by Jean Reidy

Whether it’s through quiet cuddle time, conversation, or comic relief, engaging the picture book crowd is a delightful task. I like to tell young readers that when we read a picture book, we don’t just decipher the words. We talk about it. We explore it. We discover it. We relate to it. We might move to it. We might even make a little noise. Because picture books aren’t just about words on a page. They’re about sounds and rhythms and poetry and language and voice and life and … pictures!

I love to stress, with kids, the importance of reading the pictures. After all, the illustrations in a picture book tell over half of the story. It’s a skill that very young children can master and feel proud of. It’s also art appreciation 101. When you ask a group of young kids, “How many of you are artists?” almost every hand goes up. So when they see picture book illustration as art, they’re introduced to the stories—including their own—that art can tell. I explore with kids the details of an illustration that might tell us more about the central story or a side story or, perhaps, even a different story, than the text reveals.

I rarely read a picture book straight through. I ask a lot of questions. I ask kids to predict what comes after a page turn. I ask them to look for clues as to how the story might end. And, most importantly, I ask them questions that might help them connect a book, in a personal way, to what they know, what they’ve experienced and the world they live in.

Young readers can feel empowered when they contribute to the conversation about a book. By showing them that I value their  discoveries, they not only learn that reading a picture book is rewarding, but that they are valued as well.

Jean Reidy photo

About the Author: Jean Reidy is the author of All Through My Town, Too Purpley!, Too Pickley!, and Too Princessy!, among many other books for children. She writes from her home in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Visit her online at www.jeanreidy.com and @JeanReidy.

Don’t Miss the Other Busy Builders Blog Tour Stops!

Mon, Aug 22
Tues, Aug 23
Wed, Aug 24
Thurs, Aug 25
Fri, Aug 26
Sat, Aug 27
Mon, Aug 29
Tues, Aug 30
Wed, Aug 31
Thurs, Sept 1
Fri, Sept 2

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**Thank you to Barbara from Blue Slip Media for providing copies for review!**

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dear dragon

Dear Dragon
Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Rodolfo Montalvo
Anticipated Publication: September 6, 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: A sweet and clever friendship story in rhyme, about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.

George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face?

Ricki’s Review: I simply adored this book. It was quite clever and imaginative! I imagine it took a lot of thought to try to show how different George and Blaise’s lives might be and how they might misinterpret the descriptions of simple daily life events. I am a huge fan of Josh Funk’s writing and recommend all of his books. They all are witty and humorous, and my son and I always giggle while we read them. Each of his books teaches a life lesson that has been very useful for me as a mom, and I know they are equally useful for elementary school teachers. For Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, I have been able to constantly refer to the variety of foods in the text in order to help my son with his picky eating habits. With this book, Dear Dragon, I have been able to talk with my son about differences and how we might work to understand how others might lead different daily lives than ours. I am really looking forward to Josh’s next book, Pirasaurs!. Based on his other books, I know it will be a good one!

Kellee’s Review: The books I find myself gravitating towards and recommending the most are the books that I not only love as a mother but can also definitely see the application of the book in all levels of classrooms. Dear Dragon fits into this category because it is such an amusing and fun book that is just a blast to read and discuss; however, it also has so many ways that I can see myself and other teachers using it in the classroom: for a mentor text, for a pen pal unit, for a read aloud. Dear Dragon also is an amazing set up to discuss first impressions and differences between people in safe place (since, you know, Blaise is a dragon). I also loved the quirky, colorful, detailed illustrations that accompany George and Blaise’s letters. The silly conversations just from these will make for a wonderful conversation.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Ricki fondly remember our elementary school experiences with pen pals. Her fourth class wrote to a class in Germany. It was so interesting to learn about all of the differences between our lives. This book would make for a great jumpstart to a pen pal project. It would be neat to connect to a class in another country or even across our own country. Students would learn a lot about how we are both similar and different from others—and how this is a good thing, indeed!

In addition to being a ton of fun, Dear Dragon will also be a perfect mentor text for a variety of reading skills and standards. The letters are a perfect opportunity to discuss point of view, voice, letter writing, and rhyming. The book also has a wonderful theme, the illustrations and letters could be compared/contrasted, and the entire text structure could be analyzed.

Discussion Questions: What are the similarities and differences between George and Blaise? How do they build their friendship across letters?; How do they each misinterpret the other’s letters in ways that are funny and enlightening? How do the illustrations reflect these misinterpretations?; This book is a fantasy, but how might you compare this book to real life?

Flagged Spread: 


Read This If You Loved: Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk; Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw; Whose Story is This, Anyway? by Mike Flaherty; Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin; Have You Seen my Dragon? by Steve Light; Tony Baloney: Pen Pal by Pam Muñoz Ryan; Dear Mrs. Larue series by Mark Teague

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall


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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

real or fake

Reeal or Fake? Far-Out Fibs, Fishy Facts, and Phony Photos to Test for the Truth
Author: Emily Krieger
Illustrator: Tom Nick Cocotos
Published May 10th, 2016 by National Geographic Children’s Books

Goodreads Summary: Can you tell the truth from a tall tale? Spot a phony photo a mile away? Figure out a fib in five second flat? Then Real or Fake? is the book for you! Put your amateur detective skills to work in this fun and wacky book and see if the truth triumphs as you encounter suspicious stories, fishy facts, lying lists, and more. You’ll even play interactive games that will leave you second-guessing everything you’ve ever read. Complete with awesome photos and hilarious collage art, this is one book that you have to read to believe . . . or disbelieve.

Kellee’s Review: This National Geographic text was really fascinating! I loved reading the little synopsis then trying to guess if the scenario is true or not. Although some were quite obvious to me, I best many of them will trick students! As a teacher, I also think this book will be a great addition to research units because it will begin a discussion about reliability and validity.

Ricki’s Review: This book would be a fabulous choice for a road trip. I can imagine reading the pages aloud to my kids as they guessed “Real!” or “Fake!” I also like how the facts aren’t all silly and pointless. There is a lot of good learning that happens in these pages–and as an adult, the facts weren’t obvious to me, either, so I would have fun on the car ride, too! I completely agree with Kellee’s smart suggestion that this would be a great book to introduce reliability and validity. With the political campaigning and the sharing of memes that are completely false (from both sides), I have been thinking about reliability and validity a lot lately!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In addition to being an instant favorite in classrooms, Real or Fake? will definitely make anyone who reads it want to either research some of the real/fake information shared (Was Teddy Roosevelt shot but continued with his speech? and Did a chimp’s song became #19 on the European billboard charts?) or want to go research things they think they know! Real or Fake? will be a great book to use when talking about research and would be a fun introduction to Snopes.

We Flagged: “Plants make music: Real or Fake? It may sound crazy, but plants can play tunes. A new device converts electrical currents moving across a plant’s surface into synthesizer sound in real time. (Though the sound of the converted currents may not be music to your ears.) The device works in much the same way a lit-detector test does, only the probes are placed on leaves instead of on skin and the currents are translated into audio. What does this ‘music’ tell us about the secret life of plants? The inventors aren’t quite sure yet. They are, however, hoping the ‘biofeedback’ will eventually be revealing an help us learn more about the natural world. In the meantime, rest easy knowing that one day soon your houseplants could play a tune: An online fund-raising campaign to make the device available to people interested in purchasing it has reached its goal.”

Real! With its far-out sounds, the MIDI-sprout (‘MIDI’ stands for ‘musical instrument digital interface’) is changing the way people perceive plants. Scientists have known that plants send chemical and light signals to one another. Plants can even send chemical distress signals to get insects to come to their rescue! A study published in 2012 suggests that plants also may be able to use sound to communicate with one another, so why not talk to their human caretakers.

Fun Fact!: The MIDI Sprout can even be hooked up to humans! The electrical signals humans give off reportedly tell a lot about emotional states.” (p. 82-83)

*Disclosure: This quote cannot share the entire feeling of the book without the illustrations/photos. See the published book to see the complete experience.

Read This If You Loved: National Geographic’s 100 Things to Know Before You Grow UpMastermind by National Geographic, Weird but True series by National Geographic, National Geographic’s Awesome 8

Recommended For:

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

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**Thank you to Karen at Media Masters Publicity for providing copies for review!**


top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Books That Have Been On Our Shelves From Before We Started Blogging That We STILL Haven’t Read Yet 


1. A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League by Ron Suskind

A Hope in the Unseen

A friend told me that this book really hit him hard. I immediately bought it. I still haven’t read it, and I am disappointed in myself! Based on the topic, I know I will love reading it, so I need to get moving!

2. Stitches: A Memoir by David Small


This graphic novel memoir has been on the top of my list for about seven years. I just haven’t been able to nab it at the library, so it has remained on my TBR shelf!

3. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine


This is another book that I have intended to read for a long time, and I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet (ahh!).

4. Scars by Cheryl Rainfield


I’ve read about a dozen books that feature a character who cuts, and I have liked them all. But I’ve heard this book really hits readers hard. I think my anxiety that it won’t live up to the hype has kept me from reading it, but I need to just jump in!

5. Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

annie on my mind

I’ve intended to read this foundational book for years and years. I think I will put it on my #mustread list next year to make sure I don’t miss it!


I have thousands of books that I have wanted to read for years, so I didn’t know where to begin. These five books are all from the top 20 books on my Goodreads To Read list (back from 2009 when I joined).

1. The Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman


I was a Shusterman fan before it was cool (Everlost and Bruiser, anyone?!?!), but this is one that I haven’t read yet. It has been on my TBR for years, and it has a sequel now–I really need to read it.

2. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall


This book and all of its sequels are loved by so many people I admire. I love the comparison to nostalgic classics, and it was a National Book Award winner.

3. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy


This series has been described as witty, supposedly there is funny banter, and rip-roaring action (see Donalyn Miller’s, Katherine Sokolowski, and Sasha’s reviews on Goodreads), and these all make it sound like it is going to be a series I’d enjoy! Now I just need to pick it up

4. The Alchemyst by Michael Scott


Any book compared to The Maze Runner and Percy Jackson and has the premise of saving the world sounds like an adventure that’ll suck me in.

5. Snatched by Pete Hautman and Mary Logue


First, I’ve wanted to read something by Pete Hautman for years. Second, I added this because it was compared to Adam Canfield that I loved. Third, it is a mystery which I love!

Which books have lingered on your shelves for years and years?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


Last Week’s Posts

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

top ten tuesday 125 Wacky Roadside Attractions SelfiesInTheWildCover uncorker of bottles Escape from Witchwood

Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday: Diverse Books I Wish More People Would Read to Build Understanding and Empathy

Wednesday: National Geographic’s 125 Wacky Roadside Attractions

Thursday: Selfies in the Wild by C.L. Murphy

Friday: The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas

Sunday: Author Guest Post!: “How an Author Deals with Not Writing Something New” by Jordan Elizabeth, Author of The Escape from Witchwood Hollow


 Last Week’s Journeys

This was a much better week for me. I think part of it was that the kids are there, so I feel like all of the work has a purpose. Also, I must be getting used to my schedule because I’m finding time to read.

jedi academy new class

The new Jedi Academy book is a great addition to the series. Though it is a companion and done by a different author (Jarrett Krosoczka vs. Jeffrey Brown) the feeling and humor of the original series is there yet it still has its own personality. This book will definitely not last long on the shelves!


I then read a very special present I received from a very special author. Oh guys, Pirasaurs! is as good as you think it’ll be. If you don’t have an opinion, check out our preview post, and you’ll predict that it is good–and it is! Preorder this one! (Review closer to its publication date.)

upside down magic 2

Upside Down Magic: Stick and Stones by the brilliant E. Lockhart, Lauren Myracle, and Sarah Mlynowski is just as good as the first and will leave you excited for a third. I love this cast of characters, and I couldn’t help already talking about this one in class because I think it has such middle school relevance.

were hyena

The Curse of the Were-Hyena by Bruce Hale is the first in a new series that takes place in a town where monsters run amok. The premise reminds me a bit of Bailey School Kids, but these are for a bit older kids, so they’ll make a perfect ladder up. (Review coming soon!)

fantastic beasts

Fantastic Beasts is worth reading just for the intro and Harry’s notes inside. I actually found the rest of it (classifications of all the magical creatures) a bit dry (it is supposed to be a textbook…), but the intro and Harry’s notes add a bit of fun.

hilo 2

I never know what to recommend to my graphic novel readers after they’ve read all of the Amulet series and all of Doug TenNapel’s books. This is it. HiLo is a book that so many of my kids are going to love. It is going to be passed around just like their other favorite GNs are.



My heart feels full after reading Josh Funk’s Pirasaurs! I knew it would be fantastic (as all of his work is), but this exceeded even my highest expectations. This book is going to be an absolute favorite amongst kids. After I finished reading it to my toddler, he said, “AGAIN, PLEASE!” I can’t wait to review this book next week. In case you missed it, you can see our preview post for this great text! Like Kellee, I highly recommend pre-ordering this book!

I love I hate I miss my sister

Continuing with my project to read more Muslim/Islamic literature, I finished I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn. This is a short book that hit me very hard. It begins with the death of the narrator’s sister, who was a year younger than her. The sisters are high schoolers living in France and share very different religious values. I won’t say more, but the story sent me reeling.

sunny side up

I simply adored this book (Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm). I know many of my fellow bloggers have raved about it, and I can see why. It is set in the mid-1970s, and the illustrations and dialogue are very, very funny, despite the heavy plot line that lingers in the background. This is a great text for classrooms. I am very happy it was on my #mustreadin2016 list!


This Week’s Expeditions

all fall down

In my quest to read all of our SSYRA 6-8 books (our state reading list), I began listening to All Fall Down by Ally Carter. So far, I am still in the expedition, but I like Grace’s voice and guts, so I have a feeling I am going to like it.


I plan on reading some graphic novels this week because I have them in my house, and I want to get them into students’ hands, but I also plan on reading Wishapick: Tickety Boo and the Black Trunk which looks like The Spiderwick Chronicles (I’ll let you know!).

story thieves

I also keep promising my friend that I’ll read Story Thieves, so I plan on picking it up before I move on to start reading my books for my NCTE and ALAN presentations and panels.


black like me

I always see John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me referenced, and I know it used to be required reading in schools in the 60s. I am reading it right now and finding it to be very, very interesting.

see you at harry's

I am halfway through Jo Knowles’ See You at Harry’s, and I love it. I am very glad I put this on my #mustreadin2016 list! I can see why everyone raved about it!


Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday real or fake dear dragon busy builders

Tuesday: Ten Books that Have Been on our TBR Shelf Since Before we Started Blogging

Wednesday: National Geographic’s Real or Fake

Thursday: Dear Dragon by Josh Funk

Friday: Blog Tour with Author Guest Post, Review, and Giveaway!: Busy Builders, Busy Week!by Jean Reidy

Sunday: Author Guest Post

 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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