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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 hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee 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.

Congratulations to
HEATHER H.
for winning a copy a complete set of the Wolf Chronicles–Prompis of the Wolves, Secrets of the Wolves, and Spirit of the Wolves

Last Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday cookie bombs

Tuesday: Ricki’s Top Ten Books Read in 2014

Wednesday: Blog Tour! Catch that Cookie by Hallie Durand

Thursday: Our Last Minute Book Gift Recommendations

Friday: Holiday Blog Hop! Mira’s Diary series by Marissa Moss

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

 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: Yay, break!!! I am on day 3, and I have already read a #bookaday! I hope I am able to keep it up! First, I finished The Complete Persepolis by Marjan Satrapi. It was an INTENSE book, and it took me a while to finish it; however, I am happy that I read it. Since break started, I have finished The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang, a graphic novel that began with a lesser known comic hero called the Green Turtle and turned into quite an awesome adventure. Next, I read Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo. It reconfirmed for me that Kate is a phenomenal author. Her way with descriptive language and voice is one of the best in the business. Next, I read The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale which is an exceptional new addition to girl power in early readers.  Trent and I did a lot of rereading this week including Santa Goes Everywhere, Fifteen Animals, My Heart is Like a Zoo, and Waddle!

Ricki: Henry has decided, at age one, that naps are for babies, so my reading list is shorter than I would like it to be. I finished a beautiful book, Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson and Sean Qualls. This is a fantastic book about Emmanuel’s resilience over his disability. He is an icon in Africa (and across the world), and it is a great nonfiction text for students. I also read two informational nonfiction texts by High Noon Books. They were Robots by Allison Lassieur and We Made It by Lisa Benjamin. Middle grade students who are interested in engineering and robotics will enjoy these.

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: I still have my huge TBR pile for winter break that I am still delving into. I am going to start with Fairy Tale Comics and Explorer: The Hidden Doors, but then the rest of the books in the pile are longer, so although I am still going to try to do a #bookaday, it may be more like a book every couple of days :) Trent and I have a few Christmas themed books to read, including A Christmas Wish for Corduroy and Santa!: A Scanimation Picture Book.

Ricki: I have one CD left of the first Harry Potter book. My husband drove today, and I fell asleep while listening to it. This parallels the time I fell asleep watching the movie. I actually think it is entertaining, but for some reason, it makes me sleepy. I am so glad I decided to listen to the book (and I am extremely impressed by the audiobook reader, Jim Dale), but to Kellee’s dismay, I won’t be listening to more Harry Potter books beyond this first one. The only characters I enjoy are Hermione and Hagrid, and all of the characters seem to fall a bit flat for me. I know a lot of you will disagree with, but I am just being honest! I respect the collective love for this book, but it just isn’t for me. You know which characters don’t fall flat for me? The characters in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I haven’t finished it just yet, but it is simply fantastic.

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday corduroyxmas IMG_8175 From My (Huge) Library Pile

Tuesday: Top Ten Books We Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Henry and Trent This Year

 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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Mira’s Diary
Author: Marissa Moss
Lost in Paris Published September 4th, 2012 by Sourcebooks
Home Sweet Rome Published April 2nd, 2013 by Sourcebooks
Bombs Over London Published August 26th, 2014 by Creston Books

Lost in Paris Goodreads Summary: Mira is shocked when she receives a postcard from her missing mother from Paris. Her father decides it’s time for a trip to France to search for her. While visiting Notre Dame, Mira touches a gargoyle and is whirled into the past. There she meets the famous painter Degas and catches a brief, shocking glimpse of her mother. Mira begins to suspect that her mom didn’t run out on them but is a prisoner of the past. Can one family on an incredible worldwide adventure stop a plot in time?

Home Sweet Rome Goodreads Summary: As if traveling to a new country in search of her missing mother weren’t difficult enough, Mira has to do it dressed as a boy. In a different century.

A new postcard from her time-traveling mother points Mira to the 16th century Rome. But before she can rescue her mom, she must follow the clues left around the city to find Giordano Bruno, a famous thinker and mathematician, who discovered something so shocking that important Italian officials don’t want it revealed. All the while avoiding the Watchers–time-traveling police who want Mira back in her own time.

It’s another whirlwind adventure for Mira, and this time she is determined to bring her mother out of the past.

Bombs Over London Goodreads Summary: In the third book of the popular time-travel series, Mira navigates her way through WWI London, meeting famous suffragists and writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Instructed by her time-traveling mother to steal a German spy’s briefcase full of secrets and pass on the information to British Intelligence, Mira struggles with whether the changes she has been working for are the right thing to do after all. How much control do we really want of history? When is it best to leave our fate in destiny’s hands?

My Review of Lost in Paris:  I was enthralled by this smart, yet still accessible middle grade novel. Once I began it, I did not want to put it down.

The book was not only packed with an interesting concept (Mira and her mother travel through time to try to right wrongs that haven’t happened yet), but the book was filled with information about late 19th century Paris, French history, and art. Although some may feel like there was information overload, I found it all so fascinating. I am primarily sucked in when a book includes history that is less well known and that is exactly what this book did. Do you know about the Dreyfus Affair? After reading you will. I was also so excited to read a book so full of art history and art elements. Each page includes sketches from Mira and throughout the book you meet incredible artists such as Degas, Monet and Rodin. A cast of characters that is better than any fiction. This part of the book actually reminds me a lot of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris except Mira is trying to fix something instead of fixing herself.

My Review of Home Sweet Rome and Bombs Over LondonI don’t want to share too much about these titles as my thoughts are a bit spoilery, but I want to say that they did not disappoint. After reading book 1, all I wanted was to know what happened to Mira next, and I was not disappointed in her next adventures. I know book 4 is going to be in our future, and I cannot wait to read that one as well.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: One wish I had while reading books 1 & 2 was wanting to see the artists’ works as each artist was introduced. I was blessed enough to have an art-filled childhood so I could picture many of the pieces; however, many students do not have that background knowledge. This would be a great thing to do when reading the novel–share the artwork with students as you encounter them in the story. It would also be meaningful to find primary sources from the time period to share with students as you read Mira’s story.  This will make learning about the time period even more impactful.

Additionally, Marissa Moss’s writing is one that can definitely be used as an example of imagery and descriptive writing during writing workshop or other writing lessons. She actually sucks you in when Mira time travels, and deposits you in history that you can visualize.

Discussion Questions: Research one of the artists mentioned in book 1 or 2, write about his or her life, artwork, beliefs, etc.; Write about a time in your life when you had to trust your instincts, when you weren’t sure what to do but had to make a decision based on what felt right to you in the moment.; Was there a time when you had a feeling your parents were incorrect? What happened?; Which of the three places that Mira has visited would you have liked to go? Why?

We Flagged: “Dad was right – [Notre Dame is] truly a wonder of the world…

Usually when you go into a building, it’s lighter or darker, cooler or warmer than outdoors, but it’s still part of the same world. Stepping into Notre Dame was like changing time zones or countries, crossing some magical border. A hush filled the cavernous, echoey space of the cathedral, despite all of the voices of tourists murmuring and people praying, as if the sound was absorbed into the bones of the building itself.

Light streamed in from the windows like a physical presence, the kind of light you think you can reach out and touch…The air itself felt still and chilled by the stone all around. The walls were stretched thin between the pillars that soared into a vault overhead, like the skin of a massive beast taut between its ribs.” (Lost in Paris, p. 14-15)

“The day was gray and cold. I found myself in a busy street lined with crumbling brick buildings, shabby tenements with darkened windows. Dingy laundry hung in lines across the narrow alleyways. This may have been historical London, but there was nothing charming here. Just three-story houses of shuddering poverty with narrow doors and small pinched windows, as if sunlight cost money. The whole place was dark, muddy, broken-down, stinking of fish and rot and some indefinable yuck. The stench was so thick it had a physical presence, like a filthy hand pressed against my nose.”  (Bombs Over London, p. 26)

Read This If You Loved: Ruby Red (series) by Kerstin Gier, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, Blue Balliet novels

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Gina and Samantha at JKSCommunications for having us as part of the blog hop!**

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Need to buy a gift, but do not know what to get?! Well, you can’t go wrong with the gift of books! Here are our recommendations for the best book gifts.

The requirements we set for ourselves were: a) books published within the last year or two, and b) books that would be appreciated of all ages, regardless of the category they are listed in.

Children’s Literature/Picture Books

Ricki’s Pick: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

the day the crayons quit

My husband and I giggled as we read this one when it first came out. It is sure to delight!

Kellee’s Pick: Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate

ivanpb

An important story told in the perfect way.

Upper Elementary/Middle Grade Literature

Ricki’s Pick: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

wonder

This book made me want to be a better person. Henry will be reading this book when he is old enough to understand it.

Kellee’s Pick: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

rain

Beautiful story. Rose’s voice will stick with you long after you finish reading.
(I almost picked brown girl dreaming, but I figured that it’d be on most lists. I decided to spread the love.)

Young Adult Literature

Ricki’s Pick: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

dr bird's advice for sad poets

I think every high schooler should have access to this book.

Kellee’s Pick: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Yaqui Delgado

This book will make you feel. All teens should read it.
(The AEWA2014 books are great choices too, but I wanted to switch things up.)

Adult Literature

Ricki’s Pick: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

the storied life

It’s a book about life, and it is beautifully written.

Kellee’s Pick: Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

ocean

Gaiman has a way with words  and a way to suck you into a story. His most recent is no different. Bonus: The audiobook is phenomenal too.

Which books would you recommend as holiday purchases?

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Catch That Cookie!
Author: Hallie Durand
Illustrator: David Small
Published August 14th, 2014 by Dial

Publisher Summary: Gingerbread men can play a mean game of sneaky tag!  Don’t believe it? Marshall didn’t either no matter how much his teacher, Ms. Gray, told him. But when the cookies go missing from the oven and the students find clues all around the classroom, Marshall can deny it no longer: Gingerbread men are real and they’re on the run!

From the author of the Dessert First Trilogy and Mitchell books, Hallie Durand, and Caldecott winner and two time honoree illustrator David Small, comes a tantalizing new tale that will have readers racing through the pages, eager to see where the gingerbread men have gone.

My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book has the potential to not only be a fun, interactive read for kids, but one that could definitely be used in a classroom. Since the reader, along with Mitchell, are given clues throughout the book, the reader can work with Mitchell to try to figure out where the gingerbread men went. It would be so much fun to read this with kids. The clues are rhyming with words left out, so they must use the context clues and rhyming skills to figure out the missing word. Also, to complete track the men down in the end, Mitchell has to make some inferences which would be a great discussion on how he figured it out. So, either in the classroom or at home, this book is definitely going to get some laughs and start good conversations.

Discussion Questions: If your gingerbread man could run, where do you think he would go?; Marshall gave his cookie six raisin eyes! Tell us how you would design your own gingerbread man.

I would make my gingerbread man look like a ninja so that he would be the hardest gingerbread man to find and he would always be where ever you weren’t looking!

Comment below OR share through Twitter using #catchthatcookie!

We Flagged: 

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Read This If You Loved: Mitchell books by Hallie Durand, Help! We Need a Title by Herve Tullet 

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Rachel at Penguin for having us as a stop on the blog tour!**

 
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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: Top Ten Books Ricki Read in 2014

Kellee donated this day to me! Yippee! I can pick ten books. Wait, only ten? Ah!

Kellee will be doing her post on January 2. If she limits her list to ten, I might just fall off of my chair. :) Love you, Kel!

I’ve divided the books into categories, but I hate categories. If you are human, you will like these books, regardless of your age. This year, out of all of my reading years, I read widely in each category, so I am proud of this book list. Many of the texts are popular choices, but they are so good, that I’d be remiss if I didn’t include them as my favorites this year. Also, not all of these books came out in 2014, but most are very recent.

Children’s Literature/Picture Books

1. This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen 

this is not my hat

This book is quirky, weird, and oh-so-good.

2. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers)

crayons

Technically, I read this at the end of 2013, after my Top Ten List came out. My husband I loved this book. It was so much fun to read with our son, and we have read it many times since.

Upper Elementary/Middle Grade Literature

3. brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

brown girl

You know when you hear a song that is so perfectly in tune, and you get the shivers? That is this book for me.

4. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd 

snicker

This book made me, as an adult, believe in magic.

Young Adult Literature

5. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

dr bird's advice for sad poets

I think every high schooler should read this book.

6. We Were Liars by e. lockhart

we were liars

Exceeds the hype. e. lockhart is a genius.

Adult Literature

7. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

the storied life

This is a reader’s book. In other words, if you like to read, you will like this book.

8. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

me before you

This isn’t an extremely literary book, but it had me hooked. If you want to get lost in a book, I highly recommend it. I am still thinking about the ethical side of the book, months later.

Professional Development Texts

9. Culturally Responsive Teaching by Geneva Gay

culturally responsive teaching

I would love to see this book as required reading for all pre-service teachers, in my opinion. I used a whole highlighter on this book.

10. Literature as Exploration by Louise M. Rosenblatt

literature as exploration

She just gets it. This book stands for everything I believe in—as a teacher and as a reader.

Which were your favorites in 2014? I’d love to read them in 2015!

RickiSig

 
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IMWAYR

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

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee 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

top ten tuesday skunk noodles&albie hearst

Tuesday: Top Ten New-to-Us Authors We Read in 2014

Author Guest Post and Blog Hop!: “How Research Transformed The Wolf Chronicles” by Dorothy Hearst, Author of The Wolf Chronicles

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

 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: I cannot wait for break because these last couple of weeks have seemed so hectic! I have mostly read picture books and haven’t really been able to just sit and read. I hope to end the year with a high note during break though because I plan to fill it with read! I am still reading Persepolis but WILL finish it this week. I did have a chance to read a wordless graphic novel Fish Fish Fish by Lee Nordling which kids will definitely love. Trent and I read some books that are perfect for this time of year: Santa Goes Everywhere! by Brian Biggs, Catch That Cookie! by Hallie Durand, and The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. The Polar Express took a couple of days, but it was such a joy to read it with me. I actually have a silver bell, so when Santa gave the silver bell to the boy, I gave one to Trent and now have a super cute and special photo.

Ricki: Uh oh. Please don’t judge me, but I didn’t finish any of my books this week. This is a consequence of the fact that I am reading six books and listening to three more.

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: One more week of school until I can read a lot more. I am going to finish Persepolis. That’s my plan right now. And, of course, reading with Trent.

Ricki: Like many readers, I have a list of books that I never got to. Get ready and hang onto your chair… I have never read Harry Potter. I fell asleep during the movies, so I never had interest in reading the series. I am listening to the audiobook in my car right now.

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday cookie bombs

Tuesday: Ricki’s Top Ten Books Read in 2014

Thursday: Our Last Minute Book Gift Recommendations

 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!

 Signature andRickiSig

 
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Promise of the Wolves cover Secrets of the Wolves cover Spirit of the Wolves cover

Series Synopsis: Inspired by the theory that it was wolves, and later dogs, that made humans the dominant species on earth by teaching mankind to hunt cooperatively and form complex societies, The Wolf Chronicles begins 14,000 years ago with PROMISE OF THE WOLVES. It is engagingly told from the point of view of lovable Kaala—an outcast young wolf who has been charged with watching over humans in order to prevent them from losing touch with nature and thus destroying the world.

Dorothy Hearst_214x300_credit ThePetPhotographer.com

About the Author: Before the wolves barged in the door, demanding that their story be told, Dorothy Hearst was a senior editor at Jossey-Bass, where she published books for nonprofit, public, and social change leaders. She currently lives, writes, and plays with dogs in Berkeley, California.Spirit of the Wolves, the third and final title in the Wolf Chronicles, will be released December 2. For more information, and to download free CCSS-aligned discussion questions for all three novels, visit her website: dorothyhearst.com

“How Research Transformed The Wolf Chronicles”

When I got the idea to write novels about how the wolf became the dog from the wolf’s point of view, I knew that I had a lot of research ahead of me. And I balked. I’d never been any good at research.

But wolves can’t type, and they wanted their story told, so I hunkered down and got started.

It turned out that research was one of the best parts of the writing process. I snow-shoed in Yellowstone, chased huskies in the French Alps, spent hours in wonderful public and university libraries, and walked through a cave where someone had stood 14,000 years ago, painting a bison.

But what surprised me most was how research shaped my story. It profoundly changed The Wolf Chronicles in several ways:

It changed my wolves:

Like many people, I used to think that wolves were vicious animals that fought all the time and were very different from us. Books like Richard Busch’s Wolf Almanac showed me that wolves are actually highly social animals that rarely fight. Then I read up on prehistoric cultures, and learned that our ancestors and wolves lived surprisingly similar lives. This changed all the interactions between wolf and human characters, and made Kaala and her pack much more complex.

It deepened the story:

Early in my research, I learned about wolf-human coevolution, the theory that wolves and dogs may have greatly influenced our evolution. good lThen, Barry Lopez’s Of Wolves and Men showed me that wolves have long been emblematic of very different views of nature. This research made Kaala’s story more than the tale of a young wolf on a quest. It grew to be about our own connection to the natural world, and what that connection means for our future.

It gave me new characters:

While reading up on wolves, I learned that wolves and ravens often play together, so I decided to write just one scene with ravens in it. The raven Tlitoo decided he wanted a bigger part in the book, and became a major character. While on a trip to Yellowstone to watch wolves, I was awoken by a herd of elk bellowing outside my window. Ranor the elkryn marched into the story.

It gave me new scenes

Two scenes in the trilogy are drawn directly from the many documentaries and videos I watched. In Promise of the Wolves, Kaala and Ázzuen struggle to cross a great plain. This is from a video about wild dogs. The filmmakers actually rescued a pup who fell behind (I write about it here) which they weren’t supposed to do. A scene in which Kaala steals from sabre-toothed cat cub is based on a video of a young wolf playing with a young bear until Mama bear got annoyed.

In the end, research enriched The Wolf Chronicles in ways I never could have imagined. I am now a dedicated research devotee.

Some Classroom Applications:

I love the idea of the wolves making their way into classrooms. Here are some topics that lope through the books:

  • Animal biology and behavior (wolves, ravens, prey animals)
  • Ecology and the Environment
  • Life in prehistoric times
  • Wolf-Human coevolution—the controversial theory that wolves and dogs directly affected our evolution
  • Mythology: Norse myths, European folktales, Native American tradition as the basis for parts of the story.

The Educators page of my website also has some tools and guidelines for using The Wolf Chronicles in the classroom. You can read more about my research for The Wolf Chronicles at YAReviewNet.

Thanks so much to Unleashing Readers for hosting me!

Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out all the stops on the Wolf Chronicles blog tour!
Date
Blog
URL
Mon, Dec 1
Novel Novice
Tues, Dec 2
The Book Monsters
Wed, Dec 3
SLJ Teen
Thurs, Dec 4
I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
Fri, Dec 5
I Read Banned Books
Mon, Dec 8
Library Fanatic
Tues, Dec 9
YA Book Nerd
Wed, Dec 10
Read Now, Sleep Later
Thurs, Dec 11
The Brain Lair
Fri, Dec 12
Unleashing Readers
Sat, Dec 13
The Children’s Book Review

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**Thank you to Barbara from Blue Slip Media for asking us to participate in the blog tour!**

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