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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.

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Last Week’s Posts

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

top ten tuesday ocean animals my friend maggie

journey quest return Packing Evil

Tuesday: Ten Books Set Outside the United States

Wednesday: National Geographic Kids Ocean Animals: Who’s Who in the Deep Blue by Johnna Rizzo

Thursday: My Friend Maggie by Hannah E. Harrison

Friday: Review and Giveaway!: Journey Trilogy by Aaron Backer

GIVEAWAY open until Thursday!!

Sunday: Author Guest Post!: “Teaching Was a Lot More Than Following a Lesson Plan” by P. E. Yudkoff, Author of Packing Evil

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 Last Week’s Journeys
Kellee

I have had a reading-tastic two weeks! One of the things I love the most about vacations are the amount of reading time I get!

Dino Files 1 dino files 2 bea garcia

On the plane to DC, I was able to read these three chapter books, and I am looking forward to reviewing them this week 🙂

thunder boy jr Night Gardener PB Flora and the Peacock This is not a picture book! robo-sauce secret pizza party the day the crayons came home the book with no pictures frankencrayon super jumbo thank you book

Once I was in DC, while Jim was at his conference, I went to Kramerbooks & Afterwords which is not only a very lovely independent book store, but it is a bar and restaurant as well. While there, I chatted with patrons and workers and read the above picture books. All ones that I had been looking forward to reading for a while. All of them were so good!

I loved to finally read the sequels of Red and The Day the Crayons Quit. They were both very different than the first ones. Almost more fun than philosophical, but both are definitely 5 star reads.

The Book with no Pictures and This is not a Picture Book would be perfect read aloud and discussion companions.

Both Flora and the Peacocks and The Night Gardener are so visually beautiful! While Thunder Boy, Jr. is so thought provoking.

Adam Rubin is quickly becoming a favorite silly picture book author, and Robo-Sauce and Secret Pizza Party are just as much fun as Dragons Love Tacos. Super Jumbo is another fun one to add to the list! All three have good messages also.

Finally, I had the guts to pick up The Thank You Book. The final Elephant & Piggie book. I am so sad that E&P are over. They are perfect picture books, and the finale was the perfect final book for them.

still a work in progress Where are you going baby Lincoln juana emma g

I also was able to read these 4 books while there. These were four very different books, but all good in their own right:

Jo Knowles’s Still a Work in Progress is a perfect addition to middle grade realistic fiction! I will definitely be reviewing this one further for you all.

Both Where are You Going Baby Lincoln? may be my favorite Deckawoo Drive books. Baby Lincoln has been a secondary character who hasn’t yet been able to share her voice; however, DiCamillo changes that with this book when she finally stands up to Eugenia and goes on a journey. A Necessary Journey.

Juana & Lucas is a early chapter book that takes place in Columbia and is a wonderful diverse addition.

Emma G Loves Boyz is going to be loved in my classroom library. It is a book written for my boy-obsessed middle school girls.

lucy & andy risking exposure pirate pig through the woods

On the plane from DC to Orlando then the 10 hour drive to Baton Rouge (to visit my parents), I finished these four books. Wow. I don’t know if I could find four different books to read in less than 24 hours:

Lucy & Andy Neanderthal is an interesting new graphic novel by Jeffrey Brown, the author of Jedi Academy. It is a mix of humorous Neanderthal adventures with scientific facts about Neanderthals.

Risking Exposure is one that I cannot wait to review and share more about. It is an interesting and different look at Hitler Youth.

The Pirate Pig is another fun early chapter book with a, as the title suggests, a pirate pig. Julie, the pig, can find treasure and is in danger of being kidnapped by those that want to take advantage of her.

Through the Woods is a weirdly, creepy, odd yet beautiful horror, short story graphic novel anthology. Fans of Scary Stories will enjoy these.

this little president another monster at the end monster at the end of this book disney storytime disney story central

While we were in Baton Rouge, we couldn’t bring all of Trent’s books (and for some reason he has not wanted to read the ones he did decide to bring), so thankfully iPads have some really great book apps. Trent loves The Monster at the End of this Book and Another Monster at the End of This Book apps (they are interactive and Grover/Grover & Elmo read to you) and the Disney book apes (Storytime & Story Central).

SUMMER final cover image (2)

In Baton Rouge, I had a lot less time to read as we were quite busy and Trent was clinging to me like a marsupial (that is what I get for going away fro 5 days), so I only finished The Summer I Saved the World…in 65 Days is our faculty book club’s second summer selection, and it is a perfect summer read! I love the message of good winning in the end! This book will be a great read for middle schoolers, especially those trying to fit in or deciding how to proceed as a teenager.

Ricki

My husband is preparing the house for the new baby this week (bolting furniture, painting, etc.). So I am whisking the toddler away with relatives and won’t have internet access this Sunday or Monday. I hope to have some good updates for you!

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This Week’s Expeditions
Kellee

I brought a huge bag of books with me to Baton Rouge to read, and since I didn’t get to any of them, I am going to choose one from there.

Be Light like a Bird

I did start Be Light Like a Bird which is a book of grief. I hope it gets happier or at least has some closure because it is super sad and a mess right now.

Ricki 

On a positive note, Henry and I have reached Chapter Six of The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. I am in utter disbelief that he is allowing me to read a chapter book to him each night and am crossing my fingers that we can make it until the end! I’d appreciate any suggestions of similar chapter books (a couple of pictures here and there and consistently short, 4-5 page chapters). I would love to keep the chapter book trend going after we finish this one! I am hoping for a book that isn’t an early/easy reader but is similar to The Tale of Despereaux.

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Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday coyote moon Dino Files 1 bea garcia

Tuesday: Ten Things Books Have Made Us Want To Learn More About

Wednesday: Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway!: Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari

Thursday: The Dino Files: A Mysterious Egg by Stacy McAnulty

Friday: Bea Garcia: My Life in Pictures by Deborah Zemke

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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“Teaching Was a Lot More Than Following a Lesson Plan”

My experience as a teacher only spans forty-five minutes. In the spring of my senior year of high school at the end of a long, lazy lunch period I heard my named called in that firm voice of Mr. Hutchins that made everything he said sound like a command. He asked if I were free during the next period “to help him out.” As I said, everything he ever said to me sounded like an order, and this time was no different. So, I was free regardless of the fact I was going to meet up with friends.

The help I was to render was to take charge of a 7th grade English class. The teacher had been called away for reasons that were never disclosed to me, and I was instructed to follow the day’s lesson plan and keep the students in their seats. From the tone of Mr. Hutchins’ voice I gathered that keeping my charges in their seats was of paramount importance. “Just follow the lesson plan. Have them read the story, then go through the discussion points. And take attendance.” He handed me a folder. Inside, a dozen mimeographed sheets (in fast fading blue ink), and one typed page with ten or so questions.

Introductions were simple. I told the class who I was. They each told me their name.

Taking attendance was easy. I passed around a sheet of paper for them to sign.

Then it all went downhill.

I handed out the mimeographed story about a boy rushing through his chores so he could go to the county fair. Somewhere along the way he didn’t latch a gate and a cow (or maybe it was a goat) wandered out and devoured the neighbor’s garden. His time at the fair is ruined by a run-in with a bully, but fortune smiles on the boy when he learns that none other than the bully is blamed for the unlatched gate. Of course, the boy takes responsibility for the roaming cow and transforms the bully into a friend.

I asked the class to read the story. Within seconds one kid calls out he’s already read it, half the class groans and ask why they have to read anything since their “real” teacher isn’t there, and the other half is silent, either staring out the window or at the floor.

I wouldn’t call the next forty minutes a nightmare. Tiring, exasperating, difficult, chaotic all come to mind now. Even so, I did give it the old high school try and blundered on with the lesson plan. (I must admit I quickly gave up on keeping them in their seats. Two boys ended up perching on the heating registers.)

It quickly became apparent that the interest level, reading skill level, conversational skill level, and wakefulness level were as varied as the number of kids in the class. Nothing I could do or say could keep the entire class focused on the lesson plan. The only one who was learning anything related to English class was me: I now fully grasped the meaning of the idiom herding cats.

Despairing how I was going to get through the entire period, and nervous that Mr. Hutchins might pop in, I finally caught a break when one boy loudly called out that the protagonist was an idiot for letting the bully off the hook. I asked if anyone else agreed. They all answered in the affirmative. Even the silent ones! This was a straw I had to grasp. Remembering a long ago assignment (I think it was 6th grade with Mr. Cain.), I proposed we write a different ending to the story. To my surprise they liked this idea and after some discussion it was resolved that we would reverse much of the story. I wrote a sentence on the chalk board and invited a boy up to rewrite it, changing verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs as he saw fit.

Of course, the class was noisy, and a bit disorderly, as students took turns rewriting sentences with the help of their classmates. But they were engaged. I think we got through four or five sentences. I did have one moment of actual teaching when I pulled off the shelf a Roget’s Thesaurus and instructed the boys how to navigate it to find antonyms.

After class I returned the folder with the attendance sheet to Mr. Hutchins. He thanked me. I should have thanked him. Even though I had already been a student for more than a dozen years, I learned that day that teaching was a lot more than following a lesson plan.

About the Author: P. E. Yudkoff is the author of The Kylxon Chronicles. When he is not writing he is often tinkering with animation or creating designs for 3D printing. Away from the computer Yudkoff enjoys a good hands-on building project or a leisurely walk with the family dog, Josie. Visit his website at: peyudkoff.com

Packing Evil

Packing Evil

About the Book: Thirteen-year-old Pack’s world is turned upside down when he discovers an old pair of shoes that magically makes him very smart. But Pack begins to suspect there’s more to the shoes than increased brainpower. Soon, voices pop into his head offering all kinds of advice. Some of it helpful and some of it very dangerous, but none explaining what they’re doing in his head. When a neighbor mysteriously disappears, suspecting foul play Pack and his best friend, Sydney, start to investigate. Pack’s new skills and power come in handy, but soon the magic reveals a vile side. Sydney fears the changes she sees in her friend as he strays down a villainous path. But Sydney’s a tough girl, and she’s not giving up her best buddy to a ratty pair of weird, old shoes without a fight!

Giveaway for Packing Evil!: http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2016/07/packing-evil-book-one-in-the-kylxon-chronicles-book-giveaway.html/

Book Trailer:

Thank you, P. E., for this post! We had a lot of fun reading about your teaching experience!

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journey quest return

Journey Trilogy
Author and Illustrator: Aaron Becker
Journey Published August 6th, 2013
Quest Published August 26th, 2014
Return Published August 2nd, 2016
By Candlewick Press

Journey Summary: Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

Journey Review: This book is very hard to explain the magic of it. Lorna (@notforlunch) described it the best, I think: “a wonderful mashup of a David Wiesner book and Harold and the Purple Crayon.” I think this is perfect. It has the illustration beauty and magic of a wordless David Wiesner picture book and it is about creativity (and a crayon) like Harold. The beauty of the castle she visited also reminded me of Cathedral by David Macaulay. This book is just full of amazing!

Originally published at: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/?p=1765 (10/5/2013)

Quest Summary: A king emerges from a hidden door in a city park, startling two children sheltering from the rain. No sooner does he push a map and some strange objects into their hands than he is captured by hostile forces that whisk him back through the enchanted door. Just like that, the children are caught up in a quest to rescue the king and his kingdom from darkness, while illuminating the farthest reaches of their imagination. Colored markers in hand, they make their own way through the portal, under the sea, through a tropical paradise, over a perilous bridge, and high in the air with the help of a winged friend. Journey lovers will be thrilled to follow its characters on a new adventure threaded with familiar elements, while new fans will be swept into a visually captivating story that is even richer and more exhilarating than the first.

Quest Review: Quest is a beautiful continuation of Journey. Aaron Becker starts where the first book left off, but Quest is as unique as Journey was. The kids we met in the first book are swept into an adventure to save a king who has armed them with the tools to save the kingdom. I read this book over and over again because there are so many different little nuances in this adventure that promotes creativity, imagination, and teamwork. To be honest, I almost like Quest better than journey because the kids work together.

First published at: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/?p=4666 (11/12/2014)

Return Summary: Welcome the much-anticipated finale of Caldecott Honoree Aaron Becker’s wordless trilogy—a spectacular, emotionally satisfying story that brings its adventurer home.

Failing to get the attention of her busy father, a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure. It’s her third journey into the enticing realm of kings and emperors, castles and canals, exotic creatures and enchanting landscapes. This time, it will take something truly powerful to persuade her to return home, as a gripping backstory is revealed that will hold readers in its thrall. Caldecott Honor winner Aaron Becker delivers a suspenseful and moving climax to his wordless trilogy, an epic that began with the award-winning Journey and continued with the celebrated follow-up Quest.

Return Review: You will adore the conclusion to the trilogy. Becker does an amazing job of tying the beginning of Journey to the end of Return. To think that all the books happened in a day! The girl had quite an amazing journey, quest, and return in only one day! It is amazing what can go on when magic is involved. I don’t want to give away much else about the finale, but I will say it is as much a must read as the first two. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In my classroom, the first thing I would do is project the book and just have the students read it with me. No talking; just looking. Then we’d go back and discuss what is going on in the book, talk about some of the smaller parts of the illustrations, relive the journey. If I wanted to include a writing activity, we could add words to the book (although, I think this book’s illustrations stand alone). We could also discuss what we’d do if we had a magic crayon. I think this book would be a great addition to Dot Day and discussing creativity. Finally, I think a discussion of observing your surroundings would be appropriate as what the girl wanted the most was right in front of her at the beginning of the book. (From 10/5/13 post)

Additionally, this trilogy would be a wonderful mentor text to discuss narrative elements because Becker has given us a perfect plot arc filled with conflict, suspense, and resolution. It would also be interesting to talk to students about characterization in a wordless picture book because the characters still have very evident traits though it is through illustration and actions that we have to determine them. Although, I would be careful in taking the magic away from these books. I don’t want to analyze and dig into them too much because they are beautiful pieces of art that should be enjoyed first and foremost.

Journey Trilogy Activity Kit: https://www.scribd.com/document/312916399/Aaron-Becker-s-The-Journey-Trilogy-Activity-Kit

 Q&A with Aaron Becker: https://www.scribd.com/document/132634414/Journey-by-Aaron-Becker-Q-A-with-the-Creator

Discussion Questions: What would you do with a magic crayon?; Why did the girl have to turn to a magical land instead of remaining at home?; Were you surprised about who finally saved the day?; What is happening on the final page of Return? How do you feel about this resolution to the story?; How did the story progress through each book?

Return Book Trailer:

Journey Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxUs41jB4Ts

Quest Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO774UmBjQc

Read This If You Loved: Shy by Deborah Freedman, The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, The Typewriter by Bill Thomson The Whisper by Pamela ZagarenskiFloat by Daniel Miyares, Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac BarnettHarold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, Blackout by John Rocco, David Weisner wordless picture books, Cathedral by David Macaulay, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Henri Mouse by George Mendoza, Chalk by Bill Thomson, Art & Max by David Weisner, Weslandia by Paul Fleishman, Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis

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**Thank you to Raquel at Candlewick for providing copies for review and giveaway!!**

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my friend maggie

My Friend Maggie
Author and Illustrator: Hannah E. Harrison
Anticipated Publication: August 9, 2016 by Dial

Goodreads Summary: A sweet and heart-tugging story about bullying, friendship, and fitting in, perfect for readers of Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

Paula and Maggie have been friends forever. Paula thinks Maggie is the best—until mean girl Veronica says otherwise. Suddenly, Paula starts to notice that Maggie is big and clumsy, and her clothes are sort of snuggish. Rather than sticking up for Maggie, Paula ignores her old friend and plays with Veronica instead. Luckily, when Veronica turns on Paula, Maggie’s true colors shine through.

This moving friendship story has all the heart and emotion of The Giving Tree and Kevin Henkes’s Chrysanthemum. The gorgeous artwork and important message make this a book to treasure. It’s truly a classic in the making.

Ricki’s Review: I loved this book from the moment I read it, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I read it to some family members, and they had tears in their eyes by the end. It is a very special book that teaches wonderful lessons to children about friendship and bullying. The characters are incredibly endearing, and the illustrations make them come alive. My son asks me to read this book over and over again. I received this book as a galley, but I will be buying it to have a hard cover copy to love forever.

Kellee’s Review: This text deals with such a true issue that is not often touched in picture books: bullying and lack of friends because of being overweight. But anyone who is in schools knows that this type of behavior is happening younger and younger which leaves a large portion of young students feeling excluded from their peers. Maggie’s story gives teachers and parents an opportunity to discuss this issue without it seeming “real” because it is with animals. But this story is more than a bullying story, it is a story about true friends and how they aren’t always who you are looking for. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This would be a fantastic book to share with students on the first day of school. The characters experience problems that are common to most humans as their friendships evolve. It shows the effects of bullying and the power of friendship. Teachers might refer back to this book whenever bullying or friendships seem to be affecting students and/or the classroom environment.

Discussion Questions: What choices does Paula make? Why do you think that she makes these choices? How do they affect her friendship with Maggie?; What kinds of qualities does Maggie portray? Do you think she made the right decision?; How have some of your friendships evolved as you’ve grown up?

Flagged Passage: “This is my friend Maggie. We’ve been friends forever. She’s great at splashing in mud puddles. She helps me reach the reddest apples. She even lifts me up when I can’t see.”

*Make sure to check out the book to see the detailed and perfect illustrations.

Read This If You Loved: You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Kellee’s Review | Ricki’s Review), Big Bug by Henry Cole, Horns to Toes by Sandra Boynton, Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea, The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail by Maureen Stolar Kanefield

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NFPB2016

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!

ocean animals

Ocean Animals: Who’s Who in the Deep Blue
Author: Johnna Rizzo
Published May 17th, 2016 by National Geographic Children’s Books

Goodreads Summary: From life in coral reefs, to sharks and rays, to sea birds, kids will meet incredible sea-based animals in action, including the blue tang fish and clownfish. It’s all captured with beautiful underwater photography and features cool info about our oceans — including fascinating facts, maps, and marine conservation tips and efforts.

Review: I probably sound like a broken record, but every time I encounter another National Geographic text, I come to appreciate what they are doing for the informational nonfiction world for kids. This text is no different. This text is a bit more in depth than some of the other NG books we’ve reviewed recently, and it is definitely for a reader who is looking to go to the next level with their ocean knowledge. It scaffolds perfectly starting with overviews of the different oceans and the different layers in the oceans. This lays a nice foundation of knowledge for the rest of the book. Then it delves into the animals starting with coral reefs then hitting on every type of animal you can think of. Finally, the book ends with information about conservation. And all of this is accompanied by National Geographic’s beautiful wildlife photography.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Like I stated above, this text is perfect for anyone interested in learning more about oceans and the wildlife that live in the oceans. Not only will the text be useful for an independent reading option, it would be a nice edition to a text set when discussing ecology or as a resource when studying the ocean.

Discussion Questions: What are some ways you can protect the ocean?; What are the different layers of the ocean?; Why is it important to keep our oceans safe?; What are some animals who are being threatened by over fishing? Over capture?; What is your favorite ocean animal?

We Flagged: “Introduction: Imagine what it must be like to be a dolphin, living in a realm of liquid space, listening to the whistles and clicks of nearby family members. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a jellyfish, with 99 percent of your body made of water? Or how about a clam, hunkered down in a soft, sandy bottom, sipping plankton-filled water through a special tube, rather like drinking soup through a straw?” (by Sylvia Earle, p. 7)

“Coral Reefs: Bursting with color and teeming with sea creatures big and small, coral reefs may support as much life as the rain forests do. In face, about one-third of all the ocean’s creatures live at least part of their lives on reefs. That’s tens of thousands of marine species in total. But what makes the coral reef habitat particularly special is the fact that it’s a living thing itself, made up of the shells of tiny sea creatures. And that’s also exactly what makes reefs so fragile and easy to damage.” (p. 12)

Ocean Animals Spread

Read This If You Loved: Nonfiction books about oceans, Extreme Oceans by Seymour Simon, Ocean Animals by Animal Planet, Please Be Nice to Sharks by Matt Weiss

Recommended For: 

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

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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: Books Set Outside of the United States

We decided to add a bit of a twist. We are sharing our favorites from five continents. We opted to exclude North America (to go a bit farther from the United States) and Antarctica (because options are limited).

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1. and 2. Asia

Ricki

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

never fall down

I recommend this book all of the time. It is a the harrowing true story of Arn Chorn-Pond. I learned a lot while reading it, and it inspired me to learn more about the Cambodian genocide. If you missed this book, I recommend you read it immediately!

Kellee

Sold by Patricia McCormick

sold

Sold is about a young girl from rural Nepal who is sold into prostitution. Told in vignettes, this novel is harrowing and heartbreaking yet beautifully written. It was a coincidence that Ricki and I both chose a McCormick book, but that just shows how well she highlights the hardships of those living in this region.

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3. and 4. South America

Ricki

Queen of Water by Laura Resau

queen of water

When Laura Resau met Maria Virginia Farinango in Ecuador, two strong women collided to create this beautiful novel. Based on Virginia’s actual experiences, this is the story of many marginalized young women in Ecuador. I love the way Resau writes, and this story is just as beautiful as all of her others.

Kellee

Caminar by Skila Brown

caminar

Set during Guatemala’s civil war in 1981, this novel-in-verse tells the story of a boy who has lost everything and must decide how he is going to live now with war surrounding him.

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5. and 6. Europe

Ricki

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

just one day

Gayle Forman’s writing is always magical. I considered many books set on this continent, but I chose this one because the characters adventure to many countries throughout Europe. More than any other book set in Europe, this made me want to drop everything and travel the continent.

Kellee

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

war that saved

This book fascinated me because it is a World War II story with WWII playing only a minor role in most of the book. It is mostly about Ada and Jamie and their journey to survive first in filthy conditions with an abusive parent then with Susan Smith, a lady forced to take care of them when they go to the suburbs to escape the war. The characters of this book with all their complexities, histories, heartbreaks, and triumphs will make any reader a fan.

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7. and 8. Australia

Ricki

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

Stolen

Well, I didn’t realize that I have a mild obsession for books set in Australia. Apparently, I have read many books for this category. I chose this book because it gripped me from the beginning to the end. I love when students read this book because they always want to discuss it immediately after they finish. This is a book that engages readers from the very first page. Plus, it is set in the Australian Outback, which is neat!

Kellee

Life In Outer Space by Melissa Keil

life in outer space

Opposite of Ricki, I had a very hard time finding a book set in Australia (I guess it is a book gap). Then I realized one of my favorite books is set there! Life In Outer Space is an under-rated contemporary nerd love story filled with true people, love for things like music and writing, and a ton of humor.

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9. and 10. Africa

Ricki

Endangered by Elliot Schrefer

endangered

I love reading books set in Africa. I read about ten a year and am very glad the publishing industry highlights this continent often. While I could put dozens of great books on this list (maybe this is a future TTT category for Kellee and me!), in the end, it would always be Endangered as my final choice. This is a magnificent book that everyone should read. It is incredibly teachable and offers so many themes, ideas, and background that makes for rich classroom discussions.

Kellee

Diamond Boy by Michael Williams

diamond boy

While it was hard for me to not also pick a Schrefer book, I decided to pick a book that I feel should receive more attention than it does. I loved Williams’s Now is the Time for Running, so I was so happy to see that he had written a companion and that it explained one of the interesting secondary characters from Running.  I was blown away by the characterization within this book. Although the plot is what propelled the story, the characters in this book are what made it.  I also love the thinking that this book would cause. This book is at the same time easy to connect with, but also so completely different than anything most of the readers will have experienced. Quite unique.

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Which are your favorite books set outside of the United States?

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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.

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Last Week’s Posts

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

top ten tuesday 9781454917489_plc.indd ah-choo a piece of home tia isa

Tuesday: Ten Bookish Facts About Us

Wednesday: Please Be Nice to Sharks: Fascinating Facts about the Ocean’s Most Misunderstood Creatures by Matt Weiss

Thursday: Blog Tour with Review!: Ah-Choo by Lana Wayne Koehler and Gloria G. Adams

Friday: Modern Immigrant Experience in Fiction Picture Books: Tía Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina & A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts

Sunday: Author Guest Post!: “Building Stories with Words” By John E. Stith Author of Deep Quarry, Manhattan Transfer, and others

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 Last Week’s Journeys

For those of you who tried to comment last week, we apologize for the hassle. Our spam filter decided to block and delete all comments. We appreciate that you stopped by and are very sorry we couldn’t respond. We’ve installed a new spam filter and are hoping it is a bit kinder. 🙂

Kellee

Happy reading this week, everyone! I am taking this week off to spend some time with my family. I’ll update you next week on what I’ve been reading.

Ricki

if you could be mine

I’ve started a research project about Muslim/Islamic YAL. I’ve learned so much and am really enjoying myself. This book, If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan, was absolutely fantastic. It is set in Iran and about two teenager girls who are in love. Obviously, a major theme is forbidden love. I know very little about Iran, so the setting and culture were particularly interesting to me.

125 Wacky Roadside Attractions

Henry and I started with some nonfiction and read 125 Wacky Roadside Attractions, a National Geographic book. I liked how we could look at attractions both in the United States and abroad. Now I have a lot of countries I want to visit!

And as usual, Henry and I read about fifty picture books, but all were re-reads for me. 🙂

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This Week’s Expeditions
Ricki 

the unlikely hero of room 13b

I’ve got about an hour left of my audio book, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten. I’ve loved it and plan to use it in an NCTE presentation I am doing.

The_Tale_of_Despereaux

Henry and I are trying something new. We are attempting to read a chapter book at night (one with very few pictures) after his picture books. Tonight was the first chapter of The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, and besides constantly kissing my cheek as I read the first four pages, he seemed to be paying attention. He’s 2.5, so I know I might be pushing my luck here. Cross your fingers for me!

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Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday ocean animals my friend maggie

journey quest return

Tuesday: Ten Books Set Outside the United States

Wednesday: National Geographic Kids Ocean Animals: Who’s Who in the Deep Blue by Johnna Rizzo

Thursday: My Friend Maggie by Hannah E. Harrison

Friday: Review and Giveaway!: Journey Trilogy by Aaron Backer

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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