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!

National Geographic Kids: What Would Happen? 
Author: Crispin Boyer
Published July 11th, 2017 by National Geographic Society

Summary: Ever wondered what would happen if some cool or crazy things were possible? Like what would happen if: you got sucked into a black hole; dinosaurs still existed; humans could fly; you could communicate with dolphins; or you could dig a hole through to the center of the Earth?

Get ready to explore all kinds of scenarios that would or could happen if the world was just a slightly different place. Each scenario is examined with real scientific, historical, and cultural facts in mind. This out-of-the-box book encourages readers to cultivate a better understanding of the world as it is – and as it could be!

ReviewA favorite book of mine and my husband’s that we read years ago was Why do Men have Nipples?, and we really loved getting answers to questions that you may not even know to ask yet are really intriguing. What Would Happenis the middle grade equivalent! So many interesting questions are answered! Do you want to know about global warming? Honeybees? Time machines? You will find answers in this book. Each question’s answer is set up to give the reader background knowledge, potential outcomes, extenuating circumstances, etc. to fill in any blanks and curiosities there may be. And as with all National Geographic books, the photographs are superb!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I love that so many of the National Geographic books touch on such a variety of topics, but also in the books that are like What Would Happen?, the information only touches the surface. This book would be a perfect jump start to passion or inquiry projects. What do students want to learn more about? They can start by reading the spread in What Would Happen? then research more to prepare a presentation about everything they learn.

The book also definitely has a place in libraries: school, classroom, and home. It is a wonderful book filled with questions that kids will love to learn the answers to!

Discussion Questions: Every page in this book has a discussion question!

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Getting answers to burning questions

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall


**Thank you to Karen from Media Masters Publicity for providing a copy 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: Ten Books that Feature Food


1. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Macy joins the Wish Catering crew. Amidst all of the goodness of this book are some delicious treats. 😉

2. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

This text is Lucy’s memoir in graphic novel form. Food is at the center of this book, and it’s also a wonderful coming-of-age story. This is one of my favorite graphic novels.

3. See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles

Fern’s family’s restaurant is at the center of this text, and this influences the family dynamic. Just thinking about this novel makes me emotional. It is a very moving text.

4. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia counts every calorie that goes into her mouth. While food isn’t featured in a positive light in this text, it is most certainly the center of everything in Lia’s world.

5. Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Jolly is a single mother, and as the book summary states, LeVaughn helps her “make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her.” I love this cover. I can’t even remember if there is actual lemonade in the book, but when I think of this book, I think of the vivid lemon on the cover.


1. Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

In the midst of this crazy and tough-to-read-at-times mystery, Kacey learns to love food and cook. She even considers going to culinary school in her future. Kacey also works at her stepmother’s restaurant and her stepmother also cooks in the book.

2. Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Hudson loves to bake and there are so many delicious cupcakes mentioned throughout the book–you’ll be drooling as you read!

3. Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

The mention of food in Courage for Beginners is different than in the first two I mentioned. When Mysti’s dad ends up in the hospital, her agoraphobic mom still will not leave the house and food becomes scarce. They even break into their emergency food box. I struggled with Mysti’s hunger and sudden push to have to be the adult in the family.

4. Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G.

The whole setting of this book is food!

5. Rutabaga the Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal

Rutabaga uses his cooking to overcome obstacles and hunger pains!

Honorary. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Food and drinks is mentioned throughout the series, specifically by the Weasley brothers who seem to have an endless appetite.  I mean, they’ve even made food from the world of Harry Potter for Universal!

Which books have yummy food mentioned that you love? 

RickiSig and Signature


IMWAYR 2015 logo

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.


Margo J.
for winning our Baseball Mysteries by David Kelly giveaway!!


Last Week’s Posts

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

top ten tuesday 

Tuesday: Ten Picture Books About Autumn

Wednesday: The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

Thursday: Nerdy Bird by Aaron Reynolds

Friday: Twinderella by Corey Rosen Schwartz


 Last Week’s Journeys


Two young adult books in one week? Oh yes I did!!

  • History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera is a roller coaster of emotions. I know that is a cliché, but Adam Silvera takes us on a figurative roller coaster by switching between present tense, where Griffin is dealing with the grief of his first love’s death and the awkwardness of his new boyfriend, and the past when Griffin and Theo fell in love. The story is beautiful and sad and wonderful and terrible. In other words: you should read it and live this roller coaster.
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green may be my favorite by him, and I have loved everything he’s ever written. Now, I know it could be the John Green hangover talking because when you finish a John Green book you always feel like you read perfection, but I found this story to be the one with most heart and hurt by him. I can tell it is personal, and it is. I’m not going to tell you much more, but I am going to say you should read it. John Green has done for anxiety in this book what Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls did for eating disorders and Impossible Knife of Memory did for PTSD, what Teresa Toten’s Unlikely Hero of Room 13B did for OCD–they show that mental illness isn’t something that the person does to annoy others or that they choose to have, and that people with mental illnesses are more than their illness though it is part of them, and loving them can be hard but they need love. I love how this is explained in Turtles.

  • My parents are visiting this weekend and bought Trent and I It Takes a Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton which is a book that all teachers and parents and librarians should read to all their kids. It is full of acceptance and diversity and love.

I started the week off with M. T. Anderson’s Landscape with Invisible Hand. This is a phenomenal book. It reminded me a bit of Feed. It’s shorter and there is an alien element to the text. The book is an awesome social commentary that is wildly satirical. It’s bleak and dark.

I REREAD Endangered. This is my fifth or sixth time reading this book. My students are reading it for class tomorrow, and I wanted to remind myself of everything in the text. This book holds up to a rereading every time. Kellee—are you jealous I reread this one? I am laughing because Kellee and I are obsessed with this book. Eliot Schrefer kindly agreed to talk with my students on Wednesday. He is simply the best.

I read Miguel and the Grand Harmony, Matt de la Peña’s latest masterpiece. It is an absolutely beautiful, lyrical picture book. The illustrations are stunning and the words are captivating. This is another winner.

A friend said to me, “Have you read Flashlight Night? I love that book.” I was in the bookstore with Henry, and I decided to read it again. This is such a fun, clever story. (It’s by Matt Forrest Esenwine.)

I’d never read Triangle by Mac Barnett, so I was excited to read this one in the bookstore, too. I love Mac Barnett. Everything he writes is so clever!


This Week’s Expeditions

I am so excited to be moderating a panel between Jodi Lynn Anderson and Julia Keller at the 2017 ALAN Workshop, so I am so excited to start their novels.


I have a few more ALAN and NCTE books on the docket, and then I’m all ready to present at the workshop. Yahoo!


Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday  

Tuesday: Ten Favorite Books That Feature Food

Wednesday: National Geographic Kid’s What Would Happen? 

Thursday: La La La: A Story of Hope by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Jaime Kim

Friday:  Review with Giveaway and YouTube Video!: Bruce’s Big Move by Ryan T. Higgins

Sunday:  Blog Tour with Author Guest Post with Activities and Discussion Questions!: Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr

 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


Twinderella: A Fractioned Fairy Tale
Author: Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrator: Deborah Marcero
Published September 5th, 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Summary: Have you heard the story of Cinderella? Well, you don’t know the half of it.

Cinderella and her lesser-known twin, Tinderella, split everything right down the middle. They each do half the housework, half the mending, and half the mean step-sister tending. When the Prince throws a ball, their fairy godmother sends them both, and they dance the night away with the prince. But he simply can’t choose between Cin and Tin, and they are in need of some clever thinking and just a pinch of magic. The Prince agrees to share his kingdom half and half, and the fairy-godmother makes him a twin too, so they can all live happily ever after. Cin and the Prince rule the kingdom, while Tin and the Twin win all the kingdom’s math competitions. It truly is a happily ever half-ter.

Review: I am a huge fan of fairy tale retellings. I think they are a perfect way to bring attention to something, tell a unique story, or teach students because it is set in a basis of prior knowledge that most students already have thus allowing for a comfortable base to scaffold up from. With Twinderella, the story of Cinderella is used to teach about fractions and division while also telling a story of two sisters that find a way to make sure they can live happily ever half-ter.

Schwartz and Marcero are a perfect team to tell these twins’ story in a way that not only teaches but entertains. The balance was done so well between the math concepts and narrative. You learn how the twins make it all work, and you root for them to be happy.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: When I finished this book, I immediately texted my friend who teaches 2nd grade because I know that it is perfect for the classroom! It meets standards for second grade because of the focus on fairy tales and retellings and is a perfect introduction to easy fractions that they will begin looking at in 3rd grade.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How is Twinderella different from the traditional Cinderella stories?
  • How did Tinderella make sure that everything was split equally between the two sisters?
  • What math concepts were taught in the story?
  • With the quadruplets, how would chores and such needed to be divided?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Math, Fairy Tale Retellings

Recommended For: 



**Thank you to Penguin Young Readers for providing a copy for review!**

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Nerdy Birdy
Author: Aaron Reynolds; Illustrator: Matt Davies
Published September 22, 2015 by Roaring Brook Press

GoodReads Summary: Nerdy Birdy likes reading, video games, and reading about video games, which immediately disqualifies him for membership in the cool crowd.

One thing is clear: being a nerdy birdy is a lonely lifestyle.

When he’s at his lowest point, Nerdy Birdy meets a flock just like him. He has friends and discovers that there are far more nerdy birdies than cool birdies in the sky.

Ricki’s Review: I absolutely adored this book. I don’t usually review books that are more than a year old, but my love for this book, compelled me to write a review. The book is about a nerdy bird whose physical appearance makes him feel lonely. He meets other birds who share his physical appearance, and he finds comfort in this. But then a very, very different bird comes along (a vulture), and Nerdy Birdy is forced to consider his values and whether or not the nerdy bird club might be just as exclusive themselves. This book provided an avenue for an excellent discussion with my son. We talked about his class and about how some of his peers might feel left out. I’d love to use this book in an elementary school classroom.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This is a great book to read on the first day of school or at a time when students are leaving one or some students left out. It provides a great opportunity for critical discussions of cliques.

Discussion Questions: Why does Nerdy Birdy feel left out? How does he find solace in other birds that look like him?; How does the vulture differ from him? What does this teach him about friendship, groups, and personal appearances?

We Flagged: 

Image from:

Read This If You Loved: Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt; Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob SheaThe Magic of Maxwell and His Tail by Maureen Stolar Kanefield

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


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The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street
Author: Lindsay Currie
Published October 10th, 2017 by Aladdin

Summary: A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. A secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!

Review: I always go in tentatively to spooky books because I am so jumpy and also really don’t enjoy when the only point of a book is to scare the reader. But I could tell right away that Shady Street was going to completely exceed other just-scary books because it was about so much more. Sure, there was definitely a shady mystery and some really scary moments, but it was all entwined with a story about friendship, family, identity, and moving. Lindsay Currie did a perfect job balancing the two goals of the book: to scare the reader and to make the reader care so much about her characters.

In addition to the plot development being on point, Shady Street‘s characters were each were fully-developed to give every reader someone to connect with. I also liked how Currie included actual Chicago folklore and landmarks to enhance the story (and as a girl who lives in Florida and loves Chicago, I loved the Florida truths throughout also). Check out Currie’s website for behind the scenes info, and here’s a video of Lindsay Currie on a walking tour through Graceland cemetery, one of the settings of the book:

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Students are going to love this story because it is a perfect mix of ghost story and coming-of-age story, so classroom, school, and public libraries all definitely need to have a copy–once one students reads it, the word is going to get out, and it’ll never be on the shelf!

In the classroom, using Lindsay Currie’s website and video, Shady Street is a good example of author’s decision-making, how the setting of a story can impact the plot, and how an author uses the setting to affect the mood.

Book Trailer: 

Discussion Questions: 

  • How would the story have been different if Tessa had not gone to the pond the first time?
  • Why do you think Inez chose Tessa?
  • Did the story end how you thought it was going to?
  • How did the author use the setting to affect the mood of the story? The plot?
  • Which character do you connect with the most? Explain.
  • What caused Inez to act the way she did?
  • Similar to what Tessa did at the end for Inez, create a name plate for yourself with illustrations that identify you.
  • Explain the act of condensation.

Flagged Passages: “The door clicks shut behind her, and I grab a pair of jeans off the chair I slung them over last night. My sketchpad is open just slightly and I stop in my tracks, confused at the small blur I can see in the upper left-hand corner of the sheet. It’s grayish black, like I started something then just barely ran the bad of my thumb over it.

‘What in the–‘ I start, bending closer to the page.

I didn’t draw anything last night. I was so tired from carrying boxes all over this ginormous place that I crawled into bed without even brushing my teeth.

I stare at the mark. It’s small and shaped like an upside-down L. Lifting the book and giving the paper a tap, I watch asn the unwelcome spot becomes dust again and drifts into the air. There will still be a darkened area there, but I’ll camouflage it with shading later. Still. There’s something about the mark that bothers me. Something off.”

Read This If You Love: Mary Downing Hahn novels, The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd, Ghostlight by Sonia GenslerDoll Bones by Holly Black, The Seer of Shadows by Avi

Recommended For: 



**Thank you to Lindsay Currie for providing a copy of the book for review!**

Tagged with:

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: Ten Favorite Picture Books about Autumn


Kellee did her half of the post first, and she used some of the more obvious autumn books. So I am going to include books that either remind me of autumn or are set in autumn.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

2. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

4. Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson

5. Frederick by Leo Lionni


These books are perfect to celebrate the start of autumn!

1. Little Tree by Loren Long

2. Autumn: A Pop-Up Book by David A. Carter

3. One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me by John Mickos, Jr. 

4. Little Elliot, Fall Friends by Mike Curato

5. Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon

Which autumn picture books are your favorites? 

RickiSig and Signature