It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/6/14



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 2013reflection Thrice Told Tales 2013topreads

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

 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: Happy new year!! I read two very different yet very good novels this week and I definitely recommend them both. First was Period 8 by Chris Crutcher which is… well, a Chris Crutcher novel! They are always winners. I’ll be reviewing it here for you later. Next, I read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein which was a middle grade novel paying homage to Willy Wonka with so many book allusions throughout. It was such a fun book! I actually am not planning on reviewing it because I read it in bed in one sitting, so I didn’t take any review notes on it—oops!

Ricki: This week, I took it back a few decades and read Experience & Education by John Dewey. This book was published in 1938, but boy was John Dewey on the mark. He was ahead of his time in his progressive thoughts, and I can understand why scholars always refer to his writings. I also read the YA book, The Living by Matt de la Peña. I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait for the sequel. I will read anything by this man. He is such an incredible writer. This book was much different from his other works, and I think students who love action-packed books like The Maze Runner by James Dashner will love it. The children’s books I read to Henry this week are: Boy and Bot by Ame Dyckman, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (sobbed through this one), Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (nice illustrations and photography), Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson, and Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle (this one was adorable). 

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: I just started Sometimes Always, Sometimes Never by Elissa Janine Hoole yesterday, but did not get very far–we’ll see! After Sometimes Always, I’ll be reading Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil. I also will continue Ocean at the End of the Lane tomorrow when I go back to driving to work.

Ricki: This week, I am starting Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Friere as part of my independent study for my doctoral degree. I am trying to read books by all of the big names in education. I also plan to read Winger by Andrew Smith while nursing. Additionally, I will be reading as many children’s books as I can to Henry each night. 🙂

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday strange killing woods frog bigguy

 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

Kellee’s 26 (+20) Top 2013 Reads


2013 to 2014

This is one of my favorite posts every year!

Welcome to: Kellee’s Favorite Reads of the Year!!!!
**Click on any book title to go to its Goodreads page or Unleashing Readers review**

Favorite Young Adult Realistic Fiction Novels of 2013

You Look Different in Real Life Fangirl Living with Jackie Chan Olivia Twisted

Favorite Young Adult Realistic Fiction Novels Read in 2013 (Not from 2013)

Jumping Off Swings Endangered Ask The Passengers

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Under the Bridge

Favorite Young Adult Realistic Fiction Novels Read in 2013 (Coming 2014!)

Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders Threatened

Favorite Young Adult Fantasy Novel Read in 2013 (Not from 2013)

Every Day (Every Day, #1)

Favorite Young Adult Science Fiction Novel Read in 2013 (Not from 2013)

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Favorite Middle Grade/Young Adult Historical Fiction of 2013

Hattie Ever After (Hattie, #2)

Favorite Young Adult Historical Fiction Novel Read in 2013 (Not from 2013)

Wonder Show

Favorite Middle Grade Fantasy Novels of 2013

Doll Bones The Real Boy Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin Sidekicked

Favorite Middle Grade Short Story Collection of 2013

Guys Read: Other Worlds (Guys Read, #4)

Favorite Middle Grade Realistic Fiction Novel of 2013

The Wig in the Window

Favorite Middle Grade Realistic Fiction Novel Read in 2013 (Not from 2013)


Favorite Nonfiction Graphic Novels of 2013

The Great American Dust Bowl Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas

Favorite Nonfiction Graphic Novels Read in 2013 (Not from 2013)

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Favorite Graphic Novels of 2013

Explorer 2: The Lost Islands Odd Duck

Favorite Graphic Novel Read in 2013 (Not from 2013)

Hilda and the Midnight Giant

Favorite Nonfiction Picture Books of 2013

Barbed Wire Baseball On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

Favorite Nonfiction Picture Books Read in 2013 (Not from 2013)

The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery from History The Salem Witch Trials: An Unsolved Mystery from History Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People, and War

Favorite Picture Books of 2013

I'm a Frog! (Elephant and Piggie, #20) Battle Bunny A Big Guy Took My Ball!
The Snatchabook The Day the Crayons Quit That Is Not a Good Idea!

Mitchell Goes Bowling The Mighty Lalouche

Favorite Picture Books Read in 2013 (Not from 2013)

Each Kindness I Love My New Toy! Let's Go for a Drive! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) Listen to My Trumpet! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

What were your favorites from this year?
Now onto a new set of amazing books!


Past lists:
Favorite Non-2012 Books Read in 2012
(59) Favorite 2012 Books
42 (+15) Best Books of 2011

Thrice Told Tales: Three Mice Full of Writing Advice by Catherine Lewis


Thrice Told Tales

Thrice Told Tales: Three Mice Full of Writing Advice
Author: Catherine Lewis
Published: August 27th, 2013 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

GoodReads Summary: Three Blind Mice. Three Blind Mice. See how they run? No. See how they can make all sorts of useful literary elements colorful and easy to understand! Can one nursery rhyme explain the secrets of the universe? Well, not exactly—but it can help you understand the difference between bildungsroman, epigram, and epistolary.

From the absurd to the wish-I’d-thought-of-that clever, writing professor Catherine Lewis blends Mother Goose with Edward Gorey and Queneau, and the result is learning a whole lot more about three not so helplessmice, and how to fine tune your own writing, bildungsroman and all.

If your writing is your air, this is your laughing gas.*

*That’s a metaphor, friends.

Review: This is one of those books that is so clever, I am depressed that I didn’t come up with the idea myself. Reading and writing teachers will adore the way this book is constructed and be excited to use it in their classrooms. A different writing term is creatively interpreted on each page within the context of the Three Blind Mice nursery rhyme. At the bottom of each page, Lewis gives an explanation of the writing term and how it can be employed in writing (see the flagged passage below). I loved the ways Lewis humorously portrayed each term. For example, on the page about style, she takes a line from the nursery rhyme and rewrites it in the style of famous authors like Dickens and Hemingway. As a bonus, I learned about a few literary terms that I didn’t know! It was so fun to read. I shared it with my pre-service teachers, and they also adored it and were excited to use it in their own classrooms.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: Teachers can hand-pick terms they want to teach to their students. I wish this book was published when I was teaching because it makes the literary terms very accessible. Teachers can take the terms and ask students to reinterpret them within the context of a different nursery rhyme (or even within the context of a song or movie).

Discussion Questions: How can I rewrite a nursery rhyme to show a literary term?; How can I employ these literary/writing terms to make me a better writer?

We Flagged: “Developing one’s style is like developing a sense of fashion. You may start off by trying on a lot of costume jewelry; big showy ten-dollar words. They’ll get attention all right, but maybe you’ll discover there’s something better out there for you. Perhaps you’ll try a charm bracelet full of dangling modifiers. Or a simple silver bracelet and an onyx ring. Keep experimenting for pleasant combinations, and a truer picture of yourself and your work will begin to emerge” (p. 134).

Read This If You Loved: In the Middle by Nancie Atwell, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Writing Workshop by Ralph Fletcher, Celebrating Writers by Ruth Ayres with Christi Overman

Recommended for:

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What is your favorite book for teaching writing? Can you think of creative ways to use this in the classroom?


Kellee’s 2013 Reflection


2013 to 2014

2013 was a life-changing year for me.
The biggest, and most exciting, change was that I am pregnant with my first child (cannot wait for Baby Boy Moye!). Right after finding out I was pregnant, I was given the opportunity to be the reading coach at my middle school and knew that I couldn’t turn down this opportunity to at least try it. This may not be life-changing permanently, but it definitely was present life-changing.  Both of these changes had a major impact on my reading life. 

First, pregnancy. If you have been pregnant then you know what I mean when I saw I was tired for 4 months. More tired than I ever could imagine being. And when I was awake, I was not feeling well or just wanted to veg. These first 4 months of pregnancy were June, July, August, and September–right through summer #bookaday!! This really cut into my summer reading. I actually would find myself on Sunday nights about to do my IMWAYR post and realizing I hadn’t read at all so I’d grab a couple of picture books just to have some numbers. This happened more than I let on (mostly because my pregnancy was a secret at this time too!).  And to be honest, even after I got almost back to my normal self, reading was out of my routine (and I still need extra sleep than I used to). I am still working on getting it back; however, I know all of that will change when the baby arrives though I am really going to push myself to keep my reading part of my life.

Second, reading coach. I was wary of this change. My love of education is 99% because I love impacting students’ lives and being part of their life daily. Being a reading coach is impacting students in a different way and it has been a struggle for me. I miss my students; however, I try so hard every day to make sure that through my coaching, interventions, and classroom library that I am reaching as many of them still even though they are not in my classroom. I wish that I had had a coach to help me through becoming a coach because it is such a huge change. I’m not sure how long I’ll be out of the classroom, but I am still trying to grow and make an impact daily and I hope to find a nice balance.  I think, though, without the pressure of book talks and conferencing and being with students daily, I let my reading slide even more than it would have had I been in the classroom.

Both of these things, unfortunately, made 2013 the lowest reading numbers I’ve had since 2010. (Since 2010 I’ve been blogging, been on twitter regularly, been part of FB’s centurion group, and on a book award committee–all things that have impacted my reading goal and my expectations for myself.) Now, I will say that I am not embarrassed of what I did read in 2013. I am actually very proud based on everything I went through. I just think I had very high expectations for myself this year because I had an amazing reading year in 2012 (I read over 400 books).

2013 Reading Challenge

For 2013, I originally set my Goodreads goal at 333 books. This was a big under what I read in 2012, but I like reaching my goal so I try to make it realistic. However, in about October or November I realized that there was no way I was going to reach this goal and I knew that not reaching my goal would be devastating to me. So, I reevaluated and set a new goal: 225. This one I did meet- YAY!

In 2013 I read:

79 middle grade/young adult novels
12 early chapter books
25 graphic novels
53 picture books
9 adult novels
5 nonfiction graphic novels
36 nonfiction picture books
9 nonfiction books
8 poetry collections
3 interactive/game/novelty books
4 professional books
8 reread young adult novels

Totaling: 251 books!

Overall, I am very proud of my year and am very much looking forward to my even more life-changing 2014! For more reflections, check out my favorite 2013 reads and my 2014 reading goals.


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read in 2013


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 I Read in 2013

Kellee and I had difficulty splitting our top ten for this one, so she is going to share hers on Friday and Saturday, and I get to hog today all to myself! Wohoo!

1. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

rose under fire

This ranks in my all-time favorite YA books. The story is powerful, and I can’t stop thinking about the characters.

2. Into that Forest by Louis Nowra


I loved this beautiful story because it made me contemplate what it truly means to be human. This is one of my favorite survival stories that I have read.

3. Black Ants and Buddhists by Mary Cowhey


Even though this book is directed to teachers of grades K-6, I find I am using its lessons and ideas in all of my doctoral classes. This book does an incredible job teaching readers about how to enact social justice in the classroom.

4. When Kids Can’t Read by Kylene Beers


When a student used to come to me and say he/she “didn’t get” the reading, I often wanted to just tell him/her to read it again. But when that doesn’t work, what do we do? This book does a great job detailing how to diagnose and work with struggling readers (and all readers!).

5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

just one day
 This beautiful story took me back to Europe. Often, love stories can feel generic and typical, but this tells a story that is much different. I loved it!

6. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer


I can’t say enough good things about this book. I was sucked into the story, and I don’t feel as if I’ve fully left. Kellee and I are in love with this book, so if you’ve seen our blog, you know our feelings toward it. 🙂

7. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I used to only read high school YA books. When I read this one at the very beginning of this world, it opened my world to the wonders (get it? wonders?) of middle grade YA books. I haven’t been able to stop reading them since. Thus far, this is my favorite middle grade YA book of all time. I think readers of all ages and levels with love it (my high schoolers did!).

8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


I loved this book because it took me back to college. I was thrown into the whirlwind of emotions I felt as a beginning college student. Rowell is an incredible author. I fell in love with this story.

9. Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher

This book was certainly worth the hype. Kelly Gallagher is eloquent, direct, and articulate. I found myself quietly whispering, “YES!” as I read this one.

10. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch


This is a beautiful identity and survival story that would pair well with many classics. Readers will contemplate humanity and practices in our modern world as these girls come to learn about it. I liked this book because it really made me think!

What were your favorite books in 2013?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/30/13



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 magi elves

celebrating writers letitsnow

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


Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: I was doing so well with Winter Break #bookaday and then Christmas happened! It is so hard to just excuse yourself from all of the family fun to go read and with people from out of town visiting, it was even harder. With that being said, I did read 5 books over this week.

The first 4 were graphic novels: Romeo and Juliet by Gareth Hinds, The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown, Bluffton by Matt Phelan, and Lost Boy by Greg Ruth. They were all VERY different yet I enjoyed them all in a different way. I’ll be reviewing Dust Bowl and Romeo later in the winter.

The 5th book I read was Fangirl  by Rainbow Rowell and OMG! I read it all in one sitting and I loved every second of it! If you have been following my pregnancy reading at all, you know that sitting down and reading a novel in one sitting has been something that has become hard for me, so I was so proud of finishing Fangirl in one night!

Ricki: This week, I finished The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher. This was quite different from her other book, Stolen. It is a mystery/thriller, and I really enjoyed the way she depicted the setting. I also read several books to baby Henry. We started with a few classics: The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper, Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle (I loved this board book—the see-through sections are beautiful!) and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. Then, we read some new picture books that were both fantastic! Both were based on true stories. The Man with the Violin is based on a true story and has a wonderful lesson for children (and adults)—to stop and admire the beauty in the world. We also finished On the Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne. This was really fun. I can’t wait to read it to Henry when he is older. I love how it teaches children to be curious.

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: I am still listening to Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane, but I am not getting much reading done during the break without the commute. I love what I’ve read so far, but I don’t know how much I’ll get read this week either. I also started reading You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle and thus far I am really connect with the narrator and I look forward to reading more of it.

Ricki: I am almost finished with The Living by Matt de la Peña. The only reason I haven’t finished it is because I have it in actual book form, and I can only read e-books while nursing. It is very, very good. I am losing some sleep over it because I read it when I should really be sleeping. I also downloaded Winger by Andrew Smith on my Kindle. So far, I am loving it. It is reminding me a bit of John Green’s Looking for Alaska so far.

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday Thrice Told Tales 2013 to 2014

 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

Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle



Let it Snow
Authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
Published October 2nd, 2008 by Speak

Goodreads Summary: Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

My Review: You cannot go wrong with those authors! What I found was not only a romantic, funny book, but a perfect holiday read! Let it Snow is like those movies where you follow three very different stories and then eventually they intertwine and everything seems to follow into place. I loved reading each story, wanting to learn more about a certain character and then realizing the next story was about them! The authors also did a fantastic job throwing in aspects of Christmas and pushing the holiday cheer without shoving it down your throat. Let is Snow is one of those books that I want to curl up and read by the fire while it snows outside.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: I would love to read this book in its entirety with students and then try to make a timeline of the three stories and how they overlap. It would be a great discussion of connections and sequence. Also, you could look at the voice of characters and how each author made theirs distinct (and how the others authors kept them distinct in their sections). This could also lead to a great discussion about style.

This book is also loved by students and should definitely be in teen libraries.

Discussion Questions: Think of a time when you were stuck somewhere that you didn’t want to be and couldn’t really do anything about it, how did you feel? What did you do to keep yourself busy? Did something happen that you would not have expected or that wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t stuck or stranded? 

We Flagged:
From “The Jubilee Express” by Maureen Johnson

“‘Oh my god!’ said one of the Ambers. ‘Is this not the worst trip ever? Did you see the snow?’
She was a sharp one, this Amber. What would she notice next? The train? The moon? The hilarious vagaries of human existence? Her own head?
I didn’t say any of that, because death by cheerleader is not really the way I want to go.” p. 22

From “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle” by John Green

“I dashed upstairs, my socks sliding on the hardwood floor in the kitchen, and stumbled into my bedroom. I tore open the closet door and began feverishly sorting through the shirts piled on the floor in the vain hope that inside that pile there might be some wondrously perfect shirt down there, a nice striped button-down with no wrinkles that said, ‘I’m strong and tough but I’m also a surprisingly good listener with a true and abiding passion for cheers and those who lead them.’ Unfortunately, there was no such shirt to be found. I quickly settled on a dirty but cool yellow Threadless T-shirt under a black v-neck sweater. I kicked off my watching-James-Bond-movies-with-the-Duke-and-JP jeans and hurriedly wiggled into my pair of nice, dark jeans.” p. 131-132

From “The Patron Saint of Pigs” by Lauren Myracle

     “Being me sucked. Being me on this supposedly gorgeous night, with the supposedly gorgeous snow looming in five-foot drifts outside my bedroom window, double-sucked. Add the fact that today was Christmas, and my score was up to triple-suck. And add in the sad, aching, devastating lack of Jeb, and ding-ding-ding! The bell at the top of the Suckage Meter couldn’t ring any louder. Instead of jingle bells, I had suckage bells. Lovely.” p. 215
Read This If You Loved:
Recommended For: 
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