It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/2/13

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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.

Last Week’s Posts

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

 

Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: I am so excited! I had a great reading week for the first time in a very long time. This week I read 2 novels, 2 picture books, 1 graphic novel, and 1 nonfiction book!!! Woot!!! I believe I have Jo Knowles to thank because it was her two novels that were the first time I just sat and read for hours since the spring. Living with Jackie Chan and Jumping Off Swings were just brilliant and you should read them both. The picture books I read were Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween by Melanie Watt (both which I’ll review soon). Finally, I read Waluk by Emilio Ruiz (which I’ll review this week) and The Solar System Through Infographics by Nadia Higgins (which all teachers should buy!). Phew! Love being able to write about that many books!

Ricki: I was not as successful as Kellee. This week, I started graduate school for my doctoral degree, and I was overwhelmed with work. I spent many late hours (and early mornings) in my office, and when I came home, I fell asleep right away. I thought I would finish Dream Thieves, but then my husband asked to take the Kindle on a trip this weekend, so I had to start a new book. I didn’t finish any books, but I am almost done with three of them (see the next section).

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: Hm. It is hard to follow up the type of week I had. I need to make a list of the books I have lined up to blog about and read them in order of when the blogging dates are… I’ll let you know next week what I get to!

Ricki: I plan to finish Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. My husband returns home tomorrow with the Kindle (hoorah!). I am also halfway through Trash by Andy Mulligan, and I have 3 more discs left (out of 12) of the audiobook, Grave Mercy. I am in love with this series. How the heck did I miss it? I hope you all had a better reading week than I did!

Upcoming Week’s Posts

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waluk battling Science Content

 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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Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Kellee’s Review)

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Each Kindness
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrator: E.B. Lewis
Published October 2nd, 2012 by Nancy Paulsen Books

Summary: Each kindness makes the world a little better

Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Maya is different–she wears hand-me-downs and plays with old-fashioned toys. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her gang, they reject her. Eventually, Maya plays alone, and then stops coming to school altogether. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.

This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down.

Review: When I read Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson for the first time, it made me not only want to share it with everyone I knew, but also make me want to do something nice for others. This pushed me to think more carefully about how everything affects those around me. What I really love about this book is how it can be used in the classroom.

Teacher’s Tool For Navigation: Today, I wanted to share with you what I did with my classes when it came to sharing Each Kindness with them. First, I will say that it affected them as much as it affected me. After reading, we had a great conversation about how the book connected to their lives and what it meant to them. This conversation moved to how Chloe’s actions affected Maya including inferences of Maya’s feelings that were not shared in the book. The insight that my students had were very deep and I believe it made them look at some of the choices they make in their daily lives. We also discussed how Chloe could have changed things. How could she have made Maya feel welcome?  We made multi-flow maps showing the causes/effects of decisions.

Following this discussion, I had the students make an oath to do a kind act that day- something they normally wouldn’t do and recorded them on as a poster to share. Then the next day we shared the kindness we did. Only through discussions and books like this, that students will think more about their choices and how it affects those around them. Since this book read aloud and discussion, my students have brought up Each Kindness often and have made connections to their lives as well as other books. Each Kindness is a book that can make the world a better place, but only if it is shared.

Discussion Questions: What could Chloe have done differently to make Maya seem welcome?; How did Chloe’s (and her friend’s) behavior affect Maya?; What could you do differently to make someone feel kindness?

We Flagged: “This is what kindness does, Ms.Albert said. Each little thing we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world.”

Read This If You Loved: Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein, Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Recommended For: 

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This is a great book to read during the first couple of weeks of school. 

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Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

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Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great
Author and Illustrator: Bob Shea
Published June 25th, 2013 by Disney-Hyperion

Goodreads Summary: Hi, I’m Goat.
Things were just fine around here until UNICORN showed up.
So what if he can fly?
Or make it rain cupcakes?
And turn stuff into gold?
Big deal.
I can do some cool stuff too, like…
Hey! What are you doing? Why are you opening the book?
He’s just going to tell you how great he is. Blah, blah, blah.
Go ahead. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Dopey Unicorn.

Review: Nothing can promote this book better than the book trailer – it is a must watch!

And the book trailer truly captures the essence of Unicorn. It is fun and colorful! However, the best part of the book is that after the fun story it does have a message that is so important and is a great read aloud for classrooms.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This book is a great one to read at the beginning of the school year. It promotes friendship and not judging others. It will be a great discussion starter about making new friends and starting the new year with a clean slate as well as self-esteem, being a good loser, and jealousy.

Discussion Questions: Is there someone you met that you judged at first and they turned out to be completely different?; Have you ever thought you were going to win something only to have someone beat you? How did this make you feel?

We Flagged: “Things are a lot different around here since that Unicorn moved in. I thought I was pretty cool when I rode my bike to school. Until that show-off went flying by!

Or the time I made marshmallow squares that almost came out right. He made it rain cupcakes!” (p. 4-8)

Check out Amazon’s Look Inside of Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great to see the illustrations.

Read This If You Loved: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci, Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems, Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown, Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

Recommended For: 

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Remember: Don’t judge a book by its flashy, colorful, magical cover.

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The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

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The Day the Crayons Quit
Author: Drew Daywalt
Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Published June 27th, 2013 by Philomel

Goodreads Summary: Crayons have feelings, too, in this funny back-to-school story illustrated by the creator of Stuck and This Moose Belongs to Me 

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.

What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

Review: Told through letters, this story of revolt reminds me a bit of Toy Story in that when I finished, I felt like I needed to get out my crayons and use each one and let them know they are loved. This is probably one of my favorite picture books this year (maybe in general) because it promotes so much that I believe in: art, imagination, and caring. This book would be a great addition to Dot Day activities (Sept. 15, 2013).

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: Automatically, after reading, I saw that the best way to use this book in the classroom is to first use it to promote imagination. Too many kids aren’t told to use their imagination often any more.

Also, I would use the inanimate object point of views to have students participate in a RAFT writing activity which helps students think about different perspectives. RAFT stands for R: Role, A: Audience, F: Format, T: Topic. In the book, Drew Daywalt was writing as a crayon (R) to their owner (A) in a letter (F) about their use (T). The students could pick their own toy and write a letter to themselves about their use.  So many possibilities!

Discussion Questions: What toy do you use at home more than others? What would this toy say to you? What about a toy you don’t use?; Draw a picture of a zoo or ocean scene, but use your imagination when it comes to size, color, and placement.

We Flagged: “Dear Duncan, It has been great being your FAVORITE color this PAST year. And the year before. And the YEAR before THAT! I have really enjoyed all those oceans, lakes, rivers, raindrops, rain clouds, and clear skies. but the BAD NEWS is that I am so short and stubby, I can’t even see over the railing in the crayon box anymore! I need a break! Your very stubby friend, Blue Crayon”

Read This If You Loved: Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp, The Dot and Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds, Chalk by Bill Thomson, Art & Max by David Weisner, Not a… series by Antoinette Portis, Art by Patrick McDonnell, Perfect Square by Michael Hall, Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld

Recommended For: 

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I think we should all get out some crayons today and color; enjoy your crayons, but make sure to use imagination and don’t show favoritism! 

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Into That Forest by Louis Nowra

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Title: Into That Forest
Author: Louis Nowra
Expected Publication: September 3th, 2013 by Amazon Children’s Publishing

Summary: Hannah and Becky are traveling down a river in Tasmania, Australia with Hannah’s parents when a storm erupts. Their boat overturns, and Hannah and Becky are left to survive in the wild. Two Tasmanian tigers are nearby, and because they’ve recently lost their pups, the tigers adopt Hannah and Becky as their own children. The two girls slowly adapt to the tigers’ ways, adopting their habits and forgetting words. It isn’t long before they become feral children, acting only as animals would.

Review: I have never read a book quite like this one. When I tried to compare it to other books I’ve read, I immediately thought of Endangered (Eliot Schrefer), which describes bonobos rather than tigers. With both books, I developed a fondness for the animals and their habits. Also, they both roped me into their beautiful settings and imagery. The only other books I could compare this to were those about abuse and neglect, as the children slowly developed animalistic ways, as abandoned children do.

The language is a bit peculiar at first, as Hannah is writing the story as an elderly woman, and she admits her language isn’t very good. I found myself slipping into the beautiful wording by the third or fourth page, and I didn’t find that it distracted my reading, and instead, it added to the experience. If I could change anything, I might alter the ending a bit, but perhaps, I am being too particular. I loved learning about the tigers’ lifestyle, and I was hooked to this survival story from the very first page. The sisterly bond that develops between Hannah and Becky is remarkable, and the story teaches themes of loyalty and companionship. Readers will be left pondering humanity and the differences between animals and humans.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: Students may find the language to be a bit difficult to understand at first, so the teacher may need to provide some close readings at first. I suspect most students quickly adjust to the language and will no longer be distracted by the wording after the first few pages, and they will likely find that it adds a lot of color to the text. Teachers could have students select their favorite descriptions of the setting and imagery, as these elements are very well-developed and would serve as a great model for students. Upon completion of the text, students might research topics like Tasmania, feral children, and tigers. I was left wanting to learn more about the Tasmanian wilderness and lifestyle, and I imagine that students will also find this book to pique their curiosity.

Discussion Questions: What does it mean to be human? How do the girls lose their humanity?; What are some of the patterns of the tigers’ behavior that the girls adopt? Why is this necessary?; How do you imagine Hannah’s life today? How has this experience changed her?

We Flagged: “As the water boiled and foamed, we bounced along with me father, unable to steer the boat toward the shore. The river were so wild that all we could do were to cling on tight to the sides of the boat or each other as we were flung back and forward like puppets with no strings. The rain chucked down and we were soaked, so soggy it were like the rain were drilling through our skin into our marrow.”

“The more I looked at its black eyes, the more I seen kindness […] I knew it were saying to us, Come, I’ll take you home.”

Please note: The above quotes are from the Advanced Reader Copy. The e-book (a galley) did not provide page or chapter numbers. The quotes may change when the book is published.

Read This If You Loved: Endangered by Eliot Schrefer, Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick, Dog Boy by Eva Hornung, Second Nature by Alice Hoffman, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Recommended For:

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Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Children’s Publishing for sending me the Advanced Reader Copy!

Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp

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Nonfiction Picture Book 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!

mona

Who Stole Mona Lisa?
Author: Ruthie Knapp
Illustrated by: Jill McElmurry
Published by September 1st, 2010 by Bloombury USA Childrens

Goodreads Summary: She has a legendary smile, and millions come to see her every day. Some say she is the most famous painting in the world. Who is she? Why, the Mona Lisa, of course! But did you know that she was once stolen from her wall at the Louvre? Who took her? Why? Where was she hidden? How was she found? Someone call the police!

Narrated by the lady of the enigmatic smile herself—and brought to life with gorgeous paintings that take the reader from da Vinci’s renaissance right up to the present day—this is a stylishly whimsical account of the glorious, wonderful, sometimes dangerous life of the best recognized painting of all time. Discover the secrets behind her mysterious smile, and hear for yourself the amazing true story of her kidnapping.

Review: How fascinating! First, let me tell you a little bit about my background. My father has a BA in Art History and an MFA in Museumology. These studies led him to become an executive director of art museums (he is currently directing the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, TN) thus impacting my life greatly. My entire childhood has been surrounded by the arts (my mother is a photographer as well). This has made art history something that I am very interested in which then made this book so fascinating for me and I believe it will be incredibly fascinating for all readers.

Mona Lisa is probably the most famous painting of all time, but many, including me, do not know her history. She is more of a mystery that we all are enthralled with than a piece of artwork that is talked about in history class; however, Ruthie Knapp’s book shows us that Mona Lisa’s history is a lot more interesting than we probably thought. And what I think makes this book one that will draw in all sorts of readers is the way she tells the story. The story is told from Mona Lisa’s point of view which makes it more of a caper, mystery type story instead of just informational nonfiction.

Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: As soon as I read this book, I saw how I could use it in the classroom. Seeing things from different points of view and perspectives is something that, as a teacher, I am always trying to help my students achieve. This book, since it is told from Mona Lisa’s point of view, is a perfect example of seeing a situation from a different point of view. After reading Who Stole Mona Lisa? I would start a discussion on how others in the story might have viewed the situation. How would the director of the Louvre have told the story differently? How about Vincenzo Perugia? Parisians? All of these people would have viewed the loss of Mona Lisa differently. These thoughts then could be transferred to anything. Maybe have students choose a historical event and think about it from a different person’s point of view: Babe Ruth’s huge “called” home run from the pitchers point of view, atomic bombings of Japan from a Japanese citizen’s point of view, an event in a book from a different character’s point of view, etc. The options are infinite.

Discussion Questions: How would the director of the Louvre have told the story differently? How about Vincenzo Perugia? Parisians?; Look up other stolen pieces of art. What happened to them?

We Flagged: “Leonardo da Vinci is the artist who painted me. It took him four years! Leonardo loved me. He looked at me while he ate past. He would not travel without me. He said I was his masterpiece. I was famous because Leonardo was famous. Fans jammed his studio to watch him paint.” (p. 10-11)

“The man with the mustache loved me too. He said I reminded him of someone special. He looked at me at every meal: over apples, eggs, and trout; cake and prunes and piglet snout. He looked at me on rainy days, on snowy days, and during summer squalls. He looked at me when he bathed. He looked at me when he shaved. He looked at me for TWO years. I was tired of the man with the mustache. I missed my wall. I missed people staring. I missed children looking sideways and upside down. (p. 24-25)

Read This If You Loved: Nonfiction books about Leonardo da Vinci or Mona Lisa, any books told from inanimate objects’ points of view, Seen Art?  by Jon Sciezska, Capture the Flag by Kate Messner, Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork

Recommended For: 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Memorable Secondary Characters

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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: Most Memorable Secondary Characters

We can’t forget these supporting characters!

 

Ricki

Get ready. My list is quirky. I like secondary characters who are quirky and/or intelligent.

1. Simon Lewis (The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare): Simon is witty and lovable. I can’t help but get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I think about him. If I were a literary character, he’d be my sidekick because I would constantly be laughing. I can’t say much about Simon without giving away too much plot, but I like how he doesn’t play second fiddle in the story and is essential to the plot.

2. Hassan Harbish (An Abundance of Katherines by John Green): Hassan is another funny guy. He is very lazy and admittedly overweight. Hassan really seems to drive the plot of the book. He uses his Muslim heritage to get out of things he doesn’t want to do, which is comical. Oh, and he loves Judge Judy.

3. Uncle Larry (Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles): I just read this book last week, and I will never forget Larry, Josh’s Karate-loving uncle. When Josh is struggling, Larry takes him in, and he is a major support in Josh’s life. Larry consistently inserts nuggets of Karate wisdom into conversations, which is quite amusing. And the guy just can’t stop smiling. This makes me, in turn, smile.

4. Rue (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins): Rue teaches readers to never underestimate the little guy. She flies like a monkey between trees and represents purity and goodness. “She has bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin and stands tilted up on her toes with her arms slightly extended to her sides, as if ready to take wing at the slightest sound. It’s impossible not to think of a bird.” Rue’s goodness is a perfect foil to the Capitol’s wickedness.

5. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee): As a future parent, I want to be exactly like Atticus Finch. When no one else stands up for Tom Robinson, Atticus does, even though he knows he won’t win the case. He teaches so many wonderful morals to Scout and Jem about work ethic and empathy. If I have a son, I would consider naming him Atticus (and it is too bad the name is so peculiar or this would be set in stone).

I can’t choose just five. I need to cheat.

6. Hassan (Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini)

7. Slim (Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck)

8. Magnus Bane (The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare)

9. Prince Brigan (Fire by Kristin Cashore)

10. Ma Joad (Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck)

Kellee

 1. Ruby and Stella and Bob (The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate): Ivan’s cast of characters makes you love Ivan even more. His interactions with the other characters show you his characters. Stella helps mold Ivan into who he is, Ruby’s innocence pushes him to do something he’d never though he’d do, and Bob is the comic relief.

2. Smithers (Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz): I love Smithers. Whenever he shows up in an Alex Rider book, you know that an awesome gadget is going to show up. He is brilliant and funny.

3. Phoebe Winterbottom (Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech): Phoebe is a character who I actually do not like at all, but you definitely remember her. Phoebe is obnoxious, self-righteous, loud, but she also has a huge imagination and really makes the story interesting.

4. Summer and Mr. Browne (Wonder by RJ Palacio): Summer shows that there are 10 year olds that are still loving and thoughtful. Oh, and most importantly – kind. Mr. Browne is an awesome teacher. I love his precepts and how he teaches his class. What a way to make students reflect about their lives and to think deeply.

5. Manchee (The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness): Manchee, Manchee, Manchee! Oh how everyone who read Knife loves you. Because of the Noise, the all-male population of Prentisstown can also hear the thoughts of their male animals which gives us Manchee, Todd’s dog, who is the best friend a boy could have.

I’m also going to cheat:

6. Kate (Matt Cruse Trilogy by Kenneth Oppel)

7. Isaac (The Fault in our Stars by John Green)

8. Sam Yu (Curse Workers series by Holly Black)

9. Patrick (Shine by Lauren Myracle)

10. Nero (Blood Red Road by Moira Young)

11. The Pink Ladies and other bonobos (Endangered by Eliot Schrefer)

Who are your favorite secondary characters?

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