Reading, Teaching, Learning

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.
 
 
PICTURE BOOKS
 
Papa's Mechanical Fish
 
 

 
 
 
This is a lively fictional story based on the real inventor, Lodner Phillips. Papa loves to invent things, but he hasn't invented anything that works perfectly. However, one day, he takes his family fishing, and he gets an idea! He starts to design a mechanical fish, and he calls it the Whitefish. But it doesn't work. It sinks. He tries several more times, but all his designs fail UNTIL the Whitefish IV! I love the ending. I also love Mama, who lovingly supports her husband's trials and errors. The illustrations are humorous and energetic. The note at the end tells more about Phillips who really did build submarines. This book reminds me of The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor.
 
A Long Way Away
 
 
This is an interestingly designed book as it can be read two ways; one as the alien child in space leaves his family and goes all the way down to Earth and then the ocean, and another as he starts in the ocean and goes all the way back up into space to his family. That way is much happier! Kids like these kinds of reading challenges. It reminds me of Mirror Mirror and Follow Follow by Marilyn Singer -  the story, points of view, and mood all change depending which direction you read it.

 
Exclamation Mark
 
 
 
 
This book is so cute! I love how much expression the simple drawings create. Kids will love the story of how the exclamation point discovers his true talent. The question mark is hilarious. Great book to use for puns, writing mechanics, personification, and just plain fun!
 
MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS
 
Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises CD: Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises CD
 
 
2013-book, adventure, audio-book, bookaday2013, fantasy-science-fiction, intermediate-kids-book
 
 
Thirteen-year-old Jack has an accident and finds out he has a genetic condition that makes him a candidate for the Karai Institute where they can treat him or he's going to die. Professor Bhegad informs him he has a genetic marker that connects him to an old Atlantean civilization.  There are other kids there, too, who all have talents it seems, except for Jack, who can't seem to pinpoint his, and they're all needed to save the world. I liked that the story involves the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and I think kids will enjoy the action and adventure.
 
I saw Peter Lerangis when he was promoting this book.  If you ever get a chance to see him, go!  He's awesome!
 
 The Water Castle
 
 
 
 
 

 
This book has such a strong sense of mood and setting. It reminds me of classic children's fantasy stories like Tuck Everlasting and Dark is Rising instead of the more contemporary, popular frenetic action and adventure fantasies. It also has two stories interwoven - one taking place at present time and another in the past, similar to Clare Vanderpool's Moon Over Manifest. Ephraim Appledore-Smith's family moves to the Water Castle in Maine, an old family home, when his dad suffers a stroke. The town of Crystal Springs comes alive with gossip when the citizens learn the Appledores have arrived. Mallory Green's family has always been the caretakers of the Water Castle, and she's been hearing stories about its mysterious Fountain of Youth all her life.  She is suffering from the recent departure of her mother. Will Wylie rounds out the trio. His family has been at war with the Appledores for years, and he doesn't believe in magic. Ephraim is desperate to make his father better, and if the water he hears about is actually magic, he wants to find it. The three eventually put aside their differences and work together to figure out what magic the old house holds.  Like Winnie in Tuck Everlasting, Ephraim is faced with the question: If you could drink from the Fountain of Youth and become immortal, would you?  I think kids will really enjoy this book.
 
YOUNG ADULT
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
 
 
 
 
I debated over what audio I wanted to listen to when I drove to Nerd Camp in Battle Creek (a literacy conference), MI, and tweeted about possibilities with several Twitter friends. This title came up several times, and since I've read books I've loved (The Fault in Our Stars and Every Day) by both authors, I chose it. I am so glad I did. It is laugh-out-loud funny (be careful - it's definitely older YA), and I loved the characters. There are allusions galore, and I was rooting for the happiness of all the characters. The narrators are perfect - especially since they had to sing!! John Green and David Levithan are truly brilliant. I don't know if I'd have the same reaction if I had read the book instead of listened to it - I will definitely recommend the audio!
 
CURRENTLY READING
 
Real Revision: Authors' Strategies to Share with Student Writers
 
I've been saying that I was currently reading this one for awhile, but I'm just now actually cracking the cover! 
 
CURRENTLY LISTENING TO
 
Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal
 
The Inn at Rose Harbor (Rose Harbor #1)
 
I've added the feature of what my family is reading on my #IMWAYR blog posts, and readers seem to be enjoying it, so I'll keep it!
 
My husband is between books right now.  He's the type of reader that can't stop reading a book when he gets one he likes and will stay up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it.  Therefore, he can't always have a book going or he'd never sleep!  In the meantime, though, he's constantly reading short texts - newspapers, magazine articles, and Internet articles and news.
 
My 17-year-old is reading:
 
Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told By One Who Knows The Game
 
Her June of reading YA romances is over. :-(  Now she has to start her AP summer assignments.  This one is for Government.
 
My 20-year-old:
 
The Source
 
 

I Skyped her from Ecuador (she's on a mission trip there until the end of July), and she's still reading The Source.  It's a LONG book, and she only has a little time to read. 
 
My mom:
 
A Good American
 
My dad:
Front Cover
 
 If you like reading my blog, I'd love for you to follow by joining it or signing up for e-mail.  Just scroll to the bottom of the blog, and you'll find those options on the right.  It would make my day!
 

What are YOU reading this week? 
 

30 comments:

  1. The Inn at Rose Harbor is a sweet read.

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  2. Wow! You've got your whole family reading! Good for you.

    Here's my It's Monday. Love to have you stop by!

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    1. It's the best when the whole family is curled up with a book! :-)

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  3. I love the family reads feature. :)
    I just finished Counting by 7s last night. I predict this book will get a lot of buzz. I also read The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. I think your students will like Richard Peck's newest. I was laughing out loud. Just out this week, I think.
    It's been a good reading week!

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    1. I've heard a lot about Counting by 7s! I can't wait until I can get my hands on it! I'm excited that Richard Peck is coming out with a new one - I didn't know that. I'm a big fan of his! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  4. The Watercastle looks like an amazing read for kids. I also love the cover for Seven Wonders. Enjoy reading!


    Take a look at what I'm reading this week!

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    1. They're both going to be popular in my classroom library!

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  5. What a great assortment of books. I like that you find videos to go with them too. Come see what I read last week at Inside of a Dog. Happy reading!

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    1. I'll come visit! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Thanks for the recommendation of the audio for Will Grayson, Will Grayson. That one has been on my list for a while and it is nice to know that the audio might actually be a better way to go. I love that you have the books from your whole family here! It sucks that school reading for AP classes replaces pleasure reading for so many teens. I hope she can enjoy some of the required books.

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    1. I know - I feel bad that she has to switch over and read books that she doesn't necessarily enjoy.

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  7. The exclamation mark book is right up my alley. I hadn't heard of it. It seems like it could be used for all levels. What are your thoughts?

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    1. Ricki,
      Exclamation Mark would be great at all levels! For older kids, you could have some fun using it as a mentor text for personifying various punctuation and experimenting with word play like puns. I love all her picture books! Chopsticks is clever, too, for the same reasons.

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  8. Exclamation Mark is such a a clever book. Very creative and yet so simple :) our Kindergarten class loved it! Looking forward to read Papa's MEchanical Fish.
    -Reshama
    www.stackingbooks.com

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  9. Enjoy your books this week. I finished What the Spell? by Brittany Geragotelis (4/5 stars) last week. This week I'm reading Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan, and OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu.

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    1. Sounds like your reading plate is full!

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  10. You will love Real Revision...I used several parts of it in my teaching last year. Thanks for the videos and trailers!

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    1. I'll be using a lot of Real Revision! It's perfect for classroom ideas that you can use immediately. I'm glad you enjoy the multimedia!

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  11. Papa's Mechanical Fish is even more intriguing when I hear you say for fans of Owen Jester as I loved that title. I am a big fan of The Water Castle. I would like to get my own copy (read it from the library) and read it with my children. I can imagine Will Grayson Will Grayson would be hilarious in an audio book. Reading it I felt that singing came off the page! It was an awesome read.

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    1. The singing is hilarious on audio! :-)

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  12. My 4rg graders just loved Exclamation Mark. I enjoyed The Water Castle very much also. I have marked A Long Way Away and Pap's Mechanical Fish on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. ENJOY your week. I read Little Princes a while ago. Good book.

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My It's Monday, What Are You Reading

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  14. I was disappointed with A Long Way Away but still look forward to more Frank Viva books! I loved Exclamation Mark! I haven't really loved any of John Green's books but I will read Looking for Alaska.

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    1. I haven't read Looking for Alaska yet. I have it waiting on my Kindle.

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  15. Wait! I totally missed that you have a 17yo! That's so wild to me. I'm amazed that mine are 6 and 3!

    I keep hearing to Water Castle, have a feeling I'm going to enjoy it when I finally get to it! And hooray for Will Grayson, Will Grayson!!!! I fell in love with Nick Podehl after listening to Will Grayson, Will Grayson on audio. I think the book and the audio are completely brilliant. Love the characters.

    So glad you made it to nErDcamp! So much fun!

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    1. Yep - I have a 17-year-old and a 20-yr-old! Sometimes I can't believe it myself. ;-) I loved seeing your kids at NErDcamp. They were so cute! Enjoy them - time flies!

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