Monday, February 25, 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.

These are the titles I read this week:
Babymouse for President (Babymouse #16)  Babymouse: The Musical (Babymouse, #10)
I'm continuing my journey through all the Babymouse books.  Love these two!  Again, don't let the cuteness (although, they ARE cute!) fool you - there are sophisticated layers of humor in these Babymouse books! Younger kids will love Babymouse's personality and antics, and you can use them for older kids to point out allusions.  OR, you can just all read them for a great laugh!
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 Glory Be
I paired these up for my civil right movement unit for groups to read, and we just finished them.  I reread each of them as I taught them and once again appreciated the great storytelling!  What I love about both these books is that they teach the horrors of racism layered with every day problems and triumphs kids face.  My students loved both of them, and we had lots to discuss!  Watch for an upcoming blog post featuring the book trailers we're going to make for them using Animoto. 
In A Glass Grimmly (A Tale Dark & Grimm #2)
2012-book, adventure, allusion, books-for-boys, fairy-tale, fantasy-science-fiction, humor, intermediate-kids-book, point-of-view
I didn't listen to the audio version of this one, but I still heard the voice of the audio version of A Tale Dark and Grimm in my head. This one still has the humorous narrator popping in to warn the reader of the upcoming violence and mayhem. I laughed aloud just like I did while listening to the first one. However, I think this one might have gone a bit overboard with the gross factor. My students (especially boys) liked it just as much, though, and they are the ultimate judges of children's literature. This one features Jack and Jill and alludes to well known tales such as "The Emperor's New Clothes," "Snow White," and Mother Goose rhymes. But there are more obscure references, too, which Gidwitz explains at the end. I loved that he even used a Car Talk story as a source. The title and story structure reflects a scripture verse! So if you want to teach your students to pay attention to allusions and have fun with fractured tales, Gidwitz's books are for you (and all the boys in your class)!
Good night, laila tov

Good Night, Laila Tov by Laurel Snyder

cats, dogs, family, figurative-language, kindness, multicultural, nature, poetry, sensory-details, setting, spiritual, theme

I read this for the #SharpSchu Twitter book club in February with Laurel Snyder. A family goes on an adventure, and the parents plant trees in the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam, or repairing the world. It's such a sweet book of nature, family, and the idea that kindness and peace make the world a better place.

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

2013-book, adult-fiction, audio-book, historical-fiction, slavery

Interview with Tracy Chevalier about The Last Runaway:

I am a huge fan of Tracy Chevalier and loved Girl With a Pearl Earring and Remarkable Creatures. Honor Bright is an English Quaker who travels to America with her sister, who is to be married, in 1850. Tragedy befalls them, though, when her sister dies. Honor ends up moving in with her sister's betrothed and his family in Ohio, but is very uncomfortable with them. She meets and marries a man in their small community who is also a Quaker. Adam is a good man and treats her well, but she is not satisfied. Honor becomes involved in helping runaway slaves, but her husband's family does not approve. She becomes angry and withdrawn, even going without speaking for some time. She eventually leaves the family home even though she is pregnant. Honor never seems like a completely sympathetic character. She is critical and discontent, and unbelievably falls for the slave catcher. I did like the ending, but for me, Honor was never a likable protagonist. The audio version didn't do the story any favors, unfortunately.

The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2)

The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielson

2013-book, adventure, arc, books-for-boys, character-development, fantasy-science-fiction, intermediate-kids-book, series

I read this as an ARC from NetGalley. I can not tell you how enthusiastic I am about this series. I love the writing - it draws you right into the action, and Sage/Jaron is a likable, accessible, yet complicated character. This sequel to the New York Times bestseller, The False Prince, jumps right back in to adventure with an assassination attempt on Jaron's life, which prompts him to run away and hide his identity once again. Pirates become a focus in this one, and Jaron has to figure out who is a friend and who is a foe. Throw in a little complicated romance (Amarinda or Imogen?), and you've got yourself a swashbuckling fantasy that kids are going to LOVE! Both would make fantastic read alouds.  Watch for its release on March 1st!  Stay tuned because Paramount is making a movie adaptation of The False Prince:

Book Trailer for The False Prince:

The Conductor
The Conductor by Laetitia Devernay


I picked this one up at the book sale at the Dublin Lit Conference. Its unique design was irresistible! I loved the magical tale of a conductor climbing the tallest tree and conducting an orchestra of leaves that take flight. Beautiful illustrations.
Punk Farm

This funny book reminded me of Click, Clack, Moo. I read this in preparation of seeing Jarrett Krosoczka at the Dublin Literacy Conference. A seemingly normal group of farm animals come out after the farmer's light goes off in the house to form a popular punk rock band. Love the ending with the forgotten sunglasses left on the floor of the barn the next morning. Kids would love this book.
Annie Was Warned

Annie's birthday is on Halloween, so she's not scared of anything! However, when she is dared to go to the haunted house, things start spooking her on the way. Maybe she is scared after all. Cute surprise ending!
TED Talks by Jarrett Krosoczka:
The Dovekeepers
The Center of Everything
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)
Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1)
Cover art for HIDE AND SEEK
What are YOU reading this week? Let me know in the comments below!  Do you like reading this blog?  I'd love for you to join or subscribe to it!  Whenever I see someone sign up, it makes my day!  Just scroll down to the bottom of this blog, and you'll see places to join and/or subscribe on the right hand side.  Thanks!



  1. Babymouse books! We borrowed several from the library and my eleven year old daughter just read all four right away! She enjoyed it greatly. I also have the complete Gregor the Overlander series but haven't had a chance to read through them yet. I am a sucker for wordless picture books, so I'm definitely looking for The Conductor - plus I love monochrome illustrations, the book cover looks inviting too. Have a great reading week ahead of you, Holly!

  2. I'm re-reading Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff. (I think the last 5 kids' books I've read have been multiple POV books) Also Navigating Early, which I tried to read on my Kindle but gave up and got a library book! Much better.
    I will save and revisit this post and the followups to see what your kids do with those animoto trailers.
    Great post, by the way. Keep 'em coming!

    1. I can't wait to read Tangle of Knots! I've heard a lot about it. Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm excited about the book trailers and look forward to your feedback about them. "See" you soon!

  3. The Conductor was definitely interesting. Eye catching because of its size. I should read Kate Messner's books. I had planned to read Capture the Flag but ended up reading I Capture the Castle instead which was a nice accidental read!

    1. That's funny about the accidental read! You need to definitely read Kate's books!