Sunday, May 12, 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.

Here are the books I read this week:
If You Want to See a Whale

I LOVE this pair and Erin Stead's illustrations! The dog and bird are adorable in this one. She can create irresistible animal expressions. I enjoyed the simplicity of childhood and lazy summer mood created in this story about a boy and his dog looking for a whale and what NOT to look at if you want to see one. Fogliano and Stead make you yearn for childhood when you passed a day with no destination, but just enjoyed the journey.  If a destination was reached, it was just serendipity.  Awesome last page!
The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)

This middle grade fantasy series is going to be very popular in my classroom!! I'm so glad I bought this one and the sequel after I saw Lisa McMann at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. After I book- talk this one, I'm sure I won't see it on the shelf for awhile! Quill is a society in which order, strength, and intelligence are desired - not creativity. Therefore, every year, thirteen-year-olds who have had infractions such as singing, drawing, or acting, become Unwanteds and are Purged - sent to the Death Farm to be tossed into the Great Lake of Boiling Oil. However, when Alex is condemned to death while his twin brother, Aaron, is Wanted and sent to University, he is surprised to discover something much different than a horrible drowning. He meets Mr. Today who shows the group a beautiful land called Artime. It's a place full of flowers, various creatures, and magic. Alex and his friends are stunned. There they learn that they are free to think for themselves. They immediately enter training where they are taught to use their talents in order to prepare for an inevitable battle with Quill. What follows is a great adventure full of fireball dragons, stinging soliloquies, splatterpaint, fire steps, itch glue, slam poetry, scatterclips, slash singing, blinding highlights, and the dreaded Shakespearian theater curse. I'm ready to start the sequel!!
More from the Joseph-Beth Booksellers event with Lisa McMann and Jennifer Nielsen:

A couple of my students came, too!

Hurt Go Happy

This counts as #1 toward my SILVER level in the Award Winning Books Reading Challenge 2013!
Hurt Go Happy was the 2008 ALA Schneider Teen Book Award Winner.  The Schneider Book Award honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.  I had a student who loved this book and wanted me to read it, so of course, I did. The novel was inspired by a true story of a signing chimpanzee. Teenager Joey Willis lost her hearing when she was six. The exact cause of her deafness is not revealed until later in the story, but we know that her mother is completely opposed to her learning to sign. It's serendipity when Joey meets Charlie one day while looking for mushrooms on his farm. She learns that he can sign and even has a chimpanzee who signs, Sukari. Through her friendships with Charlie and Sukari, Joey learns to stand up for what she needs and believes and then becomes an advocate for Sukari after tragedy befalls her. My student and I think this would make a great paired text with The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
Eleanor and Park
I did not want this book to end. I listened to the audio which was narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra - they were perfect! Park, who is half Korean, meets 16-year-old Eleanor on the school bus for the first time. Eleanor could not be more different. Was she trying to attract attention with her crazy clothes and wild red hair? Eleanor sits down beside Park because his seat is the only one open. Romance does not start right away. Neither of them understand the other, and Park wishes she wouldn't keep sitting next to him, but now he can't do anything about it. A friendship slowly begins over comic books and music. Eleanor wonders if Park is friends with the kids that bully her. She endures terrible treatment from her high school peers and her horrible stepdad, but eventually, Park and Eleanor can't get enough of each other. I loved the explorations of family, fate, and individuality in this compelling story of two misfits who are perfect for each other.


Island of Silence (Unwanteds, #2)

Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers


Legend (Legend, #1)

Why We Broke Up

What are YOU reading this week?





  1. Eleanor & Park is on my to read list as well. Happy reading this week and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  2. I enjoyed Why We Broke Up...and Eleanor and Park is on my list.

    Enjoy your reads! Here's MY MONDAY MEMES POST

  3. I've heard so much about Book Love - we still do not have this title in our libraries unfortunately. I fell in love with Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler is brilliant. We also had an author visit us here in Singapore last week: Peter Lerangis! I had a chance to interview him here which was also great. A wonderful man. It's always lovely to meet authors.

    1. I went to a Peter Lerangis event recently, too, and really enjoyed him! He was such an entertainer! :-)

  4. What a busy reading week! My week was like that too. I really enjoyed Legend and Prodigy was even better (but for some reason unavailable on audio, which annoys me). I am going to have to look into ordering Eleanor and Park on audio. I love author events and it looks like that was a great one! I love it when I see lots of kids at an author event. Have a great reading week!

  5. Love Legend SO MUCH!!
    Lisa McMann is simply amazing in person...I adore her. Have you read The False Prince/The Runaway King? That's a great series as well!

  6. The Unwanteds is an excellent MG series! It won second place in the Maine Student Book Award voting! I've yet to meet Lisa though, so that's lucky that you have!

  7. The Unwanteds looks like a very colorful world to me! That big battle is definitely interesting too.