Monday, June 24, 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.

I have been in Las Vegas this week.  What a fun vacation!  I've been here several times, but I haven't gotten tired of it yet!  We've seen "Ka" at MGM Grand and "O" at the Bellagio, shopped, sat by the pool, played some Black Jack, and enjoyed the fountains at Bellagio, yummy restaurants, and walking around this crazy town.  I've gotten in some reading on the plane and by the pool, but not quite as much as I thought I might - there are too many things to do!  Here's what I did finish:
Pug: And Other Animal Poems
PUG and Other Animal Poems by Valerie Worth, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
2013-book, animals, bookaday2013, poetry

I just love Steve Jenkins's paper collage illustrations. My favorite Jenkins illustration in this poetry collection about animals is the tiger.  So striking and dramatic! Valerie Worth's observations of the beauty of the animal kingdom are at times amusing, brutal, simple, and beautiful. Kids will enjoy this one a lot!


Every Day After

Well, I think I just read my favorite contender for the 2014 Newbery so far! Lizzie is a girl who has been fighting all her life to be a winner. Her father has pushed her in school because she has brains, and she has been used to beating everyone. Ben, her best friend, has been by her side for as long as she remembers, but lately, he seems to be pulling away. Recently, her father has disappeared - it's the Depression, and he has set off to find work. When will he come back? Lizzie believes with all her heart that he will be back. Her mother is falling apart, but Lizzie takes care of her. Erin is making her life miserable at school, determined to take her place as the top student. Lizzie has a lot to learn about life and herself. She doesn't want to ask anyone for help - she's a fighter, and she thinks she can handle everything on her own. She reminds me of Katherine Hannigan's Ida B. You'll root for Lizzie throughout this book and cheer for her as she fights the world and learns what it is to be a real winner. The poem at the end made me cry. Laura Golden wrote a fabulous debut novel!

Wake Up Missing

Kate Messner has become one of my favorite middle grade authors.  She know exactly what appeals to kids, and I love the children in her novels - they're brave, resourceful, adventurous, and have strong personalities.  Her books make great read alouds.  I was fortunate enough to receive a signed copy of the ARC.  Kate has been doing amazing philanthropy through Kidlit Cares.  She  coordinated fund-raising campaigns for Superstorm Sandy.  Recently she encouraged us all to donate to disaster relief through Red Cross in the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornadoes, and she recruited authors to donate signed books to the donators.  See what she set up here:  My students and I loved her Skype visit last fall, and don't miss the opportunity to see her presentations at various reading and writing conferences.  I blogged about the 2013 Dublin Literacy Conference in Columbus where I recently saw her here:  Well, enough of all that - here is my reveiw of the book, coming out in September!

Ooooh! Creepy and scary! Kids are going to love this middle grade thriller about kids who go to a high-tech brain injury facility that promises to help kids with their post-concussion symptoms. Cat is suffering from terrible headaches, dizziness, and thought- process problems, so she is nervous but happy to be going someplace where these terrible symptoms will be cured. She meets several other kids there with similar conditions. Not long after they all arrive, though, Cat starts to become suspicious and frightened that there's something more going on at I-CAN. One of the kids changes drastically, and one girl has completely gone missing. Cat overhears the men running the place talking about tumors, famous dead scientists, and secret weapons. The truth is, this is a facility that is using the kids, not curing them! What follows is a thrilling, blood-curdling attempt to escape before they are mutated into people they are not. Messner has perfected the cliffhanger chapter endings (just like she does in Capture the Flag and Hide and Seek - I read both aloud to my class, and they loved them), and will leave kids begging for more. It will make a great read aloud! I can also picture a movie made out of this book! Grab this book when it comes out in September!

More Kate Messner!  I'm also taking Teachers Write again this summer - don't miss that opportunity!

Real Revision: Authors' Strategies to Share with Student Writers

I'm a big fan of Jeannette Walls's books, so I am excited about this new one!

The Silver Star

(Now that I'm not driving to school every day, this is taking me a long time to finish!  It's great, though!)

Prodigy (Legend, #2)


A Prayer For Owen Meany

What are YOU reading this week?  Don't forget to enter my giveaway, celebrating my first blogiversary!
All you have to do is follow my blog or subscribe to it by e-mail if you don't already and leave a comment on that post.  I announce the winner on Tuesday!


  1. I loved Pug and Other Animals... but I have two pugs so I totally had to buy that book. :) I agree with you about the tiger illustration. It was absolutely stunning.

  2. Oh! A new Jeanette Walls! I hadn't seen this one, thank you! Adding to my TBR now :)

  3. Heehee, love that Pug book cover, so cute! I have had my eye on The Silver Star for awhile. Thanks for sharing, have fun this week!

  4. I want to read the new Jeanette Walls also. Vegas is always such a great trip.

  5. I REALLY need to get a copy of Every Day After. It looks amazing! Pug and Other Animals looks like something kids would love. Pi in the Sky is intriguing. Enjoy your week.

  6. I have to get the Kate Messner book on revising! We need to talk when we read it!

  7. I remember loving A Prayer For Owen Meany. I should read that again sometime! I really liked Prodigy and can't wait to see where she goes next with the characters.

  8. Can't wait to read Wake Up Missing!

  9. Have heard so many things about Every Day After! Looking forward to reading it.
    Also, way jealous about the new Kate Messner book! She is an amazing author.
    Enjoy Owen Meany- I love that book!

    Happy reading this week :)


  10. Oh I have to add the Pug book to my list to read. And I still have to get to Every Day After. And how is the audiobook for Prodigy?

  11. Have seen several great reviews of Every Day After & Wake Up Missing. Just saw Kate speak at the All Write conference. She is very good. Like Kellee, I loved Owen Meany-surprises in store for you! Thanks for all the good books!

  12. Jeanette Walls! Thanks for the heads up. Now I am really excited to read Every Day After. Loved your review.

  13. I always take too many books with me on vacation. Last month, I did leave behind two books that I'd finished so other guests in the hotel could read them. I like sharing books. But I went home with quite the pile of unread books (plus my ereader!).

    Hope you have a great week. Do stop by at the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop if you haven't yet.

  14. Silver Star should be good. Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Looks like a great week...ENJOY!!!

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

  15. Prodigy looks interesting! Happy Reading!
    Here is my Monday post.