Monday, August 19, 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 last week. 
The Story of Fish and Snail


I LOVED this book! When Fish and Snail are yelling at each other (after Fish tries to convince timid Snail to join him on his story adventures and Snail refuses), and Fish "stomps" off anyway, then Snail feels lonely and sorry, then both forgive each other, it reminds me of my childhood best friend and me. We used to love playing together, then we'd get into a fight and yell at each other, both stomping off to our respective houses.  Once we got home, we immediately felt regret.  What a great testimony to friendship, compromise, and forgiveness in this book.  The illustrations are glorious. I'd love to read this at the beginning of my fear and conflict unit! Yay, Deborah Freedman!

This is a gorgeous book! I read it to prepare for the September #sharpschu book club, and I think it's my favorite picture book of 2013 so far. The beginning reminded me of John Rocco's Blackout because a bored, lonely girl can't find anyone in her busy family to spend time with her. When she discovers a red marker and draws a doorway on the wall, an incredible adventure ensues. The illustrations are beautiful and intricate, and I love the girl's modes of transportation through her travels, eventually leading her to a grand act of kindness. I think I will use this book to open my unit on journeys/quests.  I liked this book so much, I did a whole blog post on it over the weekend.

This simple story shows how bullying might get started. Bull is told to "GO AWAY!" by a bigger bull, so he turns around and starts bullying Rabbit, Chicken, and Turtle when they ask him to play. Fun word play follows as Bully insults each animal according to their characteristics. When they all DO go away, Bull feels badly. Kids will laugh at the humor, but will understand the implications of bullying. Good conversation starter for the beginning of the year for young children. This is my last summer #bookaday!
Zebra Forest
Annie is supposed to write about three wishes for her teacher, so she makes them up, but her real wishes are to be taller, have an adventure, and meet her father. She thinks all three are impossible, especially the last one because she thinks her father is dead. Her mother left them so she and her little brother, Lew, live with their dysfunctional grandmother. She has good days and bad days, and Annie has to take care of a lot of things around the house. There comes a day when everything changes, though, and her father shows up as an escapee from prison and holds them hostage. It sounds like an implausible plot line, but Gewirtz somehow makes it realistic and redemptive. Through long conversations, an understanding comes about, and Annie learns to understand her unorthodox family. I love the symbolism of the black and white forest where Annie's stories come alive. Don't you LOVE the cover?! The audio's narrator is excellent!
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Allusions galore in this delightful mystery set in a fantastical library! This is definitely a homage to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Mr. Lemoncello playing the part of Willy Wonka, constantly talking in book-speak. Kyle wins an essay contest to spend the night in a lock-in at the new Alexandriaville library with a group of kids. What they didn't bargain for was the fact that they have to find a way OUT of the library by solving puzzles in an elaborate game designed by the ultimate game-maker himself, Mr. Lemoncello. I really enjoyed all the references to children's books, and readers will enjoy trying to solve the puzzles along with the characters.

Seventeen-year-old Mia is celebrating a snow day with her family, driving along the Oregon road when we suddenly realize she's been in a terrible accident, and she's narrating from outside her broken body. Forman does an amazing job with point of view in this spare novel, telling us back stories through Mia's voice - her dreams of playing cello at Julliard, her romance with Adam, her hippie parents, and beloved little brother, all while she is disembodied, watching the family drama take place in the hospital. She has to decide whether to stay or go. Is facing the tragedy worth the pain, or would it be easier to let go? Watch out - this one is a tear-jerker!  There is a sequel, Where She Went, that I need to read next!
I like to let you know what my family is reading, too!
My mom:

 My dad:
Hobbs and the Kid
I just brought this home for my husband from the library based on a recommendation from his dad:
A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
My 20-year-old:
The Source
Poor thing - she's been so busy this summer, and this book is SO long, it's taken her the whole summer to read it!
My 17-year-old (summer AP English assignments):
The Poisonwood Bible Things Fall Apart (The African Trilogy, #1)
What I'm currently reading:
A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story
What I'm currently listening to:
Don't Go Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Professional books I'm working on:

Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading Unlocking Complex Texts: A Systematic Framework for Building Adolescents' Comprehension

Unlocking Complex Texts is our professional book club book this quarter, so I will be studying it for awhile.
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What are YOU reading this week?


  1. Fantastic books this week! I really want to read Mr. Lemoncello's Library but haven't gotten around to that one yet.

  2. Oh my! Too many fabulous new books. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library? Strategies for Close Reading? Bully? Journey? Off to add to my wishlist! Thank you.

    Here's my It's Monday!

  3. Great books this week! I hadn't heard of Zebra Forest. Here is my Monday Report. Have a great week!

    1. Zebra Forest is definitely worth checking out!

  4. I love that you shared what your family members are reading as well. So nice. Was amazed to see your 17 year old reading The Poisonwood Bible - that IS thick. I own a copy but haven't cracked that one open yet. We don't have Journey yet in our Singapore libraries, hopefully in a few month's time. Can't wait to read it. Thank you for sharing the lovely book trailers too.

    1. You'll definitely have to read The Poisonwood Bible! I've read it twice and loved it both times! She liked it. She had to write an essay about forests and their symbolism. You'll love Journey!

  5. So glad to see Mr. Lemoncello's Library on your list - I loved it, too! I need to find Zebra Forest, too. Notice and Note was my BIG PD read of the summer - I'll be taking so many ideas from it back to my classroom this Fall.

    1. I think you'll enjoy Zebra Forest! I look forward to delving into Notice and Note and learning a lot from it.

  6. Love your books this week. I will be requesting Journey and Zebra Forest from my library. I loved notice and note, but the other professional read is new to me. I will be anxious to see what you think of it. Have a great week!

    1. I think Unlocking Complex Texts is going to be really valuable! I took Laura Robb's workshop, and she was excellent!

  7. Wow, really loved the books you mentioned this week and the fantastic reviews as well... quite grateful. Can't wait to get my hands on Journey... :)

  8. I am hoping to get to Mr. Lemoncello this week. I am excited! I really enjoyed If I Stay, but I LOVED Where She Went. Adam's story is a heartbreaker. I hope your mom is enjoying 11/22/63. It's one of my favorites by Stephen King. I just finished Joyland and it was great too! Have super reading week!

    1. I'm glad you liked Where She Went. I need to get it!

  9. Journey looks great, I like the look of it a lot. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'll be talking up Journey for a long time! ;-)

  10. Journey is an amazing book! (I wrote about it today, also!) I have Mr. Lemoncello's Library next to my bed, but I haven't had time to get very far. Bully is one I'll be adding to my list. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh, I'll have to visit your blog to read what you said about it! You'll enjoy Mr. Lemoncello! Oh, those bedside books....

  11. I just got the email that Mr. Lemoncello's Library is waiting for me at my library. I've heard such good things about it. I think I'm going to pop into the bookstore to see if they have Journey as well.