Monday, December 23, 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.
Books I read this week:
Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story from the Netherlands
I was fortunate enough to receive this beautiful book from Louise herself. A young Dutch boy, Piet, tells his story of how he dreamed of skating the great Elfstedentocht race like Pim Mulier, his hero. Little did he know he would have to skate a race similar in courage and steadfastness, living out his Dutch inheritance: "This is what it means to be Dutch, not only to love skating on our canals but also to be brave in our hearts." It was 1941, and he must accompany his friend, Johanna, and her little brother, Joop, whose father was arrested by the Germans, and skate to their Aunt Ingrid's house across the border into Belgium in order to escape harm. The soft, sepia-toned illustrations combine with this powerful story to make an indelible impression of bravery on the reader. More information on what happened after the war, the Elfstedentocht, and the history of skating come at the end. I look forward to sharing this book with my students.
This is an emotional book about the power of home and how nothing can destroy the human spirit.  It's wordless, and I loved how Amy, a Goodreads reviewer put it: "There are no words to really describe the devastating physical and emotional effects these events (natural disasters) have on people. That's why I think it is so appropriate that Flood is a wordless book."  The illustrations are gorgeous and powerful, and the story a perfect example of resiliency.
Daisy Gets Lost
Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka

Aw...Daisy is back again, and this time she gets lost after getting distracted by a squirrel. The expressions on her face are priceless.

Snowflakes Fall
Snowflakes Fall by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Steven Kellogg
                                  2013-book, picture-book, seasons, symbolism, theme

I love the illustrations in this book about children and snowflakes being unique and beautiful. The symbolism of the seasons remind us that spring and its promise of renewal and redemption is right around the corner. Touching tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.
The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)
                                    audio-book, dystopian-novel, read, young-adult-book
This book has been popular in my classroom, so I knew I needed to read it. I can see why the kids love it. It's fast-paced with many layers and complicated characters. It starts with Thomas waking up in the "lift," with no memories of how he got there or who he was before. He discovers he's in the Glade, with walls surrounding him, accompanied by other kids. He soon learns there are certain rules about how to survive there. Number one is NEVER be caught in the Maze after dark. He soon discovers why. Of course, the conclusion and the epilogue make you want to read on!  Looking forward to the movie, too!
This is a strange, compelling, and fascinating story. Neil Gaiman himself narrates the audio, and his voice is mesmerizing. It's part ghost story, horror, fantasy, and nostalgic realistic fiction. The characters are haunting and captivating. I'd love to sit down and talk with Gaiman. After reading several of his books, I'd love to know what goes on in his head! A dinner party with him, Stephen King, Roald Dahl (I realize that's impossible), and Laura Amy Schlitz would be fascinating.
Allegiant (Divergent, #3) Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts--and Life
The Giver (The Giver Quartet, #1) Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)
My family all loves to read, too, so I feature their books on my post each week.
My mom is reading:
Very Valentine
My dad:
Wolf Mountain
My 20-year-old:
And the Mountains Echoed
My 17-year-old (for AP English):
My husband:
Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)
What are YOU reading this week?



  1. I love Gaiman's books. I never finished Bitterblue, for some reason I could not get into it like the previous books. Have a great reading week!

    Check out what we're reading

  2. Flood is definitely a powerful book - the images alone tell so much. I have read The Maze Runner and was interested when my 11 year old fell into the series. It was his first toe dip into dystopian concepts and wow, what a gruesome adventure. Highly suspenseful! Happy reading this holiday!

  3. How fortunate that you got a copy of Louise's book. I know you have talked about how much you enjoy her work. I am amazed my how many books Neil Gaiman has written. Have a great week!

  4. I have started Neil Gamian's book several time but can't seem to get into it. Would love to hear what more you think about it. I loved his other books but I am stuck with this one.

    I did love reading And the Mountains Echoed. It was a good read.

  5. Louise's book sounds SO interesting and it has such a beautiful cover :)

    I've read FLOOD and it's beautifully illustrated. It was released a few months after "Sandy," so it had quite an impact, certainly here in Jersey :( SNOWFLAKE is also stunning. Such a softness. I've always loved winter/snow books :)

    I've seen THE MAZE RUNNER on the shelves for a while, but never knew what it was about. The trailer makes it look really compelling and ominous. I'm glad you posted it!

    I'm really impressed by Neil Gaiman. In fact, I own a couple of his books and STILL haven't read them. My to-read queue is SOOOOOOOOoooooooooo long *sigh* I've yet to read the series by Veronica Roth, but it's obviously a big hit.

    I read THE GIVER and ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and would think they're wonderful to listen to. I adored the PBS movie of "Anne" with Megan Follows :)

    And I really love the cover of BITTERBLUE, but have no clue what it's about lol I'm always amazed at how much people read. It takes me forever to read most books 'cause I only read at night and I fall asleep lol

    Stay safe through the holidays, everyone! :)

  6. We used Ocean at the End of the Lane as one of our books for my book club for young readers. There were those who really enjoyed it but most of them found it really creepy and haunting. There were even two boys who flat-out refused to continue reading, it was just too much for them (10-11 year old boys). I personally found it absolutely beautiful. The best Gaiman read for me.