Sunday, January 5, 2014

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 am excited that I met the Goodreads 2013 goal of 300 books.  I read 302.  I set the same goal for 2014 because it was a number that pushed me to keep on top of it, but it wasn't stressful.  I read a good mix of genres and formats, so I want to do the same this year.  I front-loaded a bit this week because I have a LOOONG book coming up for my book club:  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
Ah Ha!
How do you tell a great story using only the letters "h" and "a"? Jeff Mack shows us how. Kids will love it! This book was on Dylan Teut's Top Ten blog post, so that's why I read it.  Great recommendation!

 Bits & Pieces
I thought this was a sweet story, and Tink has a little bit of everyone's pet cat in him. He certainly reminds me of my cat, Faith - a little daffy (brain the size of a pea) and a born collector/eater (love the list of Tink's snacks). Faith is even a little cross-eyed, just like Tink.  The illustrations capture Tink's personality perfectly!
I LOVE Henny! Henny is not a typical chicken - she was hatched with arms instead of wings! After much angst and ambivalence, she finally reconciles her differences and embraces her individuality and capabilities. Adorable illustrations. This one is a must-have for the classroom and will be a big hit among children.
Mustache Baby
2013-book, character-development, character-traits, humor, picture-book, read, surprise-ending


I wasn't sure where this one was going at first, but it was pretty funny! Kids will love the illustrations and humor, and it might prompt a good discussion about self-fulfilled prophecies, first impressions, or physical characteristics influencing personality.
An Otis Christmas
                    2013-book, bebrave, christmas, mock-caldecott-2014, picture-book, theme
Yay, Otis! Another wonderful Otis installment by the amazing Loren Long. I just love the message and gorgeous illustrations. Captures the true meaning of Christmas - love, sacrifice, and hope.
Once Upon a Memory
                  2013-book, memoir, mock-caldecott-2014, model-for-writing, picture-book
Sweet illustrations help us think about memories, how small things create big ones, and changes. Spare text leaves lots of room for thinking.  Great book to use during a memoir unit.

Sophie's Squash
Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdof
Aw...I'm glad I didn't miss this one. Sophie is a sensitive, vibrant little girl (the illustrations capture her essence perfectly) who decides to make a squash (yes, a squash) her best friend. Her patient parents try to help her give Bernice the squash up because it's rotting, but Sophie won't hear of it. She does, however, ask a farmer how to keep a squash healthy, so she makes Bernice a little bed under the soil. Winter comes and buries her in snow, so Sophie befriends a fish for awhile. Spring brings a delightful surprise. Sophie reminds me of little gifted girls I know who make imaginary and/or unusual friends and love them with all their hearts!
The Giver (The Giver Quartet, #1)
I read this years ago, but I wanted to refresh my memory since one of my middle graders is reading the series. I forgot how disturbing it was! It borrows concepts from The Handmaid's Tale and other classic futuristic stories and sets the standards for today's dystopian craze. I've never read the rest of the series, but I'd like to since SON came out not too long ago.  Lois Lowry is brilliant.
 The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey, #1)

A student gave me this book for Christmas, so of course, I had to read it over break. It's hard to believe that it is written by the same author who wrote heartwarming, sweet Christmas books! This one is full of action, torture, and sadistic characters.  However, there are also characters who are willing to sacrifice and do the right thing.  There is no doubt that some of my adventure/science fiction readers will enjoy the electric super powers of the teenage members of Electroclan, the suspense, and mystery of Elgen.
The Impossible Knife of Memory
Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1) Rose Under Fire
Every week I also like to feature what my family is reading.
Katie, my 17-year-old:
For AP English...
Libby, my 20-year-old:
Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
I'm having so much fun watching/listening to her enjoy this series immensely!
My husband:
Live by Night (Coughlin, #2)
My mom:
Brava, Valentine
My dad:
The Cowboy Megapack: 25 Western Tales by Masters
Come back to the blog on Wednesday to see what children's NONFICTION I'm reading.  Every Wednesday I link up to Alyson Beecher's Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge.  I post nonfiction picture books and longer nonfiction middle grade/young adult book reviews/comments/recommendations.  What are YOU reading this week?


  1. WOW-you come from and are in a family of readers!! How nice. My mom LOVES to read. That's about all besides me. Well, my husband reads the Cattleman's Newsletter. :)

    I've been wanting to reread The Giver, too. I read it many years ago, and I have the next 2 books, so I need to get Son and then read them back to back.

    Have a great week!


  2. I wish I could get my 17 year old daughter to read but she refuses :( Luckily the 11 and 10 year olds both love it.

    Have a fab week,
    Shelleyrae @ Book'd out

  3. Oooh, Insurgent! I've yet to read that series, but I heard awesome things about it. Enjoy!

    Take a look at what I'm reading this week.

  4. Once Upon a Memory is lovely, I think. And, wow, 300 BOOKS! That calls for a celebration!

    Here's my It's Monday!

  5. I just finished reading ONCE UPON A MEMORY a few minutes ago. I love Renata Liwska's illustrations. She's one of my favorites.

  6. What a great pile of picture books you had. I have heard so many excellent reports on Sophie's Squash. I am going to have to read it. I am interested to hear what you think of the audio of Rose Under Fire. I had mixed feelings.

  7. I love your varied reading! Sophie's Squash was adorable and quirky in a GREAT way. Rose Under Fire is on my #mustreadin2014 list. Looking forward to it and many others of your reads!

  8. There are so many new picture books on your list that are new to us. Thank you so much. We just ordered Sophie's Squash - Can't wait to read it.

  9. Hello Holly! Great list this week! Your picture book selection is wonderful with many new titles for me. Henny looks adorable, as does "Ah Ha" - love clever books! I also reviewed Once Upon A Memory on my post today - I loved the theme of memories and the origins of objects. I'm saving it until I think of a great lesson to go with it! Sophie's Squash is a great book as well. My boys gave me The Goldfinch for Christmas - and I'm looking forward to diving into that one, too! It's on my #mustreadin2014 list - which I'm posting soon! Have a great week!

  10. Hi Holly! You have some wonderful picture books listed this week! Henny looks wonderful and so does Ah Ha! What a clever concept to use only two letters to write a book. Have you seen "Dude" by Christopher Aslan? It's a whole book written using only the word "Dude"! (Hilarious!) I also shared Once Upon A Memory today on my post - it's a gem! My son gave me The Goldfinch for Christmas and I'm looking forward to diving in! It's on my #Mustreadin2014 list - which I will be posting soon!

  11. I really want to read Once Upon a Memory and Sophie's Squash. Keep hearing wonderful things! Henny looks adorable So many great picture books this week! Happy Reading for 2014!

  12. Hello there Holly, I've read The Giver aloud to my daughter last year and we're halfway through GatheringBlue now. Since we're doing two read-alouds (this Lowry title and Harry Potter), both books are slow-going for us, but sufficient time as well to relish the words and enjoy the narrative. Lowry weaves magical words indeed. I am scheduled to find Sophie's Squash this week from the library as it is one of the seven finalists for the Cybils Fiction Picture Book award. :) I do hope you'd join us for the Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014 if you haven't already. Have a great reading week!