Sunday, February 2, 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. 
These are the books I read last week:
The Watermelon Seed
                        2013-book, animals, award-winner, character-traits, humor, picture-book

This cute book took home the Geisel Award at the 2014 Youth Media Awards. The star of the book, a goofy green crocodile, tells us he LOVES watermelon, but worries when he swallows a seed. His angst is very dramatic, and he swears off watermelon when the seed finally dislodges. Can he really avoid his favorite food? Little ones will love this simple, funny, red, black, and green picture book.
Baby Bear
2014-book, animals, home, mock-caldecott-2015, mood-tone, picture-book


Such a peaceful, sweet story about Baby Bear trying to find his way home. I love when Moose catches him hugging a tree. Gorgeous illustrations. I'm going to use it this week for our FAMILY/HOME literacy unit!      
Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)           
I can't believe I didn't read this classic as a kid. I would've loved it! Well, I love it now. One of my best friend's daughter (and my former 5th grade student), Shannon, has loved this series forever, and when she gave it to Libby this past Thanksgiving, I felt like I finally needed to read it! I'm so I glad I did. The audio was priceless because the narrator captured the characters' voices perfectly. Anne is just a wonderful, funny, chatty, imaginative, intense little girl, and her antics just made me laugh. Siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, who are slightly curmudgeonly (especially Marilla) live on Prince Edward Island, end up adopting Anne through a mishap; they learn to adore Anne, and who wouldn't?!  I know just the kids who would love this story in my class!
Seven Stories Up
Last year, my 4th graders Skyped Laurel Snyder after I read Bigger Than a Bread Box aloud.  At that time, she told us she was writing Seven Stories Up!
We were so excited!
I'm fascinated with this story. Twelve-year old Annie and her mother visit Annie's dying grandmother, an unhappy and cranky woman. When Annie ends waking up in Molly's room in 1937, she realizes she is face to face with her grandmother as a child. She learns that Molly has been locked up in her room, ill with asthma and neglected by her father, living out a life very close to Mary Lennox's from The Secret Garden (one of my favorite books as a kid). They begin to sneak out on adventures in Baltimore, where they both learn about the Depression, the impending WW1, and each other. I began to think what it would have been like to visit my grandmothers as children. Would we have been friends? What would the world have been like? Would I see myself in them? I think my students will really enjoy this companion novel to Bigger Than a Bread Box, which I read aloud to them last year. One student snatched my hard copy up right away (I read it on my Kindle because I couldn't wait). I can't wait to talk to him about it Monday! I still have questions about it that seem unresolved, and I want to hear what he thinks.  What a captivating novel!
Better Nate Than Ever
 Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy  The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)
 My family loves to read, too!
Libby (20 years old):
East of Eden
Katie (17 years old):
Wuthering Heights
My husband:
Defending Jacob
My mom:
The Invention of Wings
Come back on Wednesday to read about the children's nonfiction I read this week.
What are YOU reading?


  1. Hmm I must go after Seven Stories Up, some of my class enjoyed Bigger than a Breadbox - I did too.

    1. You definitely need to read it. It's left me thinking ever since I finished it!

  2. You did awesome reading. Here is to more reading for you....

    Here is my post.

  3. I, too, adore Anne of Green Gables, but it is a hard sell for middle school students now. I might get one student every couple of years who really likes it. Sad.

  4. Seven Stories Up is one of #virtualbookclub's books to read this year. I believe in March. My eyes popped when I saw the Bear book illustrated by Kadir Nelson. I have a thing for bear books and generally purchase any book Kadir Nelson illustrates. I would love to have one of his prints. Such talent!

  5. Anne of Green Gables is my all time favorite book. My mom and aunt bought be the series for Christmas one year, and that vacation all I did was read and read! I loved the movie adaptations as well. Everyone needs to read about Ann. She becomes your best friend!

  6. I just began reading The Invention of Wings - very impressed so far. And, how awesome is Kadir Nelson - what an amazingly talented man. And Wuthering Heights - I've lost track of how many times I read that book!

  7. What a great assortment of books. All of them are on future elementary media center book orders. I can't wait to read The Watermelon Seed. Come see my Monday Report here. Happy reading!

  8. I really wanted to like Baby Bear more than I did because I normally love Kadir Nelson but IDK, Baby Bear's vacant eyes just don't have the normal vibrancy of Kadir Nelson's art.

  9. Just bought Seven Stories up, will get to it soon. What a great backstory about it with your class! I love Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson, just gorgeous & sweet. I'll look for The Watermelon Seed-sounds fun, Holly. Thanks for all!

  10. You had an amazing read. I hope you enjoy your books this week!

    Check out what we are reading this week.

    Leydy @OUaT & RCE

  11. Happy Monday, hope you're enjoying all your reads.

    Here's our IMWAYR
    Doris @ OABR

  12. Hi Holly, Seven Stories Up is on my must read in 2014 list. I also read Baby Bear this week and loved it. The Watermelon Seed is on my radar. Enjoy your week!

  13. I loved Anne of Green Gables when I was a kid! It would be interesting to go back and reread as an adult now.
    I loved the audio of The Raven Boys. The narrator is fantastic, but some parts I had to really crank the volume because of his whisper voice! Ha :)

  14. Thanks for such a great summary of Seven Stories Up - I am quite intrigued now. Love the Watermelon Seed! Such a cute title! Are you liking Dream Thieves? Can't wait for the third title

  15. Holly - Seven Stories Up sounds amazing - how exciting for your class to hear Laurel Snyder talk about it before it was finished! I am looking forward to reading it. Baby Bear is adorable - I featured it last week on my Monday post. Watermelon seed also looks fun! Ophelea is on my Mustreadin2014 list. Did you finish The Goldfinch? Have a great week!

  16. I'm reading Ophelia as well and it's interesting so far. And I've grown to appreciate The Watermelon Seed seeing others enjoy it for its simplicity!

  17. Hi there Holly, looks like I will be including Kadir Nelson's Baby Bear in the text-set I am using for my higher-degree class. Plus I am a huge fan of his artwork, so luminous and beautiful. I haven't read any of Laurel Snyder's works as yet, and she seems to be really prolific. Better Nate than Ever also looks great, will have to find that one. :)

  18. I listened to Defending Jacob...Would love to know what your husband thinks of it. Have you read it?