Monday, February 10, 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. 
Baby Penguins Love their Mama

Aw! Such a sweet book about the love a mother has for her children. Even when they grow up, she's still a mom! Guion's penguin illustrations are so cute! I won a signed copy from Kid Lit Frenzy.  It appeared at my front door in a pile of snow.  How apropos!  I'll share this book with my class since it will go perfectly with our family/home unit.
Almost Home
(You have to read the book to know why I wrote this review as a thank you note!)
Dear Maggie,

I want to thank you for lending me this book because you thought it connected to our family/home literacy contract. You were so right, and I LOVED it! Sugar Mae Cole was so brave and saw beauty in everything. She had gratitude for even the small things in life, and that saved her. Didn't you just love Shush? I loved how Shush found purpose and courage after being so afraid. I marked this line from Sugar: "I've learned something about sadness this last year. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just sit with someone who's hurting; you don't have to say anything or offer advice, you just sit there. I think dogs understand this better than people." I also thought Mr. Bennett was inspirational. I sure hope I am or can become a teacher like him. I thought the things he said and wrote to Sugar were awesome. He believed in her, and that made a huge difference in her life. Maybe I should paint one of my classroom walls red! It was so sad when Reba lost her way, but thank goodness for Lexie and Mac, and finally, Helen. I'm so happy Reba finally stood up to Mr. Leeland. Sugar's "Almost Home" poem at the end was beautiful and explained the concept of home perfectly. This book would be great to pair with Hold Fast by Blue Balliett and also reminds me of our read aloud now,  How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor.  I can also connect it to One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Thanks, again, Maggie, for introducing me to this book!

Sincerely, Mrs. Mueller

Better Nate Than Ever

Lots of people have recommended this book, and it was an award winner at the ALA Youth Media Awards, and now I know why! The humor, courage, and resiliency of the narrator, 13-yr-old Nate Foster, make you cheer for him all the way through the story. It takes a lot of hutzpah to run away to Broadway all by yourself, but Nate chases the dream of landing a part in a musical in the Big Apple by doing just that. He tries out for E.T.: The Musical, and his best friend, Libby, always in his corner, covers for him back home. Even though there are lots of laugh-out-loud parts, Federle covers the serious territories of alcoholism, religion, bullying, sexual orientation, and family feuds. However, he does it without didacticism. He shows us how people can hurt each other, but he also shows us how people can be strong and forgiving. Beware - you'll need to go out and get Five, Six, Seven, Nate right away because it ends on a cliffhanger!  You should have seen the look on my student's face when I handed the second one to her last week.  She couldn't wait to read what happened!
The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy, #3)
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)
(for book club)
Never Let Me Go
My family loves to read, too!
My husband:
Defending Jacob
My mom:
Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions
My dad:
The Gunsmith #305: The Sapphire Gun
Libby (20):
East of Eden
Katie (17):
Wuthering Heights
 What are YOU reading this week?


  1. I've got to find a copy of the penguin book. And I've heard lots of good things about Nate on Broadway, too.

    Here's my It's Monday!

  2. Did really love Almost Home. Bauer writes books that students AND teachers like-- complex, but with enough going on that they aren't "boring". The cover is brilliant.

  3. Thanks for sharing the baby penguins, Holly! Hope you have a great week.

  4. I reviewed Guion's book last year. LOVE it. It's beyond adorable!

  5. I really enjoyed both Raven Boys and Defending Jacob on audio! Great reads for you and the family. Have a great week ~Megan

  6. Joan Bauer just gets YA - every one of her books is always in circulation in our classroom library, Holly - and thanks for that letter/review. May I use it as a model for my kids?

    1. Of course! It automatically centered when I published it. It was supposed to look more like letter form - oh well. Maggie, the student who I wrote it to, loved seeing it when I shared the post with them today. :-)

  7. What a great bunch of books to read. :) Hope you enjoy your reads.


  8. When I read about your family/home contract back in January, I thought Almost Home would be a great addition. I am so glad you enjoyed the book. I think Sugar, her relationship with her teacher and her poetry create such a tender story. Ophelia is on my TBR list!

  9. I loved Almost Home too, and Never Let Me Go is wonderful. Need to get the Nate book, Holly, lots of good words all over about it! Thanks for all-enjoy your reading-always fun to see all that the family is reading, too!

  10. Loved Raven Boys and Dream Thieves. Can't wait for the next title. I like seeing Almost Home getting booklove - I didn't love it personally and feel like I should have. Some things just didn't ring true. My daughter LOVED it and told me numerous times how off I was! :-) She actually read it twice.

  11. I almost picked up Baby Penguins love their Mama for my daughter's Valentine's Day gift. But she seemed to find the Ladybug Girl book tastier and, as we all know, tastiness is a key component of board books. :)

    I hope you enjoy all of your books this week!

  12. Holly! This is the second time that I'm seeing Better Nate than ever. I know that this is a book my daughter would absolutely LOVE. I just reserved it in Kinokuniya and we'd be giving this to my daughter for IBGD. I just KNOW that she would love this as she enjoyed DRAMA by Telgemeier. I hope to read Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy soonest! :)