Monday, April 28, 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. 
Miss Maple's Seeds
I thought this book was charming. I loved pouring over the illustrations - they're beautiful and magical. Great book to use for building students' understanding of metaphor and theme.
Breathe: with audio recording
I loved the striking illustrations in this book about a baby Beluga's journey, and the message from his mother to enjoy life and all its wonders. I smiled all the way through it. It would make a great, calming bedtime book for a child.
Listen to an excerpt here.
I'm embarrassed to say I've never read Matilda. I don't how I had such a glaring reading gap, but now it's fixed! I made sure I got the audio narrated by Kate Winslet because it won the Odyssey this year. Oh my goodness - it is BRILLIANT! The story is, of course, hilarious and wonderful, and it's hard to improve upon Roald Dahl, but I can't recommend Winslet's interpretation enough. Her voices for The Trunchbull and the parents make you laugh aloud, and Matilda and Miss Honey's voices break your heart. Just wonderful. Don't miss this new audio!! New item on my bucket list? To see Matilda: the Musical on Broadway!!
I feel so blessed to have become friends with Margaret Simon through the Slice of Life community. She graciously sent me her beautiful young adult/middle grade novel, Blessen. Right away I fell in love with young Blessen, a girl who is trying to figure out her identity, resolve feelings of guilt, and find her way in the world. The sense of place is so strong that the setting becomes a character - the hot and steamy southern Louisiana, Margaret's own state. I was hooked immediately when I found out one of Blessen's dear friends was a chicken, Blue! Blessen experiences loss and discovery throughout the novel, all of which help her blossom and realize how strong love is, and its power over death. Blessen will stay with me for a long time. Thank you, Margaret!
The Summer of Letting Go
I LOVED The Pull of Gravity, so I was excited when all the buzz started about her new book.  It did not disappoint!  I was completely absorbed in this lyrical story about redemption, growing up, loss, and love. The premise and tone reminded me of a Jodi Picoult book - the mystery was compelling, and the characters captivating. Lots of exploration of family dynamics, spirituality, the complications of friendships, angst, guilt, and forgiveness. Very well done! I'm recommending it to my high school daughter!
The Selection (The Selection, #1)
I enjoyed listening to this dystopia meets "The Bachelor" story.  The narrator's voice fits America Singer perfectly.  I'll be continuing the series.
The Riverman
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie
My family loves to read, too!  Here is what they are currently reading:
My husband, Ed:
My Father's Secret War: A Memoir
My daughter, Libby (21):
Thinking, Fast and Slow
My daughter, Katie (18):
The Longest Ride
My mom:
The Personal History of Rachel DuPree
My dad:
Journey to Utah
What are YOU reading this week?


  1. What a nice assortment of books. I have still never read anything by Roald Dahl. I should look for that audio book. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  2. Thanks, Holly, for including me and little ole Blessen in this rich review. And alongside one of my faves, Gae Polisner. She has been very helpful in the Teachers Write community led by Kate Messner each summer. Happy Monday!

  3. Good choices and quite an assortment. I loved Kate Winslet reading Matilda and just saw the play again last week because I managed to get a really, really cheap ticket up in the balcony. I just love Roald Dahl.

  4. Ilove stoppingby,Holly, always such lovely selections! I need to read Margaret's book - she is a gifted poet,and I imagine this book is a rich reading experience.

  5. I should listen to Matilda now... thanks. :) Hooray for The Summer of Letting Go book love... I really enjoyed it as well...

  6. You are the second person who has The Riverman listed. I think I need to read that one! I am looking forward to The Summer of Letting Go. I love seeing what all your family members are reading too! Thanks for sharing. Have a great week! ~Megan

  7. I've loved the snippets of Blessen I've had the privilege to read through Teachers Write! too! And other bits of Margaret's poetry on my Friday Feedback blog. She had a stunning mss in the works... anyway, so glad you loved it, Holly. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Love hearing about Gae Polisner's book. I have it, but still need to read it. And I love Miss Maple's Seeds. Lots to like hear, Holly. Thank you.

  9. Ah! I really need to read THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO. It has been on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing all of these great books with us. It seems like you had a great week!

  10. I didn't realize that Margaret Simon had written Blessen--I need to get a copy! Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention, as I only know Margaret through SOLSC, as well. Great recommendations this week!

  11. I am also a fan of Miss Maple's Seeds. I have Polisner's book on my #MustReadin2014 list! Can't wait to get a copy! I adored Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie. Couldn't put it down. An emotional amazing read!

  12. I always share Daniel Kahneman's video clip on youtube about the powers and failures of intuition whenever I teach my creativity module for the Singapore army, it's always so nice to see it here in your blog. Miss Maple's Seeds sounds beautiful. I confess to not having read Matilda yet! yikes. Hopefully, I can do a Roald Dahl reading marathon soon. I think I own a copy of this, I just haven't had the time to crack it open yet.