Monday, May 12, 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. 
Mom & Me & Mom
2013-book, adult, memoir, nonfiction, nonfiction-challenge

I love listening to Maya Angelou talk!  I was blessed to hear her many, many years ago when I attended Miami University.  She came and spoke at Hall Auditorium, and I went by myself.  I didn't want it to end. She was spell-binding.  She recited poetry, sang, and captivated me. 
This memoir is an account of Maya Angelou's amazing life and relationship with her mother. I marveled at the tragic and incredible experiences Maya lived through. She expressed deep love and at times, criticisms of Vivian Baxter, who although she was tiny, was larger than life. However, I was disappointed at the writing itself. It didn't seem as lyrical as many of her other works. I was glad I read it, though, and it was appropriate to finish it up on Mother's Day. I wrote a post yesterday about it and connected some of the things she said to my own mother. 
LOTS of PICTURE BOOKS this week!
         The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend       
                                  2014-book, friendship, mock-caldecott-2015, picture-book

I think this will be a favorite in elementary classrooms and libraries! Beekle's journey to find a friend is heartwarming. I love the illustrations!
Rules of Summer
As with most of Shaun Tan's books, this one will take several read throughs before it comes clear - if it ever fully does! But that's why I love Tan's books. They are complicated, strange, and beautiful. This one is no exception.
The Most Magnificent Thing
Oh, how I loved this book! I connected strongly to it because of writing frustrations, and I know there are many students in my gifted classes who will identify themselves in this "regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world." We can all learn from this little girl who want to make the perfect, most MAGNIFICENT thing, but can't quite seem to get it right. Her little hilarious dog is right by her side through the whole frustrating process - kids will laugh out loud at his antics and expressions. After an emotional explosion and a nice walk, she realizes if she takes the bolts on one, the shape of another, etc...she has the perfect object. I love the people discovering what they like about all her other "mistakes." Great book to talk about the creative process, innovation, and persistence!
This Is a Moose
I bought this one for the classroom because I have one student who LOVES anything about a moose. She just loves moose. Isn't that funny?! She'll love this one, and so will the class. The over-the-top story and illustrations teach us that you can be anything and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
The Girl and the Bicycle

This may be my favorite picture book so far this year.  This beautiful story made me tear up at the end. I was rooting for the little girl, and when things didn't seem to be going as planned, I was sad for her. I guessed what was going to happen right before it did, but I still choked up at the last scene! This is just the kind of book every teacher needs in the classroom and every parent needs to read to his/her child. It teaches determination, selflessness, work ethic, playfulness (the antics and expressions of the little brother, cat, and dog are so cute), delayed gratification, kindness, joy, and love...all without words. Just wonderful. I'm obviously a Mark Pett fan. I gave his 2013 wordless book The Boy and the Airplane 5 stars, too!
Come back Wednesday to see what nonfiction picture books I've been reading.
The History of Us
The Elite (The Selection, #2)

My family loves to read, too!

My mom:


My dad:

Easy Money - A Frank Roderus Western


Thinking, Fast and Slow


The Longest Ride

My husband:

Transfer of Power (Mitch Rapp #3)
What are YOU reading this week?







  1. Nice choices! I'll have to look for "magnificent thing" to use with my kiddoes. I read and loved Beekle this week too!

  2. Such great picture books this week! After seeing THE RULES OF SUMMER over and over again on people's It's Monday! posts, I finally decided I need to get that one from my library. Unfortunately it's still on order and there's a person who put it on hold ahead of me, but hopefully I'll be able to read it SOON! :)

  3. That's more books than I'm working on! WIth the 48 Hour Book Challenge coming up, I need to get my TBR in order.

  4. Can't wait to read Rules of Summer... :) Beekle is fantastic. Happy reading week...

  5. Those look like some really cute picture books! Especially Beekle.
    Check out my It's Monday post.

  6. Love Maya Angelou and will have to put this on my summer reading list. One of my students performed "Still I Rise" for elocution. To prepare her, we watched a video. Such an inspiration! I need to make more time for picture books. How do you use them with your students? It was one of my goals this year that I didn't quite get to.

    1. Margaret - First, I read picture books for my own pleasure because I love them so much. Second, I use them in a lot of ways for my students. Right now I'm sharing a lot of creative nonfiction picture books with them for mentor texts for their own writing. I gather picture book text sets for mini-lessons on reading and writing standards, craft, and to help create concept maps around theme topics. I have quite a collection of pb - I consider it my art collection. :-)

  7. Really looking forward to seeing The Most Magnificent Thing and The Girl and the Bicycle, Holly. The others look good too (I loved Beekle), but those two sound very nice indeed. I'll look forward to your opinion of The History of Us, too!

  8. I've either read all of the same picture books as you or I have them currently checked out from the library. I think so far, I'm the only Nerdy member that did not like Tan's Rules of Summer. I'll have to watch the video and see if it helps clarify things for me... I just didn't get it... Summer brain already?? Thanks for putting the video links in! Have a great reading week!

    1. I can understand your feelings about Rules of Summer, Michele. It's definitely strange. I did find the video helpful.

  9. I want to read every picture book you listed! All sound and look so wonderful!

    Happy reading this week! :)

  10. Glad to hear that there's another Maya Angelou memoir. Her I know why the caged bird sings is a personal favourite. I also own another one of her books "Letter to my Daughter" which might be a great companion reading material to this one you just shared here. I am in love with Shaun Tan's artwork, how obscure his messages can be, and the many layers that can be unpacked in his narratives. The man's got magic in his veins. I have to find The Girl and the Bicycle. Sounds like a truly lovely book, Holly. :)

  11. Now, I am especially curious to read The Girl and the Bicycle. I loved The Boy and the Airplane. We have been reading very similar picture books recently! Rules of Summer is just amazing and I love Ashley's Spires' The Most Magnificent Thing.

  12. I'm very eager to read The Most Magnificent Thing and The Girl and the Bicycle. Thanks for sharing!