Sunday, July 6, 2014

#MustReadin2014 Update AND It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Carrie Gelson and Maria Selke started the #MustReadin2014 Link Up at the beginning of the year, and Gathering Books started the Check Off Your Reading List Challenge 2014.  They go hand in hand, and I wrote a blog post listing 35 of the 900+ books on my Goodreads To-Read list that I want to definitely read this year.  This is my second update.  My first one can be found here. Be sure to link up on their blogs!  Since April 1st, I've only read several from my list - other books keep pulling me away.  I need to get back to it!  I've strayed from it quite a bit.
 The Summer of Letting Go

Finished 4/23/14:

The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler's List

Finished 5/26/14:

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)

Finished 6/17/2014:

Now on to what I've read in the last couple weeks since I didn't do a #IMWAYR post last Monday.  I'm only going to include my favorites since this is going to get long!

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. 


Mogie: The Heart of the House

Mogie: The Heart of the House by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal

Based on a true story:

Oh - I couldn't help but choke up at this sweet story about real life Mogie, a Labradoodle with a big heart. He knows just what each child and staff member needs at the Ronald McDonald House.
Bad Bye, Good Bye
Things can change from bad to good if you reach out and see new opportunities. A young boy only sees the negatives to moving, but soon his new home is a happy place.
Emily's Blue Period
Emily's Blue Period by Cathleen Daly, illustrated by Lisa Brown
This is a really special book. Emily's family is going through difficulties, and now she has two houses. Art and her connection to Picasso help her reconcile her feelings. I love her acceptance of her little brother's contribution to her collage at the end.

Oh Dear, Geoffrey! by  Gemma O'Neill
I LOVED the art in this book. Giraffes are my favorite wild animals. :-) This giraffe just needed to know where to look in order to make friends.
The Mermaid and the Shoe
I love the illustrations in this fairy tale about Minnow, a mermaid trying to find her own identity and purpose among all her sisters.

Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep
I enjoyed the funny ending of this book about Chengdu the young panda's plight of not being able to sleep. Great illustrations.

Absolutely Almost
Oh, so wonderful! Albie is an unforgettable character, and so is his amazing babysitter, Calista. I was so frustrated at his parents and their misunderstandings. I know they tried, but oh how I wanted to shake them!! My students are going to love this one, and I will add it to my "empathy" repertoire, right up there with Wonder and Out of my Mind. I thought it was interesting that Graff chose NOT to diagnose Albie with dyslexia, but to leave his learning difficulties without a label. My favorite conversation is between Albie and Calista on pages 105-106 about loving what you do and being good at it. This one is going to have Newbery buzz.

Brown Girl Dreaming
Be sure to preorder this book from your local indie bookstore!  It's release date is August 28th.

This is a beautiful, beautiful memoir written in verse. I was able to get the ARC at ALA (I missed her signing it, unfortunately) and read it right away while in Vegas because so many Nerdy Book Club people have been talking about it. I read it slowly, savoring every word. I loved hearing about Jacqueline's journey as a writer and a girl growing up in a complicated time . I will also get the hardback when it comes out because it is a keepsake. I can't wait to share this with friends and students. It will be a treasure in my classroom library. I love what Woodson said about memories and stories in her author's note. "The people who came before me worked so hard to make this world a better place for me. I know my work is to make the world a better place for those coming after. As long as I can remember this, I can continue to do the work I was put here to do." 
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Be sure to preorder this one, too, from your local indie bookstore.  It's release date is August 26th.

I'm going to be a rock star when I return to school with this book in hand for my students - I snagged this ARC, also, and Raina's signature at ALA. My students LOVED Smile and Drama and started anticipating this book back in the spring when I told them Raina was going to do another memoir like Smile. This one focuses on the story of her relationship with her sister, Amara - the good times, frustrating times, and difficult times. This one is funny like Smile, but it also addresses some serious topics like job loss and separation, issues many kids will identify with.

 Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

I loved this book! Thank you, Brenda Power, for sharing this book with all of us Choice Literacy folks. I'll be passing it on! It's funny, informative, and insightful. Austin Kleon tells us that it's time to debunk the myth that creative people are lone geniuses and encourage artists and writers, makers and creative entrepreneurs to show their work. It's about process, not product. Even though this book is geared toward the artistic set, I think it applies beautifully to educators and students. We're only going to revolutionize schools if we all show our work and stop isolating ourselves. We need to share our best ideas, be inclusive and not judgmental or competitive, and students will benefit. We can also teach the concept of showing our work to students. Talking through our own processes in whatever we're teaching, whether it be literacy, math, social students, science, etc., can be powerful. It's important to show our kids that we are doers of our craft, and we are working on it. Then we encourage THEM to show their work. Bloggers and users of social media will love this book, too. Favorite quotes: "Be an amateur," "You can't find your voice if you don't use it," "Become a documentarian of what you do," "Share your trade secrets," "Identify your fellow knuckleballers (hello CL!:-)." I love the concept of collaboration, and I feel like this book spoke to me as a person who loves social media (when you find positive and inspiring people to follow) and sharing books/ideas/philosophies. Showing your work, seeing other people's work, and finding fellow knuckleballers are quite rewarding and inspiring experiences!
Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane, #1)

All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1) 

My family loves to read, too!

Katie (18):

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Libby (21):

The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2)

My husband:

Protect and Defend (Mitch Rapp, #10)

My mom:


My dad:
The partners: Robert H Redding
What are YOU reading this week? 



  1. Lots of good books I want to check out. I need to be careful with books everyone seems to be raving about because most often than not, I end up not liking them because of high expectations!

  2. Love all the picture book reviews. Woodson's words are a reminder to us all.

    Here's my It's Monday!

  3. I had to pre-order the Woodson book, Holly - but I grow more impatient every day with all the wonderful things I read about it. I, too, loved that Albie's learning issues are left undiagnosed - that part was so poignant to me, for I have Albie's in my classroom every year, and there really is no label as such that fits, just this: I am a child who struggles to learn, please help.

  4. Almost all of your books are on my TBR pile! I loved Absolutely Almost. I thought it was interesting that while Albie didn't get a dyslexia diagnosis he also didn't get a LD diagnosis. Although it seems more and more often kids aren't getting any diagnosis but desperately need help. Such a great book for conversation!

  5. I just finished The Summer of Letting Go. It is a book that will haunt the very best of ways. I'm hoping to talk my daughter into reading it. She's been eyeing it, so I'm trying to control the fangirling in order not to turn her off of it. I've been hearing a lot about Show Your Work. It's one I want to read.

  6. I have to say that I am beyond jealous that you have been able to read Brown Girl Dreaming. I can't wait to get my hands on it in August! Absolutely Almost is literally on my shelf right now and I need to get to it. I also need to find the sisters book. My kids lived Smile and. Drama.

  7. I don't even know where to start in my comments of this amazing post. First of all, I cannot WAIT to read Brown Girl Dreaming. Your review made me want to read it even more. I've had Absolutely Almost on my TBR list for awhile now, and you just made me realize I need to read it sooner! After reading your The Boy on the Wooden Box review, I put a hold on the audio recording at my library. I hope it is a good listen (without the pictures). I saw it won a few audio book awards, but I hope I don't miss those pictures you talked about. Thanks for all of these great books. You always inspire me to get off my butt and get more books (as if I don't have enough)!

  8. It seems that Absolutely Almost should be a teacher book group, Holly. It would open up a good conversation I suspect. Sometimes a students doesn't get a diagnosis because the parents resist the labeling, thus the teacher has to do a lot of guessing... Thanks for all the great titles; I've pre-ordered Brown Girl Dreaming, too. Lucky you at ALA!

  9. I have heard excellent things about Absolutely Almost and Brown Girl Dreaming. They definitely are on the top of my list. Also, I cannot wait for Sisters. I love both Smile and Drama, as do all my students. They will be excited about this one too. Have a great reading week!

  10. I am about to start The Summer of Letting Go which is a #mustreadin2014 title for me and I am excited to read it! Like many here, I can't wait to read both Brown Girl Dreaming and Absolutely Almost. I included Emily's Blue Period in my post today too. What a book! I am excited to have it in my classroom collection starting this fall.

  11. Can't wait to read Brown Girl Dreaming and Sisters, loved Absolutely Almost... Happy reading week to you...

  12. Absolutely Almost - now added to my summer reading pile! I've also seen Sisters on a few posts this week so that one has also been added. Great feature picture books this week - I loved The Mermaid and the Shoe. Saw Emily's Blue Period on Carrie's post and made a note to get that one. Bad Bye, Good Bye also looks like a good one - love the title! Wonderful books, Holly! Thank you!

  13. I love the Chengdu cover! I'm going to get hold of this one!

  14. I just borrowed The Boy on the Wooden Box from our library last week and I'm really looking forward to reading it. My daughter is such a HUGE Telgemeier fan, she will literally freak out when she discovers that there's a new book out! Will have to find this one for her. Brown Girl Dreaming sounds so beautiful. Looking forward to that too. :)