Monday, August 11, 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. 

It's been a couple weeks since I posted a #IMWAYR, so the list is a little longer than usual...
 The Lion and the Bird
Aw. What a sweet story. It reminds me of City Dog, Country Frog. I really enjoyed this book of friendship and the seasons of life. Great for units on friendship and the symbolism of seasons.
A Thirst For Home: A Story of Water across the World

This book was inspired by the author's own adopted Ethiopian daughter. This beautiful and heartbreaking story is perfect for our human rights/global issues unit that accompanies A Long Walk to Water and #ReadWalkWater!
Circa Now
This is a special book. I loved Circa and Miles, and all the gems of friendship, family, spirituality, and wisdom McRee packed into this story. It reminded me a little of Savvy and Scumble, but with a quieter, more serious tone. The Shopt photographs and accompanying stories were quirky and unique. There were so many interesting and wonderful parts of this tale: the mother's depression and anxiety, coping with the loss of Circa's dad, the possibility of magic, the Maple Grove residents and memory wall, Miles and his mysterious story, the photographs and photoshopping, and I could go on and on. This is a mentor text, a touchstone text, and would be a whopper of a good read aloud. Can't wait to share it with my students! Favorite lines: "...she considered how a person's purpose here on earth might not be made up of a thousand past or future thens. How it might be all about just one now..." 
 Conversation between Circa and Miles:
  "Your mom is stronger than you think," said Miles.
  "Easy for you to say," said Circa. "She doesn't seem to have any trouble taking care of you. It's me that's the problem."
 "There might be a good reason for that," said Miles. "Maybe it's because I see what she can do, and you see what she can't."
Sigh. Great book! 
Rain Reign
Heartbreaking. Rose Howard, a misunderstood girl diagnosed with high-functioning autism, and her love for Rain and homonyms will tug at your heartstrings. Thank God for her uncle! This book would be great to pair with Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine, Rules by Cynthia Lord, and Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Look for this book when it comes out in October (or on Netgalley, which is how I read it early). It is a must-read for middle graders!
The Meaning of Maggie
I really, really loved Maggie Mayfield and her family! Her funny, poignant, and smart voice captivated me from the very beginning. I caught myself laughing aloud, tearing up, and cheering her on. Her sisters, running feats, botched romance, and sarcasm cracked me up, but her struggles with the serious things happening in her life made me ache for her. I don't think this book is for anyone under 6th grade (maybe some mature 5th graders) - there is some young adult material (drug, alcohol, and sex references), but it would make a great mentor text for voice and structure for older students. I loved the footnotes. I also appreciated that it tackled a parent's illness (multiple sclerosis) and the inner workings of a gifted girl. Some of our students are faced with the great challenge of living with an ill parent and would see themselves in Maggie's journey. The story is inspired by the author's real family experiences with a father with MS. I highly recommend this book!
Reread - I loved it just as much as the first time. I so admire how Wiles tackles every day problems as well as global issues and politics in this story. I reread it to refresh my memory so I could read REVOLUTION. Original Review:  This is a terrific book! I loved Deborah Wiles for Each Little Bird That Sings, and now I love her even more! I don't think I've ever read an historical fiction book about the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I love to learn history through a great story - and this is a great story! I listened to the audio book, which I loved. The narrator who plays Franny has an endearing voice, and the audio clips of that time period are fascinating. I'm glad I had the actual book, too, so I could see how she did it in print. I would want kids to have both the novel and the audio version to get the most out of this unique coming-of-age story. I loved the message at the end. I HIGHLY recommend this! I'm so excited - I saw someone's review that this is a planned trilogy. Yay!
I was fortunate to meet Deborah Wiles at NCTE in November!

We Were Liars
This one is impossible to write about without giving the premise away, so I will just say that you will be riveted! There is one movie I could compare it to, but if I did, it would be a spoiler.  Be ready for captivating characters, an incredibly strong sense of setting, and an unforgettable mood.
            Looking for Me    
  I enjoyed following Teddi on both her personal and professional journeys. Her love of antiques and furniture restoration was interesting, and her suffering from the loss of her brother, Josh, an avid and gifted wildlife enthusiast, painful. Josh's story was a little far-fetched, but I was happy about the resolution. 
Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
I read this book while in Czech Republic teaching English. It was very convicting for me. Idleman's challenge is to stop merely being a fan of Jesus, but to make the commitment to follow Him. This is not an easy task. It requires fearlessness and faith, and a willingness to get out of your comfort zone.
Boys of Blur The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing
My family loves to read, too!
Libby is listening to:
Legend (Legend, #1)
Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)
The Night Guest
What are YOU reading this week?


  1. We Were Liars was an amazing read! The characters and the situation stuck with me for a while after finishing the book. I also loved Rain, Reign. I was so mad at all the adults in Rose's world and so glad she had that uncle to love her. I found myself thinking more about the rules of the road as I drove around after reading that book. Did I put on my right directional before turning? Thank you for sharing more about The Meaning of Maggie. I have seen a lot of people who really liked the book, but didn't know the premise. I will be interested to read about how the family deals with the father's MS. Have a great reading week!

    1. I was mad at the adults in Rain Reign, too! I think you'll love The Meaning of Maggie.

  2. Not a Fan sounds really good. I might have to get my hands on that one!

    I love your sharing what the whole family's reading. I might have to do that in future weeks.

    How are you enjoying Revolution? I thought it was fantastic, and it was one of those books that hit me hard!

    Happy Monday!

    1. Just started the audio of Revolution, but so far, so good! Lots of good comments about it! It's fun to add the family reading!

  3. The Meaning of Maggie is in my TBR pile and it just moved to the top! I too loved Circa Now and cannot wait to share it with my middle school students.Thanks for sharing A Thirst for Home -- I will definitely check it out.

  4. The Thirst for Home sounds fascinating, so glad to learn about it, thank you! :) Revolution is one of my FAVORITE audiobooks ever... enjoy! Will be curious to hear what you think of Boys of Blur.

    1. Have you read Boys of Blur? It's a little strange so far. Reminds me a little of Riverman and Tangerine.

  5. So many good books. I loved COUNTDOWN, but haven't gotten to REVOLUTION yet. It is one I want to read!

  6. What a great reading week! Circa Now is the book that started my summer reading! What a great start! There were quite a few lines in that book that moved me. So many of your books are on my TBR pile, I can't wait to get to them! Just need more time :)

  7. I admire the way you can keep track of what your family is reading!

  8. I've seen many positive comments about We Were Liars. Enjoy all of your books!

  9. Loved Revolution and Rain Reign, have Circa Now, a must read I think. Glad you enjoyed We Were Liars-awesome! Thanks too for the picture book about water. I'll pass the title on to a teacher whose class is studying water issues all year this year. Great reads in these two weeks, Holly!

  10. OMG I LOVED Revolution. That book has stuck with me for such a long time. I still remember being devastated when I realized the Mahlerbeau wasn't a real composer. I went to great lengths to search for a recording of the Fireworks Concerto only to discover he wasn't real! That's what a masterful writer Donnelly is -- if she can get a girl who played classical piano for 13 years and knows classical music thinking that a fictional classical composer actually existed. ;)

  11. My husband is going to kill me when he sees how much money I am going to be spending on books. These sound fantastic. :-)

  12. The Thirst for Home looks incredible. Thanks for sharing these videos - I am captivated. I just finished Circa Now as well! What a book!

  13. First, like always, I love seeing what your family is reading!
    Thirst for Home looks wonderful, and could be paired with Long Walk to Water beautifully it seems.
    Also, thank you (and Carrie) for introducing me to Circa Now. Looks lovely.

  14. Will definitely check out A Thirst for Home - sounds great! Tried to get Rain Reign through Net Galley but I was too late - have to wait for the actual release now, argh! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Hello there Holly! You have been reading a WHOLE LOT of books! So many great titles here. Thirst for Home sounds like a multicultural title that I can add to my higher-degree course. The video clips were also riveting. I have to find The Lion and The Bird too - it looks really beautiful.