Monday, October 27, 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. 

Oh my goodness!  Could it be that it's been over a MONTH since I wrote a #IMWAYR post?!  I'll only feature some of my favorites I've read since September 22nd instead of everything, and then I'll try not to go so long in between again.
Flora and the Penguin
Molly Idle's new Flora book is just as perfect as the first one. How does she make us so happy with no words - just expressions, movement, and a silent story. Lovely.
Nana in the City
I really enjoyed this picture book about looking at things in a new way. It would be a great mentor text for point of view/perspective. Terrific illustrations.
african-american, dance, leaving-a-legacy, mock-caldecott-2015, multicultural, picture

Hank Has a Dream
Aw, I love Hank. I'm so glad he's back in this new picture book by Rebecca Dudley. This time he tells his friend, Hummingbird, his dream about flying. The ending begins to take us on the journey again, this time with Hummingbird. Dudley's miniature sets are just as magical in this one.
The Secret Life of Squirrels
I love the creativity and patience of this author/photographer! I had seen some of her squirrel pictures before on social media, so I was happy when I saw this book! She creates miniature tableaux, and then wait until squirrels come to investigate and snaps hundreds of photos until she gets just the right one to create the scene. So cute!
I Kill the Mockingbird
If you are a bibliophile, you can't help but love this book about 3 friends who hatch a crazy plan after getting their summer reading assignments to hide and "kill" copies of To Kill A Mockingbird in various local bookstores in order to promote interest in it (funny commentary about banned books in that action!). It's about the love of books and bookstores, friendship, family, and even a little romance. I laughed aloud at many parts, but there are also profound musings about God and spirituality. I'm not sure every kid would love it, but the ones who do are sure to be book lovers!
The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)
I loved this alien sci-fi thriller - I found it hard to put down once I started. The twists and turns, romance, and survival adventure kept me turning the pages. I'm so glad I waited to read it until the sequel was already published! Interesting exploration on what it means to be human and what humans are capable of in the midst of fear, survival, and war. On to Book 2...
365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts
I enjoyed reading the 365 precepts that Mr. Browne, Auggie's teacher in Wonder, gathered over the years. There is such a wide array of people (including children) represented. I see them as excellent writing prompts. My 6th graders already analyzed and written about G.K. Chesterton's precept, "I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act." Between each month, Mr. Browne writes essays in which a little more of the story Wonder gets revealed. I think this book is must have for the classroom library, along with Wonder, of course.
The Fourteenth Goldfish
This is a quirky story of family, fears, and science. Why do I say fears? Ellie's mad scientist grandfather is so afraid of aging that when he discovers a jellyfish that has a component in it that reverses age, he gives some to himself and reverts to a 13-yr-old! Ellie's mother brings him home and has to disguise him as a long-lost cousin named Melvin. His character is just hilarious, but he learns throughout the book that the circle of life requires that people age. Ellie's newfound interest in science will inspire girls to look at more stuff under the microscope. This is a World Read Aloud book this year, so I'm going to try it out with my 5th graders. This story would pair well with Funke's The Thief Lord and Sheinkin's Bomb.
The Secret Hum of a Daisy
This is a beautiful, beautiful book that reads more like poetry than a novel. I loved 12-yr-old Grace and her search for love and a home after the accidental death of her mother. I loved Grace's grandmother, flawed as she was, because she truly wanted to do right by Grace. I loved Mrs. Greene and Lacey who wanted desperately to make a home for her. I loved the various birds who meandered like supernatural signposts throughout the story, and I loved the Robert Frost poetry that weaved it all together. I loved the words and poetry that Grace needed to express. If I didn't have a thousand books in my TBR pile, I would've started at the beginning and read it all over again immediately.
Big Little Lies
Messenger (The Giver, #3)
Usually I feature what my family is reading, but I didn't get a chance to investigate, so I'll try to get that done for next week's #IMWAYR.
What are YOU reading this week?!


  1. A new Hank book?? Be still my heart. I really loved Secret Hum. I must find the new Molly Idle book as well.

  2. Thanks for the description of 365 Days of Wonder--I've never been quite sure what that book was or how/if I would use it in my classes, but I think I absolutely could. The story behind the creation of the squirrel book is so fascinating! I really loved 14th Goldfish and think it would be a superb read-aloud.

  3. That squirrel book looks darling! I may have to find a copy. I am still waiting for Big Little Lies from the library. I am planning to listen to it. I hear it is fantastic! Have a great week! ~Megan

  4. I have The 5th Wave but it somehow keeps going to the bottom of the pile! I will get to it eventually! Many of your books I've read or I have to read! I'll be rereading The 14th Goldfish soon as part of our Newbery Club. Such a fun book!

  5. As always - Thank you for so many new titles. We can't wait to reading Grandma in the City and the Secret Life of Squirrels. Firebird has been on a few lists today - It must be terrific.

  6. You must have piles and piles of books in your house. I'm amazed at how many you read in a week. I loved Secret Hum so much. And the Wonder precepts is a staple in our classroom for daily inspiration. Where do you find all the picture books?

    1. Margaret - I missed some #IMWAYR weeks, so all these books weren't read in one week - I WISH I could accomplish that much reading time on one week. Ha. I put a lot of picture books on hold at my library as I see them touted on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. I just love them! I buy a lot of them, too. ;-) I've tried not to get too carried away this year at bookstores - it's hard, though!!

  7. I loved both I Kill the Mockingbird and The 5th Wave. I completely agree with your review that I Kill the Mockingbird is not for every kid, but it was certainly for me. :) Thank you for sharing these great books this week.

  8. Wow-you've read a lot, Holly, & all good. I've read most of these except Big Little Lies & I Kill The Mockingbird-not sure I'll get to them any time soon, but wish I could. I just bought 365 Days of Wonder at our book fair-thought I'd read a little each day for inspiration. Thanks for all the shout outs.

  9. Yippee! Hank is back, need to get that title. Loved the first Hank book. I am reading 365 Days of wonder 1 day at a time with my family. We read from the current date's page and then discuss. It has been going so well!

  10. So much to comment on in one post!
    I need to read more Molly Idle. The only one of hers I've read is Tea Rex.
    All of the novels on your post are ones that I want to read and hope to soon!
    Happy reading this week :)

  11. Firebird is amazingly beautiful and I loved it along with Nana and Flora. I haven't seen Hank or the squirrel book yet, but they look fun.

    I used NoveList a week or two ago with my fifth graders and one of them has been asking for I Killed the Mockingbird. She read a review and thought it sounded amazing. I wasn't sure if it would work with elementary so haven't ordered it yet. What do you think?

    The rest of your chapter books were definitely some of my favorites & I enjoyed the 365 Days of Wonder too. What a great week!

    1. Crystal,
      I definitely think I Killed the Mockingbird is best suited for 6th grade on up, but if a fifth grader has been asking for it, there's nothing that would be inappropriate for her, so I'd definitely order it. If she loves books, she would probably love it.

  12. Lovely selections, so many to add to the TBR pile, thank you! Loved 365 Days of Wonder as well...