Monday, August 24, 2015

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.
Marilyn's Monster
Awww. Loved this one! Matt Phelan's emotional illustrations and Michelle Knudsen's sweet story combine to tell a heartfelt story of a young girl's quest to find a friend. Beautiful. I see pairing it with Beekle and having a point of view discussion. Beekle is from the imaginary friend's perspective, and Marilyn's Monster is from the child's perspective.

To the Sea

To the Sea by Cale Atkinson
Jillian Heise shared this with me during the first dinner at NErDcamp. I can see why she loved it so much! Such a sweet testimony of the transformative power of friendship. LOVE the whale. Reminds me of Dear Mr. Blueberry.  Be sure to check out a wonderful interview with author/illustrator Cale Atkinson on Mr. Schu's blog!
This Is Sadie
This is Sadie by Sara O'Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Perfect picture book to use at the beginning of school to talk about story, imagination, courage, and the idea that you can be what/whoever you want! I just love the cover.
Something Extraordinary
Sometimes the ordinary is extraordinary if you just look at it a little closer. I like this book as a writing workshop starter - maybe for Slice of Life.
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
So funny! I loved the expressive illustrations - don't you just love the cover?! This will be a great picture book to talk with middle graders about an unreliable narrator.
Masterminds (Masterminds #1)

Ooh - this is the start of a great series! The only criticism I have is that now I have to wait until the next one! Middle grade kids are going to love this story about kids who live in, what seems to be, the perfect town. However, all is not what it seems...I loved the idea of this story.
                                     Ruby on the Outside by Nora Raleigh Baskin

2015-book, anger, character-development, drug-and-alcohol-use, emotions, empathy, family, friendship, home, honesty, intermediate-kids-book, mock-newbery-2016, mothers

What a unique and powerful story of an 11-year-old girl, Ruby, whose mother is in prison. Every year our church has an Angel Tree gift drive. Angel Tree is an organization which takes Christmas gift donations for children whose parent(s) are in prison. I've donated to that, but to be honest, I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about what it must be like to be one of those children. Nora Raleigh Baskin did an excellent job of helping me understand. This story is also about honesty, friendship, and family. I may not have any students in exactly the same kind of situation, but the issues in this book cover a whole lot of territory, so I think they will be able to connect in one way or another.  Great for my EMPATHY unit!

Be sure to read David Etkin's excellent interview with Nora Raleigh Baskin here.


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  1. The picture books you shared look amazing! I'm also excited to learn about another Korman books. His books always make me laugh, even when they deal with more serious issues. Unfortunately, I taught too many students who had one or more parents in prison. The most common homework excuse I received was I was visiting family in prison all weekend. I suppose jail waiting rooms aren't the best place to do homework. I would have had students who could relate to Ruby.

  2. What a great variety of books. I'd like to read all of them. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  3. Glad to hear about Ruby on the Outside - will definitely try to find this one to add to my multicultural text-set for my higher degree students. Loved the look of the picturebooks too! :)

  4. Ruby is the only one I haven't read. I've heard great things!
    To The Sea is a new favorite. Love it!

  5. You read my 2 favorite picture books of the year so far! (The Bear Ate Your Sandwich and Marilyn's Monster). I'm eager to catch up with Ruby on the Outside too. It sounds very powerful.

  6. Oh so many lovely books are on this list. I've added almost all of them to my to read list, if they were not already there. I especially want to read Ruby on the Outside. I love Nora Raleigh Baskin's work. Masterminds was one of Korman's best books to date I think. (Although my readers tell me I have to read The Ungifted) Happy reading this week.

  7. So much fun to see what you're reading. I've recently read The Bear Ate Your Sandwich, Marilyn's Monster, and This Is Sadie, (definitely a new favorite and I love the trailer you shared). Ruby on the outside arrived last week on my hold shelf. Requesting several new picture books and Korman's Masterminds. Thanks for the suggestions!

  8. That book trailer of TO THE SEA is delightful. I was sucked in! I love book trailers that are artistic like that one. They are so fun to show to students!

  9. Fabulous books this week! Marilyn's Monster, This is Sadie, Something Extraordinary... some of my favorite picture books of 2015. I still haven't read To the Sea yet. I need to remedy that soon.

  10. All of these books have been featured on IMWAYR over the last few weeks, and I haven't read any yet. I'll need to fix that soon.

    Thank you for stopping by Unleashing Readers and linking up to IMWAYR :)

    Happy reading this week!

  11. Hi Holly, love your recommendations. Ruby on the Outside was one of my favorites this summer. You mentioned it for your empathy unit. I was wondering what other books you include in that unit? I teach 6th grade and would love to formalize an empathy unit this year for my class. Thanks!

    1. Deb - I love starting off with an empathy unit! It sets the tone for the year. Here is a link to a Prezi my colleague and I use in our presentations about our empathy literacy contract. It contains lots of titles. :-)

  12. Hi Holly, I have BIG love for Ruby on the Outside. I just stopped to request Masterminds, The Bear Ate Your Sandwich and To the Sea from my library. Thank goodness for inter-library loans!