Monday, September 28, 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.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be

I loved this sweet book narrated by parents who are dreaming big dreams for their children. Dreams of being kind, generous, creative, caring, brave, clever, and bold. "And then I'll look at you and you'll look at me and I'll love you, whoever you've grown up to be." Great baby gift!
Tad and Dad
Tad and Dad by David Ezra Stein
At first I thought this was going to be a bedtime story you would use to help kids sleep on their own, in their own bed, becoming more independent. However, it ended up that even Dad couldn't sleep without his son and got lonely without him. Hmmmm. It's cute, though. The way the son looks up to and adores his dad is sweet - "He sings in a loud BUUUUURRRRP that echoes across the pond. And I love him."  Entertaining illustrations, but if you want your child to sleep on his own, choose another book. ;-)
The Day the Crayons Came Home
The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
I liked this one even better than the first! Funny, clever, and great to use for point of view, character, and personification lessons. Little kids will love the glow in the dark pages! This one needs multiple read throughs to appreciate all the humor and nuances. 


Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk

My fifth grade students loved Rump so much that when Jack came out, they begged me to read it aloud, too. I actually started it at the end of last school year, but we didn't finish it. I get my students for two years, so when this year started, they wanted me to pick it back up and finish it. We really enjoyed it. They loved how Shurtliff connected the two stories, and they had fun picking out all the allusions to other fairy tales. Now we're ready for Red!
A Night Divided
This was a fascinating look at what happened to families when the Berlin Wall went up - literally overnight. Gerta's family was divided - she, one of her brothers, and her mother in the East, and her father and other brother in the West. When Gerta spots her father on the other side of the wall one day, she interprets a silly dance he does as a signal to dig. Despite mortal danger, risks of being betrayed by neighbors and friends, and the possibility she could be risking her family's lives, she follows her father's directives. Her desire for freedom and to reunite her family sparks courage she didn't know she had. I was reading this at the same time as listening to the audio of The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure. Both stories make me realize how blessed we are to live in a free, democratic country. I hope I never take it for granted!
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb
Malala's story really is incredible. Her family is amazing, too.  My 6th graders are reading about her and watched her Nobel Peace Prize speech.  She is inspirational, courageous, and teaches us all about how life can be lived to not only be the best version of yourself, but to work tirelessly for the downtrodden, disadvantaged, and maligned.  
 A Man Called Ove
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
I LOVED this book! I listened to the audio, which featured a perfect narrator. Ove is a curmudgeonly man, missing his beloved wife who was the only one who understood him. He never expected for her to go first. That was not the plan. He proceeds to plan various failed attempts at suicide, each attempt foiled by exasperating neighbors. As a cat and the neighbors weave their way into his heart, you learn that Ove is not just a grumpy old man. Beware of finishing the audio in your car - bring along tissues! This story brought to mind Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.


  1. Requested three of your titles. Holds on all of them. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Holly, FYI, your link isn't working at the linkys. You shared so many good books, some I've read & loved, and some I still want to read, like A Man Called Ove. I'm sure it's good. I have Jack, & want to read it soon because Red comes out later in the winter (I think). It's great you're reading it aloud! I'm in the middle of A Night Divided now & enjoying it, but oh, what a terrible time, so hard to imagine that happening. Thanks for all!

  3. I want to read the Nielsen book and Jack too at some point.

  4. Oh - what a great assortment here! I read Jack aloud to my class and can't wait to share the new Crayons book. A Night Divided will be in my reading future!

  5. I had to clutch my hand to my heart when I saw the video clip of Oliver Jeffers. :) Thanks for sharing.