Monday, April 11, 2016

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.

I haven't posted a Monday post since February!  Oh my...
Here are some highlights since then...



PAX by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Oh, be still my heart. This was our first staff book club pick!  What a beautiful book - a story full of heart. A journey story. A redemption story. A friendship and family story. A home story. I chose this for a staff book club book, and my copy is full of post-it-notes with things to talk about: beautiful language, characterization, philosophy, etc. It would make the perfect read aloud or small group book for our JOURNEY unit. Vola might become one of my favorite characters in children's lit. I put this at the top of my Newbery contender list. It's going to be hard to beat.
Favorite quotes:
"'So which is is? You going back for your home or for your pet?'
'They're the same thing, "Peter said, the answer sudden and sure, although a surprise to him.'"

"'I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. That is peace.'"

"'All craftsmen are servants to the craft. Once you decide what you want to make, the project is boss. You know what you want to make?'"

"'The plain truth can be the hardest thing to see when it's about yourself. If you don't want to know the truth, you'll do anything to disguise it.'"

"Vola threw back her head and barked her startling laugh. 'Oh, let me tell you, feelings are ALL dangerous. Love, hope...Ha! Hope!'"

Hour of the Bees
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager
So, so good! This was our 2nd staff book club pick. Carolina reluctantly joins her family on a journey to the dry deserts of New Mexico to move her estranged grandfather to a care facility for people with dementia. Carol just wishes she could spend the summer with her friends. Serge scares her a little - he drifts in and out of reality and keeps mentioning bees and telling stories about trees. Carol reminds Serge of his beloved late Rosa, and sometimes Carol is not sure who he really sees. Intertwined throughout the novel are Biblical allusions - Eden with the tree of life and snakes, timelessness, life after death, and baptism. The magical realism keeps the reader guessing about what is real and what is magic. Our staff book club had a great discussion about it this morning and look forward to sharing it with kids.
Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal
I read this novel in verse on the plane on the way to Florida where we were embarking upon a 10-day cruise to the Panama Canal. I love learning about history through a great story, and Margarita Engle never disappoints. The way she engages us in stories through her verse is magical. The Panama Canal was on my parents' bucket list to see, so when the opportunity came up to see it, we all jumped at the chance. It was fascinating. Silver People gave me a glimpse of what it was really like to be one of the people who worked on that amazing engineering feat. Loved the points of view of the forest and the animals!

Pictures I took of the cruise ship passing through the Panama Canal
Carry On
Like all of Rainbow Rowell's books, witty humor and a compelling story captivated me right away. At first it seemed very Harry Potterish, but it took on its own twists and turns, and I really enjoyed it. I LOVED meeting Rainbow in February at OCTELA.

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)
family, fantasy-science-fiction, friendship, girls-book-club, romance, young-adult-book

I enjoyed reading this young adult novel while on spring break, preparing for my 7th grade girls' book club. It's the story of Addie, a girl with the power of seeing the future when she's presented with a choice. She can see both choices play out. When her parents tell her they're getting a divorce and she can either stay in the paranormal compound with her mother or go to the normal world with her father, she looks to the future. A few of us talked about how, at first, it's a little confusing when trying to figure out the changes in worlds - West goes back and forth with no font changes or anything - but a couple of the girls noticed that subtle (or maybe not so subtle) chapter titles clued you in. Duh. Sometimes my students are smarter than me. ;-) We had a good discussion over it. Some of the girls were already reading the sequel. #teamtrevor

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)
Oh my goodness. I can't believe this book. Read it on the plane on the way home from spring break. Scarred. I can't say too much about it or it would be a spoiler.  I was completely drawn in to this story from the beginning and loved the relationship between Lou and Will.  Apparently it's going to be a movie.  Oh my...

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook


After You (Me Before You, #2)


  1. I have a copy of Me Before You - I'm trying to find the perfect time to read it. :) Also reading Pax at the moment, and came across Vola. Hope to finish it in the next few days.

  2. Hmmm...don't know if I want to read Me Before You, I'm such a big sap I'll probably just be a blubbering mess!

  3. Have heard a lot about Me Before You, will get to it I'm sure. What a great list, Holly. I have Carry On, will read it soon. Hope you're getting settled in your new place!

  4. I also loved Pax. It is just so filled with beautiful words I had to stop reading all the time to write them down. Im waiting for Hour of the Bees and hope to get a hold of a copy of Silver People soon.

  5. I read Pax and am now reading it aloud to my students. What a powerful book! It takes you to a different place. I agree. It should be a Newbery winner.

  6. Holly, how wonderful that your trip was filled with beautiful photos and books.

  7. Way to post about a bunch of books I've wished I read! I need to move them up. Pax sounds a bit like Maybe a Fox--I wonder how similar they actually are. Have you read Maybe? I love Engle's work--I need to catch up on her books though. Finally, I cannot decide if I want to read Carry On. I love Rainbow's writing, but I don't know if I want to read it...
    Beautiful photos, Holly! :)