Monday, June 24, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 7/24/13

Having survived the mountain of paperwork and other endless end-of-the-year tasks, I am very happy to be on summer vacation with some time to actually READ!  I'm linking up with Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts today.  Check them out if you need some new titles for your TBR pile.

I loved this book.  It's a short chapter book with five stories that can stand alone.  The story is told by Down Girl, a dog with a large brain and an interesting canine perspective on what is important.  I was laughing as I read it, and I know my students will do the same when I read it to them next year.  I'm going to look for the other books in this series.

My daughter and I really liked this new picture book from Eve Bunting.  It had a fun, rhyming story, and Sergio Ruzzier's illustrations were great.  It was a fun book to share.  I love just about everything Eve Bunting was done.  (Sidenote:  I met her once when she presented at the University of Maine. She's a wonderful little white-haired lady with an Irish accent and I was a little bit in awe of her.  She asked me to pass out some papers for her and I'm sure I had the exact look on my face that my first graders do when I give them a Very Important Job.)

Hold Fast is a book that has been on my TBR list for quite a while.  I know it got a lot of buzz on Twitter, so I was excited to read it.   I really liked this book.  I think that the perspective it gives on homelessness and shelters is important for a lot of kids, to show some kids a reflection of themselves in a book and to help others be more accepting of classmates who may be going through similar issues.  Balliett creates such a strong character in Early.  It's interesting that there are two highly regarded 2013 books with main characters named Early, with this one and the title character in Clare Vanderpool's Navigating Early. My only issue with this book, which I highly recommend, was that the ending wrapped up a little too neatly for me (again, a similarity to Navigating Early). 
I started A Girl Called Problem yesterday morning and couldn't go to bed last night until I had finished it.  Katie Quirk has written a fantastic debut novel about Shida, a Tanzanian girl whose name means "problem".  The story follows Shida and her extended family as they move from their village of Litongo to Nija Panda, a nearby village.  Shida and her cousins are the first girls to go to school in the new village as well.  Quirk spent some time teaching in Tanzania and her depth of knowledge of the people and village life is obvious in her writing.  This one is a must-read. 

I'm currently working my way through the bag of books I picked up at the library last week after I finished cleaning my classroom.  I'm thinking that Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner might be next.  I'm also excited to read the picture book biography Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson.