Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 7/29/13

I'm linking up with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers today to share some great books!  I hope everyone had a great week of reading.  It's hard to believe that we are turning the calendar to August this week.  Technically, we don't start school until September, but August is always a mix of the panic of vacation slipping away and the excitement of a new year starting. 

Here are some favorites from this week's reading:
 Julie Fogliano and Erin Stead are an incredible author/illustrator team.  They both have a gentle way of telling a story that makes me want to take my class outside under a tree and whisper it to them.  I loved their first book, And Then It's Spring, and this one is terrific as well.  Julie Danielson at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast had an amazing interview with Erin Stead about how she created the illustrations for this one.  I am amazed at the process.
 It seems like everyone else in the world has already read Balloons Over Broadway, so I'm a little late to the party on this one.  However, if you are one of the last remaining folks who hasn't, put it on your list.  Melissa Sweet is a master of the picture book biography.  This book is such a cool story, I even made my husband read it.  I commented on Twitter after I finished this that I probably could teach with this book every day for 6 months and do something different each day.  I loved the mixed media illustrations; there is just so much to look at on every page.
Chicken Big  by Keith Graves is a very funny take on Chicken Little.  Three chickens are not too sure what to think when a gigantic chick hatches.  They are a bit confused about the identity of this chicken, but guess who saves the day when the sky starts to fall?  This is a laugh out loud story that I'm excited to share with my students.
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff is another take on a classic story.  Rump is looking for the rest of his name and his destiny.  He discovers an old spinning wheel and an interesting talent: spinning straw into gold.  I love the characters and the setting that Liesl Shurtliff has created in this one. (The gnomes and trolls cracked me up.)  I can't wait for the two companion books to be published!
Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian is a recently published YA novel.  I don't usually read a lot of YA, but this one is set in Maine.  The fictional town of Enniston is based on the city of Lewiston, which has had a recent influx of Somali immigrants.  The story is told from the perspective of Tom Bouchard, captain of the soccer team and resident Big Man on Campus.  Through the soccer team, Tom befriends Saeed, an amazing soccer star and recent Somali immigrant.  Maria Padian has done an incredible job showing Tom's growth as events in the book unfold.  This is a really powerful story, and I think an important one for anyone in high school to read.  (Or anyone in Maine, though the truth in the fiction might make you cringe a bit for our state.  That part about the mayor is unfortunately based on real events.)
I'm currently reading Dorothy Barnhouse and Vicki Vinton's What Readers Really Do. Even as a first grade teacher, it's making me rethink the way I frame my reading instruction.


  1. I really liked Out of Nowhere- i'll have to go back and see if I ordered it, or if it was too mature for middle school. Here in Ohio we have a large Somalian population' and occasional issues.

  2. Balloons Over Broadway is one of my favorite picture books! I loved Rump too! I need to check out If You Want to see a Whale. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love, love, love If You Want to See a Whale. I bought 3 copies - one for me and two to give as gifts. Loved by adults and kids alike. Just so gorgeous. Balloons over Broadway is such a great title. I have read it but haven't shared it with students yet. It's on my list to read this fall.

  4. Out of Nowhere looks VERY good. Thank you for sharing--I hadn't heard about it yet! I will have to add this one to my TBR pile! :)

  5. Wow. I love your review of Balloons Over Broadway - I haven't read it yet, so that probably makes me even more late for the party - will find it this weekend in our library now that I've read your review. I know what you mean about 'and then it's spring' - one of the loveliest picture books I've read this year too. I shall look for their new title. :) Have a great reading week!