Monday, August 19, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 8/19/13

Once again, I'm linking up with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers.  Thanks to both of you for hosting!

My reading is down a little this week now that I'm spending some time getting my classroom ready.  Of course, this involves a great deal of staring at things and trying to figure out where to put stuff.  I think I moved a set of dictionaries three times this week.  It's starting to take shape, but I'm really glad that I still have a week and a half to work on it before we officially start back.  Here are a few favorites from this week.

I picked up several nonfiction titles at the library this week that I had put on my TBR list after reading Carrie Gelson's blog post about Wonder-Inducing Nonfiction Titles.

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin is an amazing nonfiction title.  It tells the story of an island from its birth until it disappears back below the surface of the ocean. (I didn't even know that could happen.  There was a lot of new learning for me in this one.) The book tells how the animals and plants came to the island, as well as the changes throughout its lifetime.  It was a really cool book.

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audobon by Jacqueline Davies and Melissa Sweet was terrific picture book biography.  I love Melissa Sweet's illustrations--there is always so much to look at.  I like that the book focuses on Audobon as a young man.  I think that some of our students will be able to relate to certain parts of the book.

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda by Alicia Potter and illustrated (again) by Melissa Sweet is one of the nonfiction titles on this year's Maine Chickadee Award list. I thought the book was very well done, but I had such a hard time getting past the concept of going to China and taking a baby panda out of the wild that I can't say that I really enjoyed it.  I think it would be a great title to read with intermediate students to provoke discussion.  There is an author's note that gives further information about the issue, including some of the good things that happened as a result of Mrs. Harkness's panda-snatching. I'm guessing that students would have some strong opinions.

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean is such a cool book.  It is based on the true story of how his parents built their own timber-frame house from the ground up as homesteaders.  It would be interesting to read this book along with Construction Zone  by Cheryl Willis Hudson and Barn by Debby Atwell to compare and contrast the methods and materials used for building.  I think my students are really going to like this one.

Last spring, I listened to the first two books in Ally Condie's trilogy Matched and Crossed on audiobook.  I enjoyed them both, but my library didn't have the audio for the third book.  I finally got my hands of a copy of Reached this week.  I liked this one, although I was a little disappointed in the ending.  I felt like after three novels, there should have been more to it, more of a sense of closure.  That being said, I would recommend the trilogy if you're a fan of dystopian fiction and you are one of the few people that hasn't read it yet.

One of the interesting things about reading books that are recommended on Twitter is that you don't often get more than a title to go on.  Sometimes you can get a sense of genre, but not always.  Kathi Appelt's The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp is one of those titles that I think would be nearly impossible to describe in 140 characters, which explains why I knew pretty much nothing about it when I started.  When the first sentence referred to the characters' "paws," I knew I had to revise my thinking.  This was a great, funny book.  I guess I would characterize it as a tall tale, although there were elements of animal fantasy and realistic fiction as well.  I am amazed at the characterization in the book, from our hero, Chap, to Bingo and J'miah, our favorite raccoon scouts (and the owners of the paws).  This would make a great read aloud.  I really want to get my hands on the audiobook, which is apparently read by Lyle Lovett.

Next up on my list is Number Sense Routines  by Jessica Shumway.  I'm revamping the calendar/morning meeting part of my day, and I'm hoping that this will give me some insights.  I'm also hoping to make a dent in the stack of books that I still want to read before school starts, but I think it's probably unrealistic to think I'll finish.  Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I am currently reading Appelt's book as well. I loved Underneath and so did my students last year so am excited to get into this new one.

    I am also interested in The Boy who Drew Birds. I like Melissa Sweets other books.
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.