Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (8.18.14)

Every Monday bloggers all over the web participate in an effort to share books we have read and what we are excited about digging into. Thanks to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee & Ricki at Unleashing Readers for hosting us all!

What I Read this Week:

Mystery of the Eagle's Nest (Cooper & Packrat #2), by Tamra Wight
(Islandport Press, August 21, 2014)
     The boys from Mystery at Pine Lake are back with another equally excited eco-adventure. Cooper and Packrat run into big trouble on their regular geocache routine when they discover a cache with eagle parts. The boys know the severity of the crime they have stumbled into and try to find a way to protect the eagle parts and the campground's eagle family. Cooper weighs out information, suspects, and possible solutions, keeping the pages turning in this mystery.
     The characters in Tamra Wight's series are real and believable. Students will appreciate their mission as well as the mischief they fall into. While this book could stand alone, you wouldn't want to miss out on the first book in the series, too: Mystery on Pine Lake.

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad by Nathan Hale
(Harry N. Abrams, 2012)
     Big Bad Ironclad is one of Nathan Hale's historical graphic novels, informing readers of the design and use of ironclad ships in the period of the Civil War. The book features the roles and importance of figures like John Ericsson and William Cushing.
      Graphic novels are well-loved, passed from reader to reader, and hardly see shelf time in my classroom. This series will be no different. Nathan Hale has packaged historical events and information in a format that will have readers engaged and asking for more. The humor of the hangman and British provost (who assist Nathan Hale in narrating the book) give cause for slowing down and prompting thoughtful comprehension. 

The End of the Line, by Sharon McKay
(Annick Press, August 19, 2014, ARC provided by NetGalley)

     Set in Amsterdam during World War II, The End of the Line is another point of view of families being broken apart and the way everyone lived with fear and worry every day. Lars and Hans Gorter work on the tram, and one day a young woman is captured during a Nazi search. She leaves behind 5-year old Beatrix. When the men insist she is their niece and should not also be taken, they enter a new experience of what it means to care for and protect another.
     Sharon McKay's holocaust story is gentler and softer than most She conveys the fears and concerns of the characters, but spares readers graphic descriptions and details of the brutal treatment. All of the story is set on the tram and in the Gorters' neighborhood with only a few references to the death camps. This book is worth adding to classroom collections to deepen text experiences about the Holocaust. 

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
(Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008)

     Jen Bryant's picture book biography of poet William Carlos Williams is another to be added to my growing shelf. 
     There is no wonder that the book earned a Caldecott Honor, with Melissa Sweet's incredible collage style illustrations, and, in this case, her interpretations of the poetry of Williams. This is a book that can be--and deserves to be--revisited again and again because I think there will always be more to admire and appreciate about this man's story, his art with words, and the art of the illustrator.
Hermelin the Detective Mouse, by Mini Grey
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, August 5, 2014)
     The literate young mouse, Hermelin, resides in the Offley Street neighborhood. When he reads the many notices being posted on the community board naming lost items of his neighbors, Hermelin puts his reading and writing talent to use to play detective. One by one, he leaves notes for the concerned neighbors with hints or suggestions of where they can find their missing items. When the neighbors throw a party to meet the mystery detective and thank him, they are in for quite a surprise!
     My nephews and I enjoyed the story of this sweet hero and his effort to be helpful. I could see opportunities to reinforce the many reasons/purposes for writing as a "bonus" in sharing this book with students. The typewriter theme lends itself to creating memorable illustrations with Hermelin's notes.

What I am Currently Reading:
Projecting Possibilities for Writers, by Matt Glover and Mary Alice Berry
(Heinemann, 2012)

What I am Reading Next:
Nest, by Esther Ehrlich
A Million Ways Home, by Dianna Dorisi Winget
Greenglass House, by Kate Milford


  1. Wow! All new titles for us. We will check them out! Can't wait to read your review of Matt and Mary's book --we just ordered it.
    Clare and Tammy

    1. Happy to know you found some titles you are curious about! I have only read the first chapters of Projecting Possibilities, but it has me thinking-in a very positive way. Will watch for your thoughts, too!

  2. I'm not familiar with the Cooper & Packrat series, but it sounds like just the kind of book my younger son loves. Off to order! I agree with you about A River of Words. I haven't been able to spread the love for that book in my Children's Lit class, however. My college students always call it "boring"--which entirely mystifies me. I need to find another way to share the book because it's one I want them to be enthusiastic about! Can't wait for Jen Bryant's and Melissa Sweet's new PB bio of Roget.

    1. Oh, I do hope your son will enjoy. Tamra Wight had a wonderful launch party yesterday. Her characters will pull your son in and he'll feel like HE is the one doing the rescuing!

      As much as I appreciate A River of Words, I'm not sure my students will. It takes time to find appreciation for the talent in that kind of book. I'm looking forward to Roget, too!

  3. Love River of Words - I share that one every year when we study WCW. Excited to check out Hermelin - sounds adorable!

    1. Hermelin was really cute. Sweet. I hope you enjoy it.

  4. I've never heard of The End of the Line before but I really want to read it after your review.

    Isn't A River of Words wonderful? I absolutely love William Carlos Williams so I loved reading about his life and Melissa Sweet's lovely collage illustrations.

    1. I hope you enjoy The End of the Line. I wasn't sure of my feelings, I guess they were a little mixed--mostly because it was a soft version of the Holocaust. Then I reminded myself, I am not the intended audience. I think it will be very doable for middle grade students.

  5. I'm starting A Million Ways Home this week too and I have Nest waiting for me. I'm excited for both, I've heard good things! Happy reading!

    1. I feel like I have TOO many things waiting for me-ha, ha!

      Thanks for stopping by to read and comment today!

  6. Hi there Melissa, we are currently doing a war and poetry reading theme, and two of the titles you shared here seem like a great fit, thank you for highlighting them. I love Mini Grey - Hermelin sounds like an adorable read.