Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (9.29.14)

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:

Young Houdini: The Magician's Fire, by Simon Nicholson
(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, October 7, 2014, ARC courtesy of NetGalley)
     When his Hungarian family was split up, Harry was sent to live in America, where he makes his way as a shoeshine boy and performs magic for small crowds with the help of two loyal friends, Billie and Arthur. One evening, Harry's friend and inspiration, Herbie Lemster, is kidnapped after his regular magic show and Harry and his friends will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery of his disappearance. 
     The beginning of this book captured my attention immediately, lulled a little, and once I was wrapped up in Harry's chase, I turned pages until the end. This will be a new and interesting series to offer middle grade students since it has elements of mystery, historical fiction, and adventure tangled into one 240-page novel. I'm looking forward to eliciting student feedback, and I'm curious about how the series will continue.

Gooney Bird Greene, by Lois Lowry

(Dell Yearling, 2002)
     Mrs. Pigeon's 2nd grade class is very intrigued by their new student, Gooney Bird Greene. Gooney Bird tells many stories, chapter after chapter, maintaining her stories are true by cleverly playing with words and their meanings. In the end, when Gooney Bird has told her last story, she highlights stories her peers could also share, imparting the ability to storytell upon then.
     I read Gooney Bird Greene in keeping with my recent theme of finally reading some books I've had around forever but never spent time between their covers. I appreciated the eccentric-ism of Gooney Bird Greene, and I especially appreciated the ultimate message that everyone has stories to tell. Some of my young, developing readers might find happy company with Gooney Bird.

Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds
(Candlewick, 2004)
     Ramon's love of drawing is squelched when his older brother laughs at one of his pictures. After quitting and growing angry, Ramon discovers his sister is a great admirer, and she helps him recognize there is room for things to be 
"-ish." With a changed mindset and accepting of -ish-like things, Ramon is able to resume his drawing, finding joy.
     My students loved this book, especially following the reading of The Dot. They completely understood that expecting to be perfect is unrealistic, but -ish-like things can continue to develop. Many related this book to The Most Magnificent Thing.

The Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard

(HarperCollins, 1999)
     An illustrated poem with repetitive/predictable pattern, Margaret Wise Brown presents to readers ordinary objects and the qualities that make them important. A colleague used this book in years passed as a community building book to grow appreciation of one another. I just may attempt something similarly inspired, and I may use this book as a mentor for students, with each writing and contributing their own page. I may use it for synthesizing content, or maybe I'll use is as a remembrance gift for the students. Hmm...

What I am Currently Reading:
Bugged: How Insects Changed History, by Sarah Albee
(Walker Childrens, April 15, 2014)
The Writing Thief, by Ruth Culham
(International Reading Association, April 28, 2014)

What I am Reading Next:
Hissy Fitz, by Patrick Jennings
Gracefully Grayson, by Amy Polonsky
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere, by Julie T. Lamana


  1. I love the picture and the idea behind Gooney Bird Greene.


  2. Shared Ish with my kids recently too - great message! Will check out "The Important Book," sounds intriguing.

  3. The Important Book sounds like my kind of read. I just finished reading Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Songs and can't wait to read another one of her stories.