Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (9.8.14)

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:

Nest, by Esther Ehrlich
(Wendy Lamb Books, September 9, 2014, ARC courtesy of NetGally)
     Readers enter Chirp's family's scene after her dancer-mother's body has succumbed to illness. With her identity forever changed, Chirp's mom goes away for clinical support of her depression. In the meantime, Chirp, her sister, and her father try to grapple with the changes that trickle down for them as well. Chirp's neighboring classmate, Joey, offers her friendship in a time of need, providing truth to the power of aiding another when swamped in your own troubles. When crisis befalls the family, Joey and Chirp strike out in one last effort to hold fast to the beauty and memory of Chirp's mother and progress towards a place of healing in an unexpected way.
     This book is beautiful in concept and language, yet deep with complex conflict and emotions. Student readers should be well supported with plenty of opportunity to talk through the issues of depression, suicide, and abuse. The imagery and emotion of this book have stayed with me all week.

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One, by Kate DiCamillo and Chris VanDusen
(Candlewick, August 26, 2014)
     Leroy Ninker has always wanted to be a cowboy, and when he finds the opportunity to have a horse of his own, he is willing to learn how to love her the way she needs him to. The two seem destined for each other, until Leroy is temporarily careless about Maybelline's needs, and they are separated. When reunited, they find themselves in the company of old friends on Deckawoo Drive.
     Kate DiCamillo has a characteristic style of writing that establishes care for her characters in unusual ways, including her use of language (in this case classified as poetical in the book). Short in length and well supported with Chris VanDusen's illustrations, this book will be loved by early chapter book readers and their more experienced partners alike. There is room for the book to be interpreted simply and with more depth.

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires

(Kids Can Press, April 1, 2014)
     A girl and her best friend are determined to create the most magnificent thing for which she has a vision in her mind. She sets to work, initially with great confidence, and her attitude and optimism wanes as each attempt is not quite right. Alas, she notices parts of her attempts that she likes and is able to combine the right parts to create...the most magnificent thing.
     This book was the perfect fit for sharing with students after their failed attempts at marshmallow towers. And yet, the message of perseverance and reflection in pursuit of your vision is and will be transferable to so many learning scenarios in the classroom. I echo what has been said by many: this is a great title to encourage a growth mindset among students!

What I am Currently Reading:
Greenglass House, by Kate Milford
(Clarion Books, August 26, 2014, ARC courtesy of NetGalley)

What I am Reading Next:
The Writing Thief, by Ruth Culham
Sway, by Amber McRee Turner
Gracefully Grayson, by Amy Polonsky


  1. I can't wait to hear what you think about Greenglass House! I have it, not sure when I'll get to it. I have Leroy and Nest is coming tomorrow. So many books to read!! I did read Magnificent Thing. That one is fun!

  2. Great reads! I think my boys would love Magnificent Thing.
    Jennifer | Book Den

  3. Wow, Nest looks very interesting, I hope it comes my way! I'm so happy about the new DiCamillo series, I think my son might need it :)

  4. Definitely agree with you about Nest - I feel like it could be a hard one for many readers. Looking forward to sharing The Most Miraculous Thing with my students sometime soon too!

  5. I've been reading so many great things about The Most Magnificent thing - I hope to find it in our library this weekend. I've read many great reviews about Nest. Hope we already have it in our library.