Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (10.13.14)

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:

Half a World Away, by Cynthia Kadohata
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, September 2, 2014)

     Jaden lives with his adoptive parents. From Romania, he has struggled to assimilate to live in America with his family. The book takes us on the journey of Jaden's family to Kazakhstan, where they intend to adopt another baby. Jaden believes their desire for another child is to compensate because he is not good enough. The book chronicles Jaden's experiences in Kazakhstan and his evolution as he discovers his feelings for his family-to-be.
     I'm still sitting with Jaden's story, undecided about the ways students might connect with Jaden's situation. Many students identify with his feelings of inadequacy, but I'm not sure if the international adoption line of the story is going to make it hard for them to access. I'm so curious to hear what other readers think of this book.

Hate That Cat, by Sharon Creech
(HarperCollins, 2008)
     Jack is back in the sequel to Love That Dog. As in the first book, Jack's class is studying poetry, but in this novel in verse, the students are emulating the language of poetry in their own work. Jack's poetry is about his fear of a neighborhood cat, and then his own kitten. Through his poetry, we also learn more about his relationship with his mother.
     Sharon Creech's book pair may be inspiring to writers, encouraging them to try their hand at free verse as a means of telling their story.
In Memory of Gorfman T. Frog, by Gail Donovan
(Dutton Children's Books, 2009)
     Josh is in 5th grade, and whether he's at home or at school, his mouth gets him in trouble--he likes to talk. When Josh finds a frog with three back legs in his backyard, adventure begins. Josh is determined to chase his curiosity about how and why this happened to the frog (named Gorfman). Josh's plight to prevent more frogs from future defects helps him find a new level of self-acceptance.
     The characters in this book are realistic, and the story line will appeal broadly with kids. Josh shows characteristics of an early activist, and so many elementary students have an interest in the well-being of creatures and the environment. I'm looking forward to finding this book a reader this week.

Little Elliot, Big City, by Mike Curato
(Henry Holt and Co., August 26, 2014)
     Mike Curato has created an adorable new character in Little Elliot, who finds himself too small to do most things in his home in New York City. When Elliot comes upon someone smaller than him and realizes teaming up will get them both what they want, and more, his new friendship brings him happiness.

The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013)
     Brian is a quiet student who doesn't command a lot of attention. He is often overlooked by students, too. This picture book communicates the feelings of being left out and lonely in a classroom setting, and it offers students an opportunity to consider how they can be compassionate with one another.

What I am Currently Reading:
Project Mulberry, by Linda Sue Park
(Houghton Mifflin, 2005)

What I am Reading Next:
Hissy Fitz, by Patrick Jennings
Finding Serendipity, by Angelica Banks
The Elephant Scientist, by Caitlin O'Connell and Donna Jackson, illustrated by Timothy Rodwell


  1. This is the first I've heard of the Cynthia Kadohata book. My children are adopted from Ethiopia, and I am always interested in reading stories about adoption, so I'll have to get this one and see what I think. Thanks for sharing it! My son and I enjoyed Gail Donovan's The Waffler--hoping to get to Gorfman T. Frog soon!

  2. Hey Girl! Great books as usual. Half a World Away looks like and interesting story. I just stopped to request Little Elliot from my library. I tried a while ago and no one had it, but now they do, yay! LOVE The Invisible Boy! Have a great week!

  3. The Invisible Boy is definitely one of my great picturebook discoveries this year. I've shared this with a number of my teacher-students so that they can make use of this in their classrooms. :)