Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (1.19.15)

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:

Finding Serendipity, by Angelica Banks, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
(Henry Holt and Co., February 3, 2015, ARC provided by NetGalley)
     Tuesday McGillicuddy is impatiently waiting for her mom to finish writing the last book in a fantasy series about Vivienne Small so that they can again spend time together. When she finds her mother is "missing," Tuesday takes it upon herself to find her mother. In doing so, Tuesday travels into a fantastic world of the writer's mind searching for "The End," where she expects to find her mother. In the meantime, Tuesday finds she is tangled in a story of her own that she must persevere through.
     There is something fascinating and captivating about the way Angelica Banks creates the world of discovering stories like it is a place that can be visited and envisioned. Tuesday's adventures in the world of Vivienne Small will appeal to students, with elements of fantasy, adventure, and danger. Student readers may need some help to monitor transitions in setting. 
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas, by Jim Ottaviani, illustrated by Maris Wicks
(First Second, 2013)
     Primates presents the stories of three female scientists and their primate research projects in various parts of Africa: Jane Goodall's study of chimpanzees, Dian Fossey's study of gorillas, and Birute Galdikas' study of orangutans.
     This informative text, presented in graphic novel format, will attract many readers and expose them to important animal studies and conservation work. The structure of the text is an effective balance between showcasing the three women and their work as separate entities and also showing the overlap between the women as they were connected to Louis Leakey. This text will make a great pairing or addition to text sets with books like Me...Jane (McDonnell, 2011) and The Watcher (Winter, 2011).
Little Red Henry, by Linda Urban, illustrated by Madeline Valentine
(Candlewick, April 28, 2015, ARC)
     Henry's family cares for him so much they want to help him with everything or do everything for him. When Henry asserts his independence, the family is left unsure of what to do. A lesson is learned on both sides.
     Linda Urban turns the well-known story of Little Red Hen on it's head in Little Red Henry with Henry's family offering too much help. This book will easily lend itself to conversations about mentor text. The predictable pattern of the story and the well-chosen language pair beautifully with Madeline Valentine's illustrations. 
Goodnight Already!, by Jory John, illustrated by Benji Davies
(HarperCollins, December, 2014)
      Bear is exhausted. He cannot wait to get to sleep. Duck, on the other hand, is wide awake. He wants to do something. When Bear's sleep is repeatedly interrupted by his insomniac neighbor, he loses his patience. 
     I cannot think about this book without smiling, recognizing too many nights when I have been either Bear or Duck. Kids will enjoy the banter between the two characters and the way Duck becomes Bear's obstacle, especially when this book is shared as a read aloud.
Creature Features, by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
(HMH Books for Young Readers, October 2014)
      Twenty-five animals with interesting facial features are the subjects of Creature Features. For each animal, a question is posed about the feature of interest and information about it's purpose is shared from the animal's point of view.
     In true Steve Jenkins fashion, the artwork in this nonfiction book is bold, bright, and attractive. There are only small chunks of text on each page, keeping it manageable for interested developing readers. The writing, from multiple points of view, is illustrative of many voices, presenting with different imagined emotions or attitudes of the featured creatures. Additionally, Jenkin's has designed a website you can visit to learn more about the process of writing Creature Features.
Neighborhood Sharks, by Katherine Roy
(David Macaulay Studio, September, 2014)
     White sharks feed on seals in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Francisco. Scientists and researchers have been studying the sharks, their habits, and how we may be impacting their survival. Katherine Roy presents factual information while "shadowing" a single shark on his quest for dinner. Detailed information addresses body shape, blood flow, eye sight, and teeth and jaws.
     Roy's writing is accessible to intermediate readers, and they will likely spend time with the informative text after being drawn in and captured by the thoughtful and impressive artwork. Roy effectively communicates the movement of the sharks in her illustrations. Her diagrams are equally informative opportunities to practice nonfiction reading skills.

What I am Currently Reading:
Mark of the Thief, by Jennifer Nielsen
(Scholastic Press, February 24, 2015, ARC)

What I am Reading Next:
Beetle Busters, by Loree Griffin Burns
The Question of Miracles, by Elana K. Arnold
My Cousin's Keeper, by Simon French


  1. I liked Primates, but it's a hard sell to my students. Perhaps the text is just a wee bit small? I liked Mark of the Thief a lot-- if people MUST continue to write fantasy books, I wish more of them would set them in ancient Rome!

    1. I finished Mark of the Thief this afternoon. It's so funny to me that I love Jennifer Nielsen's work so much because otherwise, these stories and settings would typically not appeal to me. She's won me over.

      I'm curious to see how Primates will do when I share it with my students. I'm expecting mixed reviews, but then, isn't that true of any of us with any given book?

  2. I started writing this on my iPhone and there were so many mistakes, had to switch to my laptop. Erg.... I think I said I can't wait to get my copy of Serendipity in Feb. So many positive reviews. I'm still jealous you got Little Red Henry! I didn't realize it was a twist on The Little Red Hen. That one will be fun to use!
    Hope you get lots of reading done today :)

    1. My students are going to squeal (There's been a lot of that lately!) when I bring in Little Red Henry. They will demand we stop whatever we are doing and read it right away.

      Serendipity was good. But truthfully, there were parts I really liked and there were other parts that didn't stand out for me.

  3. There are some interesting books on your list. I'm actually intrigued by Primates. I think my daughter would enjoy reading something like that. Have a great week!

    1. Oh good! I'm glad you found something that interests you. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Primates is almost always popular in our library, especially when students are doing research. I'm waiting for Neighborhood Sharks to arrive and can't wait to read it since all the buzz about it is so good.

    1. I'm on an informational text kick lately. I realize it's a weak spot in my own reading and in my classroom library, so I'm seeking out books that come highly recommended. Neighborhood Sharks hits the mark. In fact, when I told the kids I was bringing it home to read before we put it in the library, they met me with groans.

  5. Loved Jennifer Nielsen's False Prince series last year - glad to see another title from her. I enjoyed seeing both the fiction/nonfiction titles in this post - particularly Primates - I shall definitely be on the lookout for it. :)