Monday, May 4, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (5.4.15)

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:

Blackbird Fly, by Erin Entrada Kelly
(Greenwillow Books, March 24, 2015)
     Apple Yengko wants what most middle school girls want: to fit in and feel confident. And she wants to play guitar. But it seems school bullies aren't the only thing standing in Apple's way as she challenges her mother's protective nature, apparent dislike for music, and her Filipino heritage. Blackbird Fly is Apple's path to understanding herself and those around her as she moves towards being more comfortable in her own skin.
     I appreciate the glimpse into Apple's melded lifestyle as a young Filipino-American. I loved Apple's passion for The Beatles (and her devotion to George). And I really liked that she found light in one strong friend who could help her keep going when the pressures of middle school life seemed too strong. The bullying situation in Blackbird Fly is vivid, with mean name-calling, list-making, and harassment. Why there was never reprimand or consequences for the bullies is unclear and seems unlikely. This book will lend itself to opening doors for conversation.

The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents Macbeth, by Ian Lendler and Zack Giollongo
(First Second, 2014)
     When the zookeeper locks up and the coast is clear, the animals assemble for theater. Zoo characters assume roles in an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. 
     The graphic novel format will make this an attractive and accessible version of Shakespeare's story for intermediate readers. The telling of Macbeth mimics a theater experience with multiple acts, an intermission, and an audience who can't keep their comments to themselves. I smiled to myself throughout my reading at the cleverness and creativity behind this work.
Edmund Unravels, by Andrew Kolb
(Nancy Paulsen Books, March 10, 2015)
     The time has come for Edmund to move on into the world. As a ball of yarn might, Edmund unravels a little more with each "step" he takes, until he is smaller and smaller. When Edmund makes a return trip home, he is reminded of where he comes from, and his friends and family help him to wind back up.
     This might be my new favorite book to give away to graduates or friends who are making that next big step/move. The illustrations are bright and beautiful, and the symbolism of Edmund's unraveling and re-winding are good reminders for all that it's always important to come back to what makes you feel whole.

by mouse & frog, by Deborah Freedman
(Viking Books for Young Readers, April 14, 2015)
     Mouse is beginning a new story when frog hops in. Frog's contributions are of a different mood and feel than the story mouse intends to write, and mouse isn't exactly appreciative of Frog's ideas. Frog's disappointment is apparent. Finally, the two budding writers put differences aside and collaborate on a new, different story.
     by mouse & frog will make kids laugh, and adults will have fun sharing. Reading aloud these characters' personalities will invite joy. Another book for the collection of friend duos who have to overcome differences and hurt feelings for the sake of their friendship.

Stars, by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Marla Frazee
(Beach Lane Books, 2011)
     Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee partner in this story about stars: all the places they can be found, all the magic they hold, and all the encouragement a star can be.
     Frazee's artwork is always lovely, but the combination of Ray's poetic language, Frazee's art, and the hand-lettered font make this a whimsical ode to stars-those that inhabit the skies above and those that exist quietly among us.

What I am Currently Reading:
Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor, by Nathan Hale
(Amulet Books, April 21, 2015)

What I am Reading Next:
The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, by Holly Schindler
Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave, by Jen White
Lost in the Sun, by Lisa Graff


  1. I love the idea of giving EDMUND UNRAVELS to graduates. Such a great idea. *Puts idea in back pocket*

  2. Blackbird Fly sounds like a book many of my readers would like. I like the connection to The Beatles - not something you see much in today's kid lit. I see you have The Junction on your read next list - I loved that book and thought it did not get the attention it deserved! I hope you like Auggie as much as I did.

  3. I like the idea of Blackbird Fly, but I'm taking a break from books with bullying. Like you, I can't stand that they show schools that have no moral compass or the wherewithal to deal with it. On the other hand, The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents Macbeth looks like a delightful romp. I can't wait to find a copy of it.

  4. Stars is one of my favourite picture books of all time. Fills my heart each time I read it.