Monday, August 1, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (8.1.16)

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 Recently:

The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
(Algonquin Young Readers, August 9, 2016)
     The people of the village are convinced that their tradition of sacrificing the last born baby of the year to the witch who lives in the woods somehow protects them and keeps them safe from her wrath. Only the witch in the woods doesn't understand this sacrifice and has taken it upon herself, year after year, to rescue these abandoned babies, nurturing them with starlight and delivering them to a neighboring town where new families welcome these "star-children" and love them. But the course of tradition, and the witch's life, changes when one sacrificed child drinks from the moon.
     Kelly Barnhill weaves together multiple storylines to tell stories of wallowing in sorrow, accepting that family is what we make it, and rising up for what is right, among other themes. The language and story are engulfing, and the book asks to be read in as few interrupted sittings as possible. Kelly Barnhill has also written a two-part prequel featured on

Return Fire, by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
(Scholastic Press, September 27, 2016)

     With the spear in her possession, Cassie's decisions are more important than ever-she could completely alter the world and bring armageddon to fruition. With her Guardian, Asher, Cassie continues to reason her way through tough choices, make split-second decisions and solve riddles and puzzles in order to accomplish her quest and, ultimately, try to keep everyone alive.
     This sequel picks up with the same intensity and high-interest action as it's precursor ended. Book two is as satisfying an adventure as the first.

Ranger in Time: Race to the South Pole, by Kate Messner
(Scholastic Press, June 28, 2016)
     Ranger is summoned for another rescue adventure, this time to a boy who has invited himself along on an expedition team journeying from New Zealand in hopes of being the first team to reach the South Pole. Many dangers await Ranger, the boy, and their adult traveling companions. 
     The depth of Kate Messner's research in writing this historical adventure series is remarkable. The author's notes of this fourth book are as dependable and interesting as the previous books in the series. Entirely age-appropriate, Race to the South Pole is informative about a facet of exploration that is less known.

Blast Back! The American Revolution, by Nancy Ohlin, illustrated by Adam Larkum
(little bee books, May 31, 2016)
     Straightforward text and simple drawings present the basics about the American Revolution. Easy to digest, this book could serve as an early entry to the time period.
     Other books in this series are available for the Civil War, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Greece.

Saved by the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11, by Julie Gassman, illustrated by Steve Moors
(Capstone Press, August 1, 2016)     
     Written by a first-hand witness to the rescue of people from Manhattan on September 11, 2001, this picture book is the story of how boats of all shapes and sizes responded to the call to help evacuate the area after the historic attacks on the World Trade Center.
     Deliberate choices about illustration style and color will stretch students conversations about the story told by this book as a whole package. The back-matter also offers other resources.

A Tiger Tail (or What Happened to Anya on Her First Day of School, by Mike Boldt
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, July 5, 2016)
     Waking up on the first day of school and discovering you've grown a tail just might be a little thing that throws everything off! Yet, Anya's new tail turns out to be an important first lesson in how each person has their own flair that makes them uniquely individual.
Ooko, by Esme Shapiro
(Tundra Books, July 5, 2016)
     A sweet story in which Ooko, looking for friendship in what seems to be a promising place, learns that sometimes a just-right friend is one you find a little outside the box.

Lion Lessons, by Jon Agee
(Dial Books, July 5, 2016)
      A little boy with the ambition to be a lion tries to learn each important lesson from the best. But can a little boy really be a lion? A really cut story I can't wait to share with my little animal-lover.

Celebrating Writers: From Possibilities Through Publication, by Ruth Ayres, with Christi Overman
(Stenhouse, July 1, 2013)
     In this professional text, Ruth Ayres and Christi Overman challenge teachers to consider all the possible places in a writer's journey for celebration and to be deliberate in making time for purposeful celebration. The book prompts teachers to recognize the process of writing as important and worthy of celebration as the finished written product.

More About the Authors, by Lisa B. Cleaveland
(Heinemann, March 21, 2016)
     In this follow-up to Katie Wood Ray and Lisa Cleaveland's About the Authors, Lisa Cleaveland features the work of her primary classroom in studying authors and illustrators as mentors to her young students. By shifting the dialogue in classroom conversations about books and the people who make them, students relate the work they are doing as authors and illustrators more closely to the work of professionals.
     The book includes an entire chapter that features a question/answer format between Lisa Cleaveland's primary students and author/illustrator Marla Frazee.

What I am Currently Reading:
We Were Here, by Matt de la Pena
(Delacorte Press, 2009)
The Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr, by Judith St. George
(Speak, 2009)

What I am Looking Forward to Reading Soon (in no particular order):
A Mindset for Learning, by Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz
The Friendship Experiment, by Erin Teagan
Midnight Without a Moon, by Linda Jackson


  1. The Girl Who Drank the Moon is awesome! I can't wait to share it with my students. I also want to find Saved by the Boats. Looks like a great companion to Nine, Ten and Towers Falling. Have a terrific week!

    1. That was why I sought out Saved by the Boats. Sadly, I hadn't considered that aspect of the heroic efforts that day, and I like that this PB offers another example of the helpers for students who will--no doubt--have so much wonder about the history of 9/11. Thanks for visiting!

  2. I will need to track down Saved by the Boats. Thanks for sharing! I'm hoping to read The Girl Who Drank the Moon before the end of the summer. Always love your recommendations! See you next week!

    1. Looking forward to it. Maybe I'll pack Saved by the Boats so you can at least see?

  3. Very interested in The Girl Who Drank the Moon! Also, has there ever been a cuter cover than Ooko?!