Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (4.27.15)

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:

Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk, by Liesl Shurtliff
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, April 14, 2015)
     Jack has heard talk of giants, especially in recollections of his grandfather's heroic stories. When his father is taken by giants one day, Jack vows to save his father. Magic beans grow a stalk to the sky, and Jack journeys to the land of the giants. There he meets many acquaintances--friends and foe. 
     Jack was a long awaited read, having read Rump a number of times and seeing it's broad appeal with students. Liesl Shurtliff does wonderful things with language, telling an adventurous story with twists and turns and preserving the particular feel of the fairytale. I anxiously await student readers with whom to discuss this second book!

Masterminds, by Gordon Korman
(Balzer + Bray, February 3, 2015)
     Eli is one of a relatively small group of youth living in the pristine town of Serenity. When Eli is stricken by illness on a bike ride beyond the town boundaries, and then his best friend is sent away, his curiosity and distrust of his perfect town piques. Gaining confidence and finding allies in other classmates, Eli challenges the notion that Serenity is as wonderful as it is painted out to be, and finds evidence to support his disbelief.
     The cast of characters in Masterminds is easy to relate to, and Gordon Korman has crafted a seamless dystopian community for middle grade readers. Students will love the way the group rallies and challenges authority while seeking clarity to what is so confusing and strange about the home they have always known. This will be a great read-alike for kids who liked Kate Messner's Wake Up Missing or want to be reading Divergent.

Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking, by Erin Dionne
(Dial Books, 2013)
     Moxie is looking forward to spending summer with her best bud, Ollie, after middle school graduation. Her summer gets an unexpected jolt of excitement when a stranger turns up, seeming to know about her grandfather's criminal past and demanding information about the stolen art from the Isabella Gardner museum heist. Determined to protect her family and the art, Moxie and Ollie set out to locate the missing artwork before the surprise visitor might.
     Moxie is a motivated and empowering character. She grapples with changes in her family from mom's new boyfriend to her grandfather's Alzheimers, but her strong family allegiance is undeniable. The story takes place in Boston, MA. For me (and I suspect other New England readers), the familiar location was an added bonus to an otherwise entertaining story that prompted hopefulness and wonder about the results of the 14-day mystery.

Orion and the Dark, by Emma Yartlett
(Templar, March 24, 2015)
     Orion is a little boy with many fears. One night, Orion is visited by his greatest fear, The Dark. The Dark takes Orion on an adventure that changes his perspective.
     The personification of The Dark as a friendly, lovable, "blob" of dark and stars makes him a viable friend for Orion and his readers. The artwork in this book is whimsical and deserves as much conversation and attention as the story itself. I cannot wait to share this book with young readers.

What I am Currently Reading:
Blackbird Fly, by Erin Entrada Kelly
(Greenwillow Books, March 24, 2015)

What I am Reading Next:
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Review Presents Macbeth, by Ian Lendler and Zack Giollongo
The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, by Holly Schindler
Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave, by Jen White