It’s Monday What are you Reading 2/20/17

IMWAYR 2015

So, I thought this would be an empty blog unless you count the report card writing related reading but I finished some books with my family and another one late last night. Actually, it was not nearly as bad a reading week as I thought it would be. Please visit the excellent hosts of this weekly meme at http://www.teachmentortexts.com and http://www.unleashingreaders.com

Books I Finished This Week:

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I am a huge fan of Amy Dyckman’s books from some of the older ones like The Tea Party Rules and Boy + Bot to her collaborations with Zachariah O’Hora (Horrible Bear, and Wolfie the Bunny), so I was really looking forward to this one with Liz Climo. Liz has some extremely funny cartooning work including some with The Simpsons. This book did not disappoint, it is laugh-out-loud funny. However, if you have any die hard very young unicorn fans, they may not be happy with how the unicorns are portrayed (very poorly behaved). My older primary students loved it, its the Kindergarten class I worry about (just one student).

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I read this outloud to my six year old who is a huge fan of this series. Her favourite scenes are the ones that involve Quidditch. We watched the movie on the weekend and she was disappointed in how much of the Quidditch was cut. I really enjoyed the book, particularly the increased role in the resolution for characters not named Harry, and the peek into Hogwart’s past through some new characters. My youngest is pushing for our next family read aloud to be the fourth installment, now that she has caught up to her big sister.

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I did not intend to read this, but I was returning some public library books and there it was. I thought it was a follow-up to This Book ate my Dog, which I read a couple weeks ago and enjoyed. I was unaware that there is one more book in between by Richard Byrne called We’re in the Wrong Book. I found the two I have read to form a cute series of pic books in which young readers will interact with the story. I am going to try to get that second one.

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This book was kind of special for me as it is the first chapter book my youngest requested to read TO me. I had read the first three in this series to her, and we have really enjoyed reading them together. There is a blend of action and humour. My youngest says that she needs books with action, fighting and magic (thus her love of Harry Potter). Here, we really liked the acorn shaped monster drawn by LeUyen Pham and some of the other new characters as well. This has been a great early chapter series for us, as having listened to the first three books, my little reader can access some words she would not otherwise have been able to. Also, a fifth is on the way. I know someone that can’t wait.

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I picked this up at the library at the same time as This Book is out of Control. Nice work librarians for making a display of new books. Now, I know why I do that, it works! This one has cute illustrations. You can see from the cover that the girl is going to be using her brain for something, and that is the case. She is thinking about the important parts of her dog, not the looks. There is a message to go with the pictures, but it is subtle so it will inspire/require discussion.

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 I think this is one of the most underrated covers and maybe series for MG readers. My wife chose it for our family read aloud and the kids really liked it (its a re-read for me). The cupboards lead to different worlds and we had just read two Narnia books so that was a big hook for my children when they read the back and looked at the cover and realized it could be similar. The eyes of the cat are a big draw as well. This one has action, some creepy parts, and some hidden details in the background that are expanded on later in the series. I had several grade five and six students read this last year. A sign of a potentially good book: my copy looks like it has been through the blender from last year’s class.

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I don’t read a lot of non-fiction so I had been wanting to try this one for a while, and its mention at the YMA was the final boot to my rear. The back cover gives a warning that generally people do not die of natural causes here, and there are many violent ends for people in this account of the life of a 12th century samurai. I thought it was really interesting the ways in which Pamela Turner let you know when her source was really good, and when she had to speculate a little. At times, I felt like I was sitting in on her research. The story itself is exciting and I think those that can handle the violence will enjoy the peek into medieval Japan including well described battle scenes that could play out as a cinematic daydream in the mind of a reader.

Currently Reading:

I am still re-reading The War that Saved my Life and Masterminds in preparation for my literature circle unit.

Upcoming Reads:

I am going to start Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart tonight (hopefully after some report cards get done) as I will likely use it as a recommendation to other lit circle students who choose to read The Honest Truth. My daughter looked after my early chapter goal last week, so this week it might be The Bad Guys, the second in the Amulet series or Weekends with Max and his Dad. Happy Reading to all!

It’s Family Day (in BC) What are you Reading

This is my weekly contribution to the meme hosted by unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com, both are great places to enrich your reading lives with more great books for your TBR lists.

Finished this week:

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I was enthralled with the last third of this book, and thought about it most of yesterday. It is a story about “Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog” but really it is a vast story of big ideas about the world, and human nature. I think the title tells you that the events that take place with the children are important, but the impact on others is even more so. The story of the children is told by people who congregate in an inn, with many individuals taking turns, and sometimes more than one as they move in and out or as someone else fills in a hole in the story that others do not know. I thought the different perspectives were really effective.

Much like a few of the characters in this book, I feel like I am often trying to hear truth “above the din of other voices”. In our world of alternate facts, there is perceived orthodoxy and heresy that makes our world more “confusing and strange,” as we “face the flames of hate,” that are being fanned voraciously. In this novel, as in our world, one person’s orthodoxy is another’s heresy.

I do enjoy how Adam Gidwitz does not tone down (or dumb down) his books for readers, and as such he makes a big ask of young readers. I am curious how young readers will appreciate this book but also curious how people with religious faith that is far stronger than mine read the discussions of “god’s plan” which comes up more than once.

In addition to these deep thoughts, there are also moments of action, humour and gore that we would expect having read A Tale Dark and Grimm and its sequels. There are farting dragons, and dismembered body parts, so if you have never read any of Gidwitz’s prior works know that the books I have read are not for the faint of heart, although its not super graphic either.

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These are funny, short stories about a young girl who goes into secret agent mode and regularly saves the world (at least from her point of view). Reading three in one volume gets a tad repetitive as similar lines come up. However, some genuinely funny moments (particularly when Amelia uses disguises featuring Mom’s clothes) that will make this an attractive early chapter option. I read this one as part of my goal to read one early chapter novel each week. Each of these stories are about 45-60 pages, so at first this might look like a longer book for early chapter people, but its really not. There are a lot of pictures and not too many words on most pages.

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This is a very colourful picture book with a strong, simple message that what makes you who you are comes from within. Here, a blonde haired, blue eyed girl named Celina struggles with her identity as a Mohawk in the face of bullying. One child in particular questions the new girl in town on her identity and makes her even question herself. The girl’s love of dancing and conversations with an elder help her to come to terms with things and stand up for herself.

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This is one to file under, how could I be a teacher and now a librarian for more than a year and not have read this. Well, its often out, and I never had to recommend this to students. The other students took care of that for me. I was curious, but never made the time until this afternoon. It has beautiful art work that really conveyed the emotion of characters and motion. I have no art background, and even my stick men are terrible so the fact that I think I noticed that is significant. The story is really engaging from a tragic event in the first few pages to a cliff-hanging, should read the next one soon ending. Its set in a really intriguing alternate world that is teased at in book one and will probably be revealed a bit more in each book. Most of you probably already knew that though. But, if not, know that you will likely enjoy this title in one quick read. I will likely spend a few idle moments in the library (that never happens unless I go in on the weekend like today) reading the second title.

Currently Reading:

100 Cupboards  (100 Cupboards, #1) 100 Cupboards is our family read aloud. My nine and six year old girls seem hooked on this MG fantasy by N.D. Wilson. My wife loves the whole trilogy, and I have read the first two. I got a little bogged down in the middle of the second one, and never returned to book three, but the series is filled with some fantastic worlds and is a good complement to fans of Narnia.

The War that Saved My Life I am re-reading the Newbery Honor book from Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. It is phenomenal, and just as much so the second time. I am very excited to be using this as a lit circle book with my class this year, and in my district’s Battle of the Books.

Masterminds (Masterminds #1) I also picked Masterminds for lit circles and Battle of the Books this year. It is an exciting dystopian for tweens kind of book. Low trust for adults, but without the violence or love triangles that characterize the genre in YA (at least that is what I find- and I like some of those books).

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune I am really excited to be reading this book. I don’t read much (maybe not enough) non-fiction but I really enjoyed the first two chapters. This would be an easy book talk for students that love history and action. Just read the back- “Very few people in this story die of natural causes” and show off the cover. Done.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) My six year old and I have one chapter left. Most of the secrets are uncovered, I think, and I am not sure how we are going to be set up for book four. My child is a little spoiled now for books that do not contain magic. They have an uphill battle for her attention.

Upcoming Reads:

I am hoping to get to Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart, I might have written that before though. My youngest and I are going to read The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation, this is a favourite early chapter series of ours. Happy Family Day Reading to everyone!

It’s Barely Monday, 2/6/17

At the last minute, I am sharing the books I was able to finish and make progress on last week as part of the kidlit meme hosted by unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com Check out the other blogs for great reading suggestions.

IMWAYR 2015

I had a light reading week unless I count my re-reading, which was active, in preparation for my class’s Literature Circle units. It was all good reading though. First the books that were new to me this week.

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Just a Walk by Jordan Wheeler with illustrations by Christopher Auchter had really engaging pictures and a great sort of cause and effect plot featuring a young Aboriginal boy walking through the woods getting in adventures with the animals around him. I read this just after I had read one of Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse books and it had the same impact on kids. Very funny, and they were wondering what would happen next to Chuck (just like the mouse). One hilarious misstep seemed to lead to another and things got progressively more dangerous and funny for something that started out as Just a Walk.

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Beautiful colour illustrations enhance this story that explains how the first mosquito came to be. Caroll Simpson seems to have used traditional stories of coastal BC First Nations, and many supernatural creatures make appearances. There is additional material after the story that gives more information on the creatures that appeared in the story and that is a welcome addition. I wanted to re-read the story after that once I knew some of the mythology. I haven’t read this to students yet, but I wonder if they will get very much from the plot without some of this background. I know many that will be highly attracted to the artwork here though.

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Similar to the first book in this set in that there are very short tales that teach lessons in the style of many fables I would have read growing up. Usually a really clear and easy to find moral for kids. The humour is welcome to make the message easier to handle. One moral in particular was an anti-moral and made me laugh. I wouldn’t race to read the third one, but I think these could make good social-emotional learning lessons with the right discussion following a class read.

Re-read: I finshed The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart as well. I love this book. I knew I wanted to use it for my lit circles because I have so many readers who really like to get immersed with a character, into their lives, and the decisions that they have to make. The class across from me is using the same books and they were hooked immediately on the plot. This is a book where some uncomfortable things happen, so it is best to be discussed with others, and the group across the hall relishes that type of discussion.

Currently Reading: I am also re-reading Masterminds by Gordon Korman, partly for my lit circle groups, and also to set me up to read the sequel and the third which arrives next month. I have been through six chapters and am really enjoying it the second time, seeing hints of things to come that I did not catch the first time. This series is a real cliff-hanger so starting it right now is perfect because you will not really have to wait for sequels. My students will appreciate that.

I am also reading The War that Saved my Life for my lit circles (just started today). It was one of my favourite reads last year and I really can’t wait to share this with students. The first few pages are so powerful and yanked me right into the story.

The only downside of these re-reads is that I did not get time to finish The Inquisitor’s Tale. I am really enjoying it. A couple people told me to enjoy it as it is a unique read. That is a great word to describe it. Medieval for middle grade was ambitious but Adam Gidwitz is up to the challenge. I have many Tale Dark and Grimm fans that will give this book a chance based on his past books, and they would probably never choose Medieval history. Some adults are sure to give it a chance with the Newbery label too, but it is a really good book so far. I will finish it this week.

Another great book I hope to finish this week is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I have been reading this with my six year old, who hollers for it before I drop my school bag on the floor. It is my first reading as well, and there are lot of questions to fill in the last fifty pages this week.

My family read aloud is 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson, this is a re-read for me. A slightly creepy, scary read for intermediate students, and the first in a three book series. After reading two Narnia books in the last few months, a book in which their are “cupboards” that appear to be doorways to other world is an easy sell for both my children. We are just getting to the interesting part after a little bit of a slow build that tested their patience just a bit.

Upcoming: Why do I even bother? I read none of the books I intended to this week. Well, at least I can mention them all again. Scar Island, because I have been enjoying all Dan Gemeinhart’s stuff. Perhaps Amulet or The Bad Guys as an early chapter/graphic selection. If we finish Harry Potter early in the week, we will be moving onto The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation. I will continue to re-read Masterminds and The War that Saved my Life. I may try to squeeze in Wolf Hollow.

Happy Reading!

It’s Monday (still, in Western Canada) What are You Reading 1/30/17

IMWAYR 2015

I have been very efficient today (or yesterday) but I am trying at the last minute to finish my contribution to this weekly meme hosted by the excellent people at teachmentortexts and unleashingreaders. I am sure there are thirty or so blogs represented as I write this with dozens of great additions to my TBR list.

Here are the books that I was able to read this week:

Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star, #1)

I was fortunate enough to have a Twitter follower re-tweet the writer’s request for feedback on his forthcoming book. I replied quickly and he sent the book to me. I was able to finish reading it this week. I found this to be a very exciting beginning of a MG sci-fi series. I enjoyed how the parents and kids experience the events with different viewpoints and how these perspectives shape their actions. The twists near the end set the stage for an interesting second book that I look forward to reading. The most obvious comparisons that I had while reading it were actually books for adults (The Martian and Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves- two of my favourite reads last year). The basic premise is that humanity is trying to find a new home after having to leave Earth and then Mars. One the last day on Mars, our characters run into some unforeseen challenges. I got this into the hands of a grade 5 student Friday, and he is loving it too. He will be finished in a day or two and there is a long line requesting to read this amongst the grades 5-7 classes. Likely, the only complaint will be how long it will take to get a second book in the series. This book comes out on Feb. 17.

We are in a Book! (Elephant & Piggie, #13)

Here is a complete change of pace. Another one of Mo Willem’s perfect titles for early readers. I had a young early reader offer to curl up with me and read this aloud. Who am I to say no to that? This was a perfect book to see how much my six year old enjoys to read with expression. There are many opportunities for that, and I am grateful that my six year old has read so much with my nine year old, who I give some of the credit to for developing her little sister’s expressive reading. Hooray for read alouds!

Dory Fantasmagory

I had really wanted to read this last year and just did not get to it. This year, I decided to start the year by reading at least one early chapter book a week (thanks to Alyson Beecher’s blog for that) and so far I have done so. I think it has already helped me to better match readers in one of my library blocks to books they seem to be enjoying. This one is a funny, crazy look inside the imagination of a six year old. Filled with perfect moments that I have shared with my kids involving blanket forts, aborted toy clean-ups and the many conditions older siblings attach to playing with younger siblings.

Ollie's Odyssey

This was our latest family read aloud, chosen by our six year old, who found this on a clearance table at Mosaic Books (awesome store) this summer. We have enjoyed some of William Joyce’s picture books from the Guardians of Childhood series, and we enjoyed this immensely too. It’s a wise tale of the relationship between children and their faves (favourite toys), and the magic that exists between the two. At turns, it reminded me of The Velveteen Rabbit and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, but it certainly has its own sense of self too. At times lyrical, and at times action packed, I think this book had a little something for all the readers in my family.

The Seventh Wish

Small spoiler ahead, but if you have heard anything about this book at all, go ahead and read this, because you already know what this one is about. I have developed really high expectations for any Kate Messner book and this book had a lot of hype. I think it delivered on that hype. This book is so good and I had it on my list to read for a while, but no copy in my area. Finally, I bought it (not as many hardcovers this year, Mr. Principal, yes the budget, oops, so sorry) and I can’t understand why some have censored it. It handles the challenging topic of addiction so well. The story seems real and not dumbed down. It respects its audience but doesn’t need to tell the story with any graphic details. I was glad to see the story from Charlie’s perspective, rather than the person going through addiction, and see how she came to grips with the challenges she and those around her had. This book is really about a lot of other things as well, but the addiction element is really important and has gotten lots of attention.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

I still marvel at how Kate Messner writes so many different types of books well. My wife had a stack of her books for her elementary classroom over the weekend, and really almost any type of book you wanted was represented. This was another great title in this set and really a perfect subject with all that goes on in a garden. The illustrations are excellent and help the book travel through the seasons. Excellent notes on the animals from the book come at the end and help to clarify why “Every garden is a community garden.”

Currently Reading and Upcoming:

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog I have been holding on to this for too long. It is really, really good. Newbery Honor gave me the last little nudge to get going.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) I am still reading this with my six-year old and the final match for the Quidditch Cup was her very favourite part so far.

We are now reading 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson as our family read aloud as well. It is a re-read for the parents, but one I think my nine year old, particularly, will love. Also, this week I have some new picture books with an Aboriginal theme that I will be reading, and Dan Gemeinhart’s new book Scar Island (if I finish The Inquisitor’s Tale quickly). I have yet to pick an early chapter book. I might adapt the plan slightly and choose The Bad Guys, which is a graphic novel, but I think still for early readers, or Amulet (which I cannot believe I have never read). There are a few distractions sitting in a shopping bag under my desk at school though. Happy Reading!

It’s Monday What are You Reading 1/23/17

IMWAYR 2015

 

This weekly meme is hosted by teachmentortexts.com and unleashingreaders.com. A collection of about 30 bloggers will share their weekly reading and give you a great selection to add to your TBR towers.

This week was the first week I read more books that were outside of my #MustReadin2017 list. The reading distractions have already begun!

The Night Gardener

This was the first book I finished this week. I checked it out at my public library where it was on display. Many bloggers and reviewers have said great things about it. This book features a gardener who arrives during the night to create wonderful creatures. Its a far more desirable gardener to run into compared to Jonathan Auxier’s (but I love that book too). I think I did not want to read a book with the exact same title as a book I really enjoyed, so I did not search this book out right away, but it found me the other day. I loved the idea of the anonymous guy creating a piece of art for a community to enjoy the next day. The artwork is really engaging, too.

Wrath of the Storm (Mark of the Thief, #3)

This book is due to arrive in stores on January 31. It was in the January Scholastic book order though, and they shipped it as soon as we ordered it. We hosted Jennifer Nielsen in the fall, so even though this is a third book in the series, my class ordered five copies (the price was excellent for a new hardcover). I will have two students to chat with about this book by Monday morning. We will discuss what I found to be a very satisfying end to this series which started with The Mark of the Thief, and continued with The Rise of the Wolf. Our friend Nicolas Calva continually finds himself in great danger and struggles to figure out how to earn his freedom when there are many who want him to do his bidding. This ends up being a story that is about some of the most important things in life: family, love, forgiveness and freedom.
Nic has to learn about the first three before he is able to earn his freedom. In her trademark style, Jennifer Nielsen’s characters really have to puzzle together who to trust and when to trust them in order to think their way out of their perilous predicaments. Whether thinking along side Nic or racing through many action packed scenes along the way, MG readers will enjoy Wrath of the Storm and the end of Nic’s journey in this series.

Never Swipe a Bully's Bear (Roscoe Riley Rules, #2)

I enjoyed the first book in this series a couple of weeks ago and decided to read the second in order to fulfill my loosely arranged personal goal of reading an early chapter book each week. I enjoy the humour in this series as Roscoe works through a number of challenges, often by making some poor choices that he can reflect on and learn from.

Currently Reading:

Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star, #1)Ollie's OdysseyHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)

I was fortunate to receive a copy of Last Day on Mars from author Kevin Emerson via Twitter. We got the copy at the school and I agreed that I would read it, have some students read it and provide some feedback. I am really enjoying the book. The back states that in this first of a series, humanity is looking for a new home after Earth becomes inhospitable and the temporary home on Mars also has the clock ticking. The book has an engaging premise. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi for MG readers, but parts of this remind me of The Martian and Seveneves, some sci-fi for adults I read last year. There have been some interesting parts about the differences in the way that the adults experience these events and the kids. I am looking forward to finishing this over the rest of the week.

Ollie’s Odyssey by William Joyce is our family read aloud and I am looking forward to finding out how this one ends late in the week. It is a very imaginative story, as I guess I would have expected having read a few of his picture books. Without giving too much away there are some really neat perspectives of toys and great world building too.

The third Harry Potter book is a read aloud between me and my six year old. She is crazy for it and I never have enough time to read that to her.

Later in the week I hope to get back to The Seventh Wish, I was planning to start it after school one night last week and then Last Day on Mars arrived in the mail (its out on Feb. 17) and my students who were going to read it were all engaged in long books, so I thought I would read that first so I could lend it to them. I am still really eager to start The Seventh Wish in a couple days. Then it will be The Inquisitor’s Tale or Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart. I am also re-reading Gemeinhart’s The Honest Truth for our district Battle of the Books in May. We use a quiz show style format using books that intermediate classes throughout the district use in literature circles or library book clubs. I am writing questions from this book which was one of my favourite reads last year. I have yet to select an early chapter book, but am leaning to Dory Fantasmagory. Happy reading everyone!

It’s Monday What are you Reading 1/16/17

Teachmentortexts.com and unleashingreaders.com host this weekly reading meme with a kidlit focus. Always a great place to find new books to read and share with the children and students in your life. This is a great community of readers to share with as well.

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I love the cute pics by Cale Atkinson, whose work I think I would recognize anywhere now. Vikki Vansickle’s text has a lot of rhymes as the lead character scours a book of Mythological Creatures to find more interesting pets than its hamster. I think older kids would like reading this, maybe during buddy time, as they have more of a background with these types of creatures from Harry Potter or Percy Jackson books. Not sure how it will play with younger students who have no clue what many of the creatures are. The unicorn pages will be a real crowdpleaser for all ages though. This is a fun book to share.

This Book Just Ate My Dog!

Just as was the case with the last book, this came from my book fair. I hadn’t heard of this book before but the title and picture made me grab it. I think this one is pretty funny for the early primary set, and I think kids will like the interactive part of it (no spoilers). Its also perfect for an intermediate student I teach who just told me that her dog ate one of my books. I drew some connections to one of my favourite books growing up, The Monster at the End of the Book. This book is not on that level for me, but I enjoyed it and I think my library students will as well.

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)

This is an Ancient Roman inspired adventure. There is a real mix of action, politics, history, magic and romance here. The characters become well developed (with maybe one exception) and the plot is very engaging. It is a very good book. There are two issues I had though (small spoilers ahead). I am really glad that I did not read this when it first came out, because I think the ending would have driven me nuts. There are so many questions for the reader at the end. If I mentioned one, I would just keep going and it would not be a small spoiler anymore. Also, one of the (too many) romantic plot lines was really forced. I read another review after writing that last sentence that said something to the effect of one love triangle too many in this story and that is certainly true. I don’t own this book, it is a very rare public library sign-out for me. If I did, I would be careful who signed it out of my room as there is a fair bit about prostitution and it is quite violent. Not really much more (or any more, I guess) than many other YA books lately, but at first, I was hoping this was for upper elementary students, and it is right on the line of that. An exciting debut for the writer, and for the series. I would read the next one, but its not about to displace several of the books at the top of my pile, which means I may not ever get back to it.

Rescue on the Oregon Trail (Ranger in Time, #1)

A book from my must read in 2016 list that I did not get to. I put it back on for 2017 because I don’t think I read enough early chapter books. I think I would have loved this when I read early chapter books as a child, or when my oldest daughter did. I really liked the historical details that Kate Messner includes. The voice of the dog was really great too. It’s probably never a bad idea to start your book with bacon, and that is here as well. Its easy to compare this to Magic Treehouse, but this is a little longer, and a little more detailed than the first MTH books. I do want to read more of this series and start sharing them a little more. I have suggested that kids try this series but most have not really done so. Now that I have read it, I think I can do a much better job selling it. I also think my youngest daughter will read these soon. I am pretty impressed with how Kate Messner can write some effectively for different age groups.

Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their Parents
This book is full of realistic illustrations and facts about a range of different mammals, rare and common. The book is divided into sections based on the needs of all babies such as: The baby is part of a family, The baby grows strong through play, and The baby needs protection. There is a page that includes the phrase, and an illustration and on the following page there are three different examples of how mammals fill this need for their babies. I didn’t find it as visually stimulating as her How Big Are Dinosaurs? but a really good all around NF picture book that will please a lot of young readers/listeners by providing cute pics and important info on a well loved topic.

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A satisfying return to the world of Wonder. Part of me wishes that I had read Wonder a second time before I went on to this book, though. There were three interesting stories involving Wonder characters. Interesting to see the back story of Julian, who is the villain of Wonder. He is not entirely off the hook for me after reading this but there are other people responsible for his actions as well.
I think the strength of this book was to see inside the head of Charlotte in the third story. Charlotte is a character very similar to many youth in that she is trying to figure out who are her real friends and what to think about other people’s opinions of her. The second story featured Christopher, a friend of Auggie’s from birth who had moved away. This one didn’t really grab me as much, but Christopher seems to be working his way through what it means to be a friend to others as well.

Currently Reading:

I am reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with my six year old, Ollie’s Odyssey by William Joyce with my family and this morning I started The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner. I am also hoping to add an early chapter book (my unofficial challenge is to read one each week), and hoping my Scholastic order comes in so I can read either The Wrath of the Storm or Scar Island. I will be adding picture book titles I come across while cataloging in my school library. Happy Reading!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)Ollie's OdysseyThe Seventh WishWrath of the Storm (Mark of the Thief #3)Scar Island

It’s Monday What are you Reading 1/9/17

IMWAYR 2015 logo

This weekly meme with a kidlit focus is hosted by teachmentortexts, and unleashingreaders. It is an excellent source for book discussion and finding new titles. Highly recommended. I am linking up to these blogs and sharing my reading for the week with an outstanding kidlit reading community.

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My library group was very interested in this title. I had a few boys, practically fighting over it when I finished reading it. Fascinating facts about animals with terrific pictures. Sections at the back with more info for stronger readers provide an extension for higher grades and there were a lot of jumping off points for research as well. Great for fans of Jess Keating’s Pink is for Blobfish. Not sure why it took me so long to buy and read this.

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I enjoyed re-reading this as a family read aloud with my nine and six year olds. Both kids were really keen to read it, and they do not always agree. We had read The Magician’s Nephew earlier and as a child, I know I read them in the opposite order. It was really interesting to see how much they got out of this book, and I think there is a good chance that we may (as a group) come back to this series.

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Really beautiful picture with sparse, poetic text, this book is literally what is in the title, but uses it as a jumping off point for really wise observations from a walk through nature. This is a great title given the weather right now in my part of the world. As usual, I am very late to the party with this title, but hopefully I am reminding some of you to pull out this gem (or sign it out) as kids are going to love hearing this book in my library groups this week. There are several similar titles from this author/illustrator duo, and I am again kind of in awe of how Kate Messner can write so many different kind of books from MG to picture books, and have so many different impacts on her readers.

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A doorway into the world of a family living on the other side of the globe. Interesting perspectives of the different family members and other inhabitants of the house. Short, poetic text goes well with vast pictures.

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A very cute story about friendship and finding someone who is willing to recognize and celebrate a unique soul. Great story for early primary students to show how great it is to be a friend to someone.

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This is a very funny story, well told. Loaded with pranks and asides, I think this book will be really engaging for emerging readers. I know my six year old will love it. She kept walking up to me and saying, “You must read this book to me some day.” I know that I will, or she will read it to me. Roscoe is funny, cute and although he makes plenty of hilarious mistakes, he is goodhearted. There are now seven of these early chapter books and I could see grade one through three books rolling through all seven.

Currently Reading:

An Ember in the Ashes- this is more of a YA book than I was looking for. I was hoping to pass this on to grade 6/7. I think you could, but use caution as there are a lot of mature themes such as prostitution, and there is a fair bit of violence. I have read about half and it is a fairly exciting, Ancient Rome inspired dystopian thriller. I hope to finish it this week.

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- I am reading this with my six year old. We don’t have a lot of time to read, just the two of us, when school is in session. However, her older sister read the second installment with her and kind of raced ahead on her own through this one, so I NEED to read this. Actually, I have never read it, so it works for me. Harry Potter (the first) was a book I liked, but I never really felt compelled to race through the rest. When they first came out, I was just not in the mood for that type of book. I am enjoying them more now. I think sometimes you have the right book, at the wrong time, and that was Harry Potter for me, but now it feels nice to share it with my daughter. This is going to take a while for us to read.

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Ollie’s Odyssey- This was a book that my six year old found at Mosaic Books in Kelowna (highly recommended) in the summer and she has been waiting for her turn to pick our family read aloud in order to choose this one. We are enjoying it. I am making connections to The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and The Velveteen Rabbit. This is kind of an oversimplification but we have read about a third of it. My youngest really enjoys the author’s picture books in the Guardians of Childhood series The Man in the Moon and The Sandman.

That is all for this week, I am hoping to get to Scythe or The Inquisitor’s Tale this week, and some picture books including If I Had a Gryphon, and Born to be Wild. Happy Reading Everyone.