It’s Monday What are you Reading? 9/11/2017

I am happy to be able to link up this post with others at teachmentotexts.com and unleashingreaders.com in order to see what many kidlit bloggers have been up to.

The first week back should be a week in which maybe not quite so much reading is done. However, I did acquire two books this week that needed to read quickly so that I could get them out to students who were forming quite the mob at my desk. I also managed to finish the latest in a classic graphic novel series with my youngest.

Books I finished this week:

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About two years ago, I tried a new series called The Blackthorn Key and it has become one of my favourite MG series. I shared it with students and they also loved it, it was voted the Intermediate Book of the Year as part of my district’s Battle of the Books. The second book, Mark of the Plague, was also excellent and the third does not disappoint.

The Assassin’s Curse has all of the elements that have made this series successful. Great characters, mysteries and codes that have you thinking along with Christopher, an apprentice apothecary, and his faithful friend Tom, the son of a baker in 17th century England, and there are also terrific action scenes. The mix of history, science and math is rare and engaging for this age level. I think what I enjoy most is the relationship between Tom and Christopher. The loyalty and trust between them makes them admirable characters and the wit in their exchanges adds levity to some serious situations that they face.

This particular tale in the Blackthorn Adventures features the characters travelling more than in the past and I think they might face their toughest, most dangerous adversary yet. Fans of this series will love this book and I don’t really want to spoil anything but this might be my favourite ending of this series.

This book came out on Tuesday, September 5. There is a great giveaway of five signed copies on Goodreads right now. Kevin Sands is also touring to support the book, my school is hosting him on September 25 after his stop in Vancouver.

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This is the seventh book of the classic graphic novel series, Amulet. My children were so excited to get me to the latest book in this series so I could share their angst over the (to them) seemingly never-ending wait for the eighth book that is promised for 2018. Kazu Kibuishi, in addition to being a very talented artist and storyteller has infinite patience for the people asking him when the book will be ready on Twitter. I know I am not the only one with many readers waiting.

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I was fortunate to win an ARC of this book on Goodreads. This is another very sought after book at my school. I held a random draw to determine the reading order of the holds placed on The Assassin’s Curse library copy and there will be another one for the second copy that I will be keeping in my classroom. The draw for The War I Finally Won, also tomorrow, will have even more people in it. Almost all the girls that I taught last year are in. They are so invested in Ada, and with good reason. This book picks up shortly after The War that Saved My Life as World War II continues and the lives of Ada, Susan, and Jamie continue to evolve. It’s a roller coaster of belief, tragedy, hope and belonging that is every bit as wise as the first one. I remember thinking that the first one was so great that I really did not want a sequel but I was very wrong.

 

Currently Reading:

WonderHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Zita the SpacegirlGhosts of Greenglass House (Greenglass House, #2)

I am reading Wonder with my grade 5/6 class and it is great in the early stages. I can see so much thought from many of the students. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is our family book, we love the evilness of Delores Umbridge, I can’t wait to watch how that character is played on the screen (we never watch the movies until we have read the book). Zita and the Spacegirl is a recommendation from my daughter. After reading the second Mighty Jack graphic novel by Ben Hatke, I am compelled to read this whole series. Ghosts of Greenglass House is a book I have on NetGalley and I really enjoyed Greenglass House, so I can’t wait to start that in the next few days.

 

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Must Read in 2017- End of Summer Update

I have been pleased to be a part of Carrie Gelson’s Must Read in 2017 challenge. I have a list of 66 books that I have been working on. Realistically, I know that I will not reach all of these books. I do not even have access to all of them right now. Some are not even published. I think I felt that if I got to 50 I would be content with that. I am probably on pace to do that. As was the case last year, I did much better before the first update. I had read 20 at that time. Now, I have read 34. Here is a list of the books that I have read since the last update starting with most recent.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson- fantastic YA classic that should be read by early teens for years to come. I wish it were not so necessary.

Stand Off by Andrew Smith- terrific sequel to Winger, another YA title, I get more of those done in the summer.

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell- a Catcher in the Rye ish main character from Britain struggles through adolscence.

School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani- I really wanted to like this but it did not quite come together for me. Lots of action though. Some MG readers will love it.

Worlds Collide by Chris Colfer- The sixth and final Land of Stories tale brought together many characters and plot lines that have beloved by my family for years.

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon- I love this transitional chapter series. Such a funny take on the imagination of kids, and so perfectly accurate too. I actually read this one before the first update too, but this second read was with my seven year old.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder- a thought provoking story about the journey through childhood that leaves you with much to ponder.

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel- An interesting spin on the tale of Viktor Frankenstein.

Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel- Not my favourite by Kenneth Oppel but a quicker lighter YA read that held my interest but I preferred This Dark Endeavor.

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol- Very funny picture book!

Snow White by Matt Phelan- an imaginative take on the classic tale set in, I think 1920s New York City. Striking black and white visual images. Clever reinvention of the dwarves. Not an easy one for young readers though.

Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look- I have to say that I kind of liked this early chapter book when I was reading it (probably at the high end of that category) but it did not really stay with me.

The Case of the Stinky Stench by Josh Funk- I love this series. The rhyming and the word play are great with different lines working for different ages, and there are so many little details to discover in the pictures in each reading. Very funny! Like many schools, we love Josh Funk.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk- I found this one a little slow to build but a very interesting tale of perceptions and prejudices that benefits from discussion.

House Arrest by K.A. Holt- By contrast I raced through this novel in verse and so have several students I gave it to. So much feeling in this book, I kind of want to read it again, right now.

 

However, if I do it will further impair my ability to get to at least 50 books and hopefully closer to 66, which appears to be out of reach. I had hoped to be in the 40s but so be it. I am starting The War I Finally Won today, which made my list but after that I know I will be distracted by others that are not on the list. I think I am more distracted by the sheer volume and (I think) quality of books I have acquired recently than I thought possibly (Patina, Refugee, Ghosts of Greenglass House just in the last week or so).

Here are the books that are still on my list. Help! Please tell me which ones I need to ensure that I do not miss.

The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North AmericaThe Left-Handed FateThe Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co., #2)Me and Marvin GardensThe Mostly True Story of JackMaybe a FoxStill Life with TornadoWhere Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? (Tales from Deckawoo Drive)The Mighty Odds (The Odds Series #1)Seven Ways We LieThe Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2)Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard: A Peter Nimble AdventureFoxheartInto the Wild (Warriors, #1)The Magic Mirror: Concerning a Lonely Princess, a Foundling Girl, a Scheming King and a Pickpocket SquirrelFurthermoreChallenger DeepCartwheeling in ThunderstormsThe Shadow Thieves (The Cronus Chronicles, #1)The UnwantedsCinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1)Half BrotherGone (Gone, #1)Going OverRed Queen (Red Queen, #1)Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie (Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, #1)The Man from Beijing

I also have Read the Books Lemmings, which I know I will read and The Fall by Neal Stephenson, a book I was excited to see on Goodreads, but now I am not even sure it will be out. Possibly, the listing was confused with The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Stephenson and Nicole Galland, which I did read. I might give myself that one and up my score to 35. Please let me know which of my books I should not miss out on this year, and thanks for reading. I look forward to seeing the progress of others.

It’s Monday- New Year’s Eve Edition

My family always considers the first day before a new school year the real New Year’s Eve, so if you are starting tomorrow with children as well, I wish you a Happy New Year. I am squeezing in some time today to share some great books I read this week that come out tomorrow as well. This post, as per usual, is linking up to the other great posts at unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com, great places to fill your To-Be-Read lists.

Books I finished this week:

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Alan Gratz is really on a roll with the success of Refugee, which I haven’t read as my copy is still on route from a Scholastic book order I placed, but this is also a really great book. As you can tell from the cover, it is about censorship and the banning of books in a school library. Thankfully, this is not something that I have experienced first hand, but Gratz has used the experiences of others to write an interesting tale of an introverted girl named Amy Anne who attempts to find her voice, speak up and take action (just like her favourite book characters do) against this problem and even in her own family. In the first thirty pages, I worried that this might be one of those books that your book lovers enjoy, but falls flat with others, but I got more involved with the characters, particularly the family dynamics and the growth that occurred. It would make a good read aloud from grades 4-6. I managed to get a copy through NetGalley, but I will be buying my own copy at some point so that others can root for Amy Anne.

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This is an excellent picture book with a great message and amazing colourful art that is a trademark of any Cale Atkinson book. I was able to view this on NetGalley, however I could not get a couple of the pictures and text to go together quite the way they are intended to on my IPAD, I think it is operator abuse as I am kind of new to Kindle and NetGalley. Inspite of the technical glitch, I loved the story, and I am eager to find the copy that I pre-ordered in my mailbox.

As a teacher or librarian there is a lot that one could do with predicting and picture clues here just by looking at the cover, it really reveals much about what the story is really about. Oliver goes through a lot trying to force himself into a fit with different groups, and learns that there are much more satisfying ways to find a space that feels right for him. This will be a great addition to my library and it officially comes out tomorrow.

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I also really loved the second book in this series. I pre-ordered it because I had a horde of grade four and five boys wanting it after reading the first one, Mighty Jack. This one ended in a cliff hanger, and so when my copy I arrived far earlier than I expected I read it quite quickly and then passed it on to my seven year old. It was great! The story seemed to expand and get even more engaging. My child was able to explain some of the aspects of the world that Ben Hatke has created that I was missing not having read his earlier series Zita and the Space Girl. I have gone back and started to read that. Honestly, I still very much enjoy this book without knowing that stuff, but if you have Zita and the Space Girl and haven’t read it yet, it is a great series and so is this. Highly recommended for all intermediates, this book is also released Tuesday.

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This book has been out since May, and likely you have already heard of it, but my budget was shot in the library by the time this one came out, and my local public did not have it, so I only recently acquired this and got the chance to read it. It is exactly what I was hoping for when looking at the cover. It’s a very good tale of a boy conquering his fears to jump off the high board. Excellent illustrations with the perspectives of looking down from the board, up at the ladder and more. I really enjoyed the father as well. I will be reading this with library groups soon.

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This is also a book that is not new, a YA classic that I had just never quite found the time to read. I made some time recently, as it is on my Must-Read-in-2017 list, thanks to Carrie Gelson for organizing that. I really can’t say too much about this book without possibly spoiling it for others who have not read it, but its brilliant. A very important read for adolescents with much to say about depression, finding your voice, relationships, and sexual assault. I am curious what grade levels teachers and librarians have offered this book to. I don’t really want my grade five students (in my class reading this) but I can really see some grade sevens reading it before high school. If anyone has something to offer to answer that, I would really appreciate it.

Currently Reading:

The Assassin's Curse (The Blackthorn Key, #3) Another book that releases tomorrow that I got a kind store owner to sell me early. I started this last night and gulped down about 200 pages. I love this series and these characters. If you are familiar with this series, you will likely love it too. There is so much history in this one. If not, I highly recommend The Blackthorn Key.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Firelight (Amulet, #7)Zita the Spacegirl

These three I am reading with my whole family (Harry Potter) or with my seven year old. I am enjoying all three of these.

Happy Reading to everyone, and now back to prepping for the first day of school!

It’s Monday What are you Reading- The Summer is Over Edition! (worked today with adults- no students yet)

So, here, just barely, is my meager efforts to record last week’s reading. I had a good week of reading (lots of picture books, a graphic novel, and two interesting, original novels), but I almost failed to record it in this post. I got wrapped up in getting stuff ready for our first day of professional development, our district’s Summer Institute and as rewarding as that is it means the walls are closing in on days where I have a lot of reading time. I am linking up this post to the kind people at unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com who host the It’s Monday meme with the kidlit theme. Each week our TBR piles become more and more swollen and as a reader remarked this week, my TBR pile could use an extra reader or two.

Books I finished this week:

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This was one of several picture books that I read trying to whittle down my TBR list and scout out some books that I could possibly buy for my school library when I have access to a budget again (a budget that usually only lasts me a couple of months). I picked up these through interlibrary loans at my local public. My Mouth is a Volcano is a funny book designed to teach kids that interrupting is kind of rude and not something that you would appreciate if you were a speaker. Louis’ thoughts are so important to him that he can’t seem to prevent himself from having them erupt out of his mouth.

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This was probably my favourite picture book of the week. It has a powerful message about having the courage to speak up and defend one’s freedom. It also has a little fun while laying down a fairly heavy message.

Triangle

People seem to either love Triangle or are kind of like, “That was okay, but I like some of their other stuff better.” I am in the second group. I thought the end was interesting but I won’t discuss it here in case you haven’t read it. I will only say there are a couple ways to interpret it, and that might make for an interesting discussion. I can’t really say why I did not enjoy the events that happened before that ending.

 

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This was a super cute rhyming picture book that I read with my seven year old. Kind of a spoiler alert coming up but I want to share what my seven year old said when she read the first page and if a seven year old can see this you probably can to, “It’s just because she has no arms, Dad.” Yes, that is pretty much why, but even though you know this, it is still really cute watching Slug go through a bunch of steps to make himself more hugable. I think my students at school will have a similar reaction.

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I read The Snurtch before reading this one and I really loved that book. This one is good, but really did not do it for me as much as The Snurtch. I liked the facial expressions of the boy in particular as he struggled with accepting the feelings he still had for his stuffie, but I did not find the story quite as compelling.

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My seven year old is determined to make sure that she gets me through the entire Amulet series by the start of the school year and we will make it. She is doing most of the reading, and I stare at Kazu Kibishi’s fabulous landscapes, cityscapes, and characters. Its a great series and both my daughter’s are chortling that I will soon be hanging off of the cliff with them, waiting for book 8 (sometime in 2018).

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This novel is part of a three book series called Monster Blood Tattoo, which is the title of book one in some editions, although mine is Foundling. It is an extremely inventive series, published over a decade ago, set on the world of The Half Continent, a land filled with dry landscapes, small cities, and rural areas that are filled with monsters. Innocent young Rossamund is a foundling who finally gets the call to leave his home at Madam Opera’s (a house for orphans) and journey far away to accept a job as a Lamplighter, keeping the way lit for travelers in order to make it safer from really freaky creatures. The author loves drawing and I think that was his entry into writing this, but really its a coming of age story about young Rossamund who does not know much about the ways of the world and is far too trusting to head out on such a journey. It’s also about a really interesting world in which some of the monsters are not so monstrous and lots of the humans are (including the most fascinating character, a woman named Europe). This is a MG/YA novel, although it would be a challenging read for some MG readers. I am not sure if this is steampunk or an author taking artistic license with the Victorian era but the setting is also interesting. Credit to my wife for recommending this one to me.

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Just as Foundling is an older book with more than one title, so is this book which was published in Ireland as The Wordsmith a few years ago, and now it comes to North America with a new title and cover. The List is a very thought provoking, post-apocalyptic tale that will draw comparison to many classic dystopian tales such as The Giver and 1984. In Ark, a new society rises out of a period of chaos that began with The Melting, which rendered much of the world an inhospitable mess. The leader/co-creator of Ark is John Noa, and he and others identified language as one of the things that brought about the downfall of the world. As we all reside in a world of fake news, alternate facts, and a lot of really poor discourse on public policy, this premise may not ever have been as relevant as it is today.

In Patricia Forde’s created world, a young girl named Letta is trying to figure out how to deal with working for of John Noa and doing what she believes is right. Letta works as an apprentice to the Wordsmith, a man charged by Noa with the task of creating lists of words that are acceptable for the general population to use and separate lists for specialists to use. This is an attempt to control the thoughts and actions of the human race and prevent some of the mistakes that brought about The Melting. Letta has always followed the teachings of Noa, but is also intrigued by what she sees outside of Ark, where there is more freedom to use language, and enjoy art, and music. As Letta tries to puzzle out what kind of world she wants to live in, she continues to get pushed in many directions as she learns more about the past that led to the development of Ark, and sees how it is run from the inside.

The List has a little of everything with some great action scenes including a gripping scene near the conclusion. Its strength, however, is that as you are traveling through the world of Ark with Letta as she figures out what she must do, it will leave you thinking about our own world. How is the partisan, political rhetoric that we hear so much today contributing to issues that we may have in our future?

Currently Reading:

Ban This Book: A NovelHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Firelight (Amulet, #7)

I am reading Ban This Book on my Kindle, the fifth Harry Potter with my family (we are about 400 pages into our bedtime story) and Amulet with my youngest. I will probably start a hard copy of a book myself tonight.

On deck:

I have several books on the night table: Princess Academy, Me and Marvin Gardens and The Girl Who Could Fly, but I have someone pushing me to read either Stella by Starlight or the second in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, Lamplighter. Decisions, decisions. I will probably go off the board.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a great reading week!

It’s Monday What are you Reading 8/14//17

My its Monday post today links up through the good people at teachmentortexts and unleashingreaders who play host of other bloggers recommending great books to read each Monday. I have a small list of books that I really enjoyed this week.

Books finished this week:

Black Swan Green

This is a coming of age tale of a adolescent growing up in Britain in the early 1980s. Jason has a tough time with speech issues, navigating a rigid clique/social structure that includes some nasty bullies, dealing with his parents’ marital issues and a host of other issues that young people endure in finding their place. It’s strongly written, introspective and powerful, although the language makes me not recommend it to kids I teach. It’s more of a YA/Adult read from an author that typically writes for an adult audience (his novel Cloud Atlas was made into a fairly successful movie).

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This book had some of the same issues as Black Swan Green in that there was bullying and people finding their place in a cliquey high school. This one had a bit of a gimmicky twist though in that the main character Chase was a football playing bully until he bonks his head in an accident and wakes up with amnesia, a changed guy. Chase feels the pull of his old life and to go back to his old ways, but is also making friends with a new crowd that includes some kids that he had formerly terrorized. This makes for some interesting choices that Chase needs to make about who he was, who he wants to be and how best to get there. Its a quick read and an interesting plot but I sometimes found that characters a little too stereotypical.

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

I was fortunate enough to get an early copy from Net Galley, and from the author. I actually don’t read a lot of books that have the label spooky. I was never drawn to books like Goosebumps, although I have them in my library and classroom. I think this would be classified as a moderately spooky book for middle grade readers, but like The Nest by Kenneth Oppel, which was so popular in my room two years ago, this book has a lot of other things going for it.

Like the other books I have for this week, this one features a plot in which a character needs to figure out where they fit, in this case after a move from Florida to Chicago, and the main character, Tessa manages to stumble her way to some really good friends in her first few days in Chicago. The book has the spooky elements such as suspected ghosts, a walk in a cemetery and a spooky old house full of noises and mystery that I think students will find engaging, but I also enjoyed the way friends and family were shown to support characters at some point and not so much at other points. The writer was able to show how that support created hope, and bravery and also the impact that the absence of such support had. I look forward to purchasing this book for my school when it releases on October 10.

The Terrible Two (The Terrible Two, #1)

Another book about the new kid in town. In this book Miles Murphy wants to recreate his reputation as the town’s prankster in his new locale. However, his plans are turned on their head by a more sophisticated and covert boy operating in that capacity. Its a fairly short, quick paced romp that is packaged for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans. There are some funny moments and some caricature, particularly of the principal. Although I didn’t like this as much as Wimpy Kid, it was a fun read that I think some early intermediate students will enjoy.

Currently Reading

Escape from Lucien (Amulet, #6)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Stand-Off (Winger, #2)

My youngest continues to read the sixth in the Amulet series to me. There are a couple of subplots at this point and some are less enjoyable but the overall story and artwork are great. Easy to see why so many kids love this series. Our family is working through the fifth Harry Potter book and enjoying it. There’s a lot more politics in this one, which is my youngest is just okay with but there are also some evil teachers and the prospect of a Quidditch match soon so all is well. Sunday I started Stand Off, Andrew Smith’s sequel to Winger, very much a YA title. It was quite easy to fall back into the world of Ryan Dean, a rugby playing, 15 year old senior at Pine Mountain Academy, a west coast prep school. He is a hilarious character, and Smith’s writing is one of a kind. Its a little on the raunchy side, so this one does not make it to my elementary school.

On deck:

I still have some of the same books at my night table as last week (Princess Academy and Minrs 2), but I decided for a YA/Adult break which I typically have before school starts. I also have Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America that I might start. Most of these books are on my #MustReadin2017 list of which Stand Off represents the 33rd book (of the 66 on my list) that I will complete. Happy reading everyone!

It’s Monday What are You Reading- the BC Day Edition!

Happy BC Day to several readers and bloggers from BC that will see this weekly post detailing my reading for the week as part of the Monday group that links up at teachmentortexts.com and unleashingreaders.com. Jenn (TMT) and Kellee and Ricki (unleashing readers) host a large group of blog posts each week and it is a great place to vastly inflate your TBR piles and become jealous of the books that other people have been able to get (oops, just meant to think that- oh well).

BC Day is kind of bittersweet with so much of our usually beautiful province still covered in smoke, and many people still on evacuation alert or orders. It has kind of put a damper on the whole book in a hammock outside routine. This week I leaned on the public library to cross off a bunch of picture books that have been on my TBR list for a while but that I don’t own. Many of these are a few years old, and came to my attention from other people’s lists. Also, bigger buildings with air conditioning are not as smoky right now as our houses. Win-win!

Books finished this week:

Prince of the Elves (Amulet, #5)

As part of my #MustReadin2017 (shout out to Carrie Gelson at There’s a Book for that for hosting that one) I put Amulet on my list. I intended to read the whole series, but only put the first book on my list. My seven year old ensures that I will make it through the whole series by working me into her busy schedule of reading and re-reading all seven books. Love the monster on the cover of this one, and it is emblematic of some really creepy pictures in book five. This continues to be a very interesting story with some sinister bad guys.

The Cow Loves Cookies

Now for those picture books. This would make a nice read aloud with very young children as the pictures of farm animals are engaging and the story has some nice repetition and moments for prediction. There are some simple rhymes that make up most of the story as well.

Noisy Night

This book also would be good book for predicting as there is a little bit in each picture and text that previews the next page. There is also a pattern to how the reader discovers the noise and culprit of that noise on each ascending floor. I have really enjoyed the work of the author and illustrator of this book in their other works and I liked this one too. Even though I didn’t enjoy the whole package as much as I expected for some reason, I think some kids, maybe those that live in and near apartments will love it more than I did.

Strictly No Elephants

This book would make a really cute addition to any primary aged picture book collections with its message of diversity and inclusion. The elephant being excluded from Pet Club Day is handled correctly and kids will love seeing the many different animals come together while still including all others. Again, there are some opportunities for kids to look ahead and predict how the problem might get solved, even some picture clues that my seven year old was able to find.

It's a Tiger!

I think It’s a Tiger would make a fun read aloud with younger, primary aged students. It has a funny plot with a predictable pattern that will have kids anticipating the next page based on the picture clues and repetition. The humour allows for the reader to bring expression and drama to the story as well.

My Dad Is Big And Strong, BUT...: A Bedtime Story

This book was a playful poke at the child that resists bedtime. In this case, it is the child trying to get a giddy father to finally just go to sleep even though he wants to delay his bedtime in numerous ways. It’s a fun spin on a normal routine and kids will enjoy that. I imagined you could get students to write their own stories in which roles are flipped, maybe students getting their teacher ready for the end of the day, or kids getting their parents ready for hockey practice in the morning. Maybe even getting a principal ready for an assembly. Overall, this was a fun read.

Dory and the Real True Friend

I really loved reading this one with my child as it featured more of the wacky hilarity from Dory’s imagination, this time featuring her return to a new school year. Even with a new year beginning, the old characters like Mrs. Gobble Gracker and Mr. Nubby still play supporting roles. If you enjoyed the first Dory book, you have probably already read this, and if not give this early chapter series a try. Its full of humour and imagination and there are so many perfectly written moments between the siblings. The one moment in which I looked to see if Abby Hanlon had hidden cameras set up in my house was when Dory gets her outfits ready for school. The spectacular clashes of colours and styles combined with the sheer volume of layers reminded me of both my kids, and it was ironic to see them laughing so much at the “silliness” of it all.

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This author got a lot of attention for Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, and inexplicably, I still haven’t read that one yet. However, I noticed Posted at my public library this week and I decided to try it. The cover sort of had my thinking about what the rest could be about. This was a really easy book to sit and read, I enjoyed the conversational style of first person narration. It reminded me of books by Jerry Spinelli or a little of Wonder. The content here is very slightly mature compared to Wonder, which I would read to a fifth grade class. However, if I had a seventh grade class, and maybe they had already read Wonder and I wanted a story with similar themes, this would be a great pick. Its a thought provoking book with much to say about interpersonal relationships that take place in schools.

Currently Reading:

Black Swan GreenHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)The Terrible TwoEscape from Lucien (Amulet, #6)

The first book on this list is a Man Booker Prize nominee from 2006. More importantly, its my wife’s choice for a book I must read this summer. Everyone in my family picks one title for each individual. This might be appropriate for young adults as well. There were some obvious connections between this and Posted in the first thirty pages as the main character talks about labels and fitting in (or not). The setting of early 1980s Britain will be challenging for some younger readers. It also reminds me a little of Catcher in the Rye. Our family is reading the fifth Harry Potter book together. It is a little odd for us that he is (spoiler alert) not headed back to school right away. I started reading Terrible Two, and honestly it does not really have a hold on me yet. I was without my other book, and needing something so I picked this one up. I think I need to read on before I abandon it though, there could be some good pranking coming soon. My youngest has me dutifully reading the next Amulet with her. I will soon be one of the many people lamenting the pause before book eight arrives.

On deck:

I have Gordon Korman’s Restart checked out from the library but I am also considering Princess Academy and Minrs 2.

Happy Holiday Monday if you are in BC, and if not, just try to survive another Monday with some reading time. Thanks for popping by.

It’s Monday What are you Reading… the mid-summer’s break edition

If you have never been to Jen’s blog at teachmentortexts or Kellee and Ricki’s at unleashingreaders you can go there to read many other reader’s terrific posts describing their reading weeks. Its a great way to see what is coming up (read about so many of the ARCs people are getting lately) or some older books that you may have missed.

I kind of missed doing this last week as I finally got away for a couple of days. Travelling in the BC interior is tricky lately with all the fires, but I am very grateful and fortunate that my summer has not been impacted as much as other who have been evacuated. I did enjoy reading a lot of the submissions once I got home. A lot of my reading lately is with my seven year old.

Completed Books:

Noodleheads See the Future

I noticed this on someone else’s blog (I should take notes so I can give people credit) and picked it up at my public library. My students love Tedd Arnold’s Fly Guy books so I wanted to check this out. It’s silly, humorous fun. The origin of some of the tales is explained in an author’s note at the back and that made for interesting reading too.

Swarm (Zeroes, #2)

Here is another book that is co-written with the more well known author seeming to get top billing and full disclosure, I pretty much try all of Scott Westerfeld’s books. This is a YA novel that is the second in the series that started with Zeroes. The Zeroes are a group that have “powers” that are really unlike conventional superhero powers. The teens find their abilities to be a blessing and a curse and their struggle to figure them out and how they can interact in the world with them is ongoing. I found this second book a little slow at first but it really built into an exciting last half and I would likely want to see how it all shakes out when the third book arrives in the fall. Certainly a YA title though.

The Last Council (Amulet, #4)

I have been reading this series for the first time, just this year, after years of seeing them checked out of classroom and school libraries. It is quite an enjoyable series. The artwork amazes me (I can’t even draw stick men) and the story is engaging. Both my kids are huge fans and I am reading them with my seven year old right now. She seems to always have one of them around and just keeps running through the whole series from time to time.

Dory Fantasmagory

As my youngest is so hooked on reading and re-reading Amulet and Harry Potter, I have wanted to make sure she does not miss out on so many other great books for kids her age. This was one I had really wanted to share with her. I had difficulty getting her to try this series, but once I did the humour pulled her in. I had to read the first few chapters though while she was somewhat captive. She was worried that the cover meant a lack of magic and it might not be as exciting, but in this book the magic is in Dory’s imagination. Abby Hanlon has so many perfect moments where she captures the imagination of a small child, the relationship between siblings (good and bad). If you haven’t checked this series out yet, I highly recommend it. Wacky, crazy, smart and hilarious.

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere

This was another book that I shared with my kids, and my seven year old was happy to read it to me with a little help with the French words and some of the scientific jargon. This book is just so funny and I know I already wrote about it early in the summer, so I apologize if you are tired of seeing it here. We had a lot of belly laughs while reading this.

Worlds Collide (The Land of Stories #6)

This was our family read aloud that we finished this week. We have read this entire six book series together and it has been kind of must read for us to see what would happen to the characters. There are so many memorable characters for us, and reading it out loud it often took on a performance/theater kind of element for my wife and I. With the usual year between release dates, we struggled to remember how we read the voice of certain characters at first but like any good series it all kind of came back. If you have read any of the Land of Stories books, which starts with The Wishing Spell you will know that they are filled with humor and action moving back and forth from a fairy tale world to what some characters refer to as the Otherworld. Great family reading and we were sad that the series has come to an end.

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1)

Like most reading groups, my family is constantly recommending books to each other, but as you all know there are so many that we often can’t get to them all. We decided that we would give each person a hard recommendation, something they would commit to reading within a week or two. This is the one I got from my ten year old. She loves this series and has read the three volumes. I struggled with it. There were some really exciting parts, but I felt like it was much longer than it needed to be and that the way some of the characters flipped between being heroic to hopeless didn’t always work for me. The premise is great, children are taken from a small village and placed on either the Good side or Evil side of the campus suggested in the title in order to be trained for a life in a fairy tale world. There is a lot of struggling to find one’s rightful place. There was a lot of of focus here on how people and things look, and I think that might make it a fun for someone to adapt to film. I also think the editing it would require to make into a movie would help the story as well. Curious what others found.

Currently reading

Dory and the Real True FriendPrince of the Elves (Amulet, #5)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)The Terrible TwoPosted

I was really pleased when my daughter wanted to read the second Dory with me. This time we are each reading it for the first time and she thinks it is even better than the first. She is reading me the fifth Amulet book. Our family moved back to Harry Potter (also the fifth book, no surprise it was the seven year old’s turn to choose). I am reading The Terrible Two to find more for early chapter readers. This one might be a little higher for reading level though. I am reading Posted for myself. I am only about 100 pages in and the writing is compelling (I have not read Ms. Bixby’s Last Day or any other John David Anderson books). For some reason it makes me think of Jerry Spinelli books.

On deck:

I hope to read Princess Academy or Black Swan Green this week, older books from my Must Read list for 2017. I also have Restart by Gordon Korman but I may need to return that to the library. PA may become the book I recommend to my 10 year old in exchange for School for Good and Evil. I also have this pile that I bought at my as local as it gets for me (1 hour drive) bookstore (Mosaic Books in Kelowna). I was mostly shopping the clearance section but I did buy the new Newts book for kids at school and Click Here to Start. Happy Reading everyone!Mosaic July 17