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!

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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

It’s Monday, what are you reading 7/17/17 (Maybe I should have read a book about palindromes)

This is my weekly contribution to the kidlit themed, book sharing spree hosted by the amazing folks at unleashingreaders.com, and teachmentortexts.com where you can regularly find a lot of books to add to your to-be-read stack. Not all my reading was kidlit this week, but I had a mix of titles that I could share.

23301545Part Snow White, part Sleeping Beauty, part something else entirely. An interesting, imaginative graphic effort. The only issue I had with Riddell’s illustrations is that I almost thought they were like those colouring books we see a lot of in stores. I almost grabbed my pencil crayons, and this is a public library book. A YA graphic title that will linger in my head because of the fusion of different stories, and the re-imaging of several characters, particularly the dwarfs.

26848831 This was a second read of this title, the first in a series that seems like it will be a lot of fun if the first is any indication. This has a mix of humour, and action that appealed to both my children (10 and 7). My youngest ranks it behind Harry Potter and Amulet, which is the highest praise she gives anything these days. Three children that would be no one’s first choice to be sent on a quest are in fact, sent on a very difficult one that will test their abilities and the fate of the world. Not a super serious fantasy but a light, very funny ride. I enjoy this book a lot and loved sharing it, the sequel is out in September.

23310720This was a book that I felt like I should have read a while ago. It is the classic new kid at school plot at first, but there is something fundamentally different about the school in this one, and it has to do with coding. The book is filled with riddles and puzzles that are coding related and the math and computer science make this a different graphic novel read. I just bought this and have yet to share it with kids, I am curious if that part of the plot will play well. At my school, we took part in some coding for the first time last year, and it went over well with a few students, but many others dreaded it. It may be that those coding enthusiasts will be the ones drawn to this book, but perhaps not.

13264672A young boy who lives with his grandparents after the death of his parents has a passion for racing horses and a love and faith for an Appaloosa. After being taunted by bullies at school, he becomes very determined to enter and win the next big horse race. Jason, a young Cree boy, finds love, support and guidance from his Nimosom and Kokum (grandfather and grandmother). This was the length of a transitional chapter book so events happen fairly quickly, but with diverse characters and setting, I think some would find this appealing in my library.

29623561This was a great book to read with my seven year old. She was able to read parts of it to me as well. There are some visuals and not many words per page. At 167 pages, it is a touch long for truly beginning chapter book readers. With plenty of familiar characters and plot points from other fairy tales, and some original humour mixed in though, this was an appealing read for us, and if we had the sequel in our home, it likely would not make the summer.

32075825 This was my non-kidlit book of the week so feel free to scoot on past this one if you like. Neal Stephenson is one of my ‘read immediately’ authors, but I usually wait until summer. So much of the kidlit I read this week had some magic in it, surprisingly this one does as well. In this book, a shadowy government agency investigates the demise of magic, and the possibilities to bring it back and use it to their advantage. This is a smart book filled with a lot of science and tech stuff, but it was also very funny as the author’s took a lot of shots at bureaucracy within how a shadowy government agency might attempt this kind of thing.

25753092I am really still processing this book. There are a lot of unanswered questions at the end. You must be okay with ambiguity to read this one successfully but it will give you much to consider. I know that teachers and other kidlit people will really enjoy this book, but I wonder if it will have similar appeal with kids. My hunch is not really, and I can’t exactly explain why. I related to it very well as a parent and I am not sure how students see it yet. A really thoughtful, thought provoking book though.

Currently Reading:

Well, I just finished Orphan Island so I really need more think time before I move on. I think I will read Swarm, the second in the Zeroes series, or The Gauntlet, which I have had for a while and inexplicably not read yet. My family is reading Worlds Collide, the sixth installment (and final one) in Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories. This is probably the longest series that we have all read together and that makes it very special for us. I think it will be a little sad to finish in some ways. We are really just getting into it. Last week, I wrote about Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere, and this week my seven year old is reading it to me. Its great to see the humour through her eyes.

I want to share good wishes to all the people impacted by the forest fires in British Columbia, it has been a rough few weeks for many in my area. Although my town has been extremely fortunate so far, we are hoping for some dull, rainy weather soon. This would be, of course, excellent reading weather so it would be win-win. Happy Reading to everyone, have a great week!

It’s Monday What are you Reading- July 10, 2017

This weekly meme with a kidlit theme is hosted each week at teachmentortexts.com and unleashingreaders.com. Many of us are either at or thinking about the fun of events like Nerdcamp Michigan (certainly a bucket list item for a book person as far away as I. I know people will have fun and I hope to see those pics as well), but my thought are also with all of the people impacted by the insanely high number of forest fires in BC this week. A number of towns around the province have been evacuated and I find myself jumping over to Twitter looking for updates when I would prefer to be reading. That being said, I started a very long book for adults this week, and read some shorter kidlit when I did not want to lug around this large hardcover.

 

All finished these books!

Wild Berries

I saw this book on few lists last week (or maybe it was just one- I should remember so that I can thank that person) and it reminded me of a few other picture books I have been seeing that have English and Cree words, as well as a YA novel called Lightfinder that I read last summer. I enjoyed the simple text and colourful pictures. I couldn’t help but think of my own summers picking berries with my Mom where I employed the mantra of one for the bucket and one for me. This is a much more beautiful story, well written and illustrated with a useful Cree glossary at the end. More for a single reader in size than a large group story time format. A good addition to a school library.

Mighty Jack (Mighty Jack, #1)

A fresh take on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk, this Jack and his family are going through a rough time. Bills are adding up, Mom is working more, and Jack has to be more responsible and look after his younger sister, Maddy, who has special needs of her own. A trade that Jack makes for some magic seeds (here is one Jack and the Beanstalk like moment) changes his and Maddy’s life forever in this gripping graphic novel that will have young readers requesting the second installment which is arriving soon. I couldn’t read this during the year because it was always out, as Ben Hatke’s books got very popular last year (we have his Zita and the Spacegirl series, and Little Robot as well). This one really connected with grades four and up, with Jack seeming to be a middle school aged early teen. If you don’t have this one, go ahead and pre-order the second at the same time (Sept. 5 is when Mighty Jack and the Goblin King arrives) because you and your students will need both.

How to Tame a Triceratops

Cute western tale set in a world where dinosaurs are used similar to how horses are used in the Old West. Some funny parts leading to a predictable but pleasant conclusion. Emerging readers may enjoy this series. Some potty style humor that I might have said was geared to boys until my daughter turned six and started loving that same brand of comedy.

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere

Maybe not everyone will find this one funny, but I found the quirky characters enjoyable, and the toilet humour worked for me. Silly, enjoyable fun for kids that like Diary of a Wimpy Kid (aren’t teachers, librarians, and Jeff Kinney tired of reading that! Can’t believed I just wrote these words). If you were a fan of the Disgusting Critter series that Elise Gravel wrote, this deserves a look as well.

Currently Reading:

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.The Adventurer's Guide to Successful EscapesThe Spell Thief (Little Legends #1)The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is the book that has taken most of my reading time this week. Its by one of my favourite writers, Neal Stephenson along with Nicole Galland, whose work I am unfamiliar with. Stephenson is a guy who can write historical fiction and speculative fiction kind of at the same time. I know that doesn’t really sound like it makes sense but I think it would if you were familiar with his other works such as Cryptonomicon or Seveneves. This one involves time travel, which makes my statement much easier to comprehend. In this book a linguist from Harvard begins work with a “shadowy government entity” type to form the Department of Diachronic Operations in order to try to revive magic, the death of which is attributed to developments in science and technology. That might sound like a spoiler but its on the flap and the book is about 750 pages so that is really just a jumping off point. I think I will finish this book this week and then move back into more kidlit.

The Adventurers Guide to Successful Escapes is our family read and still working very well for us. We will finish this week. Its a very funny, light fantasy quest novel. Its working for a seven year old and a ten year old. Kids who read Percy Jackson and Harry Potter novels whenever possible.

The Spell Thief is the book I am reading with my seven year old. It is a good level for her, so I think a lot of mid-primary students could read it. The story has us intrigued so far, a lot of familiar fairy tale characters have appeared with a boy named Anansi being the most interesting. The bookmark has not moved as far on this one as we have been concentrating more on The Adventurer’s Guide…

On deck books:

I checked out a few at the library, which I really did not need to. Swarmed, the second in the Zeroes series by Scott Westerfeld, Deborah Biancotti, and Margo Lanagan. I enjoyed the first one, although I thought it dragged on bit. I wasn’t sure I was going to get this one when it came out, but it popped in front of me at the library. I also grabbed Posted by John David Anderson and Restart by Gordon Korman so I may pick up any of these three. However, I ordered some books and they arrived to, including Orphan Island which I have been waiting to read. So, you should expect to read about one of those books if you are here next week. Thanks for popping by my blog, and happy reading to you this week!