It’s Monday! What Are You Reading from Picture Books to YA?

Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts started a weekly meme about what people are reading and reviewing in children’s and young adult literature. It’s a great way to see what others are reading.

Last Week’s Reading Adventures:Catch Up Edition

Last week’s method for dealing with frustration was to bury myself in books, especially galleys on my Nook (I was incredibly thankful for Netgalley). I’m very excited for some of the upcoming titles I read.

Picture Books:

An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton – I read this book online after many recommendations from Nerdy Book Club friends. I love the publication history of this book. Clayton ended up self publishing his text. It was later picked up by a mainstream publisher but a version remains free online. This is a book with which to celebrate possibilities.

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman – I was so thankful this book arrived at the public library for me. A boy and a robot become friends. They don’t quite understand each other though. Boy thinks the turned off Bot is sick and tries to heal him. When Boy finally falls asleep, Bot thinks Boy is broken. It’s a wonderful story about friendship and I love how both Boy and Bot use reading as a cure. This is a must read.

You are a Lion and other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo – A well illustrated introduction to yoga poses for children that older readers may find useful as well.

Gem by Holle Hobbie – This is a nearly wordless book in which a grandmother documents the life of a toad her granddaughter watched. It might be interesting to tie this book together with Citizen Scientists.

Nonfiction

Belle, The Last Mule at Gee’s Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey – This picture book taught me about about episodes in Civil Rights history that I was unaware of in a beautiful manner. A boy hears how mules helped take people from Gee’s Bend to vote for the first time and how two of the mules helped pull Martin Luther King Jr’s casket.

Shark or Dolphin? How Do You Know? by Melissa Stewart – I enjoyed the way in which Melissa Stewart portrayed the information in this book and recapped it at the end with a comparison illustration. I’m excited to have this series at school now for young nonfiction readers.

Fiction:

The Classroom by Robin Mellom – Trevor Jones is starting his first year at Westside Middle School. He’s been preparing all summer, wanting to start off on the right foot. Everything is suddenly different when his long time video game playing partner best friend Libby tells Trevor he has to get through his first day at Westside alone and that they’re just friends. Libby’s always rescued Trevor from embarrassing situations on the first day of school. On top of that, she gives Trevor a deadline. He doesn’t get along well with deadlines. He has to meet them, no matter what. What deadline has Trevor been given? To get a date to the fall dance before the end of the first day. Trevor draws the ire of a popular boy Libby falls for while Trevor is fascinated and confused by the new girl Molly. Interspersed with short interviews with different students like a documentary movie, The Classroom is a funny read with depth that deals with friendship changes, bullying, teenage relationships, anxiety issues and more. My digital galley of this expired when I had less than 30 pages left so I’ll be waiting to discover the ending. Even without knowing the ending, I recommend this one as a humorous look at what is often a very awkward and confusing time for students. The Classroom comes out in June 2012.

A Boy and A Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton – When a boy starts taking a ride in Bear’s boat, he has no idea just how long this voyage will take as they cross a seemingly endless sea. The boy is frustrated by their lack of progress, their dwindling food supply and bear’s relative unflappability. (He is also rather terrified of the last sandwich, which seems to have a life of its own). I enjoyed the illustrations. This book comes out in June 2012.

Alice Miranda on Vacation by Jacqueline Harvey – The main character in this book is irrepressible. Nothing gets Alice Miranda down on her trip home, not even when the new boy staying on her parent’s estate is a brute. I think I would have loved this story as a younger reader with its sprawling house, a quirky horse and a girl who sweeps up everyone around her. The supporting characters, especially the cook and the queen, were filled with surprises. I guessed one character twist part way in, but I think I was supposed to do that.

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown – Lies Beneath will be released in June 2012. Part of my reaction to finishing this galley was wanting to make something that said Mermaids: The New Vampire. The mermaids in this young adult contemporary fantasy are definitely not Ariel. In the story Anne Greenwood Brown has created mermaids need the positive emotions humans give off. The mermaids get that energy by taking it as they drag humans down under the water.

Every spring Calder, the book’s narrator, has to return home to Lake Superior from the warm Caribbean where he winters. He’s tied to the place and his family. This time, though, the return has the promise of revenge. Years ago, Calder’s mermaid mother died because of a man. Now Calder’s sisters have tracked down Jason Hancock, the middle-aged son of that man (Mermaids age one year for every three of ours). In the plot to exact their family’s revenge, Calder is the bait as they think the easiest way to get at this man is through his daughters. Calder’s eager to win his freedom through his role, but that’s before he got to know Lily Hancock. I loved the exploration of family and identity in this book.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – This is another strong YA fantasy. Humans and dragons coexist on the basis of a fragile treaty. The anniversary of that treaty is fast approaching and with it also comes the leader of the dragons for an official visit. Before he arrives, a prince is murdered and the manner in which he is found leaves the all too suspicious city quick to lay blame on the dragons. Seraphina, the main character, is a newly appointed assistant to the palace’s chief musician. She’s been told to keep attention away from herself for safety’s sake, but she has to play at the royal funeral when other musicians cannot. Now it seems her every move attracts attention whether it is from her princess student, the prince heading up the queen’s guards, volatile noblemen or the dragons in human form increasing in numbers throughout the city. I love the characters in this story, especially Prince Lucien Kiggs, and Seraphina’s prickly spirit. Seraphina will be released in July 2012.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – I am quite excited to be reading Bitterblue at last, having wanted to read this since before even Fire came out. When I opened up the book from its box, I had to hug it. I know that sounds silly, but I love Cashore’s worldbuilding and her characters. One thing that struck me after reading about half this book was how happy with how Cashore wrote a non-Graced, non-monster point of view character for this book. I rifled through the book for mention of the characters from Fire (found some πŸ™‚ ) and read swatches of action all out of order. This story is all about the consequences of King Leck’s rule, Bitterblue’s growing realization of just how much is not yet right with Monsea and the slow, arduous process of healing. The author’s note has some interesting words on disability and healing in fantasy novels. I love the difficulties put into this book for Po.

This Week’s Reading Adventures

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My reading goal for the week is to finish Bitterblue properly (as in chronological order and not the leaping around I did with it this last weekend). After that, I would like to read the stack of picture books riding around in my car. I also want to review Eye of the Storm, Seraphina, Lies Beneath, The Classroom and A Boy and a Bear in a Boat. If you notice me hanging around Twitter, please remind me to write these reviews!

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8 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading from Picture Books to YA?

  1. I am excited to read Seraphina. You’re the first person I know who has finished it! Can’t wait to read your review; and I think it’s awesome that you hug books! I do too; when When You Reach Me won the Newbery, carried it around, cluthed to my chest, for practically the whole day.

    • Seraphina is very well done. I was so happy when When Your Reach me won. I loved all the Wrinkle in Time references and how the story wrapped together.

  2. Wow! You got lots of great reading in this week! I’m intrigued by A Boy and a Bear in a Boat–I’ll look for that when it’s released.

  3. I’m waiting on Boy + Bot to come to the library for me, since I haven’t seen anything even remotely negative about it. I’m being patient! (sorta)

  4. What a great reading week! I am impressed.. And a great list.

    Happy reading this week (and I am SO jealous about Bitterblue)! πŸ™‚

  5. We are love, love, loving Boy+Boy at our house too.

    Awesome book is a wonderful story too. Dallas Clayton’s story is inspiring!

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