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


With Nerdcamp and a trip to the CCBC, my summer reading finally got a bit of a boost.

Last Week’s Reading Adventures

Graphic Novel

El Deafo by Cece Bell – This brilliant graphic novel recounts in fictional form how Cece Bell lost much of her hearing and her experiences throughout elementary school. At times this book left me smiling and aching.  This is a must have for school libraries. I received an ARC of this book at Nerd Camp Michigan.

Young Adult

A Soldier’s Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, Civil War Hero by Marissa Moss – An excellent young adult historical fiction account of Sarah Emma Edmonds, better known as Frank Thompson of the Second Michigan. Sarah serves as a soldier, nurse, spy, orderly and postmaster. Flashbacks reveal Sarah’s experiences with her abusive father.

Nonfiction & Nonfiction Picture Books

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Gibbs Davis – My favorite nonfiction picture book read of my afternoon at the CCBC. Filled with captivating illustrations, this book demonstrates how George Ferris struggled to create the first ferris wheel for Chicago’s World Fair.

Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss – My second Marissa Moss title of the week. This title recounts how Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura brought baseball to the Japanese internment camps during World War II. It’d be great to pair sections of this book with A Diamond in the Desert in introducing what happened in the US during World War II.

Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson – Kadir’s illustrations bring so much to the depiction of Nelson Mandela’s life. The simple biography on these pages would be a great discussion starter on the struggles for equality around the world.

Who Was Ulysses S. Grant? by Megan Stine – A new entry in the Who Was? series. This one did a nice job of showing all the different jobs Grant tried in his life and some of his faults.

Locomotive by Brian Floca – One portrayal of the Transcontinental railroad with Floca’s beautiful illustrations. In a classroom, I would pair this with other accounts of that experience for those who built the railroad.

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock – Thomas Jefferson’s books become the foundation for the Library of Congress after the first library burns.

Gravity by Jason Chin – Text layout and illustrations make this a great title to share with science classes when introducing forces.



Picture Books

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan – Imaginative and perfect for having students write a ‘what happens next’ story.

Journey by Aaron Becker – A red crayon leads to unexpected destinations and adventures in this wordless picture book. I need to get this book for my school and think it would be great to pair with Chalk.

My Father’s Arms Are a Boat by Erik Stein Lunde – A gentle, sad story of a child and father dealing with the grief of losing the mom.

The Bathing Costume: Or the Worst Vacation of My Life by Charlotte Moundlic – One boy’s experiences spending  a week at grandma’s.

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara – This fun picture book about a library run for animals at night was my #booksmiles post.

Next Week’s Reading Adventures

For this next week, I would love to read:

Dash by Kirby Larson

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson


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

  1. You’ve done some wonderful reading this week! I received an ARC of El Deafo at ALA, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’m looking forward to it. I want to read Mr. Ferris and His Wheel, too. Journey is one of my all-time fav picture books. I was so excited to meet Aaron Becker at ALA! I was sorry to miss NErDcamp this year. I bet it was wonderful – it looked like attendees got lots of swag!

  2. Thank you so much for all the great nonfiction picture book titles. I need to take a trip to my library as soon as possible to find these fabulous books. El Deafo is definitely on my list to order as soon as it is available. The afternoon at CCBC sounds amazing. I will have to look into going there next time I am in Madison. Have a great reading week!

    • Thank you! It was so great to spend some time reading nonfiction picture books last week. Happy reading to you as well.

  3. Kadir Nelson the author and artist of Mandela is amazing, isn’t he? I loved the book he did of Negro League baseball.

  4. Some great selections! Have you read “Behind Rebel Lines” ? It’s a novel about Sarah Emma Edmonds that our fourth graders read when we study the Civil War. Super exciting and well done.

  5. ejmam

    I’ve had people buy Journey when I show it to them at book stores. People who don’t even have kids.

  6. You have some deep looking reads here!

  7. Hello there Sarah, we’re having a Tales of War & Poetry, Refuge & Peace reading theme right now til first week of September and the Marissa Moss titles that you have just shared here sound like books that we must find to feature in the next few weeks, thanks for sharing them! 🙂 I only know Marissa Moss as the author who made my 12 year old girl fall in love with the Amelia Notebooks. 🙂

  8. What a great group of books. Gravity is high on my list, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.

    • Thanks for reading. I hope you can get to Gravity soon. I want to try the Plastic Ahoy title you mentioned on your blog today.

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