It’s Monday What Are You Reading

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

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, run the kidlit focused meme It’s Monday! What Are You Reading From Picture Books to YA. You can find great reads linked each week or by search #IMWAYR on Twitter.

Recent Reading Adventures


Middle Grade

Dash by Kirby Larson – This is a middle grade must read for historical fiction. Mitsi misses her dog Dash terribly when her family is sent to an internment camp during World War II.

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt – A pair of raccoons and a boy must defend their beloved Sugar Man Swamp from multiple threats.

Graphic Novel

Abraham Lincoln: From the Log Cabin to the White House by Lewis Helfand – A graphic novel biography of the 16th president framed as a recounting to Tad Lincoln of his father’s life.

Professional Literature

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess – A professional title that is all about increasing engagement in the classroom through creativity. This book gave me a lot to think about in terms of my teaching practice.


This Week’s Reading Adventures



Reading this title after having it recommended at a number of edcamps and sessions on Makerspaces in the last year.

Categories: It's Monday What Are You Reading

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


Last Week’s Reading Adventures

My summer class hit crunch time last week so my reading focused on classroom management and conflict resolution. A short historycation down to Springfield, Illinois also occupied a share of the week (More on the historycation later). I do still have a title I would like to share.

Abraham Lincoln Comes Home by Robert Burleigh – A picture book account of a young boy who watches the procession of Lincoln’s funeral train with his father. This was a gentle, poignant read.

This Week’s Reading Adventures

In between my class wrapping up and professional development commitments this week, I still look forward to reading Dash. I should also finish Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin. I also ended up with a few other titles from Springfield–history graphic novels!


Categories: It's Monday What Are You Reading

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


Last Week’s Reading Adventures

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson – Jackson Greene has sworn off elaborate pranks and plans. He’s held out for four months, but when his ex-best friend faces unfair competition in the school elections, Jackson’s particular talents may be needed. Loved this middle grade heist-style story. It is one of the books being discussed in this week’s #sharpschu book club (Wednesday at 7:00 PM CT)

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough – Nonfiction picture book about an influential children’s librarian. I wrote more about this book on my #booksmiles post last week.

Dash* by Kirby Larson – This excellent middle grade historical fiction book comes out in August. Mitsi is forced to leave her home and beloved dog Dash behind when her family is forced to move to a Japanese internment camp during World War II. A kindly old woman took Dash in when Mitsie moved. I’m about halfway through this book.

This Week’s Reading Adventure

The class I’m taking is heavy on the textbook reading this week, but I would like to at least:

  • Finish reading Dash
  • Read The Julian Chapter

*I received an arc of Dash as part of attending Nerd Camp Michigan.


Categories: It's Monday What Are You Reading

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



Recent Reads


How They Choked: Failures, Flops and Flaws of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg – Another great collective biography by the author of How They Croaked that presents the darker side of historical figures.

Middle Grade

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff – I am so glad I picked up this book reading friends recommended. Albie’s story is to learning difficulties what Auggie’s story was to physical challenges.

Of Sorcery and Snow – This is book three in Shelby Bach’s Ever Afters series. I love how the characters continue to develop. If you want a witty, fun fantasy read with genuine characters, start off with her Of Giants and Ice. She is also an excellent author to Skype with.

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull – A visit to a Halloween haunted house goes horribly awry. Cole follows his friends as they are kidnapped to a place where magic is dangerously real. Students love the book trailer for this title. First in a five book series.

The Blood Guard by Carter Roy – Adventure story where Ronan Truelove’s worldview shatters when his mom whisks him away from school while strange agents are in hot pursuit. He learns his mom is not a curator like he thought but a member of the long established Blood Guard.

Young Adult

Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton – Book 2 in Gratton’s United States of Asgard books. Steeped in Norse mythology, this is the story of Signy Valborn, would be Valkyrie who needs to solve the riddle the Alfather left her.

Graphic Novel

Comics Squad: Recess! edited by Jennifer L. Holm, Matt Holm and Jarrett J. Krosoczka – I received this title at #edcampmi. I love this collaborative effort. Magic acorns, lunch assistants taking charge, cats trying to take over the world and more. Oh, and did I mention the ninjas?

What I Want to Read Next

A Soldier’s Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero by Marissa Moss – I picked up this historical fiction book on my history vacation last year

.A Soldier's Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, Civil War Hero

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess – Excellent professional development title that I need to finish as I consider what I want my first library days to look like next school year.


Categories: It's Monday What Are You Reading, Uncategorized

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


Recent Reads

The Dumbest Idea Ever – Graphic novel memoir on how Jimmy Gownley (Amelia Rules) got his start in comics. I think it could make a great pair for Smile. I picked this title up when setting up my school’s spring book fair.

Magic Under Glass – YA fantasy where a fair prince is imprisoned inside a piano-playing automaton and the musician girl who tries to help him.

The Tinker King – YA steampunk fantasy sequel to The Unnaturalists. It left me wondering if there will be a third book.

Loki’s Wolves – Middle grade fantasy adventure using Norse mythology. The sequel comes out this week and I already have a student asking for it. I think it would appeal to fans of The Kane Chronicles.

Recent Reread:

Seabiscuit – Well researched narrative nonfiction account of the 1930s horse racing world. Reread prompted by the Kentucky Derby.

Looking Ahead:

Odette’s Secrets – World War II historical Fiction written in verse

The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw – Third book in the humorous Hero’s Guide series



Categories: It's Monday What Are You Reading

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

A Week of Reading Adventures

Middle Grade Fiction

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein – Student prize-winning essayists must solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to escape a library.

Sideckicked by John David Anderson – Are Drew’s unusual powers, those of heightened senses, able to make up for his absent Super? Find out how a group of sidekicks in training measure up against a new threat in town.

A Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy – The Princes Charming are back in this humorous sequel to A Hero’s Guide to Saving the Kingdom. Gustav, Duncan and Frederic try to save Liam from his unwanted upcoming marriage to Briar Rose.

Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder* – Waking up in the top floor of a hotel opens a time of unexpected adventures for Annie Jaffin. For she has woken up in 1937 when her grandmother is is just a girl.

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier* – Molly has found work and lodging for herself and her younger brother. Getting there is a challenge though as no one wants to explain where the sourwoods can be found. After a storyteller named Hester reveals the way for a price, Molly begins to discover why she was warned away…

Next Up

Joshua Dread: The Nameless Hero by Lee Bacon

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

*Arc received from the publisher at AASL

Categories: It's Monday What Are You Reading

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

Teach Mentor Texts started a weekly meme about what people are reading and reviewing in children’s and young adult literature.

Last Week’s Reading Adventures

Middle Grade:

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham – Theo Boone is an addict, an addict to the court room to be exact. This aspiring lawyer is from a family of lawyers. While only thirteen, his classmates seek him out for legal advice. He is caught up in the biggest courthouse event in Strattenburg in a long time – the trial of Pete Duffy, who is accused of murdering his wife. The legal scenarios were well described and it was interesting to meet the different characters working at the courthouse. The end of the book felt more like an ending of an episode than the end of a book (and not in a cliffhanger way). I can see why some of my students really enjoy the series. It is a battle of the books title at my school this year.

Young Adult:

The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. I read this book as an ARC through Netgalley. This is a companion novel to The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir. This book explores what happened to children who survived the Thorn Hill Massacre, which twisted their magical talents in unexpected ways. It is the story of Jonah, whose touch can kill, and Emma, who has spent much of her life immersed in music with her grandfather. When he suddenly dies, Emma is startled to learn her father is alive. The musical element of this book is strong and the end leaves you itching for the next book. Action and darkness are both found in this read.

This Week’s Reading Adventures

Jump Into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall – At the end of last week I started this title, another one of our Battle of the Books reads. Set during World War II, this is the story of Levi Battle. It seems like people have been leaving Levi all his life. His mother returned to singing, his Granny died, and his father is constantly on the move with his unit. Now his Aunt Odella has sent Levi to join his father on base after caring for him for the better of three years. Having lived in Chicago all his life, Levi’s journey to North Carolina is eye-opening. I’m curious to see where the book goes from here.

Categories: It's Monday What Are You Reading, Uncategorized

It’s Not Monday, but I’m Reading (Picture Books to YA)

Here are the latest titles from my reading plate:


Beholding Bee by Kimberley Fusco – Eleven-year-old Bee has grown up as part of a carnival, hiding the diamond-shaped birthmark on her face the best she can. When Pauline, the young woman who has raised Bee leaves, Bee leans harder upon Bobby, another worker at the carnival. Bobby teaches her how to run, but he soon leaves as well as he would rather find a way to serve in World War II than stay as the pig racer at the show. Bee decides it is time for her to leave the traveling show as well rather than be put on spectacle. She finds a small house to live in where only she can see the women that live there. This story is about gaining courage and about not letting others demean you. I think this historical fiction book with its otherworldly connections could appeal to those who enjoyed the book Wonder.

33 Minutes by Todd Hasak-Lowy – In 33 minutes, Sam Lewis is going to face Morgan Sturtz, his ex-best friend. Sam knows he will lose and lose badly. This story features a countdown toward the dread fight, flashbacks to how this situation even got started and addresses how friendships can change. I found Sam to be a witty narrator. Events spiral out of control when the fight was supposed to happen. The resolution of everything is not a happy, neatly tied together package, nor is it meant to be. One of my fifth graders loved this book last spring so that is why I picked it up.

Doll Bones by Holly Black – This is a creepy read that would probably appeal to readers who enjoyed Coraline. Friends Poppy, Zach and Alice live daring adventures through the stories they act out using dolls in the stead of their characters. When Zach suddenly announces he is no longer going to play their games of make believe, Poppy takes action by taking the Doll Queen, an old, fragile bone china doll, out of its box. A few nights later Poppy and Alice show up at Zach’s window with a tale of how a ghost has been haunting Poppy since she took out the doll. She claims the doll is made from the ashes of a girl named Eleanor and that they have to find the doll’s grave to bury her properly. Zach and Alice reluctantly join Poppy’s mission. A trip of misadventure and near disasters follow on this creepy read. One thing I loved about this book was how the characters referenced other books and characters. One of Zach’s observations was: “Aragorn never wore sunblock. Taran never wore sunblock. Percy never wore sunblock.”

The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton – This is the start of a young adult series that uses elements of Norse mythology and is set in The United States of Asgard. Soren, the main character, is the son of a berserker who died after killing innocent civilians. Soren fights to repress the same berserker abilities within himself, hoping by force of will to never manifest them. His attempts to isolate himself fail when Astrid, the new girl at Sanctus Sigurd’s Academy, convinces him to go with her on a quest to finding the missing god Baldur. I’m interested to see where the next book goes from here.

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu – I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Walden Pond Press and read it at the start of the month. I’ll write more on it later, but I loved this story of Oscar, the boy who spent his days preparing herbs for his master and then finds himself thrust into a larger, more dangerous world. (Middle Grade)

Nonfiction Picture Book

I recently visited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the 150th Anniversary of the battle. While the visit did not go as planned, I found some nonfiction picture books I need to share back at school.

Voices of Gettysburg by Sherry Garland – This is a series of vignettes by different people involved in the Battle of Gettysburg – soldiers from both sides, different parts of the armed services, civilians and veterans. It would be a neat way to introduce the battle, even if the shoe mythos does happen in this book.

Mary Walker Wears the Pants by Cheryl Harness – Mary Walker was one of the first women doctors in the United States. She served for a time as a doctor with the army and was a prisoner of war. I’d never heard of her before, so this was an enlightening read.

Currently Reading

The Enchanted Heir by Cindy Williams Chima – I’m reading this young adult book courtesy of Netgalley. This is a companion book to the trilogy started with The Warrior Heir which I found to be addictive. Several characters from the original books make bit appearances, but this book delves into a whole different aspect of the Weir and Anaweir world (magic and nonmagic for those of you who haven’t read them).

Looking Ahead

I want to finish The Enchanted Heir. I would also like to read Hattie Big Sky or The Lost Kingdom soon.

Categories: It's Monday What Are You Reading, Uncategorized

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.

Recent Reading Adventures

Middle Grade Fiction

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer – I read the bulk of this final entry in the Artemis Fowl shortly after it came out. I didn’t really want Artemis to end so I waited until this week to read the book in its entirety. There is some wonderful symmetry between the ending of book 8 and the start of the series. When I first started the series back in college, I almost didn’t read beyond book 1. I loved the world building. I couldn’t stand the titular character. That had definitely changed by the time book 3 came about.

Little Golden Books

At the start of the year, I’d set out to do a number of reading challenges. It was not a good year on challenges for me. However, winter break has been a good time to get back on a personal challenge, which was to read all the Little Golden Books from my dad’s childhood and mine that we still own. Here’s a glimpse of what I read this week:




Graphic Novels

Reading with Pictures – I started this anthology. So far I have really enjoyed the short pieces by Raina Telgemeier, Eric Wight, Gene Ambaum & Bill Barnes, and Chris Giarrusso. It might be interesting to pair this title with Nursery-Rhyme Comics as a discussion point.

Upcoming Reading Adventures:

I want to finish up Reading with Pictures today as well as Iron-Hearted Violet. I’m going to have a hard time picking what should be the first read of 2013 as there are lots of good possibilities waiting for me.

Categories: It's Monday What Are You Reading

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.

Recent Reading Adventures

Of Giants and Ice: The Ever Afters by Shelby Bach – When Rory starts a new after school program, she has no idea that it is one geared to train Characters how to survive their Tales. For the first time, Rory gets attention, some good and some deadly, for being herself rather than the daughter of a famous actress and world-renowned director. This middle grade read should appeal to fans of the early Percy Jackson books and fairy tale spin-offs. I loved Rory’s determination.

Check out my review on Smore.

Recent Review :

Malcolm at Midnight

Currently Reading:

Five 4ths of July by Pat Raccio Hughes – In this historical fiction novel, we visit Jake Mallery on the 4th of July on 5 consecutive years during the American Revolution, starting in 1777. It’s an interesting concept and it is fascinating to see how Jake changes and remains the same. I’m in the middle of the 1779 segment and war is landing on Mallery’s hometown of New Haven, Connecticut. On a historical sidenote, it’s interesting to see people’s different opinions of Benedict Arnold before he switches sides. Jake idolizes him while his father disdains him.

Upcoming Reading Adventures:

This week I plan to finish Five 4ths of July and to tackle Goblin Secrets by William Alexander.

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