Monday, November 11, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?- November 11, 2013

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here is what I have read over the last two weeks.

Picture Books-Fiction
A Gift for Mama
by Linda Ravin Lodding
Illustrated by Alison Jay
Sweet picture book with amazing illustrations.  Oskar sets out to find the perfect gift for his Mama, but every time he gets a gift, someone else wants it.  Generous Oskar keeps giving his gifts away in exchange for other "perfect gifts".  This book has a nice ending and would be a great read aloud and mentor text to discuss generosity for grades K-3.  

Manners Mash-Up
by Ted Arnold and several other kid lit artists
A hilarious book of manners with a team of illustrators presenting their own interpretations of good manners. Fun for grades K-4. 

by Julie Brinkloe 
I remember catching fireflies in the summer when I was a kid so this book was like traveling back to childhood for me.  It is a simple book with black and white pictures and glowing yellow for the fireflies. Contains lots of figurative language. Best for grades K-4. 

by Chris Van Allsburg
I can't believe I had not read this book.  I remember my daughter coming home and talking about how much she liked it in third grade.  With amazing illustrations, as one would expect from Chris Van Allsburg, and an action-packed story, this is one that kiddos will love.  Good for elementary grades. 

Picture Books Nonfiction
 The 4th of July Story
by Alice Dalgliesh
Illustrated by Marie Nonnast
This book very briefly skims the creation of the Declaration of Independence and the subsequent Revolution. It is intended for younger children.  For me the illustrations were a bit outdated and plain, but it is a nice overview.  Grades 2-4. 

by Diana Hutts Aston
Illustrated by Susan L. Roth
When I happened upon this book at my public library, I had not heard about The Watts Towers.  The towers were created in a vacant lot by Simon Rodia from 1921 to 1955.  He used old tiles, metal, and anything Rodia happened to find.  Although the little girl is fictional, the story is true and the towers still stand today.  Grades 2-5.

by Wendy Pfeffer
Illustrated by Jesse Reisch
This book includes the scientific reasons behind the winter solstice as well as how many cultures around the world recognize the event.  It is written in prose and has some very nice illustrations.  Grades 2-5 

Middle Grade
by Lee Mandel
The universal theme of dealing with a bully is basis of this book.  Chas is a mean bully who teases and embarrasses Zack mercilessly. This book is also a coming-of-age story where Zack gets his first girlfriend.  Because of this content, I would not recommend it for students under 5th grade. 

Finished Listening
by Leslie Connor
Poor Addie has it pretty rough.  Her mom is absent most of the time and leaves her to fend for herself without a lot of food or money.  After her mother divorced her step-father, Dwight, Addie doesn't get to see him or her little sisters much.  I loved this book, but it was emotional to read. I just wanted to reach through the pages and bring her home with me.  

Professional Book
by Sean Ruday
I needed this book.  I know that teaching grammar through mentor texts is the best way to show students how these seemingly disconnected skills relate to writing.  However, I did not have a good list of texts to use.  This book gave me the "whys" behind the CCSS grammar skills and the mentor texts to use to help students see them in practice as they learn to incorporate grammar skills into their own writing. 

Currently (still) Reading
by Neil Gaiman

What Are You Reading Friends?

Other posts: In recognition of Veterans Day, my class wrote letters to a soldier who is serving in Afghanistan.  Click here to read it. 


  1. Looks like a great selection of reading! I was surprised you hadn't read Jumanji! Love the illustrations in that one. I started listening to The Graveyard Book a while back, but just couldn't get into it. It's one that I need to try again. Happy Reading!

    1. Yes, I am having a bit of trouble with The Graveyard Book too which is why it has been on my list for a couple of weeks now.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I just love Manners Mash-up, one of my favorites! I'll have to look for A Gift for Mama, it looks like a great one. I keep trying to read The Graveyard Book, each time I get a further into the book. I'm hoping that it will hook me sometime.

    1. I agree about The Graveyard Book. I am trying to get through more Newbery books. Not all of them are favorites for sure.

  3. You have shared such a good variety of books, Gigi. A Gift for Mama looks wonderful, and so does The Shortest Day. I loved Looking for Normal & I know what you mean about wanting to grab that little girl and help her! I read your class post & commented. What thoughtful words your students wrote, and good for you for taking the time to do! Thank you!

    1. Great! They will be thrilled with a comment! Thanks so much Linda! Will you be at NCTE? Would love to meet in person.

  4. Love your nonfiction picture book recommendations! Adding them on goodreads now. :)

    1. Great! Thank you so much for stopping by.

  5. Great collection of books Gigi! I read Jumanji for the first time TODAY! My class is doing an author study of Chris VanAllsburg's work and I had missed this one.

    I loved Waiting for Normal SO much! It's right up there with One for the Murphys in my book. Have you read Counting by 7s yet? Willow is another character I think you will fall in love with!

    1. No, I have not purchased or borrowed a copy of Counting by 7's but I hope to soon.

    2. I'll bring it to the MRA meeting tomorrow night if you would like to borrow my copy. Just let me know!

  6. Hello there Gigi. I hope you enjoy The graveyard book - we read that for our book club a year ago, I think. Fireflies also caught my eye - it looks gorgeously illustrated. And how can I forget Jumanji - I also love the movie adaptation of that beautful picture book. Have a great reading week ahead of you, Gigi!

  7. Love the look of the first picture book here - A gift for Mama. Perfect for the theme of generosity, agreed. I also really liked Waiting for Normal. a fantastic title.