It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/24/14 #imwayr


Visit Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts to find out what others are reading this week.

This week on the blog:

Last week, my older son and I got back to our Caldecott challenge and read 4 Caldecott gold and honor books:

ben's trumpet child's goodnight book inch by inch duffy and devil

I loved the art in Rachel Isadora’s Ben’s Trumpet. I’m also a fan of Margot Zemach, and thank goodness, because Caldecott loves her. A Child’s Good Night Book was apparently forgettable, even though my son did comment on how much he liked the art. But I remember nothing about the book three days after reading it. Inch by Inch was just the quality book you would expect from Leo Leonni, though I like Alexander and Frederick better.

Maybe someday I will get my Caldecott Page updated!

We also read two good nonfiction picture books for my #nfpb10for10 post this week:

farmer will allen


Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells story of Will Allen, an urban farmer in Milwaukee. Eric Shabazz-Larkin illustrates. I have seen Allen interviewed in some of my favorite food documentaries, so I was glad to learn more of his story.









Kathleen Krull really knows how to write in an engaging and clear way for her audience. Wilma Unlimited is the story of Wilma Rudolph, sickly as a child and nearly crippled with polio, who won three Olympic gold medals in track in 1960. David Diaz’s illustrations are terrific, of course. As soon as we finished reading this book, we were off to Youtube to find videos of Rudolph’s amazing runs. We also watched a short interview with her later in life as she reflected on her running career and the importance of going to college. An incredibly inspiring story, beautifully written and illustrated. 

We read a lot of other picture books this week, but I will just highlight the two best:

invisible boy

I can’t wait to share The Invisible Boy, written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton, with my Children’s Lit class this week. So many good discussions to have about this book!

marisol mcdonald

I loved Monica Brown’s Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match, with vibrant, joyful illustrations by Sara Palacios. This is a delightful story about a girl with a strong sense of individuality who learns that it’s better to be herself than to try to conform to someone else’s ideal. There is Spanish-language text as well. This one counts for the Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge. So glad I joined this challenge because I’m reading some wonderful books for it!

ramona and her mother

My younger son and I finished our read-aloud of Ramona and Her Mother. (I love the old book covers!) I am amazed by how well the Ramona series holds up. I read these books myself as a child, and they are still so fresh and engaging. We’re reading Henry Huggins now, and that’s also delightful.

miami jackson makes the play



My older son and I are continuing to enjoy Patricia and Frederick McKissack’s Miami Jackson series. In the second book, Miami Jackson Makes the Play, Miami goes to baseball camp where he has to deal with a bully who tries to turn him against his friends. This week, we’re reading The Animal Book.



I really enjoyed Chris Grabenstein’s Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, which is on my #MustRead2014 list. Hoping I can book talk it this week in Children’s Lit and spark some interest.

go chip kidd

I sat down with Chip Kidd’s Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design and didn’t get up til I finished it. Who knew graphic design was so interesting? Kidd illustrates the precepts of strong graphic design with lots of examples and writes in an engaging style. The final chapter includes 10 graphic design projects. I’m not a project kind of person, but even I wanted to do a couple of them. (The desire quickly passed, though. That’s what it means to be not a project kind of person.) This is a must-have nonfiction title for middle-school and high school classroom libraries.

will and whit


I finally read Laura Lee Gulledge’s second graphic novel, Will & Whit. I love her book Page by Paige so much (it’s currently making the rounds in my Adolescent Lit class, and I’m hoping Jaycie will book-talk it this week and inspire someone else to read it). You know pretty early on in Will & Whit that Will is haunted by a past tragedy, and the book is about coming to terms with that, admitting you’re suffering, and taking comfort in friends and family. It’s also about art and making things. And the art is superb–I especially loved how Gulledge uses these dotted shadows that follow Will around and express what she’s really thinking about.

unaccustomed earth willful creatures


I also finished two excellent collections of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri and Aimee Bender for the Contemporary Literature course I’m teaching this semester. Lahiri and Bender couldn’t be more different as writers, but I think everyone in the class liked both of these books. For this week, we’re reading Lydia Davis, and I for one am struggling a bit. Looking forward to our discussion tomorrow.

Hope everyone has a wonderful reading week!

Reading Goals Update:

Nerdbery Challenge: 0/12 books

#MustReadin2014: 4/15 books

YA Shelf of Shame Challenge: 0/12 books

Professional Development Reading Goal: 2/12 books

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 16/100 books

Picture Book Reading Goal: 71/350 books

Chapter Book & Middle-Grade Reading Goal: 7/100 books

YA Lit Reading Goal: 10/60 books

Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge: 4/12 books

Number of Books Total (not counting picture books): 34/200

16 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/24/14 #imwayr”

  1. I’m really looking forward to reading Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design. It’s currently on hold at the library.

    I agree The Invisible Boy is such a great discussion book. It’s a book I read and immediately wished I had a class to share it with.

    • I’m really looking forward to reading Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design. It’s currently in the art/digital media teacher’s classroom. I gave it to him as soon as it came in and haven’t seen it since. He is too busy reading it and sharing it with his students. So that makes it worth the wait 🙂

    • I loved Go! Yet another nonfiction book where, on the surface, the topic doesn’t seem that interesting to me, but the execution makes the book incredibly engaging. I read it in one sitting. Book-talked yesterday in Children’s Lit but didn’t have any takers. Will try again today in Adolescent Lit!

  2. You are making some big progress on your reading goals. So pleased that you liked The Invisible Boy so much. A powerful title.Love seeing the Ramona title here. My daughter loved all of these titles. They were some of the first chapter books she read independently. Enjoyed so many of your posts this week. Was visiting my children’s Teacher Librarian (at their school) and told her your blog is a must follow!

    • The Ramona books are so good. I am enjoying rereading them with my younger son. (And also looking forward to finishing, so I can share Clementine with him!) I read The Invisible Boy out loud to Children’s Lit yesterday. I hope some of my students will get that one for their classrooms. A very powerful book. Thanks for sharing my blog with your children’s Teacher Librarian! I appreciate it!

  3. Wow, Elisabeth, so many good titles here. I love Lionni’s Inch by Inch too, and have now read it to my granddaughters too. I still need to get to Mr. Lemoncello & the Gulledge graphic novels. Just run out of time! Thanks too for the short story recommendations-will keep those titles!

    • There’s never quite enough time for reading, is there? I think you will love the Gulledge graphic novels. I think Page by Paige is my favorite just because I love the theme of becoming and being an artist, but Will & Whit is a bit more touching.

  4. The Invisible Boy looks intriguing! I also loved Lemencello’s Library! What a fun read for us book lovers 🙂

  5. Hi there Elisabeth, I love all your recommendations here. I immediately added Wilma Unlimited to my text-set on portrayal of special needs in picturebooks (you mentioned that she suffered from polio before). I’m glad to see that we also have a copy of the book in our library! Will definitely try to find Invisible Boy as again I think I can make use of this in my course as we discuss inclusivity and the gorgeous Monica Brown book which I believe would be perfect for our upcoming theme. Did you know that there would be a new Margaret Wise Brown book? Goodnight Songs! 🙂

    • Kathleen Krull’s writing is very strong in Wilma Unlimited too–which I appreciate. It’s a good read aloud. I loved the Monica Brown book! Have to find more by her, as she’s a new-to-me author. I am not sure how excited my son is to be back to working on our Caldecott Challenge, as we mostly have older titles to read now. He sighed when he saw the stack of very old picture books I brought home last week and asked “Are we reading those medal books again?” Yep! But in another few months, he will be the only kid in his entire school to have read every single Caldecott gold and honor book! Somehow I doubt he’ll be bragging about that on the playground.

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