It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/7/14 #imwayr

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/7/14 #imwayr


Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate in the kidlit version of this weekly meme.

This week on my blog:

This week in reading:

adventures of superhero girl

My favorite book this week is Faith Erin Hicks’s The Adventures of Superhero Girl, about a typical young woman struggling with all the typical young woman things–paying her rent, finding a decent roommate, getting a job, meeting a decent guy–while also keeping a Canadian city safe from supervillains. Or she would be keeping the city safe if Canada had any supervillains. I’m not a big superhero fan, though I have seen enough superhero movies to appreciate the humor and irony of Hicks’s story. My favorite sequences involve Superhero Girl’s awesomely superheroic older brother, Kevin, who assures her that all her problems will be solved if she just gets a better costume. I read this book for The Hub Reading Challenge, a challenge I’m really behind on. Thinking I’d better read all the graphic novels on the list to kind of “catch up.”

words with wings

I was excited to see a student in my Children’s Lit show up with Nikki Grimes’s Words with Wings, which I’ve been eager to read. I snatched it from her stack and read the whole book during our 15-minute reading time. This is a strong, engaging verse novel about Gabby, a daydreamer whose new teacher is able to understand her and make a place for her daydreaming. Gabby is forced to attend a new school after her parents separate, and much of her inner turmoil focuses on the challenges of being at a new school and the pain of her parents’ separation. Grimes’s poetry is substantial and beautiful.

cats are weird

My Adolescent Lit students are passing around Jeffrey Brown’s Cat Getting out of a Bag, so I couldn’t resist buying the sequel, Cats Are Weird and More Observations, for them to read. I didn’t find the second book nearly as charming or engaging as the first, but the book is beautifully designed, as this photo from Brown’s website shows. Many full-color comics and neat cut-outs on the cover.

humans of new york

I enjoy the Humans of New York photography blog, and I was thrilled to find Humans of New York the book at my library. It’s delightful. Brandon Stanton’s project is simply to take portraits of New Yorkers and find out something about them. There are so many arresting images and interesting stories.

ramona the pest

My younger son and I finished Ramona the Pest, which is the one where Ramona is in kindergarten. So much to love about these Beverly Cleary stories. I adore Ramona just as much now as I did when I was a little girl reading these stories for the first time.

my family is foreverin my heart

In the spirit of driving my older son crazy and confronting him with feelings, I read Nancy Carlson’s My Family Is Forever and Molly Bang’s In My Heart to him. My Family Is Forever celebrates the love one child finds within her adoptive family while also still acknowledging the questions she may have about being adopted. It’s written for even very young children to be able to follow and understand. I didn’t love the illustrations, though: not sure why the Asian-American child’s eyes are drawn as slants. Molly Bang’s In My Heart is vividly illustrated and racially diverse and inclusive, which I loved. My son found it easy to resist My Family Is Forever, but In My Heart definitely got to him. The mom in the story heads off to work but spends her day thinking about her son and feeling connected to him because he is in her heart. The son has the same experience spending time away from mom: she’s in his heart too. T. got a little teary. Score!

that new animal

My favorite picture book this week was Emily Jenkins’s That New Animal, which focuses on sibling rivalry with a clever twist: two dogs, FudgeFudge and Marshmallow, are horrified when a new animal arrives in their house. FudgeFudge thinks maybe they should bite it, but Marshmallow urges caution. It’s not until Grandpa wants to hold the new animal that FudgeFudge and Marshmallow discover that they have come to accept the new animal.


I am trying to prepare my son to read Lois Ehlert’s new picture book autobiography with me, so I thought we should read a few of her books first. But I just don’t get her work. I’ll look for something else at the library this week and try a different title to see if we can connect.

sallys roomUnfortunately, I think my son totally missed the hidden message I was sharing with him by reading M.K. Brown’s Sally’s Room. This is the funny story about a messy bedroom that rebels. Sally can’t keep her room clean, so her room decides to follow her to school to complain. And in the end, of course, Sally discovers that it’s so much more pleasant to have a clean space!

room on broom

I generally dislike rhyming books, but Julia Donaldson has a way of winning me over.

crow boy

We also read one more Caldecott Honor for our #nerdcott challenge: Taro Yashima’s Crow Boy. I think we’ve read all the Yashima books that won Caldecotts and I am so relieved because I find his art seriously ugly. Like traumatizingly ugly. Look at that book cover and tell me you’re not slightly traumatized by it!


8 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/7/14 #imwayr”

  1. A friend of mine on FB just posted her own ‘human child’ of NY (she lives there). I’m glad to know about this, because while the pic was cute, I had no idea that it was a ‘thing’. Funny. Lots of good books to consider this time. I like the idea of sharing different books with your son. Sounds like you both are ‘acquiring’ your own tastes!

  2. I feel the same about rhyming books so when one is well done, I am the first to give it lots of credit. Donaldson is a pro! We love Room on the Broom. I don’t know Sally’s Room. Going to look for it. The book Wild that I had on my list has the BEST picture of a trashed room! Loved it. I also loved That New Animal when I found it at the library. Great perspective! Continued smiles over your Ramona reading. So loved reading these with my daughter.

  3. Wow! You’ve got so many books on this list I haven’t read. As a reformed slob, Sally’s Room is definitely going to the top of my list! The New Animal looks adorable! It reminds me of an old favorite, The Other Dog, by Madeline L’Engle. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I loved Words with Wings! I am still struggling through the Caldecott challenge. I would have to say that sometimes I too am puzzled by the art – maybe not traumatized, but at least puzzled. Most of the time though I am wowed.

  5. I laughed at your description of Taro Yashima’s artwork – interestingly, I have just recently discovered his work and borrowed two of his picture books from our institution’s library to prepare for our upcoming reading theme. Haven’t read the books yet, but I am looking forward to knowing more of his work. My daughter has a special fascination with graphic novels and Faith Erin Hicks is one of her favourites. Glad to see that she has a new title (I’m assuming that this superhero one is new). Molly Bang’s “In my Heart” sounds beautiful. Thanks for sharing all these lovely titles, Elisabeth.

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