It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/30/14 #imwayr


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

I had a slow blogging week:

  • A collection of my favorite online reading
  • The weekly celebration (including a very fine photo of Frances in a bag)
  • A review of Deborah Hopkinson’s baseball picture book, Girl Wonder

And a satisfying reading week:

ghosts of tupeloI really liked Sheila Turnage’s Newbery Honor book, Three Times Lucky, and I might like the sequel, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, even more. The characters and setting are so richly developed, and Turnage just nails Mo LoBeau’s voice. I didn’t take any notes as I read, but I stopped again and again to marvel at her sentences. I hope for many more stories about Mo.

Carrie’s reminder about the upcoming #MustReadin2014 check-in made me realize I hadn’t actually finished any titles from my list since the last check-in. So I remedied that by reading two books from my list–both very good. I’ll write more about them in my check-in post tomorrow.

living with jackie chan



For the first time ever, I have been struggling to find picture books to read to my older son. He is wanting longer, more in-depth stories and seeming not to enjoy lighter fare. I thought we might just try reading our chapter book at night (we read the chapter book at breakfast and PBs at night), but he seems to strongly prefer reading picture books at bedtime. I think the extra support of more visuals helps him focus and comprehend at a time when his mind is also occupied with processing everything that happened during the day (and sometimes that is a lot to process for him). I took two large bags of books back to the library unread because not one of them seemed quite right for where he is right now. I am hoping some of the Monday posts will inspire me with new ideas for books or authors to look for.

In picture books, we read:

beatrices goat

Beatrice’s Goat, written by Page McBrier and illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter, is based on the true story of a Ugandan family whose lives are changed when they receive a goat from Heifer Project International. Beatrice longs to go to school but her family can’t afford to send her (a problem very familiar to my son from his years growing up in Ethiopia). When her family receives the goat, it is Beatrice’s job to take care of it and sell the milk. She believes her family is saving the money to buy other much needed items, including clothing. But instead, her mother uses the money to send Beatrice to school. This is a well-written and lushly-illustrated story that could lead to good discussion in the classroom and perhaps even a social justice project.

my putter and tabby write the book

Sometimes you need comfort reads too, and the Mr Putter & Tabby stories are currently our favorites. I love that my son is so excited when I bring one of these books home from the library. He doesn’t generally like reading the same story more than once, but he makes an exception for Mr Putter and Tabby. I could so relate to the exhausting list of chores Mr Putter needed to complete before he could sit down to write–and to his need for a nap after writing just one sentence.

the hunter


One type of story that is consistently engaging to my son right now is folktales. I think Mary Casanova’s The Hunter is a good story anyway, but it’s made ever so much better by Ed Young’s incredible illustrations. Young’s work is so diverse yet always so on point for the story he’s illustrating.

levi strauss gets a bright idea

Tony Johnston’s tall tale, Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea, is kind of silly (though I did enjoy saying “Dang!” very loudly every few pages), but I had to include it in my post this week because I was crazy about Stacy Innerst’s illustrations. He used old blue jeans for his canvas! Brilliant!! I loved seeing how he used the seams and other features of jeans as parts of the paintings.

morris micklewhite


Finally, we read Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, written by Christine Baldacchino and vibrantly illustrated by Isabell Malenfant, another excellent picture book about boys who like to dress up in girls’ clothing. Thanks to the three picture books we’ve read about this topic over the past month, my son’s perceptions and perspective have really changed. Yay picture books!

Reading Goals Update:

Nerdbery Challenge: 0/12 books

#MustReadin2014: 8/15 books

YA Shelf of Shame Challenge: 5/12 books

Professional Development Reading Goal: 3/12 books

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 55/100 books

Picture Book Reading Goal: 343/350 books

Chapter Book & Middle-Grade Reading Goal: 41/100 books

YA Lit Reading Goal: 27/60 books

Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge: 20/12 books

Number of Books Total (not counting picture books): 97/200

13 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/30/14 #imwayr”

  1. I must add Ghosts and the Levi Strauss book to my TBR list immediately. Well and Three Times Lucky. Though that may already be there and I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

    • I definitely think it’s worth reading Three Times Lucky first–though Ghosts is a pretty good standalone. I don’t really like tall tales very much, so I am not the best audience for the Levi Strauss book but the art was a wow for me.

  2. Just noticed that you are so close to meeting your picture book reading goal! I am impressed! I hope you can find some picture books that your son will like. Does he enjoy biographies? There are so many great ones that might fit the bill of what you are looking for. Then the question is will the titles you want be available at your library? We own Beatrice’s Goat (my daughter is a Beatrice) and enjoyed the story a lot. Good luck on your picture book search! Love all of the novels you featured here!

    • I thought my son and I wouldn’t read as many PBs this year (last year we read around 750), but I think we’re reading just as many. I clearly set the goal too low! Oh well. That will be one reading goal we far exceed. For a kid who kind of can’t read, he’s probably the best-read kid going into 6th grade at his school! I love the suggestion of more PB bios. He was just telling me yesterday how much he likes stories about real things that happen to real people, so I am going to work on getting more bios to share with him. Unfortunately, this is an area where my libraries don’t really invest much of their budget, but I figure that every book I buy can do double duty: I can read it to my son and then put it into my circulating office library and share with students. I didn’t realize your daughter is a Beatrice–that’s a name I love. So beautiful!

  3. My check in post will not be interesting because I have not finished any more of my books, oops. Fan girl and Jackie Chan are also on my list! but not a must read. I need to find the Levi Strauss biog-awesome!

    • Some weeks are just like that, aren’t they? I have a bunch of new books started this week but haven’t made a lot of progress. I’ll share more about Jackie Chan and Fangirl in my check-in post on Tues.

  4. Living with Jackie Chan and Fangirl are two of my favorite YA books this year! I am glad you read them both. You certainly had a busy week! I hope next week is just as fruitful!

  5. Now I have to find Morris Micklewhite – I have a feeling it won’t be available in our library though as Singapore is still quite conservative, especially when it comes to sensitive issues like this. I usually buy my own copies or borrow from my university’s library that has a more liberal stance when it comes to purchasing diverse titles. Loved Beatrice’s Goat and featured it a few months back, I think.

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