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

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

On my blog this week:

In reading:

I did read a lot more this week, although I didn’t manage to finish very much.


Hidden, a graphic novel written by Loic Dauvillier and illustrated and colored by Marc Lizano and Greg Salcedo, is a Holocaust story for children. In the frame story, a Jewish grandmother shares her own story of survival with her granddaughter. I was impressed by how much history and experience Dauvillier conveys in such a slim book (it took me no more than 30 minutes to read). There is a poignant scene early in the book when Dounia’s father tells her that the new stars they have to wear are a reward, sheriff’s stars. She learns quickly at school that the stars are a bad thing. Dounia’s parents are taken by the Gestapo, but thanks to the foresight of her parents and the courage of her neighbors, she is hidden and taken to the countryside, where she waits for the end of the war and hopes for the return of her parents. Dauvillier doesn’t sugarcoat the story at all: it’s quite harrowing in parts. Yet somehow it retains an almost gentle tone. I checked this book out from the library but plan to purchase a copy to share with my students, who simply can’t get enough graphic novels.

clementine friend of week

My younger son and I continued our read-aloud of the Clementine series with Clementine, Friend of the Week. So. Good. And Marla Frazee’s illustrations are sublime.

My older son and I have been reading Jeff Probst’s middle-grade survival story, Stranded, as our chapter book but we haven’t quite finished it. We did finish many picture books this week. I’m highlighting our favorites.

how fletcher was hatched

My library just got a copy of How Fletcher Was Hatched!, one of my own childhood favorites, written and illustrated by Wendy and Harry Devlin. I couldn’t resist checking it out and sharing it with my son, and I must say, it holds up extremely well.

grandfather ghandi

Grandfather Gandhi, written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk, is every bit as beautiful and important as my Monday reading friends have been saying. This story about channeling anger is one that I think I’ll be rereading regularly to my son! I do wish there was some kind of background provided on Gandhi. I am not entirely sure that this story can stand alone for readers who don’t know Gandhi, simply because the circumstances of young Arun having to share his grandfather with so many followers are too unusual. I assumed background knowledge wasn’t necessary, but my son had questions in the middle of the story, and I found it hard to explain coherently or succinctly who Gandhi was, what he did, and why he’s important. (When I found myself beginning to natter on about colonialism and the occupation of India, I knew I needed to shut up.) Perhaps some kind of back matter explaining Gandhi’s work and beliefs for young readers would be helpful. I am wondering if there are other picture books about Gandhi that I could have shared first with my son to prepare him for this story. That said, Grandfather Gandhi is a must-read and a must-own!

a dance like starlight

A Dance Like Starlight, written by Kristy Dempsey and illustrated by Floyd Cooper, is a gorgeous story about following your dreams. Cooper is one of my favorite illustrators, and Dempsey’s writing captures this young girl’s dream to become a ballerina and the inspiration and hope she finds through her mother and through seeing Janet Collins, the first African-American prima ballerina, perform.

grandfather buffalo

We’ve been working our way through Jim Arnosky’s books, even though they’re a bit young for my son. I’ve been quite impressed by all of them, especially Grandfather Buffalo. A touching story of an old buffalo continuing to find a place for himself in his herd.

wait no paint

In Bruce Whatley’s Wait! No Paint!, the illustrator runs out of red paint and can’t finish the story of the “The Three Little Pigs” properly. The pigs’ dialogue with the unnamed and unseen illustrator is quite funny, and we loved the illustrator’s attempt to make do with another color: the pigs end up green, then patterned. A clever fractured fairy tale.

adele and simon

Barbara McClintock’s Adele & Simon is the simple story of a little boy who loses his things–schoolwork, crayons, hat, scarf, etc.–much to the annoyance of his big sister. The gorgeous illustrations of the children’s busy afternoon in Paris are full of visual interest–not least of which is trying to spot Simon’s missing item. The back matter notes what famous locale is depicted in each illustration and what French artists inspired some of the pictures.

absolutely positively alexander

Absolutely Positively Alexander collects three of Judith Viorst’s classic stories about Alexander. Of course we’ve read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day before, but the other two stories were new for us. Both are well worth reading, though not as brilliant as Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.


Reading Goal 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: 66/100 books

Picture Book Reading Goal: 386/350 books

Chapter Book & Middle-Grade Reading Goal: 44/100 books

YA Lit Reading Goal: 27/60 books

Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge: 20/12 books

Number of Books Total (not counting picture books): 98/200







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

  1. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    Such a great selection! This is my first #IMWAYR, and there is so much to soak up.

    I think your critique of Grandfather Gandhi is spot on. I had the same complaints when sharing with my third graders. Because of the lack of background knowledge provided, the kids didn’t really understand what a big deal it was that he was getting his advice from Gandhi.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      #IMWAYR is a huge drain on my book budget, I must say. I can usually resist the FIRST time I see a book mentioned, but after I read the fourth rave review of it, it’s going in the cart…. I just try to do as much librarying as I can too. I was very interested in your students’ response to Grandfather Gandhi, so thanks for sharing!

  2. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    Grandfather Buffalo looks like an endearing story. I’ll definitely have to check that one out. I also want to check out Adele and Simon. I can’t resist a story that takes place in Paris.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      The Paris setting is especially gorgeous in Adele and Simon.

  3. Tara Smith Avatar

    Hidden and A Dance Like Starlight sound like “must have” books for my classroom library, Elisabeth – thanks for sharing.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Both are very strong titles, and I especially appreciate that Hidden is middle-grade and fully takes its audience into account.

  4. Linda Baie Avatar

    I think Hidden is a wonderful story that introduces this tough topic to younger students. Love hearing about Adele & Simon, & A Dance Like Starlight, Elisabeth. As for Gandhi, the picture book, The March To The Sea adds to the story of Gandhi’s big moment, but there are longer, still accessible books that tell even more, the philosophy, etc. I agree, it is something that would be helpful with the book. Also, I didn’t comment, read it very late, but so enjoyed your post about parents & reluctant readers, Elisabeth. Thank you for the time and details of that post.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I will look for The March to the Sea. Thank you for the recommendation! I think it’s helpful for my kids to know that the fight for civil rights is one that has to take place in many, many places–not just America. I am so glad you enjoyed my post on working with reluctant readers. My son has taught me so much about working with resistance. Because of his attachment issues, I’m not able to push him in the way that I probably would push a securely attached child–and I’ve come to believe that the no-pressure backdoor way I go about working with my son probably would work much better with securely attached children too.

  5. carriegelson Avatar

    The same thing happened when I read Grandfather Gandhi with my children. We had to go to the internet to be able to talk more about it. The book would definitely benefit from “child friendly” back matter. But it is so gorgeous! Love Clementine. Have read every book title aloud either to my children or a class of kids.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m looking forward to starting the next Clementine book with my younger son. I am so enjoying my reread of this series. I need to make sure my Children’s Lit students know about Clementine. I need to find other picture books about Gandhi–Linda recommends one above that I am going to look for. Picture books are such a good way for my son to learn about history!

  6. Myra GB Avatar

    Hidden is absolutely perfect for our current reading theme. I just checked, we do have it in our library, so I would most likely borrow it this weekend if I can. A Dance like Starlight looks so beautiful – just pinned it now and added it to my PBB pinterest board.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      So glad you have a copy of Hidden available to read. It’s well worth it. I can think of many text pairings for it and I appreciate that it’s a solid middle-grade title. Always looking for more graphic novels for that age range.

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