It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 9/29/14


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

On my blog:

  • An abbreviated Sunday Salon featuring five valuable posts about the teaching life
  • A celebration of reading synergy, sleep, and Brandon Marshall
  • A resource and recommendation guide to wordless picture books
  • A review of a nonfiction picture book biography of Josephine Baker
  • Some guidelines for developing a reading challenge related to children’s literature

In reading:

fat kid gules the world

K.L. Going’s Printz Honor book, Fat Kid Rules the World, has been on my YA Shelf of Shame for years. I’ve checked it out from the library at least a dozen times and haven’t gotten it read, but thanks to the magic of audio, this time I made it through! The novel opens as Troy, the likable main character and fat kid of the title, has decided to throw himself in front of a subway train to end it all. Ever since his mother died, he has had a strained relationship with his father and brother, and he has no friends. But salvation shows up in the unlikely form of Curt MacCrae, a kid Troy sort of knows from school. Actually, everybody knows super-cool Curt, who is as famous for being homeless and only occasionally attending school as he is for playing guitar. The two form an unlikely but believable friendship when Curt decides that Troy should be the drummer in his new band–even though Troy hasn’t touched the drums since seventh grade. The novel does have a lot going for it, especially the strong voice of Troy.

biggest strongest fastest

Biggest, Strongest, Fastest is an older Steve Jenkins title that profiles fourteen record-holding animals–longest, biggest, smallest, etc. Each spread features a cut-paper collage of the animal, a short paragraph detailing what’s remarkable about it, and a comparison with humans (showing a small figure of a human to scale next to an anaconda, for instance). My son has been talking about the facts he learned in this book for days.

when agnes caws

When Agnes Caws, written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Giselle Potter, is the story of a little girl whose special talent is bird calls. She and her famous ornithologist mother head off to the Himalayan Mountains to search for the elusive pink-headed duck. Agnes calls it quite by accident, but then finds herself in a bit of a bind when the villain, Colonel Pittsnap, steals the bird for his collection–and kidnaps Agnes as well. A book that manages to be both silly and quirky with plenty of opportunity to show off your bird calls as you read aloud.


In Christopher Myers’s H.O.R.S.E., two friends challenge each other to a game of Horse (which Myers describes for readers unfamiliar with it) but they are then so busy dreaming up impossible shots and tall-tale trash-talking about the incredible feats they can accomplish on the court that they never do quite get the game started. Clever and creative. 



In Lauren Castillo’s The Troublemaker, a boy gets in trouble when he “borrows” his sister’s stuffed rabbit to send out on an adventure. But it soon becomes clear that he’s not the only troublemaker. A sneaky raccoon has its eye on the boy’s own favorite toy, a stuffed raccoon. This book is pretty much picture book perfection. Destined to become a classic.

I am in the middle of what seems like 500 different books right now and really need to concentrate on FINISHING some things. So that is my goal for this week: start nothing new! Instead, finish!

Reading Goals Update

Nerdbery Challenge: 1/12 books

#MustReadin2014: 8/15 books

YA Shelf of Shame Challenge: 6/12 books

Professional Development Reading Goal: 8/12 books

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 93/100 books

Picture Book Reading Goal: 541/350 books

Chapter Book & Middle-Grade Reading Goal: 63/100 books

YA Lit Reading Goal: 32/60 books

Latin@s in Kidlit Challenge: 25/12 books

Number of Books Total (not counting picture books): 132/200





12 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 9/29/14”

  1. lauralynn21 Avatar

    Steve Jenkins is one of the conferences I went to last weekend and it was so fascinating to see his slideshow with how he does cut-paper collages! I have neither the talent or patience to do what he does artistically, which makes me admire him that much more. I really love the actual size comparisons he uses in his books!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That was one of the sessions I was really looking forward to, as I find his work fascinating. I’m also on a mission to read all the Steve Jenkins books–and there are a lot of them.

  2. carriegelson Avatar

    Can’t wait to get my hands on the Troublemaker. Picture book perfection. Sounds lovely to me! I am very excited to finish lots of books I have on the go right now too – get the 500 book situation. And oh my, love the idea of Agnes and her bird calls. Sounds wonderfully peculiar!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      My goal this week is to finish Winger, Kendra, and Night Gardener. All need to go back to the library, so I have a little external motivation to finish! When Agnes Caws is wonderfully peculiar–perfect illustrations too. My husband was trying hard not to laugh as I attempted the different bird calls.

  3. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    I haven’t seen Biggest, Strongest, Fastest before. I am on mission though to read all of Steve Jenkins’ books. I LOVE his paper cutout illustrations.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I also love the simple, elegant design of his books. They’re so uncluttered and the information selected to share is streamlined and memorable. As someone who tends to be very wordy, I admire succinct writing!

  4. Jennifer | Book Den Kids Avatar

    The Troublemaker sounds wonderful!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m looking forward to sharing it in my Children’s Lit class.

  5. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar
    Ricki Ginsberg

    Fat Kid Rules the World is also on MY shelf of shame! I loved your review. To be honest, your reviews always make me smile. You have a way of luring us in. Thank you for sharing these books, and I hope you have a terrific week!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Ricki! Fat Kid is a quick read–which is one thing I can’t say about many of the other books on my YA shelf of shame (Book Thief, Octavian Nothing).

  6. thelogonauts Avatar

    Intrigued by your Troublemaker. We are starting Edward Tulane for the Global Read Aloud next week, so might make for some good connections.

  7. joshbaseball2 Avatar

    Nice job on this post this week. I have not read any of these books but they all sound pretty good.

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