It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 7/13/15


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

On the blog:

  • A celebration of breakthroughs, even when you feel like you’re living in the movie Groundhog Day
  • Reflections on the first two chapters of Digital Reading for #cyberPD
  • A list of the Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015

In reading:

I read a book! My first non picture book read of July, sad as that is. Thankfully, it was a good one, a wonderful middle-grade novel from Cynthia Lord. She manages to pack so much life, experience, wisdom, and understanding into her books. A plot summary doesn’t begin to do justice to this deceptively simple novel. Lord really understands the grieving child, how she strives to exercise control over her environment to keep herself and those around her safe. This is a book about coming to terms with the past, about learning to let go. It’s also about friendship and family and love and art. There were so many lines I loved:

“Giving up is admitting you’re beat and walking away. Letting go means you’re setting something free. You’re releasing something that’s been keeping you stuck. That takes faith and more than a little courage.”

“To do brave things, you don’t have to be hugely brave. You only have to be a little bit braver than you are scared.”

“What I love about art is that anything is possible. Bees can be pink. Trees can be purple. It’s like taking the world as it is and then swirling it around to show how it could be.”

one of those days

Does Amy Krouse Rosenthal have any bad books? Does she even have any mediocre books? This is a clever, witty, and somehow poignant look at “one of those days”—the kind of day where nothing goes right. Each page illustrates a particular way a day can go wrong—Keep Spilling Stuff Day or You Think You’re Right But Nobody Else Thinks So Day or even Sad For No Reason Day. But every day eventually comes to a close, and the next day offers an opportunity for a better day.

littlest dinosaur

A sweet picture book that shows that even the littlest dinosaur can save the day as long as he is brave and able to ask for help. The pacing was a bit off here–it took too long to get to the point, and the climax felt rushed, as the mass of text on the final two pages indicates. But still, a sweet story with appealing pastel illustrations.

betsy red hoodie

I love a fractured fairy tale, and this one did have some potential, but I found it largely unrealized. Betsy is one of two shepherds in Bray Valley. The other shepherd? Zimmo, the wolf. Betsy sets out to visit her grandma and decides to take all her sheep AND Zimmo with her. When Zimmo breaks away from the group and hurries ahead, Betsy becomes certain that he’s going to eat grandma. Never mind that Zimmo is the most gentle wolf ever. The best part of the story is definitely the sheep who have plenty of things to say—both dumb and snarky.






17 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 7/13/15”

  1. runawaylibrarian Avatar

    Ha, you and I started the same way, celebrating finishing an actual novel. I’m looking forward to reading A Handful of Stars, I do love Cynthia Lord.
    Cheers, Jody

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Sad to have to celebrate finishing an actual novel. You will like Handful of Stars–it’s really good.

  2. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    Handful of Stars sounds delightful! And you are right, that there are no bad books out there by Amy Krause Rosenthal, though she did write one of the most unusual memoirs I’d read …

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m completely obsessed with that memoir! I love using it as a mentor text in my writing classes, but it’s always dangerous because I’ll pick it up to find a certain section and an hour later, I’m still reading. Just can’t stop. She’s brilliant.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I used to love Anne Perry novels! Haven’t read one in years but may have to revisit.

      1. mkcasey80 Avatar

        She is so clever

  3. Linda Baie Avatar

    I agree about Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This book looks like such a good one, even for adults! I have A Handful of Stars, will be next I think. Glad to hear you enjoyed it, and read a book!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Feels weird to celebrate reading a book since I usually read 1-2 a week. But not this summer. I’ll definitely be sharing the Amy Krouse Rosenthal with my college students this fall.

  4. Tara Smith Avatar

    So glad you enjoyed Lord’s book – I’m still thinking about issues it raised.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I have a feeling I’m going to be thinking about it for a long time too.

  5. margaretsmn Avatar

    Working with Julianne’s virtual book club on Handful of Stars, I found myself over and over jotting down favorite quotes. The book is full of them. Join us for our Twitter Chat on Tuesday at 7:30 EST. We are using #WabtR. All are welcome, even if you didn’t participate in the online reading group.

  6. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar

    My son just learned how to ROAR when he sees a dinosaur, so I think I need to get a copy of The Littlest Dinosaur. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the title! Have a terrific week, friend.

  7. Michele knott Avatar

    I am really looking forward to A Handful of Stars. There is so much book love for it!

  8. carriegelson Avatar

    I have A Handful of Stars sitting right nest to me saying “Read me soon.” And, I will. I love Cynthia Lord.

  9. Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye) Avatar

    I need to catch up on my Cynthia Lord reading. I loved Rules and Touch Blue, but I haven’t read her newest books. That needs to be fixed.
    Trent loves dinosaurs right now, so I will have to look for Littlest Dinosaur.

    Happy reading this week! 🙂

  10. Myra GB Avatar

    Hi Elisabeth, have you watched Hoodwinked yet? Such a wonderful retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story on film – one that you and your child might enjoy too. A Handful of Stars sounds like a special book – I haven’t read anything yet of Cynthia Lord, so I really am looking forward to it.

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