It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 9/28/15


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

On the blog:

In reading:

little robot

Little Robot is a graphic novel by Ben Hatke that is a must-have for children who struggle to read or who have limited English because so much of the story is told through wordless panels. When there are words, they’re either very simple or they represent sound effects or the robot’s attempts to communicate (“jonk” is pretty much the only word he uses). The story is simple: Robot Girl finds and befriends Little Robot, who—unbeknownst to both of them—is being pursued by an evil Big Robot. I absolutely love that the protagonist is a brown girl, but I absolutely hate what she’s wearing. I know that seems like a trivial complaint, but her outfit really infantilizes her—it’s a cream-colored shift that screams diaper or baby’s onesie. It actually makes the book a hard sell for me with my son because the story looks like it stars a baby. He is not going to want to take this to school and be seen reading it. Still, a great addition to most classroom libraries. Even my high school students would have liked this one (and probably have been much less concerned about Robot Girl’s babyish look than my 7th-grader will be).

too much good luck

As soon as I finished the first volume in Ellen Potter’s new early chapter book series, Piper Green and the Fairy Tree, I had to buy Volume 2, and Too Much Good Luck is just as good as the first book. There is a new discovery in the fairy tree, a lime-green bedroom that doesn’t turn out quite the way Piper imagines it will, a missing classroom pet, a new classmate, and just the right amount of trouble. Fans of Leo and his post-it wife Michelle will love the new development in their relationship: Michelle gets a tattoo that Leo doesn’t approve of! A really wonderful story.

bat boy and violin

I’m on a quest to read all of the books illustrated by E.B. Lewis, and Bat Boy and His Violin has much to recommend it. It’s a historical fiction about a boy who hopes to someday play violin in an orchestra. He spends all of his time practicing his violin, much to the consternation of his father, a manager for a baseball team in the Negro Leagues, who thinks his son should get outside and be more active. They compromise: the boy will travel with his father to games and work as the bat boy with the understanding that he can play his violin in between innings. It turns out that his music inspires the players, and his music becomes a valuable part of the baseball game. Father and son develop an understanding and closer bond over the course of the story as well. Well-written and of course beautifully illustrated.

three cheers for catherine

Three Cheers for Catherine the Great is a new favorite. This one is about Sara and her grandmother, Catherine, a Russian immigrant who has never learned to read or write English. It’s Catherine’s birthday and she decides she wants NO PRESENTS. But everyone in her building finds a way to get around this dictum and give her something special anyway. Lovely language (“It is the early blue of Grandma’s birthday morning”) and a clever story, vibrantly illustrated by Gabrielle Potter.

I forgot to snap a photo of #ClassroomBookaday, but here’s what I shared:

ballet cat totally secret secretz is fora rule is to break






18 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 9/28/15”

  1. Michele Avatar

    Little Robot keeps getting pushed down in my reading pile. One day I’ll get to it! They talked about it at a teachers workshop I was at this weekend!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s a super quick read and quite good. I think you’ll like it. My son reacted to the cover in just the way I thought he would: refused to take it to school to read. SIGH.

  2. carriegelson Avatar

    I love the titles you are sharing with your students! Some great variety. Z is for Moose is a favourite. In fact, I think I will pull it out and read it this week with my students! I am actually going to see Ben Hatke tonight! He is coming to Vancouver Kidsbooks! I am so excited. I LOVE his Zita stories and am excited to bring my copy of Little Robot into the classroom.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      How I love Z Is For Moose! I still need to get the second book. I’ve never so much as seen it in a store or library. Hope the Ben Hatke talk was interesting. A whole bookstore devoted to kids books…. I can’t even wrap my mind around something so wonderful! I have GOT to get to Vancouver!! Though not only to visit the bookstore!

  3. Linda Baie Avatar

    I’m always looking for funny books because the one granddaughter loves them. A Is For Moose is definitely a favorite. And I enjoyed A Bat Boy And His Violin. Also, I see what you mean about Little Robot.The dress could certainly be more colorful. I’ll look for Three Cheers for Catherine The Great-sounds very sweet. Thanks for the variety, Elisabeth!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Three Cheers for Catherine was a wonderful surprise for me. There are sequels too, so I need to find those. I prefer funny books myself and have to remind myself to share the more serious titles too!

  4. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione) Avatar

    I was going to read Little Robot this week, but I’m not a big fan of graphic novels so I put it off. My students love them though so I do try to stock my library with them.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love graphic novels, though I am a bit picky in my tastes. Many of the ones for elementary and middle-grade are, objectively, excellent but don’t connect with me. Still, I book talk them as much as I can!

  5. Jane Whittingham Avatar

    I loved Little Robot! So little dialogue but so much story and meaning – and so much action! A great text to explore with kids.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I really appreciate how much Hatke was able to do with so few words!

  6. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    Loved Bat Boy and His Violin.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      E.B. Lewis can do no wrong!

  7. Cheriee Weichel Avatar

    Ok, I just ordered Little Robot, in spite of your qualms, because I know some of my readers will love it. I adore Piper Green! Two copies arrived last week and I am very much looking forward to book talking them at our Monday assembly next week. I’m still waiting for the arrival of the next one. Catherine the Great reminded me of Rachna Gilmore’s Tales of a Gambling Grandma. It’s been around for a while, but is a great title about grandparents.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Piper Green is a new favorite series for sure. Can’t wait for the next book! I’m not familiar with the Rachna Gilmore title so will be looking for that–thanks!

  8. Crystal Avatar

    I enjoyed Little Robot and Ballet Cat. I have heard so many good things about Piper Green. I’ll have to read that soon.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think you’ll like Piper Green. Very strong new series. I am totally obsessed with Ballet Cat and can’t WAIT for the next book in the series. So much potential with these two characters.

  9. Myra GB Avatar

    Z is for Moose is simply a great read-aloud isn’t it? I had such a fun time with it – love alphabet books! Great to discover new EB Lewis and Giselle Potter titles. 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m working on being a completist with Giselle Potter’s books–and E.B. Lewis too, though that’s going to be a lifetime’s work, I think. He has a lot of books!

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