It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 1/18/16


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

On the blog:

In reading:

miss brooks loves books and i don't

Sometimes I consider finding a different book to kick off my Children’s Lit class, but Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t) contains just the right message for this class: there’s a right book for everyone, even the most resistant reader. It’s cleverly written and humorously illustrated, and it makes me laugh every time–though I’ll be honest, I’m usually the only person in the room laughing that first day. (It takes a few class sessions for students to loosen up and realize it’s OKAY–even EXPECTED–to laugh at funny picture books!)

finding winnie

I was in a weird situation this year of NOT HAVING READ THE CALDECOTT WHEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED! Luckily, I had bought Finding Winnie, so it was sitting in a stack waiting to be read. I just hadn’t gotten to it yet. My son and I remedied that over breakfast not ten minutes after the award was announced. It’s a wonderful book, though it would not have been my choice for the Caldecott. (I was Lenny & Lucy, Last Stop on Market Street, and Trombone Shorty all the way!) I thought Lindsey Mattick’s writing was at least as strong as Sophie Blackall’s illustrations, and I loved the twist at the end. I do wish that there had been a bibliography and note about sources. The absence of sources drives me nuts in nonfiction books! I also keep reading online about all the research Blackall did for this book, and I’m pretty sure I would appreciate the illustrations more if there had been an illustrator’s note sharing some of that.

cove fires of invention

I was pleasantly surprised by J. Scott Savage’s Cove: Fires of Invention, the first book in a new steampunk dystopian middle-grade series. My son fell in love with the cover and asked for the book for Christmas (!!!!). It’s about a boy named Trenton who loves to tinker and build things, but he lives in a society where creativity and innovation are forbidden. He meets a girl, Kallista, who manages to live outside of society’s strictures and they embark on a quest to solve a mystery left behind by Kallista’s father, an infamous innovator named Leo Babbage who killed himself and others when an experiment he was working on exploded. The quest leads Trenton and Kallista to question the very foundations of their city and society. The book is competently written, there are equally strong male and female leads, and there’s a mechanical dragon. I don’t need much more than that to find a read-aloud with my son fully engaging. Actually, after all the badly written books we read last year, Cove: Fires of Invention felt like a work of genius at times! I’ll definitely be checking out Savage’s other series, FarWorld.

who was gandhi

Who Was Gandhi? is the first “bobble-head biography” (as my son calls this series) that I’ve read. My son doing a report on Gandhi for school, and this was our way of learning about him. It’s a quick read and certainly informative. While the book would appear to appeal to reluctant readers by virtue of its slim size and frequent illustrations, the text reads more like an encyclopedia entry than narrative nonfiction. It felt like a missed opportunity to introduce readers to good nonfiction writing which can combine information and engaging narrative. There are a million books in this series (okay, not a million, but a lot) with subjects ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Seabiscuit.

pregnant butchA.K. Summers’s fictionalized graphic novel memoir, Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag, is a chronicle of a pregnancy that’s challenging for all the usual reasons but adds in gender identity. Summers’s main character, Teek, is a butch lesbian whose dress and hairstyle are an important part of her gender identity. She isn’t sure how to navigate pregnancy as a woman who takes pride in a masculine look. Summers is often very, very funny–this book has so many laugh-out-loud moments–but she’s not afraid of poignant, heartfelt moments either. Lots to think about here.


I reread Lusy Knisley’s Relish: My Life in the Kitchen this week, and it’s just as delightful as it was the first time. A light-hearted graphic novel memoir that still says something important about its subject. This time, I’m determined to try some of the recipes too!





16 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 1/18/16”

  1. Cheriee Weichel Avatar

    I still haven’t gotten around to reading Relish, although it did make it home from the library once. I’ve ordered the J. Scott Savage title because it is the kind of book that will make some of my readers swoon. (Ok, maybe me too) Happy reading this week!

  2. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione) Avatar

    I have never read Miss Brooks Love Books. I am definitely going to have to find that one. I love the quote by Frank Serafini, “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.” I have not read any of the “bobble head biographies” either. I just purchased What is the Super Bowl which is a similar series. I hope my students find it interesting!

  3. kelseyempfield Avatar

    Ah Relish. I loved that book and wouldn’t mind a reread myself! Pregnant Butch seems so interesting, especially since you mentioned that there are some seriously funny moments. After the announcement of the Printz and Newbery winners this year, I was so so happy to see that I had read nearly all of the Newbery books! However, I was disappointed to not even recognize half of the Printz honors…oh well. I can’t read them all in one year!

  4. Linda Baie Avatar

    I will look for Cove and Pregnant Butch, wondering how many would love to read this one but might be embarrassed to pick it up? I did love Winnie, but am with you for favorites, wanted Lenny & Lucy to get some love. It certainly gets it from me! Fun to hear about your class and the first reading of a funny picture book!

  5. Andrea Payan (@payanar) Avatar

    Miss Brooks Loves Books sounds like a really fun read! I will have to seek that one out. Have a great reading week!

  6. Jane Whittingham Avatar

    Thanks for sharing these – I am part of an LGBTQ interest group at my library association and we’re always looking for new books to share with librarians doing reader’s advisory, so I’m going to share Pregnant Butch with our group! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Tara Smith Avatar

    Thanks for sharing these titles. Relish sounds like a book for me!

  8. hollymueller Avatar

    I loved Relish! I appreciate what you said about Finding Winnie. I realized I hadn’t read it either when it was announced. I knew about it and thought I had! Ha. I had only read the other Winnie book out in 2015. Ha. I remedied the situation and will blog about it on my Nonfiction Wednesday post this week.

  9. Michele Avatar

    I did love Lenny and Lucy too!!
    I need to go reread Winnie. I got it and immediately put it out in our Mock Caldecott bin and never got back to it!

  10. Crystal Avatar

    Oh, I love Relish. We’ve had the huevos rancheros, the chai (super yummy) and at least one other scrumptious dish (can’t remember the name). Pregnant Butch looks like one I would enjoy. I keep meaning to read one of the Who Was… books. They do get checked out quite often. I’m sorry to hear yours was a bit dry.

  11. aaroncleaveley Avatar

    I really like Miss Brooks, and think it is a good introduction to any class that encourages students to find their own book to read rather than only read a whole class novel or a lit circle. All of us that believe there are books out there for everyone should read this to a group of kids. As you stated the bonus is that it is hilarious.

  12. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    I’m with you about Finding Winne. I really enjoyed it but it wasn’t my first choice for the Caldecott.

    And I am a huge Lucy Knisley fangirl so I fully approve of a reread of Relish. 🙂

  13. Kellee from Unleashing Readers (@kelleemoye) Avatar

    I’d forgotten about Relish—it is one that I have wanted to read!
    Miss Brooks is the perfect intro–no need to change when you find what works perfect 🙂
    I, too, haven’t read the Caldecott winner! I read the other Winnie book, but I have this one coming from my library, so I can catch up.

    Happy reading this week!

  14. Myra GB Avatar

    It’s the first I’m hearing of Pregnant Butch – I doubt if we’d have that available in our public libraries here, but I’d still keep a look-out for that one. I think I read Knisley’s Displacement: A Travelogue last year and enjoyed it – glad to see another one of her memoirs here.

  15. Annette Bay Pimentel Avatar

    I too had failed to read Finding Winnie when they announced the Caldecott. But I actually thought I had–confused it with the other Winnie book that came out last year.

  16. Scott Day Avatar

    Recent books I’ve just finished reading: Elana Arnold’s Infandous (love the way she blends fairy tales and reality); Tamara Stone’s Every Last Word (Caroline is fascinating as is the book); Nicola Yoon’s Everything. Everything. (really took me by surprise in an excellent way); Sarah Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses (I’m a sucker for the retelling of fairy tales.Look forward to reading next book in series).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: