It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 9/19/16



Nick loves to read and he loves his cats, so he decides to combine those two interests into one by teaching his cats to read. There is initial reluctance, especially from the perpetually cranky Stevenson (delightfully illustrated with a grouchy face in every single illustration by Kate Berube–at least until he learns to read), but overall, the reading experiment turns out better than you might think. A charming story that will have great appeal to those who love books and cats!


Barry Deutsch’s Hereville series has been our breakfast readaloud over the past couple of weeks. I originally read the series in order, but rather ridiculously, I have been reading it to my son backwards–mostly a result of poor library planning. Barry Deutsch writes and illustrates this series so well, though, that it’s possible to follow even reading them out of order AND reading aloud (I have never before had any success reading a graphic novel aloud). I liked this series when I read it to myself, but I love it now that I’m reading it aloud and appreciate just how finely crafted the writing is and just how smart the illustrations are.


Monica Brown’s new Lola Levine series is a welcome addition to my shelf of chapter books for young readers. Lola is a fun character–spunky and passionate (a little too passionate, according to some of her classmates). Brown’s writing is straightforward, and while the storyline is a bit predictable, I didn’t mind. I especially appreciated the diversity of the characters, as I struggle to find diverse chapter books to share with my students.


Maggie Thrash’s Honor Girl is a graphic novel memoir of one particular summer at camp when Maggie develops a crush on Erin, an older camp counselor. Not much happens in the story–Maggie improves her rifle skills; she and her friends have various silly and deep conversations; she tries to catch a glimpse of Erin–but it perfectly captures adolescence.

I’m hoping to finish a couple of middle-grade titles this week (Louise Erdrich’s fifth installment in the Birchbark House series; the new Family Fletcher novel); make progress in my current YA book (Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy); and finish up The Mark of the Thief with my son (so hoping he won’t want to read Book 2, but what are the chances of that?).






17 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 9/19/16”

  1. Revisiting Childhood Avatar

    I loved your comment about a breakfast read along… What a wonderful idea! My son and I leave the house around 630 in the morning so our breakfast is a packed Nutella sandwich from a Ziploc bag usually around mile marker 23… We too, enjoy a morning read along but it is in the form of an audiobook. I would love to say that I can read books while I drive, but that might scare the public! 😉
    I loved hearing about your families read a long sessions and hope to one day, do the same at a breakfast table ( and not in a Toyota)! Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Leaving the house at 6:30 is cruel, but the Nutella sandwich sounds delicious!! Thank goodness for audiobooks. I would prefer to get to work earlier, but the morning routine we have always starts the day off right, and I do love to start the day reading together.

  2. carriegelson Avatar

    Lola Levine is a series I have been thinking about for my classroom so pleased to hear you like it. Congrats on the success of reading a graphic novel aloud. It is tricky business but kinda fun. I did it with my class with Hatke’s Little Robot. Like you, I am in the middle of or trying to be in the middle of many books. So busy! And you?

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love Little Robot! Have tried to get my son to read it but he is usually a resistant graphic novel reader. SIGH. What kid doesn’t like graphic novels?!?! So I’m doubly pleased with the success of Hereville and hoping it opens up more doors for us. We might try one of Raina Telgemeier’s books next. Yes, so busy. Will message you!

  3. Alex Baugh (@RandomlyReading) Avatar

    Lots of good stuff here. Thanks for reminding me about Lola Levine, I need some new chapter books and forgot about her. I’ll also have to find The Summer Nick Taught his Cat to Read, it sounds interesting.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s quick and cute and has many ways for readers to connect since Lola has so many interests! I’m always on the lookout for more chapter books too. I was a little nonplussed that Nick actually DOES teach his cats to read, but I decided to just suspend disbelief and go with it.

  4. Scott Day Avatar

    Focused on one book right now: Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers. Wanted to understand “magic realism.” This is the book I chose.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Let me know how it is! I’m always adding your recommended books to be my TBR pile!

  5. lindabaie Avatar

    The Hereville series sounds interesting, and I agree that it’s rather challenging to read a graphic novel aloud, but it would slow you down! I know my oldest, second grade, granddaughter would love Lola Levine. Thanks for that, too, Elisabeth, and the Nick and his cat book-what a fun idea!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was very pleased to see that there are at least two more Lola Levine books already published, so I am off to request them. Lola is in second grade, so it’s a perfect series for your granddaughter.

  6. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    Honor Girl has been on my list for a while but I just haven’t gotten around to it.

  7. Jane the Raincity Librarian Avatar

    I absolutely adore the cats in The Summer Nick…, they’re so expressive, and I can see so many cats I’ve known throughout the years in their faces! 😉

  8. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione) Avatar

    I enjoyed The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read. So charming! I haven’t read Lola Levine – will have to check it out.

  9. Michele Avatar

    I haven’t been able to get past the 1st book in the Mark of the Thief trilogy either…
    Loved Lola Levine and Honor Girl. We just received a grant for diverse books for our school library and I added the Lola Levine series!

  10. cweichel Avatar

    I’ve added Honor Girl to my list. It sounds exactly like my kind of book. Since I no longer get to order books, I think I’m just going to go to a kids bookstore and read all these new picture book titles!

  11. crbrunelle Avatar

    I enjoy Lola Levine. I liked Honor Girl too. I have read the first Hereville, but never got around to the rest. I need to fix that.

  12. Myra GB Avatar

    I have one Hereville novel – didn’t realize it was part of a series – would you know how many? Will definitely have to be on the lookout for this.

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