It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 9/10/18


draft no 4

Draft No. 4 is a collection of John McPhee’s writing about writing. He analyzes many of his own pieces (his essay on structure is especially fascinating) and shares anecdotes and insights about craft. There is quite a bit about the editing process at The New Yorker as well. I don’t know how this book would fare with a reader who hasn’t read anything else by McPhee and doesn’t read The New Yorker. Some context in both seems like essential background knowledge to be able to appreciate and take something away from these essays. I had just enough context to get by, but I often reading these pieces wishing I knew more, had read more. But I never mind a book that sends me to other books, and this one sent me straight to my bookshelves to find more books, and that’s what this one did.


Phenomenal graphic novel portrait of Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, written by Isabel Quintero, who wrote Gabi: A Girl in Pieces, one of my favorite YA novels, and illustrated by Zeke Pena. It’s really the portrait of an artist and has so many wise and beautiful things to say about pursuing the artist’s life. Some of Iturbide’s photographs are also included in the text, and the combination of Quintero’s gorgeous text with Pena’s careful drawings and Iturbide’s moving, provocative images makes for a powerful reading experience.


An interesting little book about water and conservation efforts illustrated by Subash Vyam. The text is a transcription and translation of Vyam’s oral storytelling of how the people in the village where he grew up acquired their water and how development and “progress” (and greed!) now threaten an ecosystem and way of life. At the core is a traditional Gond tale that confused him as a child but now makes sense in the context of the very human propensity to take more than we need and destroy the environment in the process. His illustrations are beautiful, and the whole book is well-designed and attractive.

man with violin

I shared The Man with the Violin for one of our #classroombookaday read-alouds last week. It’s a story I never, ever tire of.

bark george

Bark, George was another #classroombookaday read-aloud. Such a funny book.

how to code a sandcastle

How to Code a Sandcastle is my new favorite Josh Funk title. I appreciate that Funk explained coding in a way that even I can understand! This is a clever and comprehensible look at how coders identify problems and use code to solve them. This is a book that every K-5 classroom needs.

be our guest

Be Our Guest! is worth a look for Gray Malin’s photographs of exotic animals on the grounds of the Parker Palm Springs hotel. The premise of the story is a bit thin: come stay at this unusual hotel staffed by monkeys, tigers, giraffes, etc. The text isn’t very engaging, but the photos are quite interesting.

teddys favorite toy

Teddy’s Favorite Toy is a hoot. Teddy has a lot of great toys, but his doll, Bren-Da, is his favorite. When his mother mistakenly throws her away, she must have her own Bren-Da-like heroic adventure to get the doll back. A great–and funny–story about the awesomeness of moms and the imagination of kids.














8 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 9/10/18”

  1. Shaye Miller Avatar

    I’m glad to hear of The Man with the Violin! I’m making a list of titles with musical components for my “music in the elementary classroom” course — trying my best to mix music and children’s literature together. What could go wrong? 😉 Also, I borrowed two David Sedaris titles last week (after your post) and now Lee’s all excited about them. He’s read some of this other writings, but not the two books I checked out. I might need a locked cabinet! Have a great week, Elisabeth!

  2. cweichel Avatar

    I too love The Man with the Violin.
    Photographic is now on my list. I even put a hold on it at my library. The problem with this is that all of my holds seem to come in at the same time and then I never have time to finish them all!

  3. lindabaie Avatar

    I loved The Man With The Violin, think it will always be one to remind us to pay attention, especially to our children. You often add many to my list, Elisabeth. My grandson is a budding photographer so I will get Photographic for him. It sounds wonderful. As for the McPhee book, I have it on my list, love reading McPhee & The New Yorker, but just purchased another writing book, so will wait & will remember. Thanks also for Water, wow. It too sounds terrific. Thanks for all!

  4. Michele Avatar

    I’ve read Teddy, Sand Castle and Bark George…. lots of new to me books, otherwise 🙂
    I shared Teddy last year with 4th graders, right before they went on to 5th. It was an interesting conversation. Some kids got the message at a very surface level, others really understood what the book was telling us. Just interesting to see what kids get in life!!

  5. Katie @ Read-at-Home Mom Avatar

    Bark George is one of my all-time favorite read-alouds. That last page never fails to get a laugh!

  6. TeachersforTeachers (@ClareandTammy) Avatar

    Loved, loved, loved Teddy’s Favorite Toy. There is so much for kids to talk about in that book. The Man with the Violin and Photographic are going on our TBR list.

  7. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar

    Oooooh. I am adding Photographic to my list!

  8. Myra GB Avatar

    I just asked our librarians to purchase a copy of Photographic – that is gorgeous! And perfect for our upcoming reading theme!

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