It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 12/3/18


On the blog:

In reading:


My son and I just finished another Gordon Korman read-aloud, this one a favorite from my own teen years. In fact, we read my very own copy from 1987! Revisiting the Korman titles from the 1980s has been fun but also a bit challenging for me. They’re full of stuff that makes for a good read-aloud: snarky humor, tight pacing, sharp dialogue. But the female characters are so poorly developed, they’re almost caricatures of girls. I am so glad Korman learned that girls are human beings AND readers because being able to write more believable female characters has certainly helped his writing.

i'd rather be reading

I loved each and every essay in Anne Bogel’s collection, I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. I had so many “yes!” and “that’s exactly how I feel” and “I’m that kind of reader too!” moments reading this collection. It’s a slender collection and could easily be read in an afternoon, but I limited myself to one or two essays a day so that it would last a little longer.

girl in the himalayas

A Girl in the Himalayas has beautiful art, but the story didn’t quite work for me. We all know that humans can be violent and wasteful; I’m not sure we need another fable to tell us all the ways that humans endanger ourselves and the environment.

superb life after fallout

I was impressed by Superb. On one level, it’s a fairly predictable superhero comic: meteor fallout “enhances” certain humans; there’s an evil corporation trying to catch these superpowered folks and use their powers for no doubt nefarious purposes; and it falls on two teenagers to save the world. But it’s engaging and entertaining. What really sets the book apart, though, is its inclusivity. Granted, I haven’t read too many superhero comics, but I think it’s rare for the hero to have Down’s syndrome. The diverse cast of characters and their believable relationships gave this one a lot of appeal. Ends of a cliffhanger, so you’ll need to wait for the next volume to find out what happens.

being super

I’m not sure the cover of Supergirl: Being Super really does it justice. Doesn’t Kara look like a creepy vacant doll? But once you open the book covers, the art improves and the story, written by Mariko Tamaki, is really quite good. Many of the plot points you expect in a Supergirl story are here, but Tamaki gives Kara a rich inner life and close friendships with driven, quirky girls. The superhero action parts were a bit boring to me, but I really liked Kara’s friends, and the book doesn’t shy away from serious tragedy and grief. I also thought it was rather clever that in this origin story, Kara is obsessed with her own origins.

witch boy

In Aster’s community, girls grow up to be witches and boys grow up to be shapeshifters. But Aster has no aptitude for shapeshifting, and he’s good at spells. He’s constantly getting in trouble for spying on the girls’ lessons and asking questions about witchcraft. He’s also frequently frightened with tales of another boy who once pursued witchcraft, endangering everyone in the community, and ending up exiled from his family forever. It’s an interesting way to look at gender norms and get the reader thinking. There’s a good balance of action and introspection, and I loved the color palette and cheerful art.

stinky cecil

Stinky Cecil in Mudslide Mayhem is, I believe, the third in the Stinky Cecil series. You don’t need to have read the earlier books to dive right in and feel like you know the characters. This is a series for newly independent readers, and I think there’s plenty here to keep them engaged through a fairly substantial graphic novel. Plenty of adventures and different characters and humorous situations.

a sea of love

Lupano and Panaccione’s A Sea of Love is a wordless graphic novel that’s worth a look for its often dazzling art. There’s a strong cartoon quality to the people (which I never find as appealing, though I know others will), but the landscapes and seascapes are so beautiful. The story is quite funny–many misadventures as a wizened old fisherman is lost at sea and his doting wife sets out to rescue him. There is a silent film quality to the story. I’d really like to get my hands on more work from illustrator Panaccione, but it looks like it’s all available in French publications only.

a boy and a jaguar

It’s so tempting to read only new picture books aloud to my class for #classroombookaday, so I keep reminding myself to revisit wonderful titles on my shelves that will be new for my students. I always love reading A Boy and A Jaguar aloud. It’s so sensitively written and tells such a powerful story.


Our other read aloud was Dreamers, where I did that thing that I try not to do: read a book for the first time myself while I’m reading it aloud to a class. But I had confidence that Yuyi Morales would not disappoint, and she didn’t. I’m looking forward to sitting down alone and reading through this one more slowly so that I can appreciate the art.

nothing stopped sophie

I wish all picture books would have the kind of illustrator’s notes at the end that Nothing Stopped Sophie has. I was fascinated to learn about Barbara McClintock’s process for illustrating the story, and I returned to different images with renewed appreciation after reading her thought process for creating them. Nothing Stopped Sophie is an excellent picture book biography of eighteenth-century French mathematician, Sophie Germain. I am always worried when I read STEM titles that I won’t actually be able to understand the STEM, but Cheryl Bardoe does a wonderful job making the complicated math comprehensible and accessible.






17 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 12/3/18”

  1. cweichel Avatar

    Yes! I also wish illustrators would write about how they create their art. I have often gone to the internet in search of information. When I finished reading Counting Birds: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends by Heidi E.Y. Stemple & Clover Robin, I spent a good hour on the internet reading about Clover Robin’s process and admiring her art. It made me want to start making some of my own!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I need to get Counting Birds! I’m always excited when I can find information about how art is created.

  2. Jane the Raincity Librarian Avatar

    It’s kind of incredible how prolific Gordon Korman is – I was such a huge fan back in the ’90s, and it makes me chuckle that kids at the library are gobbling up his books decades later!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I know! I don’t even know how many times I read Son of Interflux and Don’t Care High. It was fun to share those with my son. We still have several really good ones to get too as well–Son of the Mob and No More Dead Dogs, for sure. And he continues to write…. my preservice teachers really loved Restart last year and it made the rounds in my classroom.

    2. aaroncleaveley Avatar

      This is so true! We had a few who liked Restart, but the recent one that was really hot at my school was Masterminds, the whole series, actually.

  3. Shaye Miller Avatar

    I don’t believe I’ve read A Boy and a Jaguar, so I’ll definitely hunt that one down. I have Dreamers on hold and should get a copy next week. So glad to hear it didn’t disappoint. YAY! And I know you’ll always be my “go to” person for graphic novel recommendations and discussion. I need more experience in this area, for sure! Have a wonderful week, Elisabeth! We shall survive these last two weeks — WHEW!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m guessing our campus library has Boy and Jaguar since it’s a Schneider, but if not, you can borrow my copy. I admired Dreamers greatly but it didn’t touch my heart like so many of her books have, so I need to reread and see if I fall in love. So much to do in the next two weeks! Argh!

  4. lindabaie Avatar

    I love reading books by people about their reading & “I’d Rather Be Reading” sounds like another I would love, Elisabeth. Thanks also for the comic titles, new to me & for Sea of Love which sounds & looks great, Yes, I loved Dreamers, too.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Oh, I think you’d really enjoy I’d Rather Be Reading. It’s a delight–and a very quick read. I’m looking forward to rereading it and gleaning some ideas for blog posts because with nearly every essay, I had so many ideas for what I wanted to write about the same topic.

  5. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione) Avatar

    I could read Dreamers over and over again. Absolutely beautiful art!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      The art is so beautiful. I’m looking forward to that slow reread.

  6. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar

    Oooookay, I definitely need to get I’d Rather Be Reading. I’ll ask for it for the holidays. 🙂
    Dreamers is one of my favorites. I like how you shared that you did a cold reading to the class. I feel like that has a certain power, and my students always love when we read something for the first time together. It feels a bit more magical.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I also think there’s power in the cold read, in discovering something together for the first time. I no longer assign reading, but when I used to, I always liked to assign one thing I’d never read before so that we could discover it together!

  7. Trina Haase Avatar
    Trina Haase

    You always give me so many ideas for books to check out! I have already requested I’d Rather be Reading!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s such a treat! I hope you enjoy it!

  8. aaroncleaveley Avatar

    A lot of great stuff that I need to check out here. I agree that Superb sounds unique, and that the cover of Supergirl is not as sharp as it could be.
    You have also reminded me that I was supposed to check on the sequel to The Witch Boy for the library. I think its called The Hidden Witch, and it came out around Halloween. Thanks for the post!

  9. Myra GB Avatar

    Nothing Stopped Sophie is absolutely perfect for our upcoming reading theme #WomenReadWomen2019 – thanks to you, I just reserved it from our library – hopefully I get to pick it up this weekend! 🙂 I found Dreamers to be deeply moving, I enjoyed it. Lots of new-to-me comic books here! 🙂

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