Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hades: Lord of the Dead (Olympians #4)

Hades: Lord of the Dead (Olympians)Title: Hades: Lord of the Dead (Olympians #4) 
Author and Illustrator: George O'Connor
Publisher: First Second
Publication Date: Today! Happy book birthday!
Genre/Format: Traditional Literature- Mythology/Graphic Novel
Summary: In O'Connor's fourth installment of the Olympians graphic novel series starts with the journey into the Underworld after death but reveals itself to be about the myth of Persephone's abduction and the consequences that follow such.  This graphic novel is not only about Hades, but about Demeter and Persephone as well. 
What I Think: Persephone's myth is one of my favorites.  I love how clever the Greeks were to have such an elaborate tale to account for the seasons that we all experience.  And saying that, this graphic novel is by far my favorite version of the story. 

I am such a fan of George O'Connor's style of art and his storytelling capabilities as I've loved the two other Olympian graphic novels that I've read and I love this one as well.  The way that O'Connor takes the myth, stays true to it, but adds his own interpretation of aspects is what makes his graphic novels unique.  For example, the thought that went into why he made Persephone a little dark in this story is so thought provoking.  

Also, as I've said in my reviews of Zeus and Athena, I love the G(r)eek notes, drawings, bibliography, recommended reading, discussion questions and author's notes at the end of all of his graphic novels- they make them accessible for not only children & teens, but teachers to use in their classroom.  O'Connor also has an amazing website http://olympiansrule.com/ that has activities, information about the gods, and information for teachers. 
Read Together: Grades 4 to 10
Read Alone: Grades 6 to 12
Read With: George O'Connor's other Olympian Graphic Novels, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, Oh.My.Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
From the recommended reading list at the end of the graphic novel: D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaires, Persephone by Sally Pomme Clayton and Virginia Lee, Persephone the Phony by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams, Mythology by Edith Hamilton, Abandon by Meg Cabot, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony by Robert Calasso
Snatch of Text: 
"It is ironic, I suppose. So many mortals will spend the whole of their brief time above in search of the tiniest portion of this wealth.  Eventually, they all will come into my domain, where all the riches in the world are to be found. Yet they are worthless to them." (p. 39)
Mentor Text for: Mythology, Paneling, Dialogue, Inferring, Making Connections
Writing Prompts: After reading a different myth, take the main events of the myth and create your very own comic strip. 
Topics Covered: Mythology, Death, Love, Consequences

*Thank you to NetGalley and First Second for allowing me access to the e-galley version of this book*

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/30/12

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!
After doing the meme for a couple of weeks, we realized this would be a fun meme to start up with a kidlit focus - anyone reading and reviewing books in children's literature - it can be picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, you name it in the world of kidlit and it's in! We have loved being a part of this meme and we hope you do too!  We encourage everyone participating to go and visit the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and to comment on as many posts as you can. We love talking books and believe in sharing and discussing what we're reading. We hope you join us!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: Last week I did finish listening to John Green's Looking for Alaska. I didn't know it was going to take the turn that it did, but it was really good. Another great book from John Green. Next, I listened to Our Only May Amelia by Jenni Holm. I've heard Colby talk so much about Jenni Holm books so I have been working my way through her novels. I really like May Amelia, she has spunk and reminds me a bit of Pippi Longstocking for some reason. After that, I listened to How They Croaked by Georgia Bragg. I loved it! Such a great non-fiction book, completely fascinating. I started listening to The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens and narrated by Jim Dale. I love Jim Dale but the book is already interesting, too!

I finished reading The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Agustus Trapp. I love the movie The Sound of Music and it was neat to read the real story. First of all, I had no idea it was based on a true story, and then, I had no idea that they came to the United States and toured here. I read The Absent Author by Ron Roy as my Reading A-Z challenge for the year. I have one down! I grabbed some cute quotes about authors from the book. I also finished The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner. I really liked the connections to Of Mice and Men and especially to Star Wars and Yoda. He is so wise. Gae is so cool.

Kellee Says: I am still listening to the second book in the Matt Cruse series, Skybreaker, and it has really started getting intense. This week I finished two YA novels: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins which I loved almost as much as her fist book Anna and the French Kiss and XVI  by Julia Karr, a dystopian novel which was pretty realistic and fit right in with our dystopian vs. post-apocalyptic discussion. 

Reviewed Last Week:
Just click on any picture above to go read the review

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: I'm going to keep listening to The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens.  I think it will take me most of the week to finish it. I'm about half way through  Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani. I loved Eli the Good by Silas House and will be reviewing it this week. His writing is great. I will also be reading From What I Remember... by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas from NetGalley on my Nook, Henry, too. I also have The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis, Sidekicks by Dan Stantat, and Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol to read. Great books, right? I am very excited for this week of reading. I have a couple of picture books waiting for me at the library that I'll pick up today: A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka and Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett. More great books even!

Kellee Says: To be honest- I have NO idea what I am doing to read this week.  I have a pile of immediete TBR books, but I haven't decide what I am going to pick up yet.  I guess we'll see! 

This Week's Reviews:
Hades: Lord of the Dead (Olympians)           My Brother's Shadow

Check back throughout the week to hear about these books. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Please link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!


Reading Along on I-94 - A Monster Calls - Part 5

It has been an amazing month talking about A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. I feel like I learned so much from reading it again because I was able to think about the whole book. It's interesting how when you read a book again and you already know what's going to happen how it changes your perspective. Bravo, to rereading! If you want to go back and see my previous discussions with Colby you can find them here:  Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4.
JEN: This is it! We get to talk about the end of A Monster Calls. I’ve so enjoyed talking about this book but I’m excited to get to the end because I really think this is where the book gets so good and so raw.

On page 136 Conor talks to the monster and asks him if he can heal his mom but the monster has to tell him that he wasn’t called to help Conor’s mom get better. I was kind of confused about this part the first time I read it. I totally felt like I could understand how Conor felt. Conor is so confused about why the monster is really there then. The monster keeps telling Conor he has to tell him a story and we get little glimpses of what Conor’s story will be but never a full picture. Looking back now, it’s so obvious why the monster is there:

     “Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.
     ‘Life writing,’ Conor said, sourly, under his breath.
     The monster looked surprised. Indeed, it said. It turned to go, but glanced back at Conor. Look for me soon.
     ‘I want to know what’s going to happen with my mum,’ Conor said.
     The monster paused. Do you not know already?
     ‘You said you were a tree of healing,’ Conor said. ‘Well, I need you to heal!’
     And so I shall, the monster said.” p. 141

As a reader, I kept thinking all about Conor’s mom and about getting her better but this book isn’t about Conor’s mom getting better. It’s about Conor dealing with and accepting his mom’s sickness.

Colby, I know you know I have a great love for books with happy endings! I think because it’s more common for books to have happy endings, I kept thinking about Conor’s mom and what was going to happen to her but now that I look at the book as a whole, it’s so not about his mom. It’s all about him and his journey and his growth. This book is so deep. It’s such a close look at how we grieve.

This is the part where I started to feel sadder than ever for Conor because it’s like he can’t accept that his mom isn’t going to get better. He just refuses to believe it.

The monster’s third tale is told after the bully at school tells Conor he no longer sees him. Talk about mean! He takes Star from Hound Dog True to a totally different level. Can you imagine someone telling you they no longer see you any more, you are nothing to them, you are dead to them. I feel like this would crush anyone when it comes to developing identity or belongingness.

The third story ends up being similar to the second story. Conor hears about an invisible man who gets to mad and decides to make people see him and force them to acknowledge him. Just like the second story ended up being about Conor taking his anger out on his grandmother’s living room, the third story ends up being about Conor taking his anger out on Harry, the bully from school. Conor attacks Harry so that he can’t deny that Conor is there. And the worst part is that after it’s all over he feels even worse than before because now they know he’s there but it’s for such a horrible reason. Poor Conor.

Finally he has to tell his story and his story is all about him being honest with himself and letting it be okay to accept that his mom will die. I just reread the end and I was thinking it might not affect me the same way it did the first time - that first them when I sobbed like crazy and just couldn’t stop - but it totally had me in tears again. Ugh, it’s so well-written I can’t even begin to explain it.

I know this is an insanely sad story but through my tears I could recognize my own relief for Conor that he was able to face his biggest fear. It’s not fair that he has to deal with his mom dying when he is so young but the monster does help him and it feels like things will be okay at the end. There is hope that Conor will be okay. Honestly, the dictionary should have this book listed as the pure definition of catharsis. What other book have you read that made you just release all your hurt and pain in such a sad comforting way?

While I was crying buckets of tears and grabbing tissues from the box left and right, my husband was worried about me but I had to just wave him off and tell him it was the best kind of cry.  

COLBY: Jen, I do like happy endings. This book didn’t have a happy ending, but it had a hopeful ending. I’ve got no problem with that.

I think that Patrick did a good job preparing me for Conor’s mother’s death. At no point in the story did I feel like Conor’s mom was going to live. It felt sad, but not shocking out of left field sad.

I’m very curious to how kids feel about A Monster Calls. It feels like every adult loves the book. I have no idea how kids would feel about Conor’s story. I have some fourth graders that would be able to read it, but I’m not sure they would be ready for the content. I’m not thinking that I will put it in my classroom library. I do have a spot in my classroom that I keep books for older readers. Any time a former student drops by, I go to that spot and send them on their way with some books to read. I am looking forward to giving A Monster Calls to a certain seventh grade student. I think she will love it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dystopian vs. Post-Apocalyptic Week 3: The Brain Lair: Dystopia or Not Dystopia?

Today, I have the honor of sharing a guest post by one of our tweeps, Kathy @thebrainlair.  This feature would have never happened if it wasn't for her.  Let me have her share with you how it began and her thoughts on the discussion: 

I remember it as if it was December 19th. Ah – we were on twitter – cause, you know, we like being on twitter, and this happened:

But Kellee (which is the proper way to spell her name as noted by her Twitter ID!) would not let it go!

That started a great conversation between us, @mentortexts, and @KimMcCollum about what makes a book dystopia versus post apocalyptic.  After our talk I went with @mentortexts definition 

Though it’s really hard to have a novel if there is no world… So we’ll change that to civilization as we know it ended.  Now, I’ve always enjoyed Dystopias or at least I thought I did. But, according to Jen, maybe what I really enjoyed are Post-Apocalyptic novels. Hmm…take a look at three of my favorite novels:

The Uglies (Uglies Trilogy, 1) by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies (Uglies, #1)

The Uglies are about a future where at the age of 16 the citizens get an operation that turn them beautiful. They not only look better, they get to move to a better place and their life changes for the “better”.  A group of “Uglies” decide they like it that way. Where are these people hiding and what are their plans?
Dystopia or Not Dystopia?

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, 1) by Patrick Ness
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)

Todd finds out that the family that raised him is not his real family. They were keeping a secret from him and now he needs to run if he wants to survive.  Oh and every man in his community, and there are only men, can hear the thoughts of every other man in the community!
Dystopia or Not Dystopia?

Divergent (Divergent, 1) by Veronica Roth
Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Tris lives in Chicago. It’s totally ruined Chicago and people are divided into one of five factions. Or they are factionless. You choose your faction at 16 and if you don’t choose with your parents – you never see them. Also, you take a test to help you pick a faction. And this test? Would you kill the…
Dystopia or Not Dystopia?

I know what you are thinking – Why do things always happen when you are 16? Ha, kidding, but you are thinking – how can we tell whether these books are dystopias? You can’t unless you read more about the book or sometimes look at the verso page (the copyright page – it’s on the reVERSe of the title page) and read the summary and the subjects, if they are listed.

But, ultimately, that’s not really how I decide what I want to read!  I usually pick a book based on the summary, the cover, and the title. I love a good title! And don’t forget twitter! If you are looking for something good to read – Dystopia or Not Dystopia – check out hashtags #nerdybookclub and #bookaday. You know,  I don’t go looking for dystopias but I do enjoy them when I read them – same with post-apocalyptic titles.  I just like finding something good to read!  
By the way, all those books ARE Dystopias, FTW!

The Brain Lair, or KB, is a middle school librarian with dreams of becoming a bookstore owner. You've heard of a "childrens" bookstore but have you heard of a "teens" bookstore?  That's what she wants to do. Until that day arrives she keeps busy supervising the school's morning news crew, running bookclubs, subbing at the local public library, moderating a Goodreads Mock Printz group, blogging with a few teens at The Brain Lair, tweeting, and being a mom to one crazy-busy and totally awesome 16 year old. Oh, and she likes to read. A lot. Especially dystopias. But really anything. Almost. Unless there are talking animals. Wait, she loved The Familiars and The Cheshire Cheese Cat.  So maybe she does like reading anything. She is going to stop typing now.

Kathy's enthusiasm is contagious! You can see why her motivation is what helped me decided to start this feature.  Thank you Kathy for contributing!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking

Title: Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking     
Author: Alan Katz  
Illustrator: Edward Koren  
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing  
Publication Date: October 2011   
Genre/Format: Fiction/Poetry
GoodReads Summary: Bestselling author Alan Katz, of Silly Dilly fame, knows kid humor, and he knows just what subjects are funniest—from school to siblings to sports, this assortment of spirited poetry has something for everyone. In the tradition of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, with black-and-white illustrations throughout, this collection of more than 100 poems will have kids roaring with laughter!   
What I Think: In my effort to read more poetry in 2012, I grabbed this book at the library. I had a feeling it had the potential to be very Shel Silverstein-ish but it's really not even close. I grew up with Shel  Silverstein and can vividly remember reciting "Sara Cynthia Silvia Stout" and "Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too" by heart. Maybe it's my unfamiliarity with these poems but they really struck me as not that great. I found myself thinking that some of these poems wanted to be Shel's poems and were pretending that they weren't anything like Shel's poems when I really felt like they desperately wanted to be. I'm usually not negative in my reviews but this book left a lot to be desired in my opinion. Of the one hundred poems included, there were five I thought would be worth sharing with kids. It made me kind of sad for the poems.
     One poem I think is fun is "Shhhhh...". This poem is full of onomatopoeia and I can never get enough onomatopoeia. I think onomatopoeia is so much fun. I love sharing onomatopoeia with kids because so often we overlook words that can be considered onomatopoeia. It's fun to talk about it and then challenge kids to pay attention and listen for onomatopoeia. Usually we end up noticing it all over the place, subtly hiding, but this poem definitely brings it to the forefront and bashes you in the head with it.
     The other poem that could be a talking point for kids is "It Doesn't Compute". In this age of technology, I think this poem is really relevant. I was just talking to my mom about how busy life is and how hard it is to juggle everything as a working mom with two kids and she remarked how when I was growing up things were much simpler. There wasn't the same kind of technology - no checking e-mails at home, no surfing the Internet or Facebook, no writing blog posts. I love how technology brings the world together but it does keep me busy. I immediately thought of Lane Smith's It's a Book! when I read this poem because it also talks about how kids are so accustomed to technology now that something like a book is foreign to them.
     As a collection these poems didn't speak to me and I'm not sure how much they will appeal to kids. Some of the topics will probably appeal to them but I wonder if some of the last lines will resonate as funny to them. Some of the last lines that were meant to be something akin to punchlines in a poem didn't flow or sound connected with the poems but I would be curious to hear what kids think.
Read Together: Grades 3 - 5 but some can definitely be relevant to older grades  
Read Alone: Grades 3 - 5
Read With: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, It's a Book! by Lane Smith, Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Snatch of Text:  
Please don't bang!
Or slam!
Or buzz!
And please no loud
Do not click!
And do not clunk!
I'm onomatopoeiaing.
p. 36

It Doesn't Compute
Daddy's downloading music.
Mommy's downloading pix.
Sister's downloading homework.
Brother's downloading flicks.
Grandma's downloading health forms,
and I have a really big hunch:
They're so busy on their computers,
no one's free to download me lunch.
p. 139
Mentor Text For: Making Connections, Puns, Play on Words, Homonyms, Word Choice, Rhyme  
Writing Prompts: When you are describing using the five sense, try adding in words that sound like the sounds in your scene - how does using onomatopoeia change your writing? 
Topics Covered: Family, Siblings, Friends, School, Morals, Responsibility

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Zombie In Love

Title: Zombie In Love
Author: Kelly DiPucchio 
Illustrator: Scott Campbell 
Publisher: Atheneum 
Publication Date: August 2011
Genre/Format: Science Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Mortimer is looking for love. And he’s looking everywhere! He’s worked out at the gym (if only his arm wouldn’t keep falling off). He’s tried ballroom dancing lessons (but the ladies found him to be a bit stiff). He’s even been on stalemate.com. How’s a guy supposed to find a ghoul? When it seems all hope has died, could the girl of Mortimer’s dreams be just one horrifying shriek away? 
What I Think: I'm not a huge zombie-thriller-scary book fan but I love Mortimer. He's just so sweet and endearing in a zombie kind of way. I don't necessarily want to date a zombie but that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve someone's love.
This is an example of a book that goes so well with pictures. The text is great but seeing the pictures matched with the text completely made this book for me. I can't get over his zombie grin. It's so funny. I do feel bad for Mortimer because he's lonely for much of the book. It's not very nice when people giggle or run away from him. In the end, I'm so happy he finds someone to love. I love how this book takes a mushy, love story and makes it into a gory, zombie, love story. As a mom of two boys I so appreciate that.
There are a few instances when you can use this book as a mentor text for puns or show how the author plays with words. Mortimer's ad in the paper is a zombie version of the Pina Colada song by Rupert Holmes. I would play the song and then compare the two versions. I'm sure many kids would never make the connection between the song and this book but you can point it out to them...although, I would only play the song for older students because I don't think it's really a kids' song (if you play the whole thing). Otherwise, there is a pun at the end that you can share with kids of all ages. I always make a point to talk about idioms or how authors play with idioms for my students who are deaf and hard of hearing and any kids who are learning English as a second language because they oftentimes don't catch on.
Read Together: K - 12
Read Alone: K - 12 
Read With: Never Slow Dance With A Zombie by E Van Lowe, Zombies Vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, Scorch Trials by James Dashner, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Snatch of Text:  
If you like taking walks in the graveyard
and falling down in the rain.
If you're not into cooking,
if you have half a brain.
If you like waking up at midnight,
horror films, and voodoo,
then I'm the guy who you've looked for
and I'm dying to meet you!
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections  
Writing Strategies to Practice: Word Choice - Puns, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you felt lonely because no one seemed to have the same interests as you or a time in your life when you connected with others who did have something in common with you and how you felt. Choose a line from a song or poem or a well-known idiom and change it to refer to something specific like zombies or something other than what it refers to originally.
Topics Covered: Zombies, Love, Friendship, Loneliness, Taking Risks

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ruby Red

Ruby RedTitle: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstin Gier
Translator: Anthea Bell
US Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
US Publication Date: May, 2011
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Novel
Summary: Gwyneth's cousin Charlotte has a special gene that means that between the ages of 16 and 17 she'll begin traveling through time. Gwyneth is waiting along with everyone in her family for Charlotte to finally travel through time. But while everyone is focusing on Charlotte and all of her symptoms, Gwen has started having the same symptoms and one day on the way to the store, disappears completely and ends up in the past. This is a totally unexpected turn and truly puts a wrench in everyone's plans. So now Gwen needs to be let in on all of the secrets and some people are not okay with her new involvement with the family secrets. This puts Gwen right in the middle of an adventure that she had not bargained for. 
What I Think: I was skeptical when I started this book and the prologue actually confused me; however, Gwen and her friend (sidekick) Lesley won me over. They are such a fun duo! Gwen is so snarky and Lesley is the logical one. Gwen is Holmes and Lesley is her Watson. I love that unlike other female protagonists, Gwen and Lesley are strong, funny, stand alone characters who are smart and not push overs. And of course there is a very good looking, charming gentleman character who maybe a bit narcissistic, but wins you over! All of the characters in this novel were well done. They were all well rounded and have full personalities. Even the minor characters stood on their own. 

Gier has also given us a very complicated story line that is revealed slowly enough that the reader is not lost but also at a quick enough pace as to hold the reader's attention. And the story that unfolds is so much fun and filled with intriguing twists and turns. Just beware: This book is obviously the exposition to a much bigger story and you will definitely be left hanging when you finish.
Read Together: Grades 6 - 10
Read Alone: Grades 7 - 12

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stealing Magic

Title: Stealing Magic     
Author: Marianne Malone   
Illustrator: Greg Call  
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: January 24, 2012 
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: Ruthie and Jack thought that their adventures in the Thorne Rooms were over . . . until miniatures from the rooms start to disappear. Is it the work of the art thief who's on the loose in Chicago? Or has someone else discovered the secret of the Thorne Rooms' magic? Ruthie and Jack's quest to stop the thief takes them from modern day Chicago to 1937 Paris to antebellum South Carolina. But as more items disappear, including the key that allows them to shrink and access the past worlds, what was once just an adventure becomes a life and death race against the clock. Can Ruthie and Jack catch the thief and help the friends they meet on the way before the magic—and the rooms—are destroyed forever? Fans of magic, mystery, and adventure will love this rollicking sequel to Marianne Malone's The Sixty-Eight Rooms. 
What I Think: I listened to the first book in this series, The Sixty-Eight Rooms and I thought the narration was great. Jennifer with Books On Tape sent me the ARC of Stealing Magic to read and I have to say I liked this book better. Both are fun books, about two kids who discover they can shrink and become small enough to fit into the famous Thorne Rooms(sixty-eight miniature rooms housed at the Art Institute in Chicago). The first book brings excitement and mystery but I enjoyed the mystery in this second book a bit more. Maybe it was getting used to all the magic in the first book and in this book it wasn't about exploring and figuring how it all worked, it was more about looking out for the rooms.
I love books like this that are basically realistic fiction with a bit of fantasy thrown in plus some art appreciation and even historical fiction. There aren't many books like this but Blue Balliett's books come to mind (Chasing Vermeer, The Wright Three, and The Calder Game). If there were ever a book or book series to give to a child I think any of these would be great - you can give a miniature playset or a "magic" key to go with it or take a trip to the Art Institute or another museum and imagine exhibits coming to life.
We had been planning to visit the Art Institute to take my oldest son to visit the coats of armor there. When we did, we had to also make a visit to the Thorne Rooms. Peanut helped me wander through the rooms in search of the exact room on the cover of this book. We found it! There were a few that looks similar but we had to compare the details to find just the right one!

I wish I had been able to take the time to look through the other rooms to find other rooms that they talk about visiting in the book but it was super crowded and I had the whole family in tow (including a cranky 1 1/2 year-old) so we were lucky to find this one from the cover. There is something very magical about the rooms.
Read Together: 4 - 6
Read Alone: 4 - 8 
Read With: Chasing Vermeer, The Wright Three, The Calder Game by Blue Balliett
Snatch of Text:  
"They left the museum and crossed the street to Millennium Park, finding an empty bench near the Cloud Gate sculpture, which everyone called 'The Bean.'
'Tell me everything,' Jack said. 'And breathe slowly.'
Ruthie recounted how she had found the apples in the bottom of Dora's bag. 'Who walks around with that many apples?'" p. 155
Mentor Text For: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Imagine you are only 4 or 5 inches tall and write a story about how the world is from that perspective. 
Topics Covered: Friendship, Family, Loyalty, Trust, Thievery, Honesty, Communication, Courage, Taking Risks

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/23/12

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…who knows, you might discover that next “must read” book!
After doing the meme for a couple of weeks, we realized this would be a fun meme to start up with a kidlit focus - anyone reading and reviewing books in children's literature - it can be picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, you name it in the world of kidlit and it's in! We have loved being a part of this meme and we hope you do too!  We encourage everyone participating to go and visit the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and to comment on as many posts as you can. We love talking books and believe in sharing and discussing what we're reading. We hope you join us!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: It's awesome to look back at last week's post and see I read what I thought I would read. It did take me most of the week to finish listening to Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. There were a ton of characters and it took a long time to figure out what the meat-conflict of the book was all about but it was so fun at the same time. I can't think of a better current satire and I wish that's what I was reading when I learned about satire in high school!

I finished We Dine With Cannibals by C Alexander London and I did love it more than the first. It was a fun adventure. I also finished Stealing Magic by Marianne Malone and I liked that second book better than the first, too. I think Tom Angleberger might be on to something when he contends the second book in a series is always the best...

I'm slowly making my way through The Absent Author by Ron Roy just because I haven't spent time to get through it but I'm curious to find out what happened to the author who never showed for the book signing. I have been also reading The Story of the Trapp Family Singers because I have had it on my TBR forever and I love The Sound of Music and was intrigued by the true story behind the movie. I read Alan Katz's Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking in my attempt to read more poems but I wasn't super impressed.

Kellee Says: This has been a great reading week! I finished some amazing novels, read some fun early middle grade chapter books and some phenomenal picture books.  The two novels I read Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys were easy 5 stars and I cannot recommend them both enough.  They are at completely different ends of the spectrum- high fantasy vs. historical fiction- but they both are exemplar in their own genre.  The fun chapter books I read, The Knights' Tales books by Gerald Morris, are perfect for any 4-6 grade classroom. They are funny, adventurous renditions of Knights of the Round Table stories. Lastly, I read 7 really amazing picture books, 4 of which were nonfiction and 2 of which I could see in the Caldecott list today: 
*Ballet for Martha by Jan Greenberg & Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca
*Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
*I am the Book compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Yayo
*You Will Be My Friend! written and illustrated by Peter Brown
*Press Here written and illustrated by Herve Tullett
*Me...Jane written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
*Balloons over Broadway written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
While all of these were very good (3-5 stars on them all) Me...Jane and Balloons over Broadway are phenomenal and you should read them now. 

Reviewed Last Week:

Just click on any picture above to go read the review

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: I started listening to Looking for Alaska by John Green, I'm only 2 CDs in so far and it definitely has already reminded me of Paper Towns. Like Kellee, I loved The Fault in Our Stars and now nothing can compare! After I finish The Story of the Trapp Family Singers I am really excited to start Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani. I need to finish The Absent Author this week, too. I'll be rereading the end of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness to discuss with Colby next week (it's our last week discussing this book and I'm sure this week will be intense.)

Kellee Says: This week I will be starting a new audiobook since I finished Graceling and I decided that I am going to continue listening to Kenneth Oppel's Matt Cruse adventures.  The first was Airborn and I adored the story and audio, so I'll be starting Skybreaker tomorrow.  Tomorrow I am also going to start Stephanie Perkin's novel Lola and the Boy Next Door which I am excited to read as I loved Anna and the French Kiss.  We'll see what happens after that. 

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to hear about these books. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Please link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 08/28/2023

  It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!   It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a weekly blog hop hosted by Kelle...