Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/1/13

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: This last week, I was on spring break and had lots of fun spending time with my family. It was fun to be home with my husband and the kids. We took Flat Stanley down to Chicago with us and visited the Shedd Aquarium and the bean. Early in the week, I read Platypus Police Squad which was really fun but also a great mystery read. I also read Paperboy this week which had me hooked right form the beginning. I also have been reading The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle...but it's a long book! So it's taking time. I didn't get any audio reading done this week since I wasn't commuting to work but that's okay.
Kellee Says: Ah! The joys of Spring Break! My favorite thing to do is to curl up on the couch after my house is asleep and just read a book until I'm done. I was very lucky to have a handful of days over the last week that I could do that. I finished 4 novels, 2 graphic novels, 2 nonfiction books, and a poetry picture book- not bad! 
     The 4 novels were all very good, but 2 were just fantastic. First, Skinny by Donnay Cooner and The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George are both good and classroom library worthy, but Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenez knocked my socks off! I'll be reviewing both of those for you. 
     The other books I read were the 2nd Astronaut Academy by Dave Roman (as good as the first), The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long (an important Civil Rights graphic novel), We Can Help Orangutans by Gabriella Francine (early reader non-fiction, review to come), I Haiku You by Betsy E. Snyder (cute haiku picture book, review to come), and An Inside Look at the U.S. Navy SEALs by Joe Funk (will be reviewing on Wednesday). 
Reviewed Last Week:
    
                 Review                                                                                              Blog Tour

                                                    Maria Selke's Guest Post                                                      Introduction
Just click on any picture above to go read the review

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: It's April! I'm so excited for rereading in April! Today I plan to spend my last day of spring break rereading The Fault In Our Stars by John Green which is such a great book. I'm going to continue reading savoring The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle. I also plan to reread Hound Dog True by Linda Urban, who will be at Anderson's this week! On audio, I'm planning to listen to Okay for Now. I am just so excited because I already know how much I love the books i'll be rereading. I can't wait. I also still have my Archie book to read and will work on that this week, too. I hope everyone has a super week (whether you are on break or back to work!)! 

Kellee Says: This week I am back to the grind. I am starting Paper Boy by Vince Vawter which we will be sharing during the Blog Tour in May and I plan on listening to a David Sedaris audio book for some laughs. Next to that, I am not sure how much I'll get read with being back to my normal schedule- we'll see as always :) 

This Week's Reviews:
 An Inside Look At The U.S. Navy SEALs Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) 
Check back throughout the week to hear about these books. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you please try to comment on at least the three blogs that posted before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!
 and

It's A-Okay to Reread in April 2013!


We are excited to announce our plans to reread in April! If you want to join in, feel free to grab the button for your posts. Share you links in the comments so we can visit and see what you are rereading and why you value rereading as a reader and as a writer! 

Jen:
April is almost here! This year really seems like it's cruising! Last year in April, I decided to reread some of my favorite books. Until recently, I didn't have an interest in rereading books except for The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger which is my all-time favorite book. I think I've read more and more books that I truly love and that I actually want to reread over and over. Here are the books I reread last year:

Jen's 2012 April Rereads:

Time Traveler's Wife *finished reread 4/6/12*

Wonder (audio) *finished reread 4/4/12*
Graceling *finished reread 4/20/12*
Charlotte's Web *finished reread 4/9/12*
Hurt Go Happy *finished reread 4/28/12*
Marty McGuire #1 *finished reread 4/20/12*
Finnikin of the rock (audio) *finished reread 4/16/12*
Night Circus *finished reread 5/12/12*
Fire (audio) *finished reread 4/27/12*
Maniac McGee (audio) *finished reread 4/9/12*
True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (audio) *finished reread 4/20/12*
Outsiders (audio) *finished reread 5/2/12*
First Part Last (audio) *finished reread 4/3/12*
Stargirl (audio) *finished reread 4/23/12*

This year, I'm rereading again and I'm really excited to have that feeling of knowing it's okay to take a break from new reading and to do some rereading again (although I'll still be reading new books here and there). I'm also super excited because my focus for rereading this year is to look at mentor texts for my own writing. I've been thinking a lot about my own writing lately and am reading to jump back in as the summer and Teachers Write rolls around. I'll be reading and sharing my favorite snatches of text from this year's list of rereads. Many of them I have reviewed here and you can click on the titles to see my reviews. 

Jen's 2013 April Rereads:

The Fault In Our Stars

Wonder
Okay For Now
Bink and Gollie #1
Bink and Gollie #2
All-American Girl
Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always
From What I Remember...
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Hound Dog True
The Dreamer
Naked Mole-Rat Letters
Gabby and Gator
Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly

I made a trip to the library and collected books 

around my house for my April rereading bookstacks! 


Kellee:
When I first joined Twitter and my PLN, rereading was one of the strategies that I did not see the importance of. When I first heard that teachers allowed their students to reread and actually encouraged it, I did not see the benefit of it; however, it was a teacher who I really trusted who I first heard this from, so I decided to give it a chance. I have discovered that often, on the first reading I get so enthralled in the story that I often miss a lot of the nuances within a book and it is on a second read that I really get into the meat. Or, as I have begun reading the first time for review, the first time I am critical and take notes while the second time, I just enjoy. More and more I find myself wanting to reread because I want to get that second helping of a book. 

Kellee's Rereads of 2012
Amulet #1 by Kazu Kibuishi
Knights of the Lunch Table #1 & #2 by Frank Cammusso
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Willy's Pictures by Anthony Browne
Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
Lon Po Po by Ed Young
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
Messenger by Lois Lowry

I loved rereading last year and I was so happy that our Rereading is April series pushed me to do more, so I kept it up all year. This year, I plan on rereading at least 2 books this April: Hilda and Harlem because I loved them and want to reread to be able to better review for you all. My other rereads may not happen in April, but I hope to reread as many as I did last year.

Kellee's Plans to Reread in 2013
Some books I cannot divulge because it is part of the Walden Award Committee
Hilda and the Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson
Harlem by Walter Dean Myers

Hope you will join us by revisiting books you love. 
Happy (re)reading!! 
and

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Girl Power - Maria Selke


Last week, we announced that we are doing a Girl Power! series on strong female characters in literature. We've asked a handful of the world's awesome and talented individuals to share their perspectives on girls in books. This week, we welcome Maria Selke from Maria's Melange.


“I try to write parts for women that are 
as complicated and interesting as women actually are.”
-Nora Ephron

When we talk about strong girls in literature, most often we mean heroines. The girls who take up a sword, or a pen, or a bow and change the world for the better. The women who take on traditionally masculine roles and don’t care what anyone else thinks about it. The women who save the world, save each other, and never wait for a prince to sweep in and save the day. Having those faces in our literature, movies, and on television are a vital step to helping today’s children accept that leading roles are for everyone.

How will we know that there is true equality in the media? We’ll have those women as leaders, of course. We’ll have them and we won’t even need to talk about it anymore. Yet is it enough to shine the spotlight on heroines?

Women are half the population of this amazing world, and we are so much more than just heroines. We are winners and losers. We are leaders and followers. We are heroes and villains. We are plagued by doubt as often as we are self-confident. We deserve to be seen as well crafted antagonists, too. The letter at the end of The Breakfast Club could just as easily be written about women as a whole..

“You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. 
But what we found out is that each one of us is ... a brain...
Andrew Clark: ...and an athlete...
Allison Reynolds: ...and a basket case...
Claire Standish: ...a princess...
John Bender: ...and a criminal...
Brian Johnson: Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.”

Bad Girls by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple
Published February 1st 2013 by Charlesbridge Publishing
Jane Yolen has written some of my favorite strong girls stories for every age and in every genre. So when I spotted Bad Girls, a new nonfiction book by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, I knew it would hit the spot. In it, we are treated to chapters about a wide variety of real women in history who have gotten a bad rap over the years. After we learn about each life, Jane and Heidi debate whether or not the woman was truly “bad”. I loved the way Jane Yolen pushed for them to consider the context of the woman’s life when they were considering how to evaluate her choices. This is exactly the lesson I hope my students discover any time we discuss historical events in my classroom.

Women, like all people, have a complicated set of motivations and desires. I hope we continue to get more strong heroines in our literature, as these role models are  important for both boys and girls to see. Yet I hope we see equal measures of well crafted women as antagonists. Show us in all our glory and complexity. Show us real women - all kinds of women.

Don’t miss this interview with Jane and Heidi about Bad Girls:

A big Teach Mentor Texts thank you to Maria for sharing her thoughts about girls in literature with us today! Check back next week to hear from Kirby Larson, author of Hattie Ever After
and

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bluebird

Title: Bluebird 
Author: Bob Staake 
Illustrator: Bob Staake 
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade 
Publication Date: April 9th, 2013 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: "Like nothing you have seen before," raves Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. 

In his most beautiful and moving work to date, Bob Staake explores the universal themes of loneliness, bullying, and the importance of friendship. In this emotional picture book, readers will be captivated as they follow the journey of a bluebird as he develops a friendship with a young boy and ultimately risks his life to save the boy from harm. Both simple and evocative, this timeless and profound story will resonate with readers young and old. 

Bob Staake has been working on this book for 10 years, and he believes it is the story he was born to write.
What I Think: There are so many things to say about this wonderful book. I think I'll start with Bob Staake himself. We love his books Look! A Book! and Look! Another Book! The are both huge hits in our house. His artwork is colorful and fun and reminds me a bit of Dan Yaccarino's work. This book has great illustrations that are very geometrical. Besides his unique style, this book is mostly in black and white...or maybe you would call it grayscale? He definitely uses the many colors of gray in between the black and white. The only other color is a light blue with the exception of the boldly colored bluebird. The artwork itself is impressive.
     That artwork plays a large part in this story because Bluebird is a wordless picture book. Great artwork has to come together in just the right way to tell the story in a wordless picture book and Bob Staake does a good job of piecing together the story in this book. I read that this book took Bob 10 years of work and it seems clear the intentionality within every panel on the page. I read this with Peanut and since he's only 5, we definitely had to talk about the different things happening on every page. It really made him think about how we treat others and how fragile life can be. This is definitely a book that takes thinking and that would be great to talk about with kids to help facilitate their thinking.
     Wordless picture books are usually great to use to generate writing ideas and I think this book is definitely one of those. I especially think that older kids would be able to make connections with this book. Friendship and loyalty and courage are all present in this book. I can see connections being made to young adult novels. Hunger Games comes to mind but also Harry Potter and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet...and I'm only speaking from what is coming to mind quickly. There are definitely connections to be made here!
Read Together: Grades K - 12 
Read Alone: Grades K - 12 
Read With: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, Little Bird by Germano Zullo, Chalk by Bill Thomson, Those Darn Squirrels! by Adam Rubin, Wonder by RJ Palacio, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling 
Snatch of Text: 
Reading Strategies to Practice: Making Connections, Making Inferences 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Narrative 
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you did something to help a friend.  
Topics Covered: Loneliness, Friendship, Loss, Courage, Sacrifice, Loyalty
I *heart* It:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chin Music Blog Tour

Today, I am happy to participate in the blog tour for Chin Music being hosted by TLC Book Tours and am even happier to be sharing with you a wonderful, insightful guest post by the author, Lee Edelstein.
 LeeEdelsteinPhoto-thumb
After reading Chin Music, I knew that this book would find a place in high school classrooms and libraries (as I shared in my Chin Music book review on Tuesday) and I wanted to hear how he sees his book being used in classrooms and which students he sees "needing" his book the most: 
     Chin Music.  An unusual title for a book, especially if you’re a young adult, not a baseball fan, and don’t get the lingo.  Ugh, baseball, you say.  BORING!  My students won’t like it, especially the girls.  Sorry, not interested. 
     But just as you know not to judge a book by its cover, don’t judge it by its title, either.  And, while there’s a baseball theme to the story, I assure you that Chin Music – its characters, story line, the very essence of the book – has less to do with baseball and everything to do with the human condition.  If you would like your students to learn about adversity – that it is part of life, that people react to it in different ways, that it doesn’t have to define you, and that it can be overcome – give them Chin Music to read. 
     In baseball terms, chin music refers to a ninety-five mile per hour fastball thrown at a hitter’s chin.  Its purpose?  Disrupt the hitter’s concentration; throw him off kilter.  Of course, there’s a split second’s difference between getting in the batter’s head and hitting it, causing serious damage or worse.  In a larger sense, I use chin music as a metaphor for that split second when our lives are irrevocably changed and our destinies are forever altered.  It doesn’t have to be a fastball thrown at your head.  It can be a phone call in the middle of the night, a visit to the doctor, a momentary lapse in judgment.  We’ve all experienced chin music in one form or another.  And, if they haven’t as yet, so will your students.
     Adversity – hardship, misfortune - is something all of us must contend with; some more than others, since adversity isn’t dealt out in measured doses.  If we have dreams that require us to be more than who we are and reach beyond ourselves, then we will likely know adversity as we strive to achieve those dreams.  Sometimes, we don’t have to do a thing and adversity finds us.  At times, adversity is nothing more than an annoyance, a temporary setback.  It can also be devastating and forever.  Importantly, how we deal with adversity when it presents itself often times defines our lives.
     The main characters in the book face gut-wrenching chin music; a few of the “fastballs” that come their way cause terrible harm and disruption.  The repercussions are life altering.  Family members, facing a common disaster, respond in dramatically different fashion.
      Fair warning: there are no vampires, zombies, terrorists, serial killers, superheroes, or pandemics in Chin Music.  Just ordinary people, leading ordinary lives, who are visited by tragedy, respond in uneven fashion, and, in the aftermath, unexpectedly find themselves caught up in an adventure of a lifetime that will test and challenge them in startling ways (all the while, holding your students’ interest).
     Because they are ordinary people, it is my hope that your students will relate to the characters in the story and, along the way, perhaps see a bit of themselves, as well.  If, as they’re reading Chin Music, your students find themselves nodding their heads in agreement, shedding a tear or two at certain moments, feeling a chill run down their spine, or wanting to stand up and cheer, then I will have achieved my objective.
     Chin Music isn’t about baseball.  It’s about us.

Thank you to Lee and TLC Book Tours for having TMT be part of promoting this unique book, 
**Please check out TLC Book Tours for more info about Chin Music & the blog tour**

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something to Prove



Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Here at Teach Mentor Texts we are always looking for more ways to support teachers! We've found that teachers seem to be constantly on the lookout for great nonfiction. We know we are! To help with this undying quest for outstanding non-fiction, we are excited to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, you'll find a non-fiction review here - although it may not always be a picture book review. Please visit Kid Lit Frenzy to see what non-fiction others have to share, too.

Title: Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe DiMaggio
Author: Robert Skead
Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group's Carolrhoda Books
Publication Date: April, 2013
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Picture Book
Goodreads Summary: In 1936, the New York Yankees wanted to test a hot prospect named Joe DiMaggio to see if he was ready for the big leagues. They knew just the ballplayer to call--Satchel Paige, the best pitcher anywhere, black or white. For the game, Paige joined a group of amateur African-American players, and they faced off against a team of white major leaguers plus young DiMaggio.

What I Think: Although I was aware of both of these players and love baseball, I did not know about this story and it was fascinating! What an interesting look into civil rights and baseball history. Although Satchel Paige was not allowed to play in the majors because of the color of his skin, he was known to be the best pitcher, so when the Yankees wanted to see how good Joe DiMaggio was, they put their Yankees up against Paige's team.  This was an event that surpassed the racism of the 1930's as baseball fans of all races joined together to root on the players. As a 21st century citizen, the idea of being the best yet not being able to play in the majors baffles me as I am sure it would our students thus would be a great discussion start into the prejudice that existed in the past.  In addition to the fascinating story, the illustrations are beautiful and add an element to the story that would not exist without. Also, the author's notes at the end of the book are so informative and interesting. 
Read Together: Grades 2 to 8
Read Alone: Grades 4 and up
Read With: Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park, Chin Music by Lee Edelstein, Nonfiction books about Satchel Paige, Joe DiMaggio, baseball history
Snatch of Text: "In the winter of 1936, New York Yankees general manager Ed Barrow and his scout Bill Essick needed to test a young, skinny prospect named Joe Dimaggio. "To see how good he is, he has to face the best," said Barrow." (p. 8) 
Mentor Text for: Making connections, Research
Writing Prompts: In the 1930's, America was just beginning the journey of equality between races and genders. This story shows one way that we have changed over time allowing all races to play within the Major League Baseball corportation. Research race or gender rights and how they have changed since the 1930's and write about one of these changes. 
Topics Covered: Joe DiMaggio, Satchel Paige, Civil Rights/Racism, Baseball
I *heart* It:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chin Music

Title: Chin Music
Author: Lee Edelstein
Publisher: Sela House
Publication Date: March, 2013
Genre/Format: Realistic and Historical Fiction/Novel
Goodreads Summary: "Chin Music." A 95 mile-per-hour fastball thrown at a hitter s chin -- an instant s difference between disrupting the batter s concentration and hitting him in the head. As a metaphor in life, chin music is the split second when destinies are altered and all of our certainties about who we are change forever. Sixteen-year-old Ryan Buck is a talented athlete who was fortunate to escape with minor injuries from the horrific car crash that devastated his family. But factor in the suffocating guilt and the recurring nightmare that plagues him and maybe Ryan wasn t so lucky, after all. Two-and-a-half years and countless hours of therapy later, Ryan still can t remember a thing about the accident and it s making for agonizingly slow progress. But everything changes when his mom, Susan, is forced to sell the old Babe Ruth artifacts that have been in the family for years. Enter Sam Frank, a Yoda-like figure, who saves Susan from making a costly mistake. Sam s friendship and knowledge provides the support Susan needs to investigate a secret that has plagued her family for generations the remarkable encounter between her great grandmother Zel and the immortal Yankee slugger. As Ryan slowly makes progress, baseball becomes an important outlet, emotionally and physically. When his superior talent for the sport is recognized, a chance at the major leagues becomes a reality, leaving Susan torn between her excitement at Ryan's prospects and protecting her family from the truth that will turn their world upside down. When the facts emerge, it becomes a story with startling implications for the Buck family, baseball, and sports fans across America.
What I Think: When I first started reading Chin Music, I couldn't figure out how the 2013 story would connect with the 1926 story. As I read, I really enjoyed both stories though they felt so disconnected. Though this disconnection is part of what kept me reading- I had to know "How do they connect?". But the more I read, the more I also wanted to know what happened to the characters. I felt Ryan's loss and wanted to make sure he was going to be okay, I rooted for Zel as she fought the sexism of the 1920's, and I wanted Ryan's family to be fixed.
     Some of the topics within the book are much deeper than the story. Ryan's aspect of the novel discusses survivor's guilt, PTSD, death of a family member, amputation, and depression. Although his story seems to be about baseball, it is more about his dealing with grief and family.  Of course, there are great baseball discussions that can be built from many different parts of this book: there is Ryan's baseball journey as well as baseball history. I loved the author's notes in the end that shared which Babe Ruth aspects in the book were based in truth.
     With Zel's story, it seems like it is about Babe Ruth and barbers, but it is about women's rights and a young lady finding herself a place in the world that women still struggle to survive in. I found many passages throughout that would be a wonderful addition to a discussion about women in the 1920s. 
Read Together: Grades 10 to 12 (Though aspects can be used as read alouds with lower grades.) 
Read Alone: Grades 9 and up
Read With: Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson, The Legend of the Curse of the Bambino by Dan Shaughnessy, Nonfiction books about Babe Ruth, Women's Suffrage, and the 1920's
Snatch of Text: "It was the middle of the night and Ryan awoke bathed in sweat. It was the dream again, the same damn one. The one where he throws a pass to his wide receiver but instead of a football, it's a key tumbling ever so slowly, like in slow motion, end-over-end, until it lands softly in his receiver's hands, except it's Michael who catches it in the end zone for the winning touchdown. Ryan throws his arms up in victory and goes charging down the field to celebrate with his teammates but he runs right into a hospital room where he suddenly finds himself in bed. His father and Michael are standing behind the doctor who is saying to him 'you're going to make a full recover.'" -2013 (p. 3) 

"It was the height of the season and the streets of St. Petersburg were alive with activity. The city, like many others in Florida, had grown dramatically, riding the boom of Florida real estate that had been going full bore since the beginning of the decade. Just in the past year five new hotels had been built or were under construction, employing hundreds of people." -1926 (p. 20)
Mentor Text for: Attention Grabber, Characterization, Setting
Writing Prompts: Zel deals with prejudice because of her gender, but overcomes it because of her gumption; has there been an aspect of your life where you have felt prejudice? How did you overcome it? 
Topics Covered: Survivors Guilt, PTSD, Loss, Baseball, Therapy, Family, Amputation, Women's Rights, 1920s, Babe Ruth, Mothers and Sons
I *heart* It:
 
**Thank you to Lee Edelstein and TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of Chin Music for review. Come back Thursday for another Chin Music post :)**

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/25/13

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: This week I finished listening to Outliers on audio and then read Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. I definitely recommend Outliers. I really thought Monstrous Beauty was intense and unique with mermaids that are more like the ones at the bottom of the lake in Harry Potter than  Ariel from the Disney version. I also read and adored Hold Fast by Blue Balliett. What a heart-wrenching book to read but oh-so-good.
Kellee Says: For me, I am going to share my last 2 weeks of book adventures since I was MIA last week (The Future Problem Solver's state competition went so well! Minus the no working wi-fi, the stay and competition were great!). Over the last 2 weeks I have been mighty busy with my reading and all of it has been great books! In total, I have finished 10 novels, 5 graphic novels, and 2 picture books and I enjoyed every single minute of it.  I recommend all of these to you all!
   Novels: Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos- a novel looking at the effects of addiction on one's family. 
                 Never Enough by Denise Jaden- what seems like a book about sibling rivalry ends up being more than that.
                 Trash by Andy Mulligan- an important book that is not just a mystery, but gives us a look into poverty at a level that most of us cannot understand.
                 Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia- I cannot believe more people aren't talking about this book! A wonderful older teen book about a high school senior that finds herself pregnant and with questions about her past. 
                 Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler- Do not judge this book by its cover. It is more than just a book about a girl who bakes, it is about a girl finding love in herself, in others, and in her hobby.
                 Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz- an amazing LBGT book taking place in DC during the 2002 Sniper incident that is about the fear that the city felt as well as the fear that happens when you lose someone you love or find a new someone to love.
                 Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini- an afterlife story. 
                 Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams- a literary novel in verse about the affect that one death can have on others.  It is also about friendship and how friends can help you heal.
                 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues- a 13 Reasons Why-esque book that goes through the present after a young girl dies of an overdose and the past that explains why. 
                 Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett Krosoczka- LOVED the animal puns in this one and loved sharing the book with my FPS students as I read it on Tuesday. Cannot wait to review this one!
                 Chin Music by Lee Edelstein- I'll be reviewing this one this week!
   Graphic Novels: Binky Takes Charge by Ashley Spires- Binky has big plans, but just like most "Cat
                       Plans" a dog is really good at messing them up. But Binky isn't going to stop trying, because there is a goal in mind: SPACE! A fun early reader graphic novel which will be a great ladder from Pete and Splat the Cat.
                 Into the Woods by J. Torres- Book one in a series about a boy who has discovered the power of SASQUATCH and in doing so has messed up the balance of the forest. The ending is definitely a cliff hanger and I'll be waiting for book 2!
                 Snorkeling with Sea-Bots by Amy J. Lemke- A fun, early reader graphic novel. Looking forward to reading more in the series. Also, love the fun activities and discussion starters at the end of
the book.
                 Luz Makes a Splash by Claudia Davila- LOVED this early reader graphic novel! A great story with a great message. Many of the issues that Luz deals with are so important and kids need to be exposed to them. Elementary teachers definitely need to get this for their classroom.
                 Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci- This is perfect! A graphic novel for all ages that shares the importance of friendship and being yourself. A must read for everyone.
   Picture Books: Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas by Melanie Watt- Not the traditional Scaredy Squirrel story. A bit too long and busy, but fans of the traditional books will definitely enjoy.
                 Something to Prove by Robert Skead- Will be reviewing this week!

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: I don’t feel like I did any of the reading I said I was going to do last week…I did start reading the 2nd volume of Archie but left it for other books. And I mean to start Storming the Castle but felt like I wanted to really focus on it and grabbed Hold Fast instead. So I’m back at reading Archie and Storming the Castle this week. I also have I Haiku You which looks super cute and we are reviewing soon.  I have a few teacher-y books from the library to read, too. We’ll see what I get done during spring break!

Kellee Says: With spring break here, I hope to get a lot of books read! I am starting with Cinder which I hope to finish today (it is awesome!). Then I have many books to chose from that I hope to get through. Yay for #bookaday!

This Week's Reviews:
Chin Music Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe Dimaggio 
 
   
Check back throughout the week to hear about these books. 

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