Sunday, March 30, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/31/14

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...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: Last week was maybe the strangest spring break I have ever had. I started off being sick...and then my husband was sick allllll week. He was literally in bed from Monday night to Friday night. I did some reading but not entirely as much as I had hoped. Peanut and I read some of James and the Giant Peach but we're still working on it. We also started listening to Flora and Ulysses and are having fun with it. I'm still reading Thrive and enjoying it. I also started If Only by AJ Pine because I was desperate to finally read it now that it's published! 

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: I'm determined to finish all the books I've started and then to spend time rereading in April. I have stopped to reread in April for the last couple of years now and I love it. I'll share my list of books to reread tomorrow and why I love rereading. You are welcome to join me if you like!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

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 comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Better Off Friends

Title: Better Off Friends  
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg 
Publisher: Scholastic 
Publication Date: February 25th, 2014 
Genre/Format: Contemporary/Realistic Fiction/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?
From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love? 
What I Think: I was so excited to booktalk Better Off Friends as soon as I finished it. Just last week, when I visited the classroom where I shared this book, a student came up to tell me how much she was enjoying it. She remarked that she likes how the beginning of every chapter starts off with Macallan and Levi talking back and forth. I couldn't agree more! It's super fun. It's such a unique way to let readers see the characters interjected in the story in a different way. Elizabeth does such a great job of building her characters and letting us see them come to life.
     I had a ton of fun reading this book because of so many of the midwest references. Whether readers are from the midwest or not, I think they'll love how Levi acclimates to living in the midwest and how Levi and Macallan's friendship builds. Another super sweet story from Elizabeth Eulberg.
Read Together: Grades 7 -9  
Read Alone: Grades 7 - 10 
Read With: The Lonely Hearts Club and others by Elizabeth Eulberg, Sean Griswold's Head and others by Lindsey Leavitt, What Happened to Goodbye and others by Sarah Dessen, Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, Peace Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Snatch of Text:  
     "Right before lunch on my first day, I went up to this group of guys, introduced myself, tried to be calm, cool and collected. But I'm pretty sure I stank of desperation. I was able to tell right away that Keith, this beast of a guy, was the alpha in our grade. He always had a group of three or four other guys around him, and they were all wearing some sort of Wisconsin team T-shirt. Keith had on a Badgers hoodie and jean shorts. He was close to five foot ten and he towered over everybody, including most of the teachers. He wasn't skinny and he wasn't fat; he was just big.
     He studied me as I approached him, and said, "What's your deal?" before I had a chance to introduce myself. I made some small talk and felt like I was on a job interview.
     Then I made a fatal error. I should've known better.
     I admitted to being a Chicago Bears fan." (p. 20)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Making Connections, Visualizing  
Writing Strategies to Practice: Dialogue, Characterization 
Writing Prompts: Write a scene where two characters from your story introduce the story they are in. How would they interact outside of the story? 
Topics Covered: Friendship, Love, Relationships, Family, Loyalty, Honor, Faithfulness 
I *heart* It:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Let's Celebrate Love, Lost Teeth, Warm Weather, and Arts and Crafts!

It's time to CELEBRATE This Week with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.  Every week Ruth invites us to share our celebrations from the week and link up at her blog. What a fun way to reflect on everything there is to be thankful for. 

*                  *                   *

This week I'm celebrating love, lost teeth, 
warm weather and arts and crafts!

*throws confetti*

I grabbed pictures from the last week to help celebrate! 
This is a Twizzler heart leftover from Valentine's Day. Sending hugs to you!

Peanut lost his two front teeth recently! I love him without his teeth. So fun!

It was still pretty chilly this week but we went to the park anyway. 
The kids loved running around outside! I love these guys!

We met my aunt at a pottery-painting studio near us called Color Me Mine. 
We worked on super fun creations that I can't wait to pick up on Thursday!
Peanut and his monster creation!

Peanut, Me, and my Aunt Jane
I've wanted to put up a valance in my office since the school year started...one of my co-workers asked me when I was actually going to get it up and that gave me motivation to finally get them figured out. I made it to the fabric store, picked up coordinating fabric and got all the pieces cut. I sewed up the small pieces that will hang over the curtain rod. All I have to do is sew the main valance part and they'll be ready to hang on Monday! It always feels great to get out my sewing machine. I have an ancient Singer that my aunt (above) actually gave to me when I was in college. I love it!
What are you celebrating this week?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Robot Burp Head Smartypants!

Title: Robot Burp Head Smartypants!
Author: Annette Simon    
Illustrator: Annette Simon 
Publisher: Candlewick Press 
Publication Date: February 25th, 2014 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Annette Simon’s rival robots are back with a new game of nutty and bolty — or is that burpy? — one-upmanship.

Robot and Robot are thirsty. How about a big gulp of engine oil? Ga-lugg! Guzzle! Mmm, mmm — BurrRRRP! Oops! Pardon me! Of cour —Burrrrrp! — ourse! Oh, pardon me! 
On your mark, get set, belch! The green and purple robots from Robot Zombie Frankenstein! are back for a second round of "Top This" games! Burp to ten? Easy! Burp the alphabet? No sweat! Burp by tens while blindfolded, juggling, and skateboarding? Yikes! Reluctant readers won’t even notice that they’re learning as they laugh out loud at the wacky antics of these irreverent robotic pals. 
What I Think: I knew this book was going to be dangerous in my house because we have a total burp-on-command kiddo in residence here! I have no idea where he gets it from, but Peanut can burp up a storm and all you have to do is say go. Little Bean was so excited to name the letters and numbers on the inside cover. As he proudly pointed to each one, I mentioned to Peanut that there are some people who can burp the alphabet. His eyes lit up, "Really?" He was intrigued but I could tell he didn't really get it yet. It was one of those mom moments when I couldn't believe I was going to teach my kid how to burp the alphabet...but at the same time how could I not take the opportunity to teach my kid how to burp the alphabet? I don't know. As I type this I'm shaking my head at myself but it happened and it was fun and that's really all that matters. I talked him through trying to say the vowels while burping and then he tried all the letters. Some are definitely easier than others. He was amazed at this new talent! It made reading this book so much more fun and entertaining. As he burped through the pages for us, we were all giggling and our giggling turned into hysterics by the end.
     Both of my boys love books but I know not all boys love books like mine do. If I ever make a list of books to capture boys' attention, Robot Burp Head Smartypants! would definitely be on it. I would recommend reading this book ahead of time to familiarize yourself with what the story is about. A lot is going on with the dialogue between both of the robots that it's easy to miss how zany these two robots get as they try to outdo each other.
     The summary talks about how kids won't even realize they are practicing their counting or their alphabet and I completely agree with this. I can just imagine boy burpers lined up counting by tens. It makes me think of Ralph Fletcher. I saw him present on the topic of boy writers. He showed a sample of a group of boys who rewrote the 12 Days of Christmas compared to a group of girls who rewrote it. You can imagine the differences - especially when boys are allowed to be as creative as they want to be. Letting boys burp their numbers or their alphabet would be awesome. Obviously, you can always have a discussion about manners and point out how even the robots in the book excuse themselves.
     As a mentor text, this book would be a great idea starter for kids to think about writing their own stories about what they can do while they can count by tens. Kids might think about what talents they have and then write and illustrate a book to show what they can do. Taking photos or videos of kids counting by tens and editing them into a book or video would be fun to. Maybe kids can jump rope, hula hoop, hop on one foot, run backwards, do cartwheels and count by tens at the same time. This would be a fun activity that could also carry over to home where kids could get extra practice.
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 2 
Read Alone: Grades 1 - 2 
Read With: Robot Zombie Frankenstein! by Annette Simon, Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka, Beep and Bah by James Burks, Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
Snatch of Text:  
"Mmm-mmm, motor oil.
Nutty and bolty and tinny and ---

brrp!"
Reading Strategies to Practice: Making Predictions, Making Connections 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative 
Writing Prompts: Write your own story of counting by tens! Can you count by tens standing on one foot? While you cross the monkey bars? As you leap frog over your friends?
Topics Covered: Alphabet, Counting, Manners, Integration - Math, Integration - Physical Education, Pride 
I *heart* It:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/24/13


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...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: Last week I finished Requiem. It was a pretty good ending to the trilogy. I definitely liked it better than the second book and I was happy to know it couldn't end all cliffhanger-y like the others! I am also really enjoying Thrive but got sick on Friday and have been struggling all weekend. I'm finishing this and crashing in bed. It also means I have to get to my Better Off Friend review that I meant to have up today. Urg.

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says:  This week is spring break for me so I'm hoping to have time to finish James and the Giant Peach with Peanut and Thrive and possibly some more fun reading!

This Week's Reviews:

Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

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 comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Shadow Throne

Title: The Shadow Throne 
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen 
Publisher: Scholastic 
Publication Date: February 25th, 2014 
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: One war.
Too many deadly battles.
Can a king save his kingdom, when his own survival seems unlikely?


War has come to Carthya. It knocks at every door and window in the land. And when Jaron learns that King Vargan of Avenia has kidnapped Imogen in a plot to bring Carthya to its knees, Jaron knows it is up to him to embark on a daring rescue mission. But everything that can go wrong does.

His friends are flung far and wide across Carthya and its neighbouring lands. In a last-ditch effort to stave off what looks to be a devastating loss for the kingdom, Jaron undertakes what may be his last journey to save everything and everyone he loves. But even with his lightning-quick wit, Jaron cannot forestall the terrible danger that descends on him and his country. Along the way, will he lose what matters most? And in the end, who will sit on Carthya's throne?
Rousing and affecting, Jaron's adventures have thrilled and moved readers in The False Prince and The Runaway King. Journey once again with the Ascendant King of Carthya, as New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen brings his story to a stunning conclusion withThe Shadow Throne. 
What I Think: I have adored this series since the first page of The False Prince. I'm completely in love and in awe of Jennifer Nielsen's writing and masterful storytelling. Every word of the entire series is brilliant. As someone who is trudging her way through revisions of a novel, I'm amazed at how Jennifer is able to put all of these pieces together. There are twists and turns all over the place. All along, we know Jaron always has something up his sleeve but it still feels like there's no way he'll get out of all the situations he finds himself in. It's such a blast to follow along and see what he tries next. 
Speaking of Jaron, the main character, he's definitely quite a character. He seems to always be the underdog but he seems to also thrive on being the underdog and working himself out of tricky situations. From The False Prince readers get a glimpse of what he is capable of but he definitely pulls out all the stops in The Shadow Throne. He's not the only unforgettable character in this series. All of the characters are so expertly crafted that I feel as though I know them. They seem real. 
Along with developing charming and memorable characters, Nielsen makes the setting come to life. She helps readers imagine what it might be like to follow Jaron along on his antics but also to realize the feelings he deals with. In this book especially, she captures what it might be like to be amidst battles. Overall, this book is wonderful and it's a perfect ending to this series. I'm sad to leave these characters and Carthya but I'm glad to know they'll always be there. I'm such a fan of this series. Completely excellent to the last line.  
Read Together: Grades 4 - 6 
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 8 
Read With: The False Prince and The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen, Finnikin of the Rock (series) by Melina Marchetta, Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, Eragon (series) by Christopher Paolini, Inkheart (series) by Cornelia Funke
Snatch of Text:  
     "In my life, I'd had my share of fights, sometimes with fists, sometimes with knives, occasionally with a sword. I'd faced opponents twice my size, twice as mean, and, as a general rule, uglier than I ever hoped to be. But nothing had ever topped the ferocity of the argument now going on in the center of my great hall."(p. 1)
     "Fink was an Avenian boy who returned with me from the pirates. He asked too many questions, paid attention to nothing for more than a few minutes, and seemed intent on crowding multiple sentences into each breath he took." (p. 16)
     "As I drew closer, the clashing sounds of blades, the cries of the injured, and the odors of sweat and blood rushed at me in feral waves." (p. 34-35)
     "'Nobody gives you respect in this life. You must take it, you must earn it, and you must hold it sacred, because no matter how hard respect is to attain, it can be lost in an instant." (p. 43)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Inferences, Making Connections, Making Predictions, Visualizing
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Commas (Series), Anaphora, Characterization, Repetition, Word Choice, $100 Words 
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you were loyal to a friend or a friend was loyal to you. How did that impact your relationship? 
Topics Covered: Determination, Wit, Perseverance, Loyalty, Friendship, Family, Love, Hope, Will, Trust, Belief
I *heart* It:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Warning: Do Not Open This Book!

Title: Warning: Do Not Open This Book!
Author: Adam Lehrhaupt    
Illustrator: Matt Forsythe 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books 
Publication Date: April 27th, 2013 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: CAUTION! This book contains monkeys, toucans, and a whole lot of silliness. You really shouldn't be opening this book.

I'm serious.

Just put it back on the shelf.

Right...now.

You're still reading this?

Well, don't say I didn't warn you...

It looks like a book, it feels like a book, and it even smells like a book. But watch out...madness and mayhem lie within! Debut author Adam Lehrhaupt urges you NOT to take a walk on the wild side in this humorous, interactive romp with inventive and engaging illustrations from Eisner Award-winning comic artist and rising star children's book illustrator Matthew Forsythe.
This quirky, subversive creation begs to be enjoyed again and again and again. 
What I Think: We absolutely love this book in our house! I can't even tell you how many times Little Bean asks us to read it over and over. We love the suspense of knowing we shouldn't be turning pages but we still do. The monkeys are awesome. The illustrations bring them to life and page by page, they get closer and closer. These monkeys are really something else. They aren't afraid of anything.
     I love this book as a text to introduce close reading. You can easily read the story the first time and get a kick out of interacting with the text. Going back, you really notice the illustrations and how much they drive the story. Each monkey is unique and readers can follow their personalities from page to page. Readers can look at the size of the monkeys and other animals across pages and the colors Matt Forsythe uses as the story progresses. I particularly like the layout where the reader is learning about the plan and the role he or she plays in the plan. The outlined sketches and the lack of color signify the change in progression of the story. There are so many elements of this story for a reader to notice upon reading through a second...or multiple times.
     But most of all, this book is fun! I guarantee it will make young readers giggle with anticipation and delight as they contribute to helping the story unfold!
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 3 
Read Alone: Grades Pre-K - 3 
Read With: The Monster at the End of this Book and Another Monster at the end of This Book by Jon Stone, Press Here by Herve Tullet, Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett, Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite by Nick Bromley, Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
Snatch of Text:  
"Oh, no. Now you've done it."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Inferences, Making Predictions, Close Reading 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative 
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you did something you knew you shouldn't do. How did you deal with the consequences? 
Topics Covered: Taking Risks, Consequences 
I *heart* It:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/17/14

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...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: I finished The Great Gatsby last week and I have to say I liked it more than I thought I would and that I was totally shocked at the ending. I had no idea what it was about going into it and it was definitely thought-provoking. I might do a blog post about it at some point. I'm definitely glad I read it.
    After Gatsby, I started listening to Requiem by Lauren Oliver because I would like to finish the series. I finished reading The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen and it was every bit as amazing as I wished it would be. Such a great series. I'm still reading James and the Giant Peach with Peanut and am loving Thrive by Meenoo Rami. I also started To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han.

Reviewed Last Week:
 
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: Gosh, as I wrote my update from last week and looked over my GoodReads shelf, it's obvious that I'm at one of those points when I'm reading a million things and not getting very far in any of them. I'll keep listening to Requiem this week and will be reading Thrive for sure. Then I'll focus in on To All the Boys I've Loved Before. Just so much to read! I'm also starting to think about rereading in April...that's been my plan the last two years, to take a break and reread. I don't feel nearly as caught up enough to stop and reread, but I do love the giving myself the freedom to take a break. Anyone else up for rereading in April?

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

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 comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!