02.04.13: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts for hosting the meme “It’s Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA”. Check out Jen and Kellee’s site to see what others are reading through their posted links. You can also find posts from folks using the hashtag #IMWAYR on Twitter.

It’s been many, many weeks since I’ve posted. Things have been decidedly off track for a variety of reasons, but that’s a whole another post. The good news is, through it all, I’ve been reading. This last weekend, I was able to go to the American Library Association’s Mid-winter meeting, here in Seattle, where I had an Exhibit Floor pass. It was fun to connect with many Nerdy Book Club friends in person and visit the publishers’ booths. I’m back and getting my blogging sea legs back. The last week have been inspiring to me as a reader. Today’s post is filled with some reading highlights since I last chimed in for “It’s Monday!”

Picture Books

By Salina Yoon

Now, if this one doesn’t bring a smile to your face, I’m not sure what will. This is a lovely, sweet message of a friendship shared between two unconventional friends. Darling illustrations and a great message about giving from the heart. My eight year old and eleven year old daughters loved this one, too. And good news for Penguin fans, I saw at the ALA Mid-winter Exhibit hall that there is another Penguin story coming out later in the year, Penguin on Vacation!  (2012/preschool and up)

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Written by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow

Hooray for Molly Lou’s return! I adored the first book, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, which was published 2001. In this one, Molly Lou abandons her collection of toys for homemade, imagination-filled ones thanks to messages from her grandma about the unplugged toys of her youth. Molly Lou’s creations are creative and colorful, and engaging. She also helps convince a neighbor child to set aside her electronic toys, and both learn to appreciate the uncomplicated toys as they play together. A great message and a healthy look at outdoor/natural play. (2012/Ages 6 -10)

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Written by Jesse Klausmeier and Illustrated by Suzy Lee

I had been hearing from Goodreads and Twitter friends about the charm of this book and was happy to have a few minutes on the ALA Exhibit floor to stop and read it. This will be a sure crowd pleaser and smile inducer for all who read it. A very clever book design will have you re-thinking the “book-within-a-book” concept. Kudos to Chronicle Books for yet another terrificly designed children’s book. (2013/preschool and up)

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Written by Michael Buckley and Illustrated by Dan Santat

With a wild imagination and IMMENSE bravery, Kel Gilligan faces the harrowing challenges of daily life that include things like having a bath, getting dressed by himself, and eating broccoli. Such a fun story to share outloud and kids will connect with the content. Dan Santat’s illustrations, as always, are impressive and worth lingering over for the little details. (2012/preschool – age 10)

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By Peter Brown

Peter Brown is such a great illustrator and captures whimsy, joy, and humor so well. This is funny twist on a “child wants a pet” story, with the bear as child. This will surely be a giggle and smile inducer for readers. (2010/preschool – age 10)

Middle Grade Novels 

By Christopher Paul Curtis

I really enjoyed Deza Malone’s story, and think that Curtis has such a gift for creating a strong sense of setting. Like his Newbery Medal winning book, Bud, Not Buddy, it takes place in Michigan (and Gary, IN) during the depths of the Depression. While Deza makes a brief appearance in Bud, Not Buddy, it certainly isn’t necessary for you to read that before picking up this book. Deza’s brightness and curiosity are infectious and you begin to root for her very early on as obstacle after obstacle are thrown at her and her family. My only complaint is that the ending felt a little hurried to me, and I wish a bit more time had been spent flushing out her father’s motivations, but overall, I was charmed. I found myself enjoying this story a lot more than Bud, Not Buddy, because of the lovely Miss Malone. (2012/Ages 10 and up)

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By Joan Bauer

This is a great story that will have strong appeal to girls in grades 4-8. Foster and her single mom work hard to rebuild their troubled lives in a new town. A whole host of endearing characters join in to lift them up. I love the cooking metaphors and lessons Foster learns through her love of cooking. (2011/Ages 9-13)

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By Brian Selznick

I enjoyed this a lot, and appreciated not knowing a whole lot about the plot beyond that one character’s story is told through images and the other character’s story is told through text. I loved how the stories intertwined at the end, and Selznick’s illustrations are mesmerizing. From a wow factor, I need to give The Invention of Hugo Cabret a slight advantage as I was really entranced by that story, but this however was a great read! (2011/Ages 9 and up)

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Read Alouds

By Rebecca Stead

The consensus amongst myself and my two daughters, for whom this was a read aloud was, “Oooh, that was really good.” Like other reviewers, I think it is best not to give too much away from a plot perspective. Rebecca Stead reveals her hand carefully and slowly, and has you uttering, “How clever!” a lot. (2012/Ages 10 and up, or 9 and up as a read aloud)

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At almost 500 pages, this was a very long running read aloud for my 8yo daughter. We both enjoyed this suspenseful and often complex tale which revolves around four very clever and resourceful children as they try to outwit the evil plottings of Mr. Curtain. I certainly plan to check out the subsequent titles in the series, but perhaps just not as a read aloud! (2007/read aloud: 8 and up, strong independent readers: 9 and up)

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Young Adult and Adult

By Elizabeth Wein

This was fascinating historical fiction that focuses on the interrogation of a British female agent caught in German-occupied France and her friendship with a fellow British female pilot who flew her there. I admit it took me a bit of time to get used to the narrative voice with the switches between first person and third person, but it was worth being patient. I’d recommend this one for readers with a good background knowledge of World War II. As a note for younger readers who might pick this up, there is some torture violence, and the prisoner’s circumstances are pretty harrowing. Adult fans of historical fiction, especially WWII, should check this out. (2012/age 15 and up)

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For adults. Definitely a suspenseful, page-turning thriller, with lots of good twists and turns. As someone who reads a lot of children’s literature, I was struck by how despicable I found the main characters. As I’ve told others, it’s nasty adults behaving badly, which is certainly not something I’d say about the many middle grade novels I read!

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Upcoming . . .

Ack! So many books, so little time. At the ALA meeting I picked up many ARC (advance reader copies) of books that I want to pass on to my kids’ classrooms, but selfishly I want to read them first. And my hold shelf arrivals are over-runneth with lots more. Here is what is at the top of the stack . . .

For middle grades: The sequel to the funny and enjoyable Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom . . . arriving in April 2013.

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Young Adult: This will be my first David Levithan. I hear I’m in for a treat.

Do share what you are reading! Have a great week!

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16 comments on “02.04.13: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

  1. megan says:

    I want The Hero’s Guide so badly! If the holds list on Gone Girl ever lets up I may check it out. I couldn’t get into every day, but people seem to love it so I hope you enjoy it. Have a great reading week!

  2. Hannahlily says:

    I haven’t read Every Day, BUT Levithan is one of my FAVORITE authors. You are definitely in for a treat! Code Name Verity is one of my favorites! I’ve read it 3 times and am considering picking it up again. It just gets better and better. Gone Girl was fun in a bizarre sort of way. It has spurred me on to read Flynn’s other books. Love all the MG books you talked about. You really had a great period of reading!

  3. getswedish says:

    Lorna, I just read the first two books in this triology in Swedish. I cannot wait to read the english translation. It is a mix of Twilight and the Hunger game, but with Swedish withches as characters. It has been extremely popular in Sweden. Ronya didn’t like it since it was a little too mature for her. There is a lot of drugrelated discussions and also the typical Swedish way of describing sexual relationships among teenagers. She is simply too young, geard towards 15 year olds I would say…

    As I said, don’t know how that will be portrayed in the American version. I have preordered it. :)

    On Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 6:09 AM, Not For Lunch

  4. Maria says:

    Alright, I pretty much love everything on your list this week! SO JEALOUS of your ARC of Storming the Castle. I cannot. wait. to get my hands on that book!

    Liar & Spy was on the Cyblis Shortlist for Middle Grade Fiction, so I read it just recently as a judge. Lots to say about that book, but on gag order until the winners are announced in a few weeks. Then I can let fly ;)

    I’ve heard alot abut Code Name Verity and Gone Girl. I don’t read a whole lot of YA, but am wondering if I should read these, just because they’ve received so much attention. Hmmmmm…

  5. Great list! I’ve been wanting to read Code Name Verity — I think I’ve seen it mentioned EVERYWHERE, but I keep letting other books get in the way.

  6. What a fantastic reading week! I cannot wait to read Code Name Verity. There are just too many books and not enough time! I definitely agree with your assessment of the characters in Gone Girl.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Holy smokes! You had SUCH a great reading week! I still haven’t read Code Name Verity, and I desperately want to! I read Kel Gilligan and Children Make Terrible Pets while at Barnes & Noble, and they were both such fun reads!
    Happy reading this week!

  8. Lorna says:

    @Jennifer — I bet you’ll enjoy Code Name Verity. I’m sure you’ve heard from others, stick with it beyond the first 75 pages or so!

  9. Lorna says:

    @Andrea — Code Name Verity has a really unique voice. Certainly a stand out for me in recent YA books.

  10. Linda Baie says:

    Lots to love on your list, Lorna, & it’s good to see you back! I am jealous that you got so many ARCs & got to go to that conference. I am going to a state conference this coming weekend & am excited to see what’s there, and so on. I do want to read Creepy Carrots soon, & Code Name Verity is certainly on my list. Thanks Lorna!

  11. carriegelson says:

    So happy to see your Monday reads post Lorna! I want to comment on basically every book on your list this week. I too read Gone Girl as one of my few adult reads in 2012. And yes, yikes those characters . . . Love the sister :-) I really found Code Name Verity powerful. Recommended it to my Dad who doesn’t read much fiction but is a real expert on WW 2 Think he would like it a lot. I loved Liar and Spy. Stead is so talented. I read Benedict (whoa what a LONG read aloud it must have been) I found in first half of the book I was so impressed and then I started to be aware of how very long it was . . . Found some parts dragged. Cannot wait to hear what you think of Every Day. I just read it recently. Couldn’t stop thinking about it. Great titles all around for you! Thanks for sharing!

  12. msyingling says:

    Storming the Castle was great fun, and I’ll include your review of The Mighty Miss Malone on my World Wednesday Round Up. Thanks, and you’ve been busy!

  13. Lee says:

    So many good titles! I don’t know any of he picture books so I’ll see what m library has. I loved Every Day. I think you will too. Thanks for including your daughter’s opinion of Benedict Society. I liked it, but wasn’t sure how it might go after with a younger reader. Thanks for all the great recommendations. :)

  14. Earl says:

    Seeing books I enjoy on other people’s lists always me happy. I need to tackle my arc of Hero’s Guide as well. Christopher Healy is awesome. And Kellie from Walden Pond Press does an amazing job.

  15. Wow! What a great reading week! Some great picture books there that I want to snag. I can’t wait for the next Hero’s Guide! You are so lucky to have snagged an ARC! :)

  16. Lorna says:

    I’m enjoying the latest Hero’s Guide a lot–great fun! I agree Kellie from WPP is a great, enthusiastic outreach person. I got to meet her briefly at the ALA convention last weekend.

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