03.18.13 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”.

Family Literacy Night and Author Visit!

I picked up the pace for my reading last week . . . and below are my highlights! This last week, we had Family Reading Night at my girls’ school which provided some opportunities to hear some new-t0-me books as readers rotated through rooms for read alouds. They also had a great visit and assemblies earlier in the day with Kim Baker, author of Pickle. I shared Pickle with my daughter, Tall’s 4th/5th class as the Book Fairy back in January and it’s been a big hit, so I’m so glad kids had the chance to make that text-to-creator connection in real-life. If you haven’t still read Pickle, you should; there is still a waitlist for the copy I shared in the classroom. While I didn’t get to see Kim at one of her assemblies, I did see her at the evening event, where she shared a well-loved picture book from her house.


Here, Kim is talking with students before she does her read aloud at the Family Reading Night.
Click the book cover’s to be taken to Goodreads for a more complete synopsis of each title.

Picture Books – my three favorites

It’s time for Lauretta to get a new wheel chair, and she only wants the fastest machine there is. As you can imagine, so mad-cap hilarity follows, but with a sweet little resolution at the end. Munsch and Martchenko are an awesome book team. Great for grades K-3. (2004)


As a huge Mo Willems fan, I have never read this Pigeon book, and it did not disappoint when this was read at family literacy night. We have a special Knuffle Bunny-like bunny at our house, so it was fun to have Mo’s Knuffle Bunny show up here, too. Great giggle inducer for ages 2-99. (2006)


This is a great biographical picture book illustrated by one of my favorites, Melissa Sweet. Young Clara Lemlich, an immigrant, quickly finds work upon arriving in New York so that she can support her family. She soon becomes appalled at working conditions for her and the other garment makers. With determination and a lot of spunk, she organizes a significant strike that begins to lead to improvements for workers’ rights. Great for 2nd-4th grade. (2013)

Middle Grade

Babymouse hits the slopes as she tries out snow boarding. Typical Babymouse disasters and recoveries ensue. A fun addition to the Babymouse graphic novel line up. I love the message that you don’t always have to follow what everyone else is doing. Personally, being a skier, I think Babymouse should check out skiing! Great for Grades 3-7. (2013)


1941 Newbery Medal. I finished this one for The Newbery Challenge. More to come on this hero/adventure story later, but it wasn’t nearly as daunting as I feared.


We finished this one as our family audiobook during ski drive time this weekend. The second book in the Book of Beginnings series, has all the magic, adventure, and excitement of the first book, The Emerald Atlas. I enjoyed the storyline a lot, but the siblings, Emma, Michael, and Kate, spend much of the book split up from each other in this book, and I found I missed their back and forth and often humorous banter. Book Three is set up nicely with a dramatic finish here. I’d recommend as a read aloud for grade 3-7, or as a read alone grades 4-8. Β (2012)

Middle School/YA

So, so, great! It is the story of the Manhattan Project, but it also part of the larger story of the buildup of the cold war. There are portions that read like a scene from a James Bond movie. While it’s an example of great non-fiction for middle school and high school aged readers, I know many an adult who’d enjoy this one as well. I was afraid Sheinkin wouldn’t touch on the issues of morality surrounding this then “new” weapon of mass destruction, but he addressed that too, as the book concludes. I’d recommend for grades 6 and up. (2012)


Oh, how this tale broke my heart. The story opens up as Lina and her family are deported from their Lithuanian home in 1941 by the Soviets, and sent to work camps in Siberia. Sepetys allows us inside this harrowing world where the will to survive amazes you. Even more impressive where the sacrifices made by some to help others, at the risk of punishment, or even death, for themselves. I’ve read some reviews that felt the ending was a bit abrupt, which I agree, but I feel dragging out the story much longer would have diminished its powerful impact. Reading this one does require some context about the time and setting, but I’d recommend for readers, grade 7 and up. Adult historical fiction fans will be impressed with this one as well. (2011)

Up next . . .

An adult book! This is the sequel to one of my favorites, The School of Essential Ingredients. I’m excited, but nervous to follow up a favorite! (2013)

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


12 comments on “03.18.13 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

  1. Glad to hear about the new Pigeon book-such fun! And I will look for the adult book you recommended, Lorna. I haven’t read one just for adults in ages. As you probably know, I just started Bomb. I know I will like it! I loved, & it is heartbreaking, Between Shades of Gray. I’ve heard that her new one about New Orleans is very good too. Good books all around! Thank you!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Love the Brave Girl recommendation! Added it to Goodreads…now to find it and find time to read it πŸ™‚

  3. Myra GB says:

    Hi there Lorna, as a huge Mo Willems fan, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read any of the Pigeon book series as yet – I should remedy that soonest. I do feel that we should do a bimonthly theme on early reader/picture book for young reader/board books sometime soon. Brave Girl sounds absolutely perfect for Women’s History Month. I’ve heard so much about Ruta Sepetys and I am definitely intrigued. Will pin your titles here so that I won’t forget to hunt them down from our libraries.

  4. carriegelson says:

    Lorna – you did some fantastic reading this week. I agree with your comments about Between Shades of Gray. Absolutely heartbreaking. I have lent my copy out to about 4 different people and it is almost always returned to me almost instantly which to me speaks to how quickly people devour it. Such a powerful novel. I just read her second novel. Not nearly as heartbreaking but wonderful characters worth exploring (Out of the Easy) Our family is just finishing up The Emerald Atlas this week! Such a fun book to read aloud. We will definitely visit other titles in the series.

  5. I loved loved loved Bomb. So glad to hear that Call It Courage isn’t too daunting. I’m working on a Newbery challenge too and sometimes fear that I’ve read all the books I’m going to love and only have books I’m going to hate left to read…. (I haven’t read many yet from the 20s, 30s, or 40s.)

  6. Lorna says:

    @Carrie — So glad you’re enjoying Emerald Atlas! We are sad to have to wait for #3, which doesn’t yet have a publication date. Out of the Easy has already been put on hold at the library, so I’m glad you enjoyed that, too!

  7. Lorna says:

    @Elisabeth– Yes, these early Newbery books are tough! I can only find a few worth recommending from 1922-41. Call it Courage is quite readable and it’s plot of a survivalist in the South Pacific *might* appeal to readers who like survivalist books like Hatchett. I find in interesting that even though our library system has quite a few copies, I had to wait a bit for a hold copy to come in. Somebody else is reading it, too!

  8. Lorna says:

    Yes, you do need to check out on of Mo’s pigeon books! Too fun! I bet you’ll enjoy Brave Girl when you get to it!

  9. Beth S. says:

    *Sigh* Oh how I love Between Shades of Gray. And of course you already know how I feel about Bomb. πŸ™‚

  10. Melissa Sweet is one of my favorite illustrator’s and I haven’t seen this one. I’ll add it to the list for the next library visit πŸ™‚

  11. There shouldn’t be an apostrophe in illustrators…and my teacher self won’t let it go without comment πŸ˜‰

  12. I’ll have to try the School of Essential Ingredients. I love books that involve food. πŸ™‚

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