Must Read in 2014 – Final Update

As 2014 draws to a close, it’s time for me to do my final wrap up on my 2014 reading challenge, known as the Must Read in 2014 (#mustreadin2014), over on Twitter. Many thanks to Carrie who got us all organized with this challenge and is graciously hosting our updates, so be sure to head over to her blog for the official link up. Below is the list of books I initially posted about in January that I wanted to read during 2014. It is mix of older titles, 2013 titles, and new 2014 titles. I’ve crossed out the books I have read to date. 

So, how did I do? Of my 38 titles listed, I finished 29 titles and sadly abandoned one additional title. Books I’ve finished since the last update in mid-October are marked in red; previously completed titles are noted in blue. Ones that I especially adored and recommend are marked with double asterisks, **.

Newbery Challenge goals–I wanted to read 12 books. I read 9 titles.

Caldecott Challenge g0als–I pretty much went nowhere with that one.

Did I bite off more than I can chew for my 2014 goals? Probably. I find I’m to easily distracted by all the shiny new books that everyone is talking about, but I’m glad I had this as a rough guide to encourage me not to forget these other titles. 

If you’ve done an update for this challenge, please share the link in the comments. I’d love to come check out what you’ve enjoyed, too! Happy Reading!

 

Must Read Books in 2014

Read 29/38

Abandoned to date 1/38

Not Read 8/38

Books for Adults

adultbooks

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri Read October 2014**
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson Read April 2014
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg Read in June 2014**
 

Middle Grade Novels

mg2013_1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Runaway King (Ascendance Trilogy #2) by Jennifer Nielsen (2013)
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett (2013) 
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Year of Shadows by Claire LeGrand (2013)

mg2013_2

The Apprentices (The Apothecary #2) by Maile Meloy (2013) ABANDONED November 2014 (I found it very disorganized and jumpy)
Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton (2013) Read October 2014
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff (2013) | Read January 2014 **
Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz (2013) Read January 2014

oldermg1

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (2012) Read in May 2014**
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson (2012)
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011) Read in May 2014**
 
oldermg2
A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean (2012) Read in August 2014**
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (2010) Read in November 2014**
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths (2011) Read January 2014
 
oldermg3
Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (2009) Read in August 2014**
Al Capone Does My Homework  by Gennifer Choldenko (2013) Read in September 2014**
Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery (2012)
 

Young Adult Titles

ya2013

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (2013)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Living by Matt de la Pena (2013) Read January 2014 **
 
olderya1
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (2011)  Read in August 2014**
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007) Read in May 2014**
Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz (2012)

olderya2

Me Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Read in July 2014**
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles Read in August 2014**

Graphic Novels

GN

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (2012) Read in May 2014**
The Great American Dust Bowl by Dan Brown (2013) Read January 2014 **

2014 Titles I’m most looking forward to reading:

2014_1

2014_2

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger Read in May 2014**
The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore Read in June 2014**
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee Read in February 2014 **
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle Read in February 2014 **
The 26-Story Tree House by Andy Griffiths Read in April 2014 **
Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!by Kate Messner Read in March 2014 **
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm Read in October 2014**

_____________________

Newbery Challenge Goal

Read to date: 9/12

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, Newbery Medal 1949 Read in February 2014

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, Newbery Medal 1950 Read in March 2014

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates, Newbery Medal 1951 Read in May 2014

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes, Newbery Medal 1952 Read in May 2014

Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark, Newbery Medal 1953 Read in June 2014

And Now Miguel . . . by Joseph Crumhold, Newbery Medal 1954 Read in August 2014

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, Newbery Medal 1984 Read in August 2014**

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Newbery Medal 1995 Read in August 2014**

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, Newbery Medal Read in October 2014

My goal was 12 books, or an average of one per month. I’m grateful to have fellow blogger, Elisabeth, from The Dirigible Plum along for the ride as we slowly plug through the challenging middle years of the Newbery Challenge.

 

 

_____________________

Caldecott Challenge Goal

Progress to date : Meh

I’m aiming to get through all Caldecott Medal and Honor winners through 1979. I found I really got weighed down in the 1950s, but I’m hoping to get back some steam for the Caldecott Challenge.

No real progress made here . . .

 

_____________________

Cheers and may your 2014 be filled with many wonderful reading memories!

Must Read in 2014 – Update #3

It is mid-way through October and we are now more than three-fourths the way through 2014. How am I doing on my reading goals for the year? This is part of my 2014 reading challenge, known fondly on Twitter as the #MustReadIn2014 Challenge. Carrie got us all organized to do this, so be sure to head over to her blog for the official link up. My pace of reading titles from this list have slowed a bit, but I’m steadily chipping away at it. Below is the list of books I initially posted about in January that I wanted to read during 2014. It is mix of older titles, 2013 titles, and new 2014 titles. I’ve crossed out the books I have read to date. I’m still reading plenty of other books too, but this is a sort of check list to books I am hoping to get to by year’s end. Books I’ve finished in the last three months or am currently reading are marked in red; previously completed titles are denoted in blue. Ones that I especially adored and recommend are marked with double asterisks, **. That Caldecott Challenge? Hmm . . . not so good on that one. Maybe next year? And as for the thirteen remaining titles on my list, plus my goal of four more Newbery titles by December 31 means only one thing. Must. Read. Faster.

If you’ve done an update for this challenge, please share the link in the comments. I’d love to come check out what you’ve enjoyed, too! Happy Reading and happy summer reading!

 

Must Read Books in 2014

Read to date 25/38

Books for Adults

adultbooks

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri Currently Reading
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson Read April 2014
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg Read in June 2014**
 

Middle Grade Novels

mg2013_1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Runaway King (Ascendance Trilogy #2) by Jennifer Nielsen (2013)
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett (2013) 
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Year of Shadows by Claire LeGrand (2013)

mg2013_2

The Apprentices (The Apothecary #2) by Maile Meloy (2013)
Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton (2013) Currently “reading with my ears”
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff (2013) | Read January 2014 **
Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz (2013) Read January 2014

oldermg1

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (2012) Read in May 2014**
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson (2012)
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011) Read in May 2014**
 
oldermg2
A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean (2012) Read in August 2014**
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (2010)
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths (2011) Read January 2014
 
oldermg3
Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (2009) Read in August 2014**
Al Capone Does My Homework  by Gennifer Choldenko (2013) Read in September 2014**
Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery (2012)
 

Young Adult Titles

ya2013

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (2013)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Living by Matt de la Pena (2013) Read January 2014 **
 
olderya1
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (2011)  Read in August 2014**
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007) Read in May 2014**
Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz (2012)

olderya2

Me Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Read in July 2014**
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles Read in August 2014**

Graphic Novels

GN

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (2012) Read in May 2014**
The Great American Dust Bowl by Dan Brown (2013) Read January 2014 **

2014 Titles I’m most looking forward to reading:

2014_1

2014_2

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger Read in May 2014**
The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore Read in June 2014**
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee Read in February 2014 **
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle Read in February 2014 **
The 26-Story Tree House by Andy Griffiths Read in April 2014 **
Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!by Kate Messner Read in March 2014 **
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

_____________________

Newbery Challenge Goal

Read to date: 8/12

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, Newbery Medal 1949 Read in February 2014

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, Newbery Medal 1950 Read in March 2014

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates, Newbery Medal 1951 Read in May 2014

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes, Newbery Medal 1952 Read in May 2014

Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark, Newbery Medal 1953 Read in June 2014

And Now Miguel . . . by Joseph Crumhold, Newbery Medal 1954 Read in August 2014

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, Newbery Medal 1984 Read in August 2014**

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Newbery Medal 1995 Read in August 2014**

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, Newbery Medal Currently Reading

I’m shooting for 12 books, or an average of one per month. I’m grateful to have fellow blogger, Elisabeth, from The Dirigible Plum along for the ride as we slowly plug through the challenging middle years of the Newbery Challenge.

 

 

_____________________

Caldecott Challenge Goal

Progress to date : Meh

I’m aiming to get through all Caldecott Medal and Honor winners through 1979. I found I really got weighed down in the 1950s, but I’m hoping to get back some steam for the Caldecott Challenge.

 

_____________________

Cheers and may your 2014 be filled with many wonderful reading memories!

Summer Break Reading: 2014 Book-a-Day Wrap Up

This year, I again participated in Donalyn Miller’s Book-A-Day challenge. My goal was pretty simple, I aimed to read at least a book per day over my kids’ summer vacation. I love summer reading as the less structured schedule allows lots of here-and-there time to enjoy a book. This year, their break was 75 days long and today is their first day back, so it seemed a great time to look back at what I read. Keep in mind that well over half of my books were picture books, but all books count–fiction, nonfiction, adult, picture books, graphic novels. Below, I’ve highlighted some of my favorites. 

My goal: 75 books

Actually read: 85 books

Hopefully summer time meant plenty of reading time for you, too! I’d love to hear what you enjoyed this summer!

_________________________________________

  picturebooks

My favorite picture books of the bunch . . .

Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Lisa Brown >> This is a touching look at divorce and the many worries that young kids have around the technical parts of divorce. I loved the Picasso facts sprinkled throughout the story, which is divided into smaller chapters.

Little Elliott, Big City by Mike Curato >> Adorable Elliott is feeling quite incompetent but soon finds a friend who needs his help. Together they make quite a pair. I’m certain Elliott and Ella the Elegant Elephant from Carmela and Steve D’amico.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd>>A wordless look at nighttime with one boy’s flashlight. I loved it, though wonder if the cutouts really are necessary.

The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo>> I adore Castillo’s illustration style and look forward to more of her work. One young boy causing trouble encounters another creature making mischief of his own.

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson >> Sometimes we feel out of sorts, even in our own family. Gaston wonders if there has been some sort of mix up. His attempts to find out, just might prove him wrong. Funny with a heartfelt message at the same time.

The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara >> I probably loved the art more than the story on this one, but it is fun to think that animals need books, too!

Dog Days of School by Kelly DiPucchio and Brian Biggs >> I loved this funny “Freaky Friday” style mix up with a boy and his dog. I predict younger kids will find this hysterical.

A Piece of Cake by LeUyen Pham >> Sweet tale of friendship with darling illustrations.

_________________________________________

nonfiction

My favorite non-fiction titles . . .

The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis >> A super interesting look at the life of author (and adventurer) Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I did a have a few qualms about the book design that made the flow of reading choppy or difficult when you had to read very tiny text presented in a circular format.

Goal by Sean Taylor and Caio Vilela >> A marvelous photographic look at soccer (or football!) as it is enjoyed around the world. Each page spread is focuses on a different country and some soccer related facts on that sport in that country.

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Catia Chen >> An autobiographical look at the author’s own struggles to overcome stuttering  in tandem with developing a career devoted to animal conservation. Great illustrations!

Edward Hopper by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor >> I’ve always been a fan of Hopper’s work, so I found this to be a fascinating look at his creative process and influences. The notes in the back on some of his famous works provide some thought provoking prompts.

How to Make a Planet by Scott Forbes and illustrated by Jean Camden>> A thorough look at the creation of planets and our galaxy. Pretty complex stuff, but it is presented in an accessible way with some great illustrations and analogies. It’s longer format makes it best suited for upper elementary or even middle school readers.

 _________________________________________

mgbookaday

My Favorite Novels and Graphic Novels for Middle Grades . . .

Aside from . . . And Now Miguel, these titles were all really great reads! Here I will focus on the novels I read. It seems I’ve been drawn to a number stories with deeply sad plotlines. Hmm . . .

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko >> I loved this, the second book in this historical fiction series, almost as much as the first one. Lots of suspense will keep the readers turning the pages.

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson >> A fun buddy-caper story that might appeal to fans of Kim Baker’s Pickle or Chris Rylander’s The Fourth Stall series.

Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner >> The well crafted story of Circa’s challenges after her beloved father’s death. I loved her for determined hopefulness through even her darkest moments. I too wanted to believe. It reminded me in many ways of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons.

Revolution by Deborah Wiles >> I’m fascinated by the social-political-economic firestorm of the 1960s, so I was just riveted by this book. Wiles masterfully combines primary source material with an engaging, page turning story.

Manhunt by Kate Messner >> A highly entertaining mystery in the Silver Jaguar Society series with likable tween characters. Messner has such a great touch for research that really shows in the Paris setting for this book.

A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean >> In this Schneider Award winning story, Cally tries to carry on after the death of her mother. Her own dad is emotionally absent and struggling with his role as a single parent. Cally finds comfort and insight in the friendship she forms with a blind/deaf neighbor boy and the sudden appearance of stray dog with a story of his own.

Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin >> A haunting tale of loss and love infused with a touch of magic. The plot has undertones of urgency but is slow to crescendo to a heartfelt ending. I think it would make for a thoughtful read aloud and I’m curious to hear how kids might respond to this one.

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary >> (Newbery Medal 1984) A quick but heartfelt read aloud with my fifth grader. Beverly Cleary perfectly captures the tumultuous emotions of Leigh, a sixth grade boy, dealing with a new divorce and a move. The mix of his letters to his favorite author and diary entries are the perfect insight to his feelings. Despite it’s age, it holds up well with only a few dated references.

How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied by Jess Keating >> This is a great book from debut novelist Jess Keating that will be a hit with upper grade school and middle school readers. Ana, a seventh grader, deals with many relatable issues around changing dynamics with friends, crushes, and being true to yourself. I love Ana’s honest sounding voice and the humor that fills the pages along with these heartfelt issues. I’m glad there will more Ana stories coming!

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech >> (Newbery Medal 1995) Ack, Ms. Creech! You broke my heart a plenty with this marvelous story. Great characters that you find yourself rooting for immensely.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin >> (Newbery Honor 2010) I am not normally drawn to fantasy stories, but this is a lovely blend of fantasy and Chinese folktales wrapped up in a wonderful story of friendship. It was lovely to share as a read aloud with my 10-year old.

_________________________________________

 yabooks

Young Adult titles . . . 

None of these titles were horrible, but there were several I just didn’t seem to enjoy as much as other bloggers and reviewers I know. Just goes to show every book is not for every body!

My favorites from the pile:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart >> A title who’s plot is best not discussed, but it did indeed left me with my jaw hanging wide open. Probably a book that readers will love or hate.

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer >> A great read aloud with my now seventh grader. Jenna hasn’t ever really fit in and in many ways has been forced to grow up quickly. Great characters emerge as Jenna decides to take a cross-country road trip with her boss in a last ditch effort to save a family business.

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles >> A emotionally powerful look at how a teenage pregnancy affects four friends.

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner >> An enjoyable young adult title, with a likable main character in Nick. With another mutual friend, Nick goes on a quest to fulfill a dying friend’s last wish. I wish I could have gone deeper into the motivations of some of the characters like Nick’s friend Scooter and Nick’s dad, but those gaps would make for good discussions. Light romance between the characters stays along the lines of first kisses. I loved all the references to Of Mice and Men.

Must Read in 2014 – Update #2

With July upon us, we are now halfway through 2014 and it is the perfect opportunity to check in with where I am on my 2014 reading challenge, known fondly on Twitter as the #MustReadIn2014 Challenge. Carrie got us all organized to do this, so be sure to head over to her blog for the official link up. I’ve been on a pretty good pace with these books and am about half way through the list. Below is the list of books I initially posted about in January that I wanted to read during 2014. It is mix of older titles, 2013 titles, and new 2014 titles. I’ve crossed out the books I have read to date. I’m still reading plenty of other books too, but this is a sort of check list to books I really want to read. Books I’ve finished in the last three months are marked in red; previous titles are denoted in blue. Ones that I especially adored and recommend are marked with **. My Caldecott Challenge is still sorely lagging, but I’m hoping to remedy that a bit during July and August. 

If you’ve done an update for this challenge, please share the link in the comments. I’d love to come check out what you’ve enjoyed, too! Happy Reading and happy summer reading!

 

Must Read Books in 2014

Read to date 19/38

Books for Adults

adultbooks

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson Read April 2014
Delancey by Molly Wizenberg Read in June 2014**
 

Middle Grade Novels

mg2013_1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Runaway King (Ascendance Trilogy #2) by Jennifer Nielsen (2013)
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett (2013) 
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Year of Shadows by Claire LeGrand (2013)

mg2013_2

The Apprentices (The Apothecary #2) by Maile Meloy (2013)
Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton (2013)
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff (2013) | Read January 2014 **
Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz (2013) Read January 2014

oldermg1

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (2012) Read in May 2014**
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson (2012)
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (2011) Read in May 2014**
 
oldermg2
A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean (2012)
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (2010)
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths (2011) Read January 2014
 
oldermg3
 
Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (2009)
Al Capone Does My Homework  by Gennifer Choldenko (2013)
Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery (2012)
 

Young Adult Titles

ya2013

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (2013)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013) Read January 2014 **
The Living by Matt de la Pena (2013) Read January 2014 **
 
olderya1
 
The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (2011)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2007) Read in May 2014**
Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz (2012)

olderya2

Me Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Graphic Novels

GN

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (2012) Read in May 2014**
The Great American Dust Bowl by Dan Brown (2013) Read January 2014 **

2014 Titles I’m most looking forward to reading:

2014_1

2014_2

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger Read in May 2014**
The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore Read in June 2014**
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee Read in February 2014 **
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle Read in February 2014 **
The 26-Story Tree House by Andy Griffiths Read in April 2014 **
Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets!by Kate Messner Read in March 2014 **
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
 

 

_____________________

Newbery Challenge Goal

Read to date: 5/12

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, Newbery Medal 1949 Read in February 2014

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, Newbery Medal 1950 Read in March 2014

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates, Newbery Medal 1951 Read in May 2014

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes, Newbery Medal 1952 Read in May 2014

Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark, Newbery Medal 1953 Read in June 2014

I’m shooting for 12 books, or an average of one per month. I’m grateful to have fellow blogger, Elisabeth, from The Dirigible Plum along for the ride as we slowly plug through the challenging middle years of the Newbery Challenge.

 

 

_____________________

Caldecott Challenge Goal

Progress to date : Meh

I’m aiming to get through all Caldecott Medal and Honor winners through 1979. I found I really got weighed down in the 1950s, but I’m hoping to get back some steam for the Caldecott Challenge.

 

_____________________

Cheers and may your 2014 be filled with many wonderful reading memories!

09.30.13 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers for hosting the meme “It’s Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA”. Head to the It’s Monday post here to link up or see a list of the all the other readers participating in this great meme. You can also follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #IMWAYR!

Okay, September is clearly not my month of avid reading. I had great dreams, but they just didn’t materialize. Other things just got in the way. Little things, like new school routines and busy after-school activities schedules. Big things, like a large DIY deck sanding and staining that involved stressfully dodging a whole lot of unusual September rain in between phases of that project. So in other words, not a lot of reading time. Below is a recap of what (little!) I did get to this month! Please do share what you’ve enjoyed reading!

 

Click the book covers to go to Goodreads for the full summaries . . .

I read these picture books . . .

Imagine if Harold and the Purple Crayon collided with a David Wiesner book…you might just end up with Journey. The book is wordless but tells a magical story with stunning and fantastical illustrations. I think I clapped with happiness at the last few pages. I sure hope this is on the 2014 Caldecott committee’s radar. Recommend for preschool and up. (2013/Candlewick Press)

_________________________________________

Great for illustrating and identifying emotions. Fun, lively monster illustrations will appeal to the preschool and kindergarten crowd. (2013/Lemniscaat USA)

Finished these novels for middle grades . . .

This was a very satisfying action-packed sequel to the hero vs. villain thriller, The Cloak Society,  and the story is perfectly set up for the last book in the trilogy. My 12 year-old daughter snatched it out my hands as soon as I was done and declared it terrific, too! Release date October 1. Recommend for grade 4 and up.  (2013/HarperCollins)

_________________________________________

This one will tug at your heart-strings. With an absentee or distracted, at best, single mother, Addie is forced to fend for herself. A few adults in her life become the roses amongst the thorns for her. You will cheer loudly for Addie and marvel at her perseverance. Both in theme and writing style this reminded me a lot of Joan Bauer’s books, and I’d certainly recommend it to her fans. Life is pretty tough for Addie, so I’d recommend this for mature fourth or fifth graders and up. (2008/Katherine Tegen Books)

_________________________________________

This was a fun and fast paced read aloud with my fourth grader that prompted some good discussions about authority and disobedience at school. In my head the kids seemed far to precocious to be fifth graders, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. It would be a good one to recommend to students who enjoyed the latest Origami Yoda book, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett. Recommend for grades 3-6. (2007/Atheneum)

_________________________________________

A lovely, quiet book that will remind you that seemingly random encounters between people just might happen for a reason. It was a very quick read that is still lingering with me. Not everything is explained, which may frustrate some readers, but it will definitely have you thinking. I’d be curious to hear if anyone has done this as a read aloud, because I think it would result in some great “Why . . .?” and “What if . . . ?” discussions. Recommend for grades 3-6. (2013/HarperCollins)

_________________________________________

1946 Newbery Medal. I recall enjoying this when finding it at my grandmother’s house when I was young. Now, upon a re-read many years later, I found it okay. It’s certainly more readable than many others in these first few decades of the Newbery award, but I found the dialect very tiring by the end. Mr. Slater’s overnight conversion and retreat from alcoholism was extremely unrealistic for me as well. For farmsteading and pioneer stories represented by the Newbery, I prefer Thimble Summer and Caddie Woodlawn. Thanks to Elisabeth at The Dirigible Plum for spurring me to jump start my Newbery Challenge and for reading some of these early titles together!

And I continue . . .

This is a great one to just read a chapter at a time, hence it’s taking me a while to get through it. Fascinating.

_________________________________________

On Beth from Foodie Bibliophile‘s recommendation, I’m listening to this on audio. Great fun.

_________________________________________

Next up . . .

 

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

07.01.13 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers for hosting the meme “It’s Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA”. Head to the It’s Monday post here to link up or see a list of the all the other readers participating in this great meme. You can also follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #IMWAYR!

 

My Book-A-Day Progress:

Goal: 75

Read to date: 20

Head to my 2013 Book-A-Day shelf to see all the titles I’ve read so far this summer!

Click the book covers to go to Goodreads for the full summaries . . .

My three favorite picture books:

This is a great story inspired by the real traveling librarians in rural Columbia. One young girl is so eager to learn and patiently waiting for the biblioburro is quite the challenge. What a gift this service is to these rural communities. It would of course be excellent paired with Jeannette Winters’ Biblioburro. Recommend for grades 1-4. (2011, Tricycle Press)

_________________________________________

One of those picture books that will have you shouting, “Hurrah for books! Hurrah for libraries!” I love Cleminson’s thick black line and water-color illustrations. Recommend for K-3. (2012, Disney-Hyperion)

_________________________________________

Adorable, wordless book, with lovely fold out flaps and spreads. Delicate and smile inducing illustrations of a young girl trying to be as graceful as the flamingo. Recommend for preschool and up . . . even my 4th and 6th graders thought it was very cute. (2013, Chronicle Books)

Finished these early/beginning chapter books . . .

Great beginning/early chapter series called The Franklin Friends, that is perfect for fans of Marty McGuire and Clementine books. Kelsey is a third grader and she is a strong reader obsessed with winning recognition in a school-wide reading competition. Her antics get a little crazy but she learns a lot along the way about trusting other classmates, both the strong readers and the struggling readers. Recommend for grades 1-3. (2013, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

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An early chapter book that’d be a great choice for animal lovers and families raising urban chickens. I pointed out this one to my urban chicken raising nephews who actually had to deal with finding a rooster amidst their chicks. I love the kids trouble-shooting process when things start to go awry. Recommend for grades 1-4. (2012, Holiday House)

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These novels . . .

1945 Newbery Medal. An odd, but enjoyable animal fantasy book set at a country estate. Think rabbits and other small animals like moles and mice, cooking and keeping house while they mind their new neighbors in the big house. Might make a sweet read aloud for younger animal loving kids.

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This was my third reading of this book which is my all-time favorite. I just marvel that this is Harper Lee’s only work. Things that make you go hmm…

Currently reading

I’m trying to get into this one but I’m getting distracted by others in the to-read pile that are flowing in very rapidly from the hold shelf at the library.

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I’m loving the voice in this one so far.

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And then . . . I’ll be choosing from:

              

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

06.24.13 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”.

 

I’m back after a couple of crazy-busy weeks of school wind-down activities and visiting relatives. While I didn’t get a ton of reading in, I did start to make some plans for my Book-A-Day plan for the summer break. I love the semi-unstructured time of my kids’ break from school and try to get in as much reading as I can. If you aren’t familiar with Book-A-Day, check out my post from last summer, and follow along at Twitter, using the hashtag #bookaday. Maybe you’ll even consider joining in?!? And, YES!, picture books count! Here are just a few of the books in my to-read pile that I’m hoping to get to this summer . . . ambitious! 

A subset of my summer TBR pile

Book-A-Day Goal: 75

Books read to date: 8

Click the book covers to go to Goodreads for the full summaries . . .

My three favorite picture books:

This was probably not quite as funny for me as Brown’s Darth Vader and Son, but it still had tons of laughs for Star Wars fans. (2013)

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Clink, an older model robot, thinks he will never find a home. Patience and show tunes will change all that, though! Pretty darn cute. I’d recommend for grades K-5. (2011)

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I haven’t read all Jeffers books, but this is by far my favorite. Lovely, lovely! A boy meets a sad penguin and wants to help. The journey they take is quite the bonding adventure and it becomes a lovely tale of friendship. I can’t help but think of another sweet penguin, from Yoon’s Penguin books. Recommend for grades K-5. (2005)

Finished these novels. . .

I finished this 1944 Newbery Medal winner, which was actually a re-read for me from long ago with my eighth grade teacher, Mr. Bromley. I recall enjoying it then, as I was fascinated with American history, and I enjoyed it a lot this time as well. Forbes provides historic details and creates good tension along the way. I’d urge readers today to dig this one out, though sufficient background knowledge of the Revolutionary War will definitely be needed. I found myself even having to brush up on the details of the Boston Tea Party.

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This was a long time going as a read aloud, but not because of the story’s quality! So intricate and exciting, it had my third grader on the edge of her seat at every chapter. Sage, a young orphan is swept up into an elaborate plot to falsely present Carthya’s long-lost prince. Nielsen’s characters are complex and often flawed and she throws them into a suspenseful and politically charged plot, which makes for a great read aloud. I could see where the “big” plot line was heading, but it was great to hear my daughter speculate about oddities in the story as she drew her own conclusions. We are very much looking forward to book 2, The Runaway King, but decided we are going to wait so that we don’t have a huge long time before the concluding book, The Shadow Throne, in the series arrives in the spring of 2014. I’d recommend this one for independent readers grades 5-9, or third grade and up as a read aloud. (2012)

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These graphic novels . . .

I absolutely loved this! The graphic novel format was a great way to share the biographical, food-centric stories of the author’s life. Great illustrations and even a few recipes thrown in, too. I would totally recommend this to older fans of Raina Teglemeier’s Smile, who enjoy food and cooking. Recommend for grades 6 and up, foodie adults will appreciate this one, too! (2013)

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Teen Boat is a graphic novel told in interconnected chapters. I found it far-fetched, but fun, and I can see its appeal to kids middle school and up, with its familiar teen themes of fitting in, working, dating, and learning to drive. The scenes when TB learns to drive are great. Don’t miss the explanation on how the book was created. (2012)

Currently reading or re-reading . . .

For those of you familiar with my reading tastes, this is HUGE stretch for me, but I am trying to read more young adult and dystopian or post-apocalyptic. This certainly has me covered, and I am intrigued by what I’ve read so far.

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A re-read of an all time favorite. You know that question of if you could bring only one book with you out of your burning home? I’d bring this. We have a very old cat (20 years old, and counting), and my daughters are already dreaming quietly of his replacement, which they insist will be two kittens. Names are already circulating. Poor Barnes, but he’s deaf and can’t hear! My votes for names? Atticus and Finch.

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