Monday, February 10, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 2-10-2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is weekly challenge begun by Sheila at Book Journey to blog about the books readers enjoy each week.  For some wonderful reading suggestions, please visit Teacher Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers, who took Sheila's It's Monday! What are You Reading? challenge and gave it a kid lit twist.

Taking a cue from fellow librarian Julee Murphy (@JuleeMurphy) over at Book Egg, I'm including books I've used for library lessons over the past week. Indeed I think these books should be included in every It's Monday! What are you reading?, even if it's the second, third, or umpteenth time reading the books because these great books are still worthy of reading, and of course, sharing.

Library Lessons

I'm using Amazing Grace for a lesson on diversity and self-confidence as part of African American History Month. Amazing Grace is a book that all students seem to love, especially when we start talking about how skin color and gender shouldn't limit our options. I used this book for library lessons for students all the way from Pre-K to 5th Grade, and it received applause from students after each read aloud. Of course, the older the group of students, the deeper the conversations about race and gender discrimination.

I love exploring folk tales from around the world and sharing them with my students. Ninety-nine percent of the student population at my school qualify for free or reduced lunch. In reality, many of them will never have a chance to see the world the same way their more privileged peers will be able to. So I try to bring the world to them through literature and technology.

For this reason, I focus a lot on African folk tales during African American history month. I chose Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe for library lessons. (It also helps remind students about the Caldecott medal since Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters is a Caldecott Honor Book.) Students enjoyed the ending of the book - when Nyasha marries the king and Manyara gets her "just desserts" by becoming the new queen's servant. This led to a discussion about treating people with respect and not being arrogant.

The Egg

I found this treasure of a book by accident when a student returned it to the library last week, and I thought How could I have missed this one? It's so beautiful! It was something of an odd ball book this week as I used it with pre-K and Kinder students to practice making inferences and text-to-world connections. Although The Egg by M. P. Robertson is about a boy discovering a dragon, I tied it into a lesson about dinosaurs, lizards, birds - all real animals that come from eggs. 

Children's Books

My Happy Life

I received a copy of My Happy Life from NetGalley prior to the book's publishing, but never got around to reviewing it until last Friday night. My review of this book appears in another section of this blog. My Happy Life will be included in the next book order I put together since it's perfect for advanced readers in kindergarten and first grade who are ready to move on to chapter books. 

The Jellybeans and the Big Camp KickoffBow-wow Wiggle-Waggle

Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money

These three books - The Jellybeans and the Big Camp Kickoff by Laura Numeroff, Bow-Wow Wiggle Waggle by by Mary Newell DePalma, and Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by W. Lockhart - are part of the 2014 Houston ISD K-2 Name That Book contest. As sponsor of my school's K-2 Name That Book team, I read these books in preparation for this week's meeting.

Sidenote: We've got some super readers in our K-2 group. They have been working hard and getting geared up for the competition next month. I'm really looking forward to the day when we get to show of our mad reading skills.

Young Adult Books

Over the past week, I somehow found time to finish Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. I loved the first three books but Extras left me feeling disappointed. The one thing I appreciated about Extras, however, was Westerfeld's futuristic interpretation of social media and internet fame which permeated this final book.

What I'm Reading Now:
I must get started on Flora and Ulysses in order to participate in the #virtualbookclub chat happening on 2/17 at 9:00 PM EST. If you've read last week's IMWAYR post, you'll notice I said the same thing. But I was too obsessed with finishing the Uglies series this past week, so I never got around to Flora and Ulysses. This is my absolute last chance to read the book before next week's chat - no more distractions or obsessions until I read it.

Other than that, I really want to get my hands on a copy of Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick, winner of the 2014 Printz Award. Check out the book trailer:

How can I not read it?!? I'll let you know whether I was able to get a chance to read Midwinterblood in next week's It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Post!


  1. Lovely books shared this week, wonderful classics and interesting to hear about My Happy Life. Enjoyed the Uglies series but felt frustrated/disappointed in the final book as well... Enjoy Flora and Ulysses!

    1. Flora and Ulysses was an interesting experience. At first, I couldn't really get into it and wondered how on Earth this book won the Newbery. By the end of the book, however, my mind was completely changed. Good read after all.

  2. The book covers of the uglies series seem very powerful. They all look like intense reads. The Egg also caught my eye. I read/reviewed Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters a few years back, and I enjoyed that one. Amazing Grace reminded me a little bit of Amazing Peace, a picture book based on Maya Angelou's poem - have you read that one yet? Have a great reading week.

    1. Hi Myra,

      Actually I haven't read Amazing Peace but it sounds really interesting. I'm going to see about finding a copy at the local library. Thanks for stopping by and mentioning it!

  3. I, too, love the updated covers of the Uglies series. Better idea of what the books are about and stark and intriguing.

    1. Yes, I've seen the other set of covers for the Uglies series but they just aren't as intriguing, like you said. This other set is much, much better.