Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? May 21, 2018

Wow! Again, it has been way too long since I have written a blog post! With the end of the school year drawing closer, I vow to try and keep up with my blog and post on a more regular basis. I am really looking forward to some of the amazing books I have in my to read pile as summer quickly approaches! For all you other teachers out there, good luck with the last few miles of the school year marathon!


A great meme hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read" list!

Here is what I have recently read (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Jerry Spinelli

I'm not sure why I had never read this one before. I think I was under the impression that it was way too old for m 4th grade classroom, so it just kept getting put further and further down the pile. While the characters are a little on the older side and there is a bit of kissing, the theme itself is a good one. I think most of my 4th graders could handle the mild kissing scenes and would get a lot out of the message of be yourself and accept others the way they are.

By Kwame Alexander

I had this one preordered and started it the day it arrived in my mailbox. I loved The Crossover and was really looking forward to learning more about Chuck Bell when he was a kid. I enjoyed the story almost as much as The Crossover, and I really liked the connection this book made back to The Crossover at the end of the book!

By Chris Colfer

This series has been in my classroom for ages, but for some reason I never had much desire to read it.  I suppose part of the reason is that I was being a bit judgy and didn't hold out a whole lot of hope that Chris Colfer, Glee star, would be able to write a decent chapter book. But as I was poking through my book stacks a few weeks ago I came across this title again, and for some reason, this time, I decided it was time to give it a read. Turns out my students had been right all along, and indeed I had been too harsh to judge Chris Colfer, because this book is very entertaining! I love the fairy tale aspect of it as well as how the two main characters deal with a really tough time in their life. I might even have to read book #2!

By Tracy Barrett

As was The Wishing Spell, this title was also a pretty entertaining fantasy! The thing I liked most about this story is that everyone in the story looks up to Marabel's twin brother Marco because he is a boy, but in the end Marabel is the one who actually saves the day.

By Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

With a title and cover like this, how could you not pick this one up off the shelf! Really sweet story about family, friendship, and helping one another out.

By David Barclay Moore

I listened to the audio version of this one and it was amazing! It was narrated by Nile Bullock who seems to be a similar age to the main character Lolly. This fact really made me feel like Lolly was telling the story. This made me feel that much more connected to him and his story. The story itself is also a great one about a boy who is trying to survive life living in a tough neighborhood where everyone expects you to grow up to be a nobody or die trying.

By Varian Johnson

Great mystery about two kids who are each having a rough summer for different reasons and how they band together to solve a mystery that no one believes is real. Johnson did an amazing job of tackling tough topics such as divorce, bullying, racism, and sexual identity in a way that is appropriate for the younger MG reader!

By Aisha Saeed

As soon as it was announced that this book would be the MG title for this year's Global Read Aloud, I preordered a copy! It took me about 2 days to read this amazing story about what life is like for those living in countries where indentured servitude still exists. A powerful story about what is possible when you dare to have the courage to speak up for yourself and fight for your rights. I will definitely be reading this to my 4th graders next October as part of the Global Read Aloud (https://theglobalreadaloud.com/)!

By Sally J. Pla

This book moved to the top of my pile when a colleague of mine told me how much she loved it. Another great story about how to overcome your fears and how to survive really uncomfortable situations when a loved one needs you.

Here is what I am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book):

By Kelly Yang

Really excited to get an early copy of this one through my last Scholastic book order! I have been hearing so much about this book that I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and get started. I started it last night and am already having a hard time putting it down!

By Kieran Larwood

This book is on our state's student book award list for 2018-2019 so I decided to make it my independent reading time book at school. I am only a few chapters in, but I can already tell that this one is going to be popular with my 4th graders!

Monday, April 2, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? April 2, 2018

March was a busy month for me with parent/teacher conferences, report cards, state testing, etc and I let my blog posting slide a bit. I didn't let my reading slide though! Check out all of the great books I read in March!

A great meme hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read" list!

Here is what I have recently read (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Holly Black

I listened to the audiobook of this one and really enjoyed it! I am a fan of Holly Black and liked the more "grown up" feel of this story.

By Phil Bildner

I had fun reading this book alongside one of my students. I appreciated the diverse set of characters that Bildner put into this story and I look forward to reading more about Rip and Red in Rookie of the Year!

By Nikki Grimes

As always, Nikki Grimes doesn't disappoint! I loved everything about this book: the way it was written, the characters, the topic, the message...everything!

By Neil Patrick Harris

How could I pass up reading an early MG fantasy book written by Doogie Howser/Barney Stinson! Well I couldn't and I am glad I didn't. A very fun and entertaining book about family, friendship, and of course, magic! Looking forward to the next one, The Magic Misfits: The Second Story!

Hello, Universe
By Erin Entrada Kelly

This year's Newbery medal winner so of course I had to read it as soon as I could get my hands on a copy! Get it, read it!

Adapted By Mariah Marsden

Loved watching Anne of Green Gables when I was a kid and loved this graphic novel adaptation!

By Leslie Connor

I had been hearing a lot of buzz bout this book so was very excited when it showed up in my students Scholastic book order flyers! I purchased a copy for my classroom, but took it home so that I could read it first. I truly enjoyed getting to know Mason and couldn't put the book down as I watched his story unfold.

Here is what I am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Heather Vogel Frederick

This one had been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I finally decided to open it up and give it a read! Only a few chapters in, but so far so good!

By Peter Brown

I read The Wild Robot to my students last year and we all loved it so much that I immediately preordered The Wild Robot Escapes! It just came out about two weeks ago and I only have a few chapters remaining. I don't usually enjoy sequels as much as the first book, but that is not the case with Roz! Loved the first one and am loving the second one as well!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Review of The Science of Breakable Things by By Tae Keller

The Science of Breakable Things
By Tae Keller
Published By Random House Books for Young Readers
March 6, 2018
ARC Obtained through NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:
How do you grow a miracle? 
For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie's botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that's important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope. 

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not. 
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She's going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it's up to kids to save them, right?

My Thoughts:
I was excited to get a copy of this ARC through NetGalley as I had been hearing a lot of buzz about this book! I was not disappointed!  

I really enjoyed getting to know Natalie as she tries to navigate through a tough time in her life. Natalie's mother seems to have given up on the things that she used to enjoy in life. Natalie spends her days trying to figure out ways to help her mother love life again. Along the way, Natalie realizes how important friendships are. She also learns some important things about herself and about family.

I would recommend this book for grades 4 and up!

Monday, February 26, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? February 26, 2018


A great meme hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read list"!

Here is what I have recently read (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By John David Anderson

I finished this one over vacation and really enjoyed it! I loved the idea of it, of there being fairies who are in charge of granting a small collection of human wishes. I also enjoyed the tenacity and bravery of Ophelia Fidgets as she headed out on her first wish granting mission that didn't exactly go as planned. Instead of giving up and heading back home, even when all odds seem to be against her, Ophelia keeps going and is determined to find, and grant, her first wish. Along the way she befriends a very friendly stray dog whom she names Sam. The two of them stick together and work to find Ophelia's wish so that her first mission is a successful one. When Ophelia finally tracks down her wish, she comes across a second wish and has to decide if any one wish can be more important than another.

By Terry Brooks

Yup, still a sucker for adult fantasy stories and still enjoy Terry Brooks! I really enjoyed listening to the audiobook of this one and was bummed when it was over. Thankfully I only have to wait a few months until book #2 comes out!

By Jason Reynolds

After the audiobook of Long Way Down received an Odyssey Honor (among many other awards) at the ALA awards in early February, I knew that I was going to be listening to this one before I read the physical book. When I found out that Jason Reynolds was the one narrating the story, I immediately purchased it through Audible! This one definitely didn't disappoint! An amazing YA story told by an amazing author and narrator. Download the audiobook today!

By Tillie Walden

Another YA title, this one a very big graphic novel. I enjoyed this coming of age story about Tillie. Tillie spends the book trying to figure out who she is and what she really wants in life. The reader gets to watch her grow and slowly become more and more comfortable with herself. We get to watch her make some tough decisions as she finally starts to take control of her life.

By Tae Keller

Stay tuned for a full review of this great story later this week!

Here is what I am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Holly Black

Just started listening to the audiobook version of this one. So far so good!

By Phil Bildner

This one is currently my independent reading time book in the classroom. I have been meaning to read it for quite some time now and was finally prompted to start it so that I could read it alongside one of my students. This particular student has a much better chance of sticking with a book if he has someone to talk with about the book as he is reading it! I am really enjoying it so far, as I was pretty sure I would!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Review of The Art of the Swap By Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone

The Art of the Swap
By Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone
Published by Aladdin
February 13, 2018
Digital ARC Obtained through NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:
Two girls trade places in time to solve a legendary art heist across two centuries! 

As the daughter of a caretaker for a mansion-turned-museum, twelve-year-old Hannah Jordan has spent nearly all her life steeped in the history of the Gilded Age of Newport, Rhode Island. The Elms, the mansion where her dad works (and they both live), is one of the most esteemed historical properties on famed Bellevue Avenue. Mysterious legends and priceless artifacts clutter every inch of the marble floors and golden walls, but Hannah is most drawn to the reproduction portrait of Maggie Dunlap, the twelve year-old subject of a famous painting stolen in a legendary art heist on the day of its scheduled unveiling in 1905. 

Hannah dreams of how glamorous life must have been for the young oil-heiress, Maggie, at the turn of the century, but she never expects she’ll have a chance to experience it herself… until the day a mysterious mirror allows the two girls to change places in time! 

In 1905, Hannah races to stop the art heist from happening—something she is convinced will allow the girls to trade back to their own eras—while in current times, Maggie gets a hilarious introduction to the modern digital age and a new perspective on women's roles in society while reveling in the best invention of all: sweatpants. So long corsets! 

As the hours tick off to the recorded moment of the legendary art heist, something’s not adding up. Can the girls work together against time—and across it—to set things right... or will their temporary swap become a permanent trade?

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this time traveling story! I liked that the story switched back and forth between this century and the last century. It was very interesting to see how different the two centuries have become and how a 21st century kid might fare in the 20th century and vice versa. Maggie and Hannah are both in for some shocks as they try to navigate the others world without permanently messing anything up for each other. As Hannah tries to solve a century old mystery in the 20th century, she realizes that her actions could change history and therefore change the life she knows back in her own century.

I would recommend this book for grades 4 and up!

Monday, February 12, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading? February 12, 2018


A great meme hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read" list!

Here is what I have recently read (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Erin Entrada Kelly

After a few weeks of having this book as my independent reading time book in the classroom, I finally found enough time to finish it! I really enjoyed this book and think that there is something for almost every kid to connect with in this story. The two main characters deal with a number of difficult situations throughout the book. From parents getting divorced, to family illness, to a changing friendship, to getting picked on at school, this story has something for everyone!

By Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone

Stay tuned for a full review of this great book later in the week!

By Roshani Chokshi

I really enjoyed following Aru on her adventures trying to save the world. I am also a big fan of mythology and really enjoyed learning about Hindu mythology! Fans of Greek and Roman mythology will be quickly sucked into this book!

Here is what I am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Terry Brooks

I have always been a huge fantasy fan and used to read quite a bit of adult fantasy back in the day. Then of course I became a teacher and was introduced to the wonderful world of children's literature! I mostly just read children's lit and middle grade fiction now, but every once in a while I will go back to my roots and read an adult fantasy book. I decided to read The Black Elfstone because I had read all the previous Shannara series books that Terry Brooks had written years and years ago and I remember really enjoying them. I am currently listening to this one on audible and I am really enjoying the story, as well as the narrator!

By John David Anderson

I am a fan of John David Anderson so I was excited to get my hands on a copy of this ARC at NCTE back in November. This one is rather thick and I didn't really have time for it up until now. I just started it and am looking forward to getting further into it!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Review of Hope in the Holler by Lisa Lewis Tyre

Hope in the Holler
By Lisa Lewis Tyre
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books
January 9, 2018
ARC Obtained from NCTE 2017

Goodreads Summary:
Right before Wavie's mother died, she gave Wavie a list of instructions to help her find her way in life, including this one: Be brave, Wavie B! You got as much right to a good life as anybody, so find it! But little did Wavie's mom know that events would conspire to bring Wavie back to Conley Hollow, the Appalachian hometown her mother tried to leave behind. Now Wavie's back in the Holler--and in the clutches of her Aunt Samantha Rose. Life with the devilish Samantha Rose and her revolting cousin Hoyt is no picnic, but there's real pleasure in sleeping in her own mother's old bed, and making friends with the funny, easygoing kids her aunt calls the "neighborhood-no-accounts." With their help, Wavie just might be able to prevent her aunt from becoming her legal guardian, and find her courage and place in the world. 

My Thoughts:
I have had this one since NCTE back in November, but every time I picked it up to read it, I ended up putting it back on the shelf and picking something else. This is because the blurb made the book sound so sad (the main character's mother dies) and I was never up for tackling it. I recently had a few social media friends who read it and raved about it, so yesterday I decided to give it a go, tissues at the ready. Turns out I didn't need the tissues and I definitely should have read this one as soon as I got home from NCTE! This was one of those "cant put it down" books! I started it late morning and was finished by early afternoon. I really loved the main character Wavie and the friends that she made in the holler. This is such a great book about staying strong, about fighting for what you want, and about the fact that everyone deserves a future, that everyone is worth it!
If you don't have a copy yet, go pick one up today!
I would recommend this book for grades 4 and up!

Monday, January 29, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? January 29, 2018


A great meme hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read" list!

Here is what I have recently read (click on he title to learn more about the book):
By Lisa Lewis Tyre

Come back on Wednesday to read my full review of this great book!

By Serena Valentino

I finished this one last week and enjoyed it overall. You can look back at last Monday's post for a bit more info about this book!

Here is what I am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Erin Entrada Kelly

Still reading this one and enjoying it more and more the more I read!

By Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone

I just started reading an ARC of this title after hearing so much about it on social media. I am so glad I started it as it hooked me immediately! I cant wait to see how the two main characters handle swapping places and therefore, centuries. Maggie gets swapped into current day and Hannah gets swapped back into the early 1900's.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Review of Greeting From Witness Protection! By Jake Burt

Greeting From Witness Protection!
By Jake Burt
Published By Feiwel & Friends
October 3, 2017
Hardcover Purchased from Amazon

Goodreads Summary:
A funny and poignant debut middle-grade novel about a foster-care girl who is placed with a family in the witness protection program, and finds that hiding in plain sight is complicated and dangerous.
Nicki Demere is an orphan and a pickpocket. She also happens to be the U.S. Marshals’ best bet to keep a family alive. . . .

The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.

Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.


My Thoughts:
I had been hearing a lot about this book and was excited to finally get my hands on a copy! I was intrigued by the premise of this book as it seemed like a very unique story line. I really enjoyed the spunkiness of the main character Nicki. I also liked the fact that she is such a deep character whom many students will be able to relate to immediately. These being the students who may really need to see some of themselves in a book, to know that they aren't the only ones who may have a tough family situation, or may be having a tough time as the new kid in school, or maybe even are having trouble making friends. There are so many different things happening in this book that numerous students will be able to connect with Nicki and her story. 
This story also had a little bit of everything; drama, comedy, suspense, family issues, friendship issues, etc. I was hooked from the first chapter and had a really hard time putting it down!
I would recommend this book for grades 5 and up!

Monday, January 22, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? January 22, 2018


A great meme hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers! A place for people to talk about books they have recently read and are currently reading. Also a great place to find books to add to your "must read" lists!

Here is what I have recently read (click on the title to learn more about the book):
By Vera Brosgol
I really enjoyed the diversity of the characters in this graphic novel! The main character, Vera, is just a Russian girl trying to fit in like everyone else. She finds this harder then most because of the fact that her family is Russian. She thinks that she has finally found a way to feel like she fits in when she discovers a Russian summer camp. She cant wait to spend the summer like the rest of her "friends" by attending summer camp. When she gets there, she quickly finds out that it isn't everything she dreamed it would be and she has to make some tough decisions about what type of person, and friend, she really wants to be.

By Jake Burt
Stay tuned for a full review of this great book later this week!

Here is what I am currently reading (click on the title to learn more about the book):

By Erin Entrada Kelly
Still working on this one! I keep forgetting to bring it home from school!

By Serena Valentino
I recently went on a short trip to Chicago and had this audiobook to keep me company! Now, it is only fair for me to first tell you that I am a huge Disney fan and that Maleficent is hands down my favorite villain. But because all of that is true, I was afraid that I would be disappointed by this story. I am happy to say that I wasn't! The story does get off to a bit of a slow start, and there are lots of different stories woven through, but all in all I have been thoroughly enjoying it! I only have a few chapters left and am intrigued to find out what fate Serena Valentino is going to hand Maleficent.