Sunday, July 13, 2014

Monday Reading - Giveaway Results!


It's Monday, and time to visit Unleashing Readers with Ricki and Kelle, and Teach Mentor Texts, with Jen. Thanks to them we have this awesome group that shares the latest books read, and their opinions about them. 

         




           AND, this Monday, I have the results of my giveaway of The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson. 
It's my own bowl of names
of the commenters!
               And the winner drawn is Andrea Payan, of Mrs. Payan Reads. Andrea, you can find my e-mail in my personal profile. Send me your home address and I'll mail your book! Congratulations!

I'm taking a week off next week, starting Saturday, going to the beach with family, but I've read a lot this past week. What a pleasure it was. I hope you find some good books here you'd like to put on your TBR list!


verse novel
The Crossover – Kwame Alexander

               The story’s woven into a basketball world, former European star player is dad, twin sons with the talent of their dad, and the values too, along with the mom, worried about her husband whose father died young from hypertension.  Tension comes in brief moments, a look, a grunt, a movement of a hand. The poetry sings with rhythm, fast then slow, inner rhyming and story-telling. The feelings behind each poem almost tell more than the poem itself. It’s a story beautifully shared, of adolescent feelings that arrive as fast as a pass, and change as quickly as the “game”. Each time I read another novel in verse, I love them more. You won’t forget this one easily.

middle grade chapter book
Absolutely Almost – Lisa Graff
               There is no “absolutely almost” liking this book. I absolutely loved it. I’ve commented to other reviewers that their reviews made me think that all teachers should read this book, and then read it aloud to their students. And now I know I’m right. It is a book important for teachers and parents as well to read, to learn about kids and how they hide, how they want things to be different, yet often don’t know how to communicate that. The main character, this boy, Albie, like his mother says, is “caring and thoughtful and good”, although for a long while I’m not sure his mother really knew this in her heart. It was a tough story to read, especially for the adults’ foibles. Parts made me want to shout into the story and say, “wait, why aren’t you doing something”, or “why are you doing this?” It’s been a while when I wanted to shout at a book character!  But Lisa Graff tells it true, the adults, even the sweet “not-a-babysitter” Calista are not perfect.  But Albie “almost” is! Read the book!


Picture Books
Bird, Butterfly, Eel – written and illustrated by James Prosek
                  This round-robin story about the different kinds of migrations of these three animals will make a good introduction to how migration works. The reader is taken through a year, showing the life, the journey, and the return. Back matter adds useful information, and Prosek’s beautiful paintings add detail to his brief words. The winter picture is especially lovely, for a cat enters the story on occasion and this picture of the indoor time shows the cat missing out-of-doors adventures watching the bird, the butterfly, and eel, as we all do in winter.

Emily’s Blue Period – written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Lisa Brown
            This is a short chapter book that tells the story of a young girl working through her own blue period because her parents are divorcing. The chapters show that Emily loves art and discovers Picasso’s “blue period”, then discovering she needs to work through her own blue feelings, ignoring her beloved art.  Her little brother rebels at the trip to choose Dad’s new furniture for their “new” home, Emily finds a way to mesh both homes into her art, and the story ends with hope. The book will be helpful to read and discuss how families live in different ways, and somehow it works out although there are also sad times.  Another book showing the challenges of divorce for children is welcome. Illustrations are cartoon-like showing the family life at different times.

Grandfather Gandhi – written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk
            Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson with Bethany Hegedus shares the time spent with his grandfather, wondering if he (Arun) could ever live up to his actions. It focuses on the time when Arun became so angry while playing soccer, and wanted to hit the other player with a rock. He ran instead to Grandfather, Gandhi who shows him that he can use his anger to illuminate instead of creating darkness. The weaving of his time in the village with his grandfather is interesting, and the ending will be something to discuss with young students. The illustrations, drawings and collages, fill the pages, as Gandhi filled the lives of those around him.

Ling and Ting: Not Exactly The Same – written and illustrated by Grace Lin
            This is a realistic fiction book about two little girls, twins, showing some of their reasctions to people always telling them they look “exactly” alike. In various cute tales, the readers are shown how Ling and Ting actually are different. These are for early readers who I’m sure will giggle over the experiences told about Ling and Ting.

Hansel and Gretel – written by The Brothers Grimm, retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora
           Cut-paper illustrations of the lush African jungle bring the tale of Hansel and Gretel to a new and gorgeous telling. Although the tale is the same, the pages are filled with creatures of the jungle, and the scariest witch (and her house) I’ve seen in a while. It would be great to use this in a study of different approaches authors and illustrators us in their special telling of these old stories.

Great books about the importance of friendship!

Squid and Octopus, friends for always – written and illustrated by Tao Nyeu

                With whimsical pictures “under the ocean”using only blues, greens and oranges, I am captivated by the detail in the four stories of the adventures of squid and octopus, two friends. And I love the loving friendship shown in these silly stories, am reminded of dear Frog and Toad stories. Along with the dialog and obvious affection between the two friends, other sea creatures add their own words on each scene. For example, when a boot floats down from above, Octopus immediately loves his “new hat”, but as he moves along, is corrected by other creatures that think it’s a “flower pot” and then “soup bowl”.  This, and the others, are fun, predictable stories that will make kids shout out what’s next and then giggle, a lot. I loved every bit.

Forever Friends - written and illustrated by Carin Berger
           Carin Berger’s collages in this book will fill anyone with pleasure.  It’s an almost wordless picture book showing the joy of friendship between a bluebird and a bunny throughout a year, and the sadness when the bluebird has to leave for a while, to migrate south. Each page is a wonder, but I’d love to see the original of the double page spread for summer play, joyful and full of fireflies!  I imagine sharing this with young students and seeing if they can find their own story to tell through pictures. 

The Lion and The Bird – written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc
              It’s a beautiful, softly painted and almost wordless story of a bird left behind by his flock, and a lion who cares and befriends it. The lion certainly lives in quite an isolated place, and after they winter together, the bird again must join his flock, and say goodbye. Yet, the book is filled with kind gestures of the caring for each other, and the bird offers the final grand gesture. You’ll need to see and read it to understand how beautiful this story is.

NEXT: The Boy On The Wooden Box was supposed to be next last week, and it will be next now. Absolutely Almost took its place, and I'm reading a new book out soon from NetGalley, plus 2 PD books. My days are filled with reading, but summer is going away so quickly! Happy Reading To Everyone!

Don't forget: Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone(@litlearningzone), Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate (@LauraKomos) and Cathy Mere at  Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community(@CathyMere) are hosting #CyberPd again this summer, where we're reading Donalyn Miller's Reading In The Wild to reflect upon it, discuss it, perhaps even disagree about it.  This week we'll be linking up with Laura about chapters 3 & 4.

41 comments:

  1. I love a good friendship story. Hopefully there'll be more Squid and Octopus!

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    1. Isn't it just the cutest story? Thanks, Earl!

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  2. Great books this week! I bought Absolutely Almost a couple weeks ago and NEED to get to it soon!

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    1. Thanks Beth. Enjoy Absolutely Almost!

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  3. Absolutely Almost is on my nightstand, as it was on my daughter's summer reading list. I'll read it next. Have a wonderful time at the beach with your family, Linda!

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    1. Thanks Melanie-hope all is well with you! I hope you enjoy Absolutely Almost too!

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  4. Yes, yes, yes - Absolutely Almost seems to be a universal favorite! I loved it, too! I've also heard great things about The Crossover and look forward to reading it!

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    1. Thanks Holly, hope you'll find & enjoy The Crossover! And yes from me too about Absolutely Almost-so good!

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  5. Great books this week, Linda! Absolutely Almost is just amazing. I simply loved it. My daughter and I are getting close to finishing Wonder and then I'd like to start that one with her. She can read them on her own, but I really enjoy the shared experience with her!
    After reading some of your reviews of the picture books makes me want to go back and reread them!
    I'm working on my Reading in the Wild post today. I'm really enjoying the conversations between that one and our google doc one! I don't have these conversations at school, so this has been wonderful!
    I have a question about Net Galley. I recently subscribed and selected some books to read. Does it take them awhile to send you books?
    Have a great week!

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    1. My daughter and I read together well into high school, Michele, so I think it's wonderful you are sharing too. I need to start on my #CyberPD reading, today's goal! Then will write. It & the other group will certainly inspire me for the coming year. As for Net Galley, yes, it took a while, & sometimes I've never gotten to the books sent! I also rarely request because I have too many already, but it's fun to read them ahead of time. Good luck!

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  6. I will be reading Reading in the Wild this week to prep for the Scholastic Reading Summit where Donalyn will be the keynote speaker. I would like to hear your take on it.

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    1. If you check the links I shared about #CyberPd, Julee, you can see so many responses. My first one was last Wednesday, then there will be another sharing this Wednesday. I hope you enjoy the book! Donalyn is a wonderful presenter. I'm sure you'll enjoy her too.

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  7. WOO-HOO!!! I won! You have so many great books on this list this week. My TBR list just expanded. Crossover sounds really good. Absolutely Almost also sounds like one that I need to order STAT. Thanks for more information about #cyberpd. I would like to re-read Reading in the Wild and I am glad to know there are others doing this and discussing it. I will be joining in this week.

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    1. Thank you so much for the book! I am having a hard time finding your e-mail in your profile. Please send me an e-mail at mrspayanreads@gmail.com and I will reply with my address. Thanks again!

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    2. Sorry, it was harder to find than I thought. Will send an e-mail. Happy to send the book fast! Hope you enjoy the other 2 books & that you link up with #CyberPd!

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  8. I loved Reading in the Wild! Her books are so interesting and full of great ideas

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    1. Yes, you're so right-a terrific PD book! Thanks.

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  9. Some great reads! What did you think of "Grandfather Gandhi" ? When I shared it with my third graders last year we felt like it didn't provide much background knowledge for them, so it was hard for them to connect to the broader implications of the story.

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    1. I agree Katie. I thought it was a capturing of a lovely memory, and a problem to solve, but another book about Gandhi first would be helpful. There are several good ones out in the recent few years. I'm glad you shared this with me.

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  10. Who is the target audience of Crossover. It sounds great but is it too young for high school students?

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    1. I think definitely mature middle school & up-it's a serious look at a family's life. Thanks for asking!

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  11. Absolutely Almost sounds wonderful! I think I'll get it to share with my 5th grader. Have a great week!

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    1. Oh, I think your 5th grader will adore it. It's just right for that age. Thanks Julie.

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  12. Wow, you've been busy, Linda! These all sound like great reads. Wish I had more time, but I'm busy teaching several children's writing camps and adult classes this summer. Maybe in fall!
    BTW: thanks for commenting on my post today. :-)

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    1. I'd love to be in one of your classes! And enjoyed reading your post about TFIOS-such a wonderful story.

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  13. Hooray for Absolutely Almost! I am on the waiting list for my library's copy of The Crossover - your review makes me want to read this all the more Linda. PS. What an amazing reading week you've had!

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    1. I pushed myself this week to catch up on all those library books before I leave, Tara. I've really enjoyed the reading, and "you" gave that final push to read Absolutely Almost-what a joy it was! Thank you!

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  14. These sound like really fun books.

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  15. Your raffle pictures cracked me up. You are so fun! The cover of The Crossover drew me in. I don't enjoy playing basketball, but I love to read about it! I will have to add that one to my list. Thank you!

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    1. Hm-m, without rafflecopter, what's a woman to do, Ricki! Glad you enjoyed them, trying to be honest... I loved Crossover, even learned some basketball terms I didn't understand. It's lovely and exciting poignant all at once!

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  16. So happy you loved Absolutely Almost as well! :) Great mix of picture books shared... fun to know about.

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    1. Thanks Debbie-it was a great week of good books!

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  17. I just ordered Absolutely Almost! Thank you for the recommendations!

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    1. You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  18. Thanks for the reminder about #cyberPD! I spaced that this week. Need to start working on my post, which I hope will be SHORTER than last week's. Someday I'm going to learn the art of brevity when I blog, LOL. I'm reading Absolutely Almost right now and really enjoying it. My son picked it up and demanded to know why I was reading it by myself and not to him! So I anticipate reading it aloud to him as well. I'm excited to share it with him as he is also a struggling learner. So glad I've got my PLN to recommend books to me, because this is one I never would have found without Monday reviews! Isn't Carin Berger's work gorgeous? I'm trying to get my hands on all her books right now. I was very impressed by Rachel Isadora's art in Hansel & Gretel. My new favorite version of that fairy tale for sure.

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    1. Oh, Elisabeth, I worry about being too wordy too, just seems like summarizing is quite challenging when I want to tell so much! I hope you share what you think, then what your son thinks about Absolutely Almost. I thought the voice was so authentic, but perhaps I'm just imagining that's what young students think like. Yes, Carin Berger's books are lovely, and this Hansel & Gretel is amazing. I hope to find more of what Isadora does in her art. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  19. The Lion and the Bird sounds like a book that I would definitely fall in love with. We did feature quite a number of Rachel Isadora's titles when we had a fractured fairy tale theme several years back - her artwork is stunning. I already borrowed The Boy on the Wooden Box which I hope to feature for our current reading theme. I just hope I get to read it in time, as we do have quite a lot lined up in the coming weeks or so. Enjoy the rest of your summer, dearest Linda!

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    1. I loved The Boy on the Wooden Box. I also found it cool that a local photographer created the cover illustration. I live in a small village in WI, so it was wild to me that she did the cover for it.

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  20. I just brought The Crossover home from the library yesterday and am really looking forward to it. I don't read enough sports books and I LOVE novels in verse.

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    1. Thanks Myra & Crystal. I'll start The Boy In The Wooden Box today-have heard great things about it, & now two more things from you both. The Crossover just blew me away, Crystal. Hope you enjoy it too.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!