Sunday, October 12, 2014

Monday Reading Recap

     Sheila at Book Journeys started It's Monday! What are you Reading?, a meme where bloggers share the books read recently. Then, Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers started one with a children's focus. Come read about some amazing books.

REMEMBER: You have until  this Wednesday, the 15th to nominate a favorite children's book, poetry and more, for the Cybil's awards. Find that link here

       It's been a nice week of reading. I enjoyed some beautiful and clever words this past week, shared a lovely book of poetry here on Poetry Friday by Naomi Shihab Nye, and read several not-to-be-missed chapter books. 


chapter books
Prodigy – written by Marie Lu
             I didn't enjoy this second book as well as the first, Legend, but was compelled to read it through, to see what exactly was going to happen to June and Day, and the rest of the characters. The created world of the Colonies and the Republic is fascinating. While we don't have such loss and violent splits in the US, we do have large disagreements. The tension throughout both books is well done. I was always worried about one person or another! Some of the parts are repetitive, like descriptions of the feelings between June and Day. However, I know that students are racing through the series. I even heard a group discussing Champion, what was happening, whether they liked the scenarios or not. Clearly, they were excited, and that means a lot. This group I observed read broadly (middle-school-aged students), and their excitement is catching. I hope I can borrow the third book from one of them.

The Boy On The Porch – written by Sharon Creech
              I read a brief review of this book, and was intrigued. I can’t believe I missed it. It’s short, and a story that keeps the pages turning until finished.  Really, until almost the end, there are only three characters, the boy, and a couple who live in a modest farm home with a dog, a few goats, and a couple of cows. I don’t want to give away anything, but urge everyone to read it. You will be surprised






Death By Toilet Paper – written by Donna Gephart
              I'd read a few reviews that pointed the way to this middle grade book, so happy they did. A middle-school boy, Benjamin is a contest-crazed
boy who hopes each time he enters a contest that he'll win the grand prize, usually money, which he and his mother desperately need. From medical bills lingering after his father's death, taking care of a grandpa with memory loss, and his mother needing to finish her training to become an accountant, life is a battle every day. For Benjamin, whose father told him to take care of his mother, the pressure is tremendous. He also has to deal with a bully at school. Can life get any worse? Luckily Benjamin has a wonderful best friend (Toothpick) whose father steps in sometimes to give Ben a boost. With eviction from their apartment looming, a Halloween costume contest at the Mutter Museum seems to be the last hope. Donna Gephart in not many words manages to make us care so much about this family, their friends and neighbors. Hope is imbued every step of the way, no matter how bad the situations seem to be. Benjamin is a good boy, trying hard to do right for his mom, still listening and remembering all his dad taught him. I loved the story, which was not over the top unrealistic. It seems as if there is more than one family in our world that is living at the edge, when oreos are indeed a luxury they can't afford. The story shows that so well.

picture books
Sequoia - written by Tony Johnston, paintings by Wendell Minor
              I just won this book, but certainly would have purchased it. It is gorgeous, the poetic words written as seasons pass: “He listens to beetles scratch, to woodpeckers tap, to firs converse in wind.” Wendell Minor’s beautiful double-page spreads enhance the detail of what the words convey. There is a page showing birds leaving for the winter, and the opposite page part of branches with a solitary crow. “He opens his ancient, brittle arms, and gathers one last crow.” It’s book that celebrates the largest living thing on earth, which has lived about 3200 years. The backmatter shares concern for environmental challenges. They live inland in California, in a severe drought, unlike the redwoods which are on the coast. The book will inspire many who love nature.

The Chickens Build A Wall – written by and illustrations by Jean-François Dumont
Chickens worry, along with other barnyard animals, because a hedgehog has appeared in their yard,
and no one knows how to handle this "different creature. Some attribute it to some bad things occurring in the past. Some mayhem occurs, and in this weakness, the rooster takes charge again. There are those who take the message and embellish it, suggesting that everyone follow the rooster's call for building a wall. Everyone concurs, and the chickens begin. I don't want to give away the end, but it was disappointing to me, or perhaps the author wanted to leave everyone to consider what will happen next? The illustrations are appealing, showing great variety of facial expressions of the animals.

Telephone – written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by en Corace

             Mac Barnett makes playing the 'telephone" game even funnier by his play on words as the birds sitting on a telephone line pass a message to Peter: "fly home for dinner". The wording and the collages by Jen Corace make the book funnier and funnier as one turns each page. Luckily for all of us, a wise old owl clears things up at the end. I read this to my granddaughter, who was rolling off the sofa at the end! She's five!


       I have a new pile of picture books from the library, and have just started Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle. I'm trying to catch up with some Newbery possibles-lots of good ones available and coming out. Do you have a favorite so far?

29 comments:

  1. Hi Linda, I loved telephone also. I really want to reads Death by TP, sounds like one my students would enjoy. I liked The Boy on the Porch myself, but have not found a student who has enjoyed it. Maybe they were too young to appreciate it.

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    1. Death by TP is good, and keeps one wondering how everything will turn out, Gigi. I understand about The Boy On The Porch. It may not be a good story for students, just for adults, maybe older students?

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    2. I felt like The Boy on the Porch was really a novel for adults in some ways. It wasn't really written from a child's perspective. I enjoyed it, but wondered who it was for exactly. I think teachers and parents would enjoy it more than the typical student.

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  2. Great titles! I'm so glad you enjoyed DbTP - I just loved Ben, and his friend, Toothpick! Such a fantastic MG novel! Great PB too. Telephone was so fun to read with kindergarteners and I have Sequoia sitting in my pile too! Better Nate Than Ever is in my Must Read 2014 pile...just need to Must Read it!! Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks Michele, it really was a good reading week! Yes, the 'must reads' list grows every Monday!

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  3. Death by Toilet Paper is on my TBR- now so is The Boy on the Porch. I can't wait to start thinking about my favorite books of the past year including Caldecott and Newbery (and Cybils) contenders!

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    1. Yes, awards time is on its way. We've already begun the Newbery book club at school, & the librarians have a great group of books. Hope you enjoy Death by TP-very well done. Thanks, Earl!

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  4. Ack, thank you... added more to my TBR list! Curious to read Death by Toilet Paper... Happy reading to you!

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    1. It was a joy to read. Hope you like it, too! Thanks!

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  5. So glad you enjoyed Death by Toilet Paper! One of my recent faves, for sure. I also read Telephone this week and found it so clever and funny. I didn't have a chance to read it aloud to my son because it was due back at the library, but I will check it out again (or buy my own copy, because I think it's one my Children's Lit students would also enjoy). I also want to catch up on some Newbery hopefuls--so many good books I've missed this year. Not sure what I will have time for before the end of the year since I'm also trying to finish up my own reading challenges. I certainly found The Boy on the Porch intriguing but I really wasn't sure about audience--had a hard time imagining any of my students reading and liking it.

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    1. The librarians and I think The Boy on the Porch is a good story for adults, and perhaps to read aloud so a conversation can happen. Yes, Death by Toilet Paper will now be a favorite of mine, too. Thanks Elisabeth!

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  6. I have got to get Death By Toilet Paper - sounds like one I would love. I adored The Boy on the Porch - read it in one delicious sitting. Creech is so gifted.

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    1. Hope you will enjoy Death... And I think we do like the same kinds of books, Carrie. I did like The Boy On The Porch a lot.

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  7. I found it very interesting that you didn't enjoy Prodigy as much as Legend. I found that I liked Prodigy more than Legend. Isn't it funny how that happens, sometimes? I've wanted to read Champion for quite some time. Maybe it will turn out that we both get to Champion and love it more than the first two! :) Happy reading this week!

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    1. Everyone does have different tastes, I know, but sometimes it might be the circumstances. It took me a long time to finish Prodigy, so stringing it out might have also been a problem. Thanks, Ricki!

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  8. You have two of our favorite books on your post today - The Boy on the Porch and The Chickens Build a Wall. The Boy on the Porch is such a touching story - I reread the last chapters several times because I didn't want it to end.

    Thanks for telling us about Sequoia and Telephone. We can't wait to read them

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    1. Oh, terrific to hear how much you liked The Boy On The Porch. I wanted more, too! Sometimes a story lingers, and this one will for a long time. Thank you!

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  9. Death by Toilet Paper has done REALLY well in my library! Have you nominated for Cybils? Nominations close on Wednesday, and I'd love to see more nominations. Any shout out or lists of things you'd like to see nominated that you're comfortable with would be great, too!

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    1. Hi Karen! I've only managed to nominate in poetry. Every time I find another good book, it's already there. I'll look again before Wednesday. Glad to hear the Death By Toilet Paper is being loved by students too.

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  10. I'm not allowed to get any more PBs from the library right now because I have too many, but I have Telephone on my TBR so I remember to get it later!
    Death by Toilet Paper and the Legend series are both on my TBR as well. SO MANY BOOKS!

    Happy reading this week! :)

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    1. Thanks Kellee, & I do understand. You had a lot of books I haven't read yet either. Lots of books! Hope your week is filled with good reading, too.

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  11. I was unsatisfied by the end of Boy on the Porch. I guess I just want everything resolved. Telephone looks like so much fun to read. New to Mac Barnett but enjoying his talent.

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    1. I see what you mean about The Boy On The Porch, I wanted more, too, but if she had added more, it would have had to be a lot more, don't you think? I just saw that Mac Barnett has another book out. He's great.

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  12. I really enjoyed The Boy on the Porch. I thought it read a lot like an allegory. It was beautiful in its simplicity.

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    1. Yes, I wonder if that's why many of us adults like it so much. Thanks, Beth.

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  13. Here are some of the books I think may get Newbery consideration - Seven Stories Up, Revolution, Brown Girl Dreaming, The Secret Hum of a Daisy, Port Chicago 50, Boys of Blur, West of the Moon, The Riverman & maybe even Fourteenth Goldfish. I am not really sure which is my favorite though I believe Brown Girl Dreaming is really getting the most buzz & it's definitely worthy. I have a few more I want to get to that others have mentioned like Nightingale's Nest & The Night Gardener. Have fun on the Newbery hunt.

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    1. I need to read Seven Stories Up, Port Chicago 40, and West of the Moon still, Crystal. Your others are terrific too. I would add Absolutely Almost and Nest. Wow, what a great year-again-it has been. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!

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  14. I've read so many lovely things about The Boy on the Porch - I have yet to read my first Sharon Creech novel. We're currently compiling a bibliography of tree-themed stories which will be published next year. Will definitely add Sequioa to the list.

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    1. Sharon Creech's stories are wonderful, Myra. Hope you find one that pleases you. Sequoia is certainly one to add!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!