Sunday, June 8, 2014

Monday-reading wrap!

                 Thanks to Jen at Teach.Mentor.Texts and Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers, we have a terrific Monday Reading community. Come see what everyone shares!
          Tweet at #IMWAYR

            I've read some of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart-so compelling already, but having my daughter, son-in-law & two granddaughters here, & now my grandson in Texas having a baseball accident will bring me to be with them on Tuesday. My time is definitely not my own, yet! Hopefully this book will be finished this coming week.

However, I did read some good books this week.

The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story – by R.J. Palacio
           It’s an extraordinary piece of writing that expands a book that is already “wonder-filled”, yet this short story filled me with delight. When we read and love a book, although it can be satisfying, questions do arise, particularly about other characters. It’s one of the reasons I loved the way Cynthia Voigt wrote books about the characters in Dicey’s Song. In those novels, I learned so much about Dicey’s friends and family, too.
           Discovering the backstory of Julian, the bully in Wonder pulls me back into the story of August, and those events that connected these two young boys. Now I want to read Wonder again, which of course will make me imagine what the expanded story of others might be.  I appreciate R.J. Palacio’s sharing this story.

Stand In My Shoes, Kids Learning About Empathy – written by Bob Sornson & illustrated by Shelley Johannes
           This is a good story showing numerous kinds of ways that a young girl learns empathy all during the day as she encounters different situations, with her parents and with kids at school. It will be a great read aloud for conversation.

The Most Magnificent Thing - written by & illustrated by Ashley Spires
            If one had a large box of junk pieces, and read this book to their children or their students, I imagine they would go immediately to work on their own “magnificent” thing. It’s a story about a little girl, her assistant (a little dog) and the trials of a day of building. This little girl reminds me of many children who have such plans in their heads, & then on paper, but are challenged when they try to build that “magnificent” thing. Ashley Spires got the feelings and the process just right, and her illustrations make the interest in what will happen next grow & grow.

Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! Poems for Two Voices – written by Carole Gerber and illustrated by Eugene Yelchen

         All one needs to start a garden unit of learning is this book! Each poem will start the questioning, and research will help find the answers as to why each poem says what it does. For example, on the page with “New Shoot”, the first voice asks: “Will you be up soon?/I feel sure you’ll be cute.” and the second replies: “My roots are growing as we speak./I’m about to pop my shoot./Thanks for your concern though./Will we meet when I come out?” There is more talk, also accompanied by a large rabbit, one of the speakers! I hope you can imagine what the end might be. Other poems share about roots, helianthus, bees, and milkweed. It’s a treasure of information, poetically told with beautiful illustrations.

retro review: Red Light, Green Light - written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Leonard
           Since my daughter and family are staying, we've been musing over all the old and new picture books we love to read to the girls (5 and almost 3). They listen to many, many books & recent favorites are all Mo Willems books, but other older ones continue to be asked for too. And Red Light, Green Light is one of them.  It is from the era when less color was used, so there are shades of brown mostly, and of course, reds and greens in the stoplights. It's a poetic read aloud, with repetition and a calm, restful way of sharing with young children the arc of the day, from dawn till night. It's not flashy, but so good to hear of all the parts of a little community going to sleep, and the important parts of how red and green lights work.  

Next: I have a few books from NetGalley I hope to start. And still have a long list of #MustReadIn2014 books. I'm finished with school, so now will start some PD books too. Have you seen the posts about #CyberPD-Check out Cathy Mere's Post at Reflect and Refine here that also shares the links to Michelle Nero at Literacy Learning Zone here, and Laura Komos at Ruminate and Invigorate here.


  1. I can't wait to read The Julian Chapter, and Most Magnificent is on my kitchen counter waiting for me:>) Isn't Seeds, Bees...lovely? So many good books! I'm doing the bookaday challenge with Donalyn Miller and hoping to catch up on a few hundred picture books over the summer!

  2. THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING is one of my favorite picture books this year. Such great uses for it in the classroom.

  3. You've listed several that are new to me and I'm going to try and find them at the library. I have we were liars that is on my TBR pile for this summer.
    I've been thinking about you - hope the news on your grandson has been positive the last few days!

  4. LOVE The Julian Chapter, agreed, I want to go back a reread SOON! :) Lovely array of picture books- Stand In My Shoes sounds just like the kind of book my teachers are asking for with a new unit, thank you! Happy reading week to you!

  5. I am eager to read Wonder. You jogged my memory to purchase a copy.

  6. I hope everything is okay with your grandson! Enjoy your family time! I loved We Were Liars. It was so different from what I was expecting. I have not been able to get my hands on Wonder. It is ALWAYS checked out. I suppose that's a good problem to have? Anyway. Have a great week! ~Megan

  7. I read The Julian Chapter with my fifth graders right before school was out. We had read Wonder about a month or so before. It was so interesting to see how their view of Julian went back and forth. I thought it was a perfect way to write this chapter of the story. I just read The Most Magnificent Thing as well and am putting it in my set of books for the beginning of the year relating to wonder, perseverance, and imagination.

  8. I hope your grandson is okay, Linda! I will be thinking of you.

    Thank you for sharing these books. I have been meaning to read The Julian Chapter soon. I hope you enjoy your time with your family.

  9. I was curious about how The Julian Chapter would be. It is good to know that this story is satisfying your curiosity about Julian. The book Stand in my Shoes sounds like a great book for character education and The Most Magnificent Thing also sounds like it would be great in a classroom. I hope your grandson is okay. Safe travels.

  10. A great list this week, Linda! My son's favorite book when he was little was The Little Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown - over and over and over I would read it! I do not know Red Light, Green Light but am now anxious to find it! I am very interested in the Poetry for Two Voices because it looks as though it would be great for younger students (I have a similar book but for older students) The Most Magnificant Thing is one of my favorite new spring books - and I'm rather proud because the author is Canadian! Thanks for the great list!

  11. Network down-reading from iPhone, thank you!

  12. I love this Ashley Spires title too. It is nice to see a title from our beloved Binky author! I can't wait to read We were Liars. Hope you have been enjoying all of those books with your granddaughters. What fun!

  13. Oh The Most Magnificent Thing sounds so beautiful. I wish I can find it in our libraries soon. I hope that your grandson feels better, Linda, and that the injury is not too serious. Do update us. I've been reading so much about We Were Liars, looking forward to reading your full review. Meanwhile, enjoy your time with the family!

  14. Red Light Green Light looks and sounds interesting. I really want to read Julian's story. Is it really just available as an ebook right now?

  15. I really enjoyed The Most Magnificent Thing and immediately started thinking of ways to use it in some of my classes that aren't children's lit (the message of productive failure is a good one for writing classes, I think). I ordered a copy of We Were Liars last week and am hoping it's finally going to arrive today. I'm eager to read that one! I also have a huge stack of professional development books and am very behind on that particular reading challenge (12 titles for 2014) as well as my #MustRead list. Gotta find more time to read!

  16. I've put most of these books on my "I want to read" list on Goodreads. The next step is to put them on reserve at the library. I'm looking forward to some great reading this summer. Thanks Linda!


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