#IMWAYR January 30, 2017

Although this week has been crazy, I really focused on hitting some reading goals and finishing my two chapter books. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

Professional Books

I am co-teaching a professional development course right now on integrating technology intentionally and authentically into Reading Workshop. Amplify (Ziemke & Muhtaris, 2016) and From Pencils to Podcasts (Stover & Yearta, 2017) are supporting out work throughout this class. Both books give practical, relevant, and easy-to-implement strategies for transitioning to a Digital Reading Workshop in elementary classrooms.

YA Novels

OCDaniel, by Wesley King
This is somehow the third book I’ve read about OCD in the past several weeks (I’ve also read Finding Perfect and The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B), and just like each of the other books, OCDaniel really gave me some perspective on what it means to truly experience obsessive-compulsive disorder. Daniel, a 13-year-old who is dealing with the typical stresses of adolescence (fitting in, liking girls, navigating his relationship with his family), is also struggling with hiding behaviors that are not typical–numbers that he is suddenly unable to write anymore, a night time Ritual that takes him hours to complete, and panic attacks that leave him feeling left out, confused, and unlike any of his peers. Until Sara, known by classmates as “Psycho Sara,” seeks him out to ask for his help in untangling her own confusing family situation. As these two battle their mental illnesses together, an unlikely friendship forms–and they begin to discover what really matters. I highly recommend this book to older middle school or early high school readers, especially those contending with mental illnesses of their own.


Middle Grade Novels

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, by Adam Gidwitz

The Inquisitor’s Tale has been on my #MustReadin2017 list and it jumped to the top of the stack this week when it was named a 2017 Newbery Honor winner. This book tells the story of three unlikely friends–a peasant girl with visions of the future, a young monk with superhuman strength, and a Jewish boy with healing powers–who are on a quest with their holy dog in France in 1242. Their story–as told through the voices of travelers in an inn who have encountered the trio–follows the children and their dog across France, through castles and churches, and into the presence of kings, lords, priests, knights, and dragons. Through its unique setting and original cast of characters, this book will spark interesting discussions about today’s issues of diversity, prejudice, and justice. Although I don’t recommend this as a classroom read aloud (definitely read it yourself first if you’re thinking of reading it to a group of students), this would be a fantastic book club book for fifth grade and up.


Picture Books

Pink is for Blobfish, by Jess Keating
One of the goals I set for myself this week was to read something nonfiction, so I was really excited when this arrived on my desk on Wednesday. Not only does this book hook readers with a focus on pink, but every page introduces a new and weird animal to learn about. From naked mole rats to snakes to the blobfish itself, Keating has filled this book with vibrant photos, a bright layout, and tons of cool and interesting facts about each animal. Thinking about the number of times the words gross and cool popped into my head as I read, I can’t wait to add this one to a classroom library!Image result

Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan, by Cynthia Rylant
My kids’ school celebrated Screen Free Week last week, so I naturally thought there’s no better time to introduce some first chapter books. We all snuggled up to read Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan together, and of course my kids fell in love with big sloppy Mudge. I couldn’t tell at first how “into it” my son was (he’s almost 5 and a bit obsessed with Legos and Ninjas right now), but I caught him paging back through the book later, soaking in Henry and Mudge and their adventure. Henry and Mudge have always been a great part of any primary classroom library, and this book is perfect for a snowy winter day!


Boom Snot Twitty, by Doreen Cronin
I have long been a Doreen Cronin fan (Diary of a Worm; Click, Clack, Moo), but this book was a bit different from her others. My kids loved the pictures and the Snot’s silly character, but the plot itself was a little difficult to follow.


Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers
When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he is determined to throw things at it to knock it down–over and over and over, until the tree is full of all sorts of silly items. This book will be a fun read with my own kids, and would be great to use for problem-solving and STEM lessons in the classroom to emphasize trying different solutions to a problem.


Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, by Mo Willems
Another Mo Willems book to add to my list of favorites! This adorable story tells the tale of Wilbur, a naked mole rat who is ridiculed and rejected because he dares to be different and wear clothes. This book will be an excellent text in the classroom to open dialogue with students about being yourself and not always having to follow the crowd.

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Leonardo the Terrible Monster, by Mo Willems
No matter how hard he tries, Leonardo is just not good at being a monster. Desperate to be terrible, he researches scaredy-cat kids until he finds a little boy named Sam. But even though Leonardo has his sights set on “scaring the tuna salad” out of Sam, things definitely don’t go as planned. This book was a really fun read with my kids (we were all laughing out loud–and I had to read it three times in a row!), and once again Willems does not fail to tell a cute story with a powerful lesson.

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Reading Progress Check-in

  • 2017 Total Progress: 54/230 books read
    • 13/100 chapter books
    •  2 graphic novels
  • #MustReadin2017 Progress: 15/30 (Halfway done!)
  • My reading goals for the week:
    • Read another graphic novel
    • Finish 2 more #MustReadin2017 books

What is #IMWAYR?

Each Monday this year, I hope to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I’ve done during the week, from picture books to young adult novels.



#IMWAYR January 23, 2017

Squeezing in time to read is getting trickier as the demands of the spring semester are starting to pick up! I’m being very conscious about setting aside at least a few minutes each night to read for enjoyment (and sneaking in some time here and there on the weekend whenever I can, too). Here’s what I’ve been reading this week!

YA Novels

Ashes, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Guilty confession: I skipped the middle book in this trilogy. I read Chains last summer and was excited to get my hands on a copy of the third and final book in the series this week. Ashes is the final installment in Revolutionary Era story of Isabel, a teenage slave who begins a journey seeking freedom and soon finds herself facing more challenges than she ever imagined. As the country is on the verge of war, Isabel and her friend Curzon set out to find her sister, Ruth, who has been deceitfully separated from her by their owner. As Isabel and Ruth are reunited in Ashes, together they must face the challenges of war, love, suffering, and learning to forgive as they find themselves in the heart of the Battle of Yorktown. I highly recommend this book for 5th grade and up, especially for readers who are fans of historical fiction (and for anyone who is a Hamilfan!).

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Middle Grade Novels

Some Kind of Happiness, by Claire Legrand

When Finley Hart is sent to live with her grandparents for the summer, surrounded by family she has never met while her parents work on some “marital issues”, the only way she copes with the changes in her life are by writing stories of the Everwood, a magical forest inhabited by mystical creatures, darkness, and an orphan girl. Soon Finley has drawn her cousins and new friends into her imaginary world, entering dangerous territory as she digs up secrets from the past that the Hart family would rather keep buried. This book had me hooked until the very last page, drawing me in with the depth of both the story and the emotions running through it. This novel is a perfect read for students in upper elementary and middle school.

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The Distance to Home, by Jenn Bishop
This book is Bishop’s debut novel, and it’s amazing. It is set up as parallel stories: Last Summer, when Quinnen is dealing with her changing relationship with her teenage sister and fighting to lead her baseball team to the championship, and This Summer, when Quinnen is drowning in her grief after losing her sister and turning her back on everything she used to love. This novel is both heartbreaking and hopeful, and is another outstanding addition to any upper elementary/middle school classroom library.

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Picture Books

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret, by Bob Shea
Ballet Cat is absolutely the best thing to happen to graphic novels for early readers since Elephant and Piggie. My kids absolutely loved Dance, Dance, Underpants, and this book gained almost as many giggles at bedtime. As Sparkles the Pony gathers the courage throughout the story to tell Ballet Cat his secret, he is completely unaware that Ballet Cat has a secret of her own. This is a fun book about friendship and trust that will absolutely be loved by primary readers.


Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail, by James Horvath
My kids love this trilogy of books about a construction team of dogs. Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail is an adorable story about a canine construction crew who must demolish a building and construct a skyscraper. Not only does this book incorporate a lot of great vocabulary words in a fun, lyrical context, but kids also fall in love with searching for Jinx the cat on each page to see what trouble he has gotten into. This book is a great addition to a primary classroom library!


Float, by Daniel Miyares
I have to confess that I have a terrible habit of speeding past the illustrations in picture books, so it takes a special book to make me slow down and appreciate the details in the pictures. Float, the first wordless picture book I’ve read in awhile, is a beautifully illustrated book about a little boy who takes a paper boat out to sail on a rainy day. Miyares’ thoughtful use of spacing and color really drew me into this story, and this is a book I would love to use with students for an illustration study!

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Bad Kitty Does Not Like Candy, by Nick Bruel
I loved including the Bad Kitty series in my classroom library when I taught primary grades, and I am loving introducing this series to my own kids now. In this story, Bad Kitty is offered several different foods, many quite silly, but his eyes are only on a giant jar of candy–until he actually gets his paws on it and realizes that things aren’t always as wonderful as you expect. This book was a simple and fun bedtime story.

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Dear Dragon, by Josh Funk
After seeing this book pop up on several lists at the end of 2016, I added it as one of a few picture books on my #MustReadin2017 list. This is a fast-paced rhyming book of letters between a little boy and his pen pal who is, unbeknownst to him, a dragon. This would be a fun book to include in an early elementary classroom, especially with its bright and busy illustrations.

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Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, by Mo Willems
I may not have mentioned before how much I absolutely love Mo Willems, but…I absolutely love Mo Willems. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs is one of few titles written by Willems that I had not previously read, and I really enjoyed sharing it with my kids at bedtime this week. While some of the sarcasm and obvious foreshadowing was lost on my preschoolers, they loved the bold pictures and the simple twist on a familiar story (and, of course, finding the Pigeon hiding in the story). This is a book that I’m positive early elementary readers would absolutely love.

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A Pocket for Corduroy, by Don Freeman

This book was one of my favorites as a child, and I was excited to share it with my own kids this week–and was thrilled that they fell in love with it just as much as I did. They had millions of questions about why Corduroy got lost in a laundromat, why he wanted a pocket, and why there was a box of soap. My son even commented at the end how much he loved the pictures and asked if I could tell him about the illustrator. I love that this book still holds as much charm and appeal for this generation as it did for mine!


Reading Progress Check-in

  • 2017 Total Progress: 46/230 books read
    • 11/100 chapter books
    • 2 graphic novels
  • #MustReadin2017 Progress: 12/30
  • My reading goals for the week:
    • Read something nonfiction
    • Finish 2 more #MustReadin2017 books

What is #IMWAYR?

Each Monday this year, I hope to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I’ve done during the week, from picture books to young adult novels.

#IMWAYR January 16, 2017

A well-timed “ice day” this week gave me a little extra time for reading, so I didn’t let it go to waste! I read several more books on my #MustReadin2017 list, and I got to tackle a large stack of books that were on the 2016 Nerdies Picture Book list. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week…

YA Novels

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon

After reading The Sun is Also a Star just a few weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything. The premise of this book is that the narrator, Madeline, has been completely confined to her home for her entire life because she is “allergic to the world around her.” Kept company only by her mother and her nurse, Carla, her monotonous days are suddenly disrupted by the arrival of a new family next door–particularly their son, Olly. As Madeline watches him through her window, increasingly intrigued by his dark and mysterious ways, he begins to notice her and establish contact. Inevitably, their relationship advances, though at great risk–even being in the same room with Olly puts Madeline in grave danger. This book was full of twists and turns and lots of heart, and I found myself unable to put it down. While I didn’t love it quite as much as The Sun is Also a Star (I was missing the various perspectives Yoon included in that story), I definitely enjoyed reading this YA novel and look forward to more from this author.

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Middle Grade Novels

Towers Falling, by Jewell Parker Rhoades

As I’ve read several different middle grade and YA novels about 9/11 over the past several months, I’ve felt a deep appreciation for all of the different perspectives each author has brought to keeping the memories of this day embedded in our hearts. Towers Falling, written for middle grade students, is the story of a homeless girl in New York who is struggling to find her way as she balances the stresses of a home life with younger siblings, an overworked mother, and an ill father with trying to fit in at a new school. As she settles in at her new school, her father’s illness escalates as she begins to learn about the tragic events of 9/11. While I didn’t love this book as much as Nine, Ten: A September 11th Story, I felt that this book brought another perspective to understanding how many people are still living each day with the consequences of September 11th.


Paper Wishes, by Lois Sepahban

Paper Wishes, another book from my #MustReadin2017 list, is a beautifully written book about a Japanese family that is relocated to a camp during World War II. As Manami and her family leave their peaceful island home to go live in a camp in the desert, her beloved dog is confiscated and she loses her voice. This book is an amazing story about finding your voice, finding yourself, and finding peace in circumstances that are beyond your control. I highly recommend this as a historical fiction novel, especially to some of the middle grade readers at my school who have fallen in love with Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky this year.

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Two Naomis, by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Audrey Vernick

I really enjoyed this contemporary middle grade novel about two girls–both, of course, named Naomi–who find themselves battling with conflicting feelings when they are forced to come together because their parents begin dating each other. What I really loved about this novel is that it shifted back and forth from the perspective of one Naomi to the other, really giving the reader an understanding of how complicated their relationship was and how they felt toward one another. I think middle grade girls, especially those in blended families, will really enjoy reading this novel.

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Picture Books

Wild Feelings, by David Milgram

I read this as a bedtime story with my kids. We loved the cute illustrations and talking about different feelings, but some of it went over their heads. This would be a good book to use to talk about emotions.

Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty

I loved this STEM-themed book! Rosie learns the value of trial-and-error as she creates, builds, and problem-solves. Highly recommend for elementary classrooms!

Ida, Always, by Caron Levis

This book was absolutely beautiful (and one of the most heart wrenching picture books I’ve read). Polar bears Gus and Ida are best friends who live and dream together in a zoo until Ida becomes terminally ill. As they share her last days together, and as Gus grieves her loss, readers experience both the grief and peace of her passing.

These Hands, by Margaret H. Mason

These Hands addresses a complicated issue for kids in a very unique way. As the grandfather in the story shares all of the things he can do with his hands with his grandson–playing ball, playing piano–he also shares something he was not allowed to do with his hands: make bread at the Wonderbread factory. This story of civil rights illustrates the power that lies within each of us and the tremendous amount of courage it takes for change to happen.

The Night Gardener, by Terry & Eric Fan

The Night Gardener is one of those absolutely amazing picture books that relies on the pictures to fill in the story. The gorgeous illustrations in this book show how a community, especially the orphanage that lies at its heart, are transformed by the daily appearance of beautiful topiaries created by a Night Gardener. This is a book I’m excited to use with older elementary students!

Penguin Problems, by Jory John

Adorable story about a penguin who will not stop complaining. About everything. The sun, the temperature, other penguins–nothing escapes his criticism in this cute book about finding the positive around you. It was slightly over my preschooler’s head, but I think it will be loved by elementary-age readers.

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask To Be In This Book), by Julie Falatko

This was one of my favorites this week! We read Snappsy as a bedtime story, and while I think parts of it were (again) over my kids’ heads, there were several parts where we laughed out loud. This book is witty and charming, and will be a great mentor text for thinking about point of view and perspective.

Be a Friend, by Salina Yoon

This is a story that is meant to be read over and over again. This book celebrates individuality and being “different”–and how there is a just right friend out there for everyone. The illustrations inspired a lot of discussion, and this book will be an excellent addition to any classroom library!

Shy, by Deborah Freedman

The soft illustrations of this gentle book are gorgeous. The story of Shy, who learns to go out in the world, leaves readers with a quiet confidence about trying new things and embracing the world around you.

We Found a Hat, by Jon Klassen

I loved the first two books in this trilogy and was not disappointed in this final book in the series! As two turtles find one hat in the desert and both want it for their own, they battle the inner conflict of their friendship against their desire for the hat. Just as in the other two books, Klassen leaves the reader thinking deeply about the motivations and relationships between characters while using simple words and engaging illustrations.

Worm Loves Worm, J.J. Austrian

This simple picture book, a tale of two worms getting married, opens up big conversations. Throughout the book, the worms plan their wedding by “the way it’s always been”–until it’s time to decide who will be the bride and who will be the groom. As both worms embrace both roles, readers realize that what truly matters is that the two worms love one another.

Thunder Boy, Jr., by Sherman Alexie

This may be one of the first picture books I’ve read that features Native American culture from a standpoint that is not historical, making me realize how much books that celebrate the diversity of this culture are needed in our libraries. This is the story of Thunder Boy, Jr., who dislikes his name because the name he shares with his father is so unusual. Throughout the book, he tries on new names until he finds one that is “just right” at the end of the book.

Let Me Finish, by Minh Le

This book is perfect for anyone who has ever had a book spoiled by someone who has already read it. As the main character begins book after book, different characters keep popping up to spoil the ending. This is one I can’t wait to share as a read aloud with older readers as we kick off book talks and book clubs next year!

Du Iz Tak?, by Carson Ellis

By far the most creative picture book I’ve read this week, Du Iz Tak? takes a seemingly ordinary event in nature and makes it extraordinary with invented language and bold illustrations. As the creatures in this book interact around the growth of a plant, I was enchanted by their interactions and completely caught up in trying to decipher their language. This is another book that will be great for both younger and older elementary readers.

Reading Progress Check-in

  • 2017 Total Progress: 35/230 books read
    • 8/100 chapter books
    • 2 graphic novels
  • #MustReadin2017 Progress: 7/30
  • My reading goals for the week:
    • Read at least one YA and one Middle Grade novel
    • Read one graphic novel
    • Read at least 3 new picture books

What is #IMWAYR?

Each Monday this year, I hope to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I’ve done during the week, from picture books to young adult novels.


#IMWAYR January 9, 2017

As school has kicked back into gear with new projects and a new semester ahead, I’ve enjoyed taking a “break” from my hectic reality with some great reads this week!

Here’s What I’ve Been Reading This Week:

The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
Everywhere I’ve seen this book mentioned, I have heard nothing but glowing reviews–and it far exceeded all of them. This is a book about love, about hope, about understanding yourself and recognizing the best in others. It’s about fate and the universe working hand-in-hand. This is a book that filled my heart with optimism and joy to start 2017, and I absolutely loved every page of this beautiful story.

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Iggy Peck, Architect, by Andrea Beaty
I really enjoyed the easy flow of this story about a boy whose talent was stifled until everyone realized how much it was needed. Great STEM and character ed read aloud to share with my elementary readers!

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Lost. Found., by Marsha Diane Arnold
I found this book on last year’s 2015 Picture Book Nerdies when I was searching for good books at the library this week and was not disappointed. This cute story about a scarf that is lost and found is not only a simple and fun read with adorable illustrations, it will be a great resource for working with younger kids on developing systems thinking.


The Bear Ate Your Sandwich, by Julia Roach-Sarcone
This book has been on my TBR list since my kids’ school participated in Read for the Record a few months ago, and I was excited to pick it up (finally) this week to read it with them. Another fun story with a cute twist at the end. We loved the illustrations and the imagination that went into creating this story!

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That is NOT a Good Idea!, by Mo Willems
Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a deep appreciation (LOVE) for Mo Willems’ books, and this one is no exception. My kids and I giggled at the little chick’s dire warnings throughout the book and loved the ending!

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Poor Puppy, by Nick Bruel
Another bedtime story shared with my kids, I was excited to introduce this book because of how much I loved using Bad Kitty when I taught second grade. While my kids found the book enjoyable and loved the pictures, I think this is one we will need to reread a couple of times to pick up on the patterns of letters and numbers throughout the book.


Smile, by Raina Telgemeier
After seeing this one popping up on desks in all of the fourth and fifth grade classrooms I push into and hearing students mention this book (and Sisters) over and over, I added this to my TBR list several months ago. Like the other graphic novels I’ve read, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book. The theme–struggling through adolescence–is so easy to relate to, and I love how the experiences Telgemeier had in this autobiographical novel were best expressed through her illustrations (I just don’t think there are any words that can do justice to extreme dental work…). I’m excited to pick up Sisters and read it soon!

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They All Saw a Cat, by Brendan Wenzel
I started 2017 off at school by reading this book aloud to a group of 2nd graders–and they loved it. They not only loved the illustrations, but they were eager to chime in once they picked up the pattern of the book and were excited to discuss it after reading. I highly recommend this as an addition to any classroom library!

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Baby Bear and If You Plant a Seed, by Kadir Nelson
The illustrations in both of these books are absolutely phenomenal–beautiful paintings that feature animals. They are so filled with emotion and feeling. I found both stories, however, to be just OK. I read Baby Bear with my kids and, while they liked the pictures, I don’t think they understood the story. If You Plant a Seed has a great message, but would have to be supported with a lot of dialogue if used in the classroom.

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Finding Winnie, by Lindsay Mattick
I’ve had this book on my shelf for awhile and got the first opportunity to share it with a group of students this week. As I read it aloud in a second grade classroom, I fell in love all over again with this beautiful story about the origins of Winnie the Pooh. The captivated looks on every child’s face only reinforced how amazing this book really is!

The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring, by Gilbert Ford
This is one of a few picture books on my #MustReadin2017 List, and I absolutely loved the illustrations. I finished this book with a nostalgic feeling–I really enjoyed learning the little piece of history behind the Slinky and look forward to sharing this one with students.

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Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven
I read All the Bright Places right before Christmas and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. I was just as “hooked” as I was with Bright Places, intrigued by the characters and their relationship with each other and the people around them.

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Snow White: A Graphic Novel, by Matt Phelan
Another book that keeps popping up on Twitter and blog posts, I was intrigued by the premise of this book–a graphic novel version of the fairy tale set in Depression-era New York City. It was an incredibly fast read (I finished the entire book in about 15 minutes, though I didn’t dwell on the illustrations as long as I maybe should have), and one that I think might hook some reluctant readers who are familiar with the classic story.

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Finding Perfect, by Elly Swartz
This book definitely ended my book-filled week on a high note. The second book I’ve read about OCD in as many weeks, Elly Swartz’s Finding Perfect found its way onto my #MustReadin2017 list after showing up on the 2016 Nerdies for Middle Grade Fiction. As the stress in Molly’s life gets out of control when her mom moves out of the country, she begins obsessing about her glass animals and counting repeatedly. This novel tackles a difficult topic for a middle grade audience with grace, compassion, and a story line that is perfectly realistic. I hope this book finds its way into the hands of many young readers, especially those who may be facing situations similar to Molly’s. A full review of this book, written by Bridget Hodder, can be found here on the Nerdy Book Club blog.

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Reading Progress Check-in

  • 2017 Total Progress: 15/230 books read
    • 4/100 chapter books
    • 2 graphic novels
  • #MustReadin2017 Progress: 3/30
  • My reading goals for the week:
    • Read 3 more novels from my #MustReadin2017 list (I start my spring semester classes next week, so I need to squeeze in as much reading as possible this week!)

What is #IMWAYR?

Each Monday this year, I hope to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I’ve done during the week, from picture books to young adult novels.


#MustReadin2017: My List

When I see a list of books, I feel like a kid in a candy shop–so many options, and they all look amazing! My Goodreads account is overflowing with “Want to Read” titles, and the announcement of the 2016 Nerdies over the past few weeks has only filled it up more.

When I saw Carrie Gelson’s call for a #MustReadin2017 list a few days ago on Twitter (more information can be found on her blog There is a Book for That here), my only question was: Why am I so late to this party???

I’ve spent the past few days reflecting, eliminating, and compiling, and am excited to challenge myself to reading the following picture books, middle grade novels, and YA novels in 2017:


For a full list of titles and authors, click here to see my living document on Google docs.

Here’s to a great (and busy!) year of reading!

#IMWAYR January 2, 2017

One of my (many) resolutions to kick off 2017 is to renew my commitment to keeping track of my reading. Each Monday this year, I hope to join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I’ve done during the week, from picture books to young adult novels.

Here’s What I’ve Been Reading:

Since getting lost in the pages of Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places right before Winter Break began, I dove into several of the YA titles highlighted on this list over the past few weeks.

Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Although I found this book uncomfortable, even devastating, no one can portray the heartbreaking reality of eating disorders and loss like Anderson.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, by Teresa Toten

Adam/Batman’s roller coaster of balancing falling in love and battling his OCD made this book an absolute page-turner for me.

13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher

Asher tackles a difficult topic head-on, leading the reader to understand the complexities of teen suicide through the tapes Hannah leaves behind for Clay. Equal parts mystery and tragedy, I found myself wishing for answers along with Clay throughout the story. I’m anxious to see how this one will be adapted for the screen when it shows up on Netflix later this year.


Wish, by Barbara O’Connor

A sweet middle grade novel about finding your place in the world and discovering what your heart truly desires. This is one I will definitely be sharing with upper elementary readers, especially those who have fallen in love already with Winn-Dixie.

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Elephant and Piggie Like Reading!: The Cookie Fiasco, by Dan Santat

I picked this up to read to my own kids (ages 2 and 4) tonight, and although some of the math ideas went over their heads, they loved the characters and were excited to see their old friends Elephant and Piggie (and, of course, to look for The Pigeon in the back of the book).

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Reading Progress Check-in

  • I finished 2016 with a grand total of 226 books read (goal: 200)!
  • 2017 Total Progress: 2/230
    • Chapter Books: 1/100
  • My reading goals this week:
    • Finish The Sun is Also a Star
    • Read Smile and Sisters (both are sitting on my nightstand and I promised some students they were next on my To Read List)
    • Create my #MustReadin2017 list