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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.