This week I’ve been reading….
Girl in Pieces, by Kathleen Glasgow
This book sat on my nightstand for awhile, simply because I knew it would take a lot of emotional energy to read–and I was right. This YA novel follows Charlie, a young girl completely on her own, as she is released from the hospital for self-harm and tries to find her way in a world that has already seen more heartache and suffering than anyone should endure in a lifetime. The writing is real, and though this book was heart wrenching, the depth of the story and the trials Charlie endures left a lasting impression on me.
Recommended for: High school and older
Why: Very mature language and content
Middle Grade Novels
It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel, by Firoozeh Dumas
In this semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel, Dumas engages readers in experiencing life as a young girl from Iran in the late seventies. Trying to balance embracing her cultural heritage and assimilating to American culture during a time of unrest in her home country, Cindy’s story is one of finding friendship and of finding herself. I learned more about the relationship between Iran and the United States from reading this novel than I ever did in a history class. Dumas’ writing is witty, honest, and open.
Recommended for: Late middle school or high school
Why: Great for discussions about identity, especially related to cultural heritage and immigration
Freedom in Congo Square, by Carole Boston Weatherford
This lyrical book tells the tale of Congo Square, the heart of New Orleans where slaves were allowed to gather on Sundays. The bold illustrations and rhyming lines build anticipation throughout a week as slaves look forward to their time together in Congo Square.
Recommended for: Upper elementary or older
Why: This book is excellent for discussions about slavery, civil rights, and African culture. The information at the front and back of the book provides a complete history lesson on the significance of Congo Square.
A Crankenstein Valentine, by Samantha Berger
Our favorite grumpy character Crankenstein is back in this picture book to express his hated for any and all things related to Valentine’s Day. From heart-shaped lunches to gifts for his teacher, Crankenstein wants nothing to do with the holiday until he finds a kindred spirit. Fun bedtime story with lots of requests to reread this week!
Recommended for: Preschool through 3rd grade
Why: Fun Valentine’s Day read that would be good for exploring discussions about likes/dislikes with elementary-age readers
Slugs in Love, by Susan Pearson
When Marylou falls head-over-tail in love with Herbie, her heart is filled with poetry and she begins to leave him love notes written in slime. However, Herbie’s replies continue to be lost and Marylou believes her love is unrequited until Herbie finally has an idea that brings the two slugs together.
Recommended for: Kindergarten through 3rd grade
Why: Cute Valentine’s Day book, fun for kids old enough to appreciate the back-and-forth note writing that finally brings the two characters together
Strictly No Elephants, by Lisa Mantchev
A boy who loves his tiny pet elephant is rejected from the neighborhood Pet Club for not having a “normal” pet, so he sets out to create his own Pet Club that opens its doors to all kinds of pets.
Recommended For: Preschool through 3rd grade
Why: The story is simple enough for all readers to understand and is great for sparking discussions about inclusivity
A Hungry Lion (Or, A Dwindling Assortment of Animals), by Lucy Ruth Cummins
I love books that seem predicable but have twists throughout, and this picture book definitely meets that criteria. Fun little story to read with kids about what happens when a hungry lion finds himself among several innocent little animals.
Recommended for: Kindergarten through 5th grade
Why: Little kids will love the animal story, while this book will also make a great mentor text to show older writers how to have a sense of audience and write the unexpected
There’s A Bear in My Chair, by Ross Collins
This story about a mouse who is offended that a bear has taken up residence in his chair has a simple plot that is accentuated by words that rhyme with “bear” throughout the book.
Recommended for: Preschool to 1st grade
Why: Easy to follow text with opportunities to talk about rhyming and word families
One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, by Daniel Bernstrom
When a little boy is unfortunately eaten by a snake under the eucalyptus tree, he knows there’s only one way out. This picture book builds as the snake gobbles up animal after animal until he can’t hold any more.
Recommended for: 1st or 2nd grade
Why: Story events are predictable and there are some great moments to explore perspective and word choices
Reading Progress Check-in
- 2017 Total Progress: 69/230 books read
- 17/100 chapter books
- 3 graphic novels
- #MustReadin2017 Progress: 19/30
- My reading goals for the week:
- Finish Pernille Ripp’s new book
- Read 2 novels
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.