#IMWAYR March 13, 2017

This has been another busy week of writing for the Slice of Life challenge and taking care of sick kids at home. Luckily, I was able to squeeze in a lot of reading time with the kids and a little bit of time for myself…

YA Novels

When We Collided, by Emery Lord

This YA novel gets to the heart of the impact of mental illness on relationships. Vivi is a teenage girl who is hiding her demons behind a free spirit during her summer in a beach town. Jonah is a townie who has just lost his father and is trying to keep his family together. When the two meet, they have a dramatic impact on each other’s lives and must learn to each face the pasts that haunt them.
Recommended for: High school and up
Why: Mature themes of mental illness and teenage behavior


Middle Grade Novels

Bird and Squirrel on Ice, by James Burkes

This was the first book I read in the Bird and Squirrel series, and I absolutely see the appeal for young readers. The story was action-packed and full of adventure as Bird blindly accepted the role of “Chosen One” to defeat a whale who controlled an island full of penguins with his constant demands for fish. Squirrel realizes all is not as it seems and must come up with a plan to defeat the whale and save Bird.
Recommended for: 2nd-4th grades
Why: This is a great series for beginning graphic novel readers


Picture Books

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, by Javaka Steptoe

This beautifully-illustrated 2017 Caldecott winner tells the biographical story of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Taking readers through his childhood and the events that shaped him into an artist, this book is a very well-written and engaging biography.
Recommended for: 4th grade and up
Why: Good resource for teaching biography for intermediate readers and older


Mix It Up, by Herve’ Tullet

An interactive book of mixing up colors, this one is a favorite at my house. Kids get to touch, shake, tap, and smear the paint blobs on each page to transform the colors.
Recommended for: Preschool and up
Why: Great for color concepts with younger kids and excellent for use as a writing mentor text when thinking about ‘interactive’ texts with older students


How I Became a Pirate, by Melinda Long

This is an old favorite that I just shared with my kids this week. Melinda Long’s tale of young Jeremy Jacob meeting an unruly band of pirates on the beach and following them to sea is perfect for any pirate-lovers in your life. Jeremy Jacob is thrilled to be on the adventure until he figures out what he is missing out on at home. Adorable story with outstanding illustrations by David Shannon.
Recommended for: Preschool-3rd grade
Why: The story is highly appealing to younger readers, the dialogue and language of the story would make it a good mentor text for intermediate readers and writers


I’m Bad!, by Kate and Jim McMullin

We love this series at our house (I Stink, I’m Dirty), and my kids’ recent fascination with dinosaurs led us to this book on the library shelf. The fast pace of the story and graphic illustrations were a hit!
Recommended for: Kindergarten through 2nd grade
Why: Perfect for dinosaur-lovers, this book incorporates some complex vocabulary and would be excellent for using to make predictions


The Green Umbrella, by Jackie Azua Kramer

Elephant’s green umbrella is keeping him dry in the rain until several friends come by and question him for using their boat/tent/etc. Great book for thinking about perspective and sharing and using your imagination.
Recommended for: Preschool through 3rd grade
Why: The story is easy to follow for young readers and is good for discussions of possession and perspective


Use Your Imagination, by Nicola O’Bryne

Rabbit tries to come up with a story with the help of wolf, who obviously has an ulterior motive. By the end of the story, Rabbit must use his imagination to get himself out of a very sticky situation!
Recommended for: Preschool through 2nd grade
Why: Great for getting kids to think about story elements and how to use your imagination, as well as making predictions


Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Story, by Margriet Ruurs

This story of the journey of a refugee family in Syria is powerful. As readers follow the family from their home to safety, the pictures of rock art that accompany the story are absolutely captivating. Wonderful book for explaining the situation in Syria to young readers.


The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day, by Natasha Wing

We’re getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day at my house, and this book was a great way to kick off the week! As a tricky leprechaun causes mischief around their house, a brother and sister try to find ways to outsmart him and find his lucky pot of gold. Told through the familiar “‘Twas the Night Before…” format, this was a cute book to add to our holiday collection.
Recommended for: PreK through 2nd grade
Why: Fun holiday-themed book


Reading Progress Check-in

  • 2017 Total Progress: 98/230 books read
    • 24/100 chapter books
    •  4 graphic novels
  • #MustReadin2017 Progress: 21/30
  • My reading goals for the week:
    • Finish another book from my #MustReadin2017 list
    • Reach the 100 book mark on my 2017 Reading Challenge

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 March 6, 2017

I’ve been balancing my reading time this week with writing for the March Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. Here are the amazing books I read this week:

Middle Grade Novel

Still a Work in Progress, by Jo Knowles

More than anything, this book is an important book for kids to read. When Noah’s sister Emma has a relapse of her eating disorder, his life begins to unravel. He questions himself, his friendships, and his family. As he works to discover who he really is and come to peace with his sister’s disease, Noah learns to trust others and forgive himself. This novel highlights the impact that eating disorders have on families, not only the person fighting against the disease.
Recommended for: 5th grade and up
Why: This book deals with some mature themes that may not be appropriate in an elementary setting; this book would be excellent for book clubs to have a rich discussion

Still a Work in Progress

Picture Books

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet, by Carmen Agra Deedy

I’ve been hearing about this book everywhere, and I’m so glad a picked it up. When a rooster dares to defy a mayor’s law to be quiet, nothing the mayor can do will silence him. This is a book about courage and using your voice to stand up for what you believe in.
Recommended for: 2nd grade and up, especially good picture book for older readers
Why: While the story may seem simple to younger readers, this book holds an important message about standing up to oppression, even when the consequences are severe


The Bear Who Wasn’t There, by LeUyen Pham

A hilarious book in which readers spend the duration of the story looking for the main character, a bear, who seems to have just disappeared. Throughout the book, a ridiculous duck tries to convince readers that the story should  be about him, while other animals try to help find the bear (except a giraffe, who is rudely interrupted in the bathroom). Fun, silly read!
Recommended for: Pre-K through 3rd grade
Why: Bold and silly illustrations hook younger readers, while this book gives you a sense of what it means to be an author as the writer of the book jumps in to help find the bear, too


You Don’t Want a Unicorn!, by Ame Dyckman

I can’t recommend this book to primary teachers enough. This cute precautionary tale about all of the reasons why wishing for a unicorn are a bad idea is witty and clever. Kids will love the illustrations and the unicorn theme.
Recommended for: Pre-K through 4th grade
Why: Younger kids will love the pictures and the story, while older kids will absolutely benefit from using this as a mentor text for teaching opinion writing


We Are Growing! (Elephant and Piggie Like Reading #2), by Laurie Keller

An absolutely adorable story of a row of grass, each blade trying to be the “est” of something–tallest, curliest, dandiest, and so on. What begins as a story of competition, however, turns out to be a tale of being an individual and standing out because of your strengths. Bonus: Elephant and Piggie!
Recommended for: Pre-K through 3rd grade, especially those who love Elephant and Piggie


Ninja! Attack of the Clan, by Arree Chung

Told in the format of an early graphic novel, this picture book will absolutely appeal to the ninja enthusiasts in your life. All Maxwell wants to do is put his ninja skills to work, but his family is too busy to spend time with him until they realize how much they have let him down.
Recommended for: PreK through 3rd grade
Why: Great for kids who like ninjas, lots of picture support, good introductory graphic novel using speech bubbles with sparse dialogue to tell the story


Reading Progress Check-in

  • 2017 Total Progress: 88/230 books read
    • 23/100 chapter books
    •  3 graphic novels
  • #MustReadin2017 Progress: 21/30
  • My reading goals for the week:
    • Finish 1 more #MustReadin2017 book
    • Finish reading at least two 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.