It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/9/13



Thanks to Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers for hosting the kidlit version of this weekly meme.

stories julian tells

I was so excited to discover Ann Cameron’s The Stories Julian Tells, the first in a series of chapter books for young readers starring African-American characters who are regular, everyday people (as opposed to great heroes opposing slavery or fighting for Civil Rights. Again, not that there’s anything wrong with books about slavery and Civil Rights. But I don’t want to give my two African sons the impression that the only time American writers feature black characters in books is when they want to write about slavery and the struggle for Civil Rights). We’ve been reading a lot of new series lately, and this is definitely one of my new favorites. The characters are interesting and quirky, the story engaging, and the writing is quite strong. Our favorite chapter was about the catalog cats: Julian tells him gullible little brother, Huey, that catalogs are places where you get cats, lots and lots of cats. (We have six cats, and all of us enjoy books that features lots and lots of cats.) Huey is devastated when the gardening catalog he’s been waiting for arrives and there are no cats anywhere. I wouldn’t have solved the problem as their father chooses to solve it, but my sons and I were quite satisfied by how things turned out. (The illustrations are also great.)

captain awesome vs nacho cheese man

I was significantly less delighted by Captain Awesome vs Nacho Cheese Man. This was one tedious read-aloud for me. My kids, however, seemed highly entertained, and in fact promised to bring home the rest of the series this week. Oh, joy. While there’s nothing exactly wrong with this book, I didn’t find it special in any way. It did seem to have plenty of elementary-school boy appeal. I think this is one series I may have to ask my husband to read to them. Poor man, he only gets to read the books I don’t want to read. (Froggy, anyone?)

george and martha rise and shinegeorge and martha one fine daytwo great friends

We’ve been on a bit of a George & Martha kick lately. I’m surprised by how much my kids enjoy these stories. My older son, especially, is a very literal child who likes to have all the dots connected in a story, but for some reason, he loves George & Martha, and I am so glad. I can see the wheels turning as he tries to make inferences and figure things out. My younger son laughs uproariously at these stories, while my older one sits with his face scrunched up, trying to figure out what’s funny. He never laughs, but he always asks for more George & Martha. Weird!

wednesday surprise

What a wonderful book! The Wednesday Surprise has a twist at the end which surprised all of us, and it resonated especially with my older son, a struggling reader who sometimes says he believes he will never learn how to read. We are really enjoying our journey through Eve Bunting’s picture books. Thanks again, Carrie!

scaredy squirrel

Believe it or not, our first Scaredy Squirrel book! Looking forward to reading more.

my happy life

Finally, My Happy Life (written by Rose Lagencrantz and illustrated by Eva Erickson) is a book I’d never heard of before spotting it on the shelf last week at the library. It’s about a little girl who counts her happy times when she can’t sleep at night.  She remembers making a best friend at school and other small school incidents, the pain of having her friend move away, the happiness she finds in her relationship with her father, in apologizing when she hurts another kid at school, in getting two pet hamsters. It’s a quiet story, without a lot in the way of plot, though there is enough going on to keep a reader turning pages. We all enjoyed this story (especially the illustrations), and quiet, sensitive kids would probably enjoy it even more.

What have you been reading this week?



8 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/9/13

  1. Hooray for Scaredy Squirrel! As campers, our favorite is the camping one. George and Martha are so great for making inferences–so glad they’re clicking with your oldest.

    • LOL, we were just talking at the dinner table the other night about my fear of camping! My kids are dying to try camping, but I think I’m more of a glamper than a camper! (Don’t know if you’ve seen magazine articles about glamping–but it’s much more my speed, I think!) I’ll look for the Scaredy Squirrel camping book so my kids can live vicariously!

  2. Oh … that My Happy Life one looks lovely. After a super fun staff meeting and all sorts of technology fun to start the year … I need to track that one down!
    Know we have The Stories Julian Tells but I don’t think I’ve picked it up. Will have to!

  3. So pleased you are enjoying Eve Bunting! And Wednesday Surprise is so so special. Oh I hear you with Captain Awesome – lots of fun for kids. It is popular in my room in a big way. Do I want to read it aloud? No thank you! Still I have 8 books in the series in a bin that is often empty as books are out in book boxes.

    • I think I’m going to encourage my 8 yr old to read Capt Awesome TO HIMSELF. I don’t think he realizes yet that he CAN. I have to say, I really appreciated Capt Underpants after reading Capt Awesome aloud. There are some very good–and very funny–sentences in Capt Underpants!

    • This is a great idea for a blog post! I’ll try to write something this week about that. We’re at title 800 or so right now, so I decided to count the calendar official dates for summer and keep working on our list until Sept 21. We are going to make 1K NO MATTER WHAT.

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