It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/28/13

IMWAYR

Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate in the kidlit version of this weekly meme.

On my blog this week, I shared the online reading I most enjoyed (as well as a link to photos of the world’s cutest kitten!) (The world’s cutest kitten who isn’t Frances, that is.) I wrote about what my Methods students have been up to and the new blogging project I’m hoping to undertake. I wrote about why teachers need to develop a Personal Learning Network. And I posted a list of titles I’m considering assigning in Children’s Literature next semester.

I also read some books!

zero tolerance

I really enjoyed Claudia Mills’s Zero Tolerance. The story line seemed plucked right out of the headlines. Sierra Shepherd is a stellar student who finds herself forced to grow in ways she couldn’t imagine all because of a simple lunch bag mix-up. She accidentally grabs her mom’s lunch bag one morning, which contains a paring knife. When she discovers that she brought a paring knife to school, she tries to do the right thing and turn in the knife at the office–only to find herself the target of the school’s zero tolerance policy. I found this to be a page-turner with solid and believable character development and many interesting ethical dilemmas to discuss.

primates

I loved Primates, a graphic novel focusing on Jane Goodall’s work with chimpanzees, Dian Fossey’s work with gorillas, and Birute Galdikas’s work with orangutans. I had no idea that the three women knew each other–or that they had all gotten their start thanks to Louis Leakey. Leakey comes off as a bit of a creep, to me at least, and the innuendo about his serial philandering kept this graphic novel from being as kid-friendly as it otherwise was. I found the depictions of these women’s work and the contrasts among their different primates and locations very absorbing. And this book does exactly what great nonfiction ought to do: makes you want to know more. I’ll be looking for books written by Goodall and Galdikas this week at the library.

the thing about luck

I wasn’t convinced of this book’s greatness until about halfway through. If you’d talked to me about The Thing About Luck any time from pages 1-130 or so, I would have said, “Well, I’m learning more than I ever wanted to know about combines and wheat harvesting, but that’s about it.” But something happened for me in the second half of this book, and somehow it all came together and became such a rich, interesting, complex story–absolutely deserving of the Newbery talk I’ve been reading. What made me stick with it for the first 130 pages or so (through some truly endless descriptions of harvesting machinery!) was the grandparents. I absolutely loved Obaachan and Jiichan! They’re funny and complicated and absolutely believable. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

And then there were many wonderful picture books.

murphy harold won tonmax love and roast chicken fifty cents and a dream memory string the loud book locomotive rain or shine mister penny saturday is dadurday mitchell goes bowling oliver and his alligator cut ups crack up snake

It’s hard to even decide on a favorite from all of this goodness.

We also read a dozen or so Caldecott winners or honor books, but I’ll be writing about those (eventually!) in a separate post.

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5 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/28/13

  1. Happy to hear how much you enjoyed Cynthia Kadohata’s book. I did as well. Even the information about harvesting was interesting in this context. Loved the family dynamics. So pleased to see The Memory String on your list. Must admit, this is a long time favourite title of mine. So much to talk about. Makes me want to share it with my current class soon. 🙂

    • I agree, Carrie. The info about harvesting eventually won me over, and I found it fascinating–and of course, important within context. Have you read Kadohata’s other books? I found Cracker and Kira Kira at the library yesterday. I realized that I have actually read half of Kira Kira 2-3 times and never finished. Not sure why! Hoping this time to be a more committed and invested reader. The Memory String was superb–I’ll be revisiting that one with my kids for sure because it has an important message about family and healing. So glad you recommended it (ages ago!)

  2. Nice! So glad to see so many picture books here, Elisabeth. I’ve also just recently read Harold and the Purple Crayon – so lovely. Timeless quality to it. Cynthia Kadohata’s novels do have a leisurely pace about them, don’t they? Until it gets to the middle and one sees everything falling into place like you shared – it was the same experience for me with Kira Kira. Will check out some of the picture book titles you shared here. Have a great reading week!

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