Monday, April 16, 2012


To this point, I haven't done "It's Monday, What Are You Reading?" hosted by Jen and Kellye at Teach Mentor Texts.  I have, however, really enjoyed seeing what other people are reading, so this week I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Haven't quite figured out how to get the logo yet…

I started reading the Hunger Games trilogy over spring break. I'm not, at all, a fantasy/science fiction/dystopian fiction fan, but my book club had decided to read The Hunger Games, then see the movie for our March meeting. I read the book in two days, and I was hooked. I had to read the rest. Last week I read Catching Fire, and this week I read Mockingjay. I loved the first book, but I felt like each book was progressively darker, and Mockingjay felt pretty bleak. I also wasn't totally satisfied with the ending. How did Gale just completely drop out of the picture at the very end? Why did he seem to be a totally different character than the person he had been all the way through the series? I'm hoping folks in my book club will be ready to talk about some of these issues when we meet on April 28th…

I read a couple of easy chapter books.
Zapato Power #4: Freddie Ramos Makes a Splash- This is the fourth book in this series. I've been following a discussion about kids starting chapter books, and I think this series is just about as good as it gets for helping kids start chapter books.

Melody and the Sea Dragon- Another beginning chapter book. I love that Melody is an African American mermaid.

I'm pulling together a bibliography for a friend, so I've also read a plethora of picture books this week.
  1. The Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton- I'm thinking that I will be giving this as a graduation present to several seniors
  2. Desk Secrets by Kevin O'Malley
  3. Señorita Gordita by Helen Ketteman- Gingerbread Boy with a Hispanic twist
  4. How Many Donkeys  retold by Margaret Reed MacDonald and Nadia Jameel Taibah
  5. Samuel's Choice by Richard Berleth
  6. The Wooden Sword by Ann Reddish Stampler, illustrated by Carol Liddiment
  7. These Bees Count- Alice Formento, illustrated by Sarah Snow- Lots of bee-related information for young readers
  8. First Peas to the Table by Sarah Grigsby, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell- Some really nice examples of science journals in this one. 
  9. Have You Seen Mary? by Jeff Kurrus, photographs by Michael Forsberg- Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous nature photography in a story about a sandhill crane and his missing mate.
  10. The Duckling Wants a Cookie, by Mo Willems- Mo does it again! Does he ever have a book that is NOT a winner! 
  11. Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett
  12. Happy, by Miles Van Hout- A book about feelings. Very simple, but beautifully done. The background of each page is black, the fish and the words are colored. Many of the words are done in fonts that make them match the feeling. 
  13. My Dad is Big and Strong But…- A reverse "time for bed' story. A little boy is putting his dad to bed. Really fun!
  14. Zoo Achoo by Peter Mandel- An elephant, and then all of his buddies at the zoo, have the sneezes.
  15. Crow Call by Lois Lowry- This one has been out a while, not sure how I missed it. Think it would be perfect paired with Owl Moon.
  16. There Goes Ted Williams by Matt Tavares- I loved Hank Aaron's Dream by Tavares, and this picture book biography is just as good.
  17. Green by Laura Vacarro Seger- I had to go looking for this one after Mary Lee's review. She was right- it's pretty darn near perfect
  18. Outside Your Window, A first book of nature (poetry)- Poems divided into the four seasons. Gorgeous three dimensional collage illustrations.
  19. The Art of Miss Chewby Patricia Polacco-  the story of an art teacher who made a difference in Polacco's life.  
  20. Ben's Dream by Chris Van Allsburg- The fourth grade author study in my district is Chris Van Allsburg. I've always loved his art, but don't always enjoy his books that much, probably because I am not a fantasy lover. I've been reading through all of his work in preparation for our author study.
  21. Queen of the Falls, by Chris Van Allsburg- This is one of Van Allsburg's newest books. Not his typical fantasy, instead it's the story of the first woman to go over Niagra Falls in a barrel. I liked it at least as much as his fantasy books. 
This week, I'm hoping to read The One and Only Ivan. A few of my favorite adult authors- Anne Lamott, Jodi Piccoult and Anna Quindlen-  have new books out, so I might also grab an adult book. And I'm pulling together a presentation I have to do on April 24th, so I will be revisiting some  books I have enjoyed in the last few months.


Stacey (@libraryjo92) said...

I just loved The One and Only Ivan! One of my students checked it out from the library and when she brought it back I asked her how she liked it. Her comment was "I had to stay up late last night to finish it because I couldn't put it down." Hope you enjoy it.

Jen Vincent said...

Yay for Ivan! You'll enjoy it. I was on the phone with Verizon and started talking with the customer service rep about where she lived and I recommended the book to her and told her to go visit Ivan. Great story!

I love Hunger Games but I agree that I think Mockingjay could have turned out differently. It is what it is. I didn't know there was already a Zapato Power 4! Where have I been. I need to grab these for some of my younger students. Thanks for joining in on the fun!!!

Katherine Sokolowski said...

I adore IVAN! And Crow Call and The Awesome Book - amazing. I plan on giving it as a graduation gift too. I hear you on Mockingjay - bleak and what the heck was up with how she wrote Gale at the end? Blah.

As for grabbing the logo - I have a Mac and just pulled it off onto my desktop. Not sure if that will work for you but welcome to the group!

Jen Vincent said...

I almost forgot! If you want to add the button to your sidebar or to your Monday posts, just right click on the image from our blog post and save it to your computer. Then when you write your post, you can put the picture in just like you would put any picture into your post.

Hope that helps!

Linda B said...

Wow, Carol, lots of reading this week. I know that picture books are short, but you did read so much! I wondered why these books in your list? I have used Crow Call & any Polacco books for a memoir unit. And I love Anna Quindlen too & am looking forward to her new memoir. Thanks for the talk about all these books!

liz young said...

Hi Carol. As I live abroad I can't go and just browse in an English book shop but would like to buy books for my grandsons aged 8 and 5. What age-group are the books you mention here? Oh, and in answer to your blog question - I@ am re-reading "Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett.

Hannahlily said...

The Hunger Games is such a good book, it seems to be able to win over people who don't even like fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian novels. I completely agree with you how each book gets progressively darker and I didn't like the way Gale was portrayed in the last book, but, by and large, I really enjoyed the trilogy.

The One and Only Ivan is so fantastic! Hope you love it as much as I did. I have been recommending it to everybody.

Anonymous said...

So glad I'm not the last one to read the Hunger Games, as like you I'm not much in general for dystopian type fiction. I'm inching closer though, and my husband is currently devouring the series. I bet you'll love Ivan, it's such a great friendship book!

--Lorna @notforlunch

Anonymous said...

So glad I'm not the last one to read the Hunger Games, as like you I'm not much in general for dystopian type fiction. I'm inching closer though, and my husband is currently devouring the series. I bet you'll love Ivan, it's such a great friendship book!

--Lorna @notforlunch

Teacher said...

My Dad is Big and Strong But… sounds cute. I know my son would laugh about a boy putting his daddy to bed, I will have to check this one out. :) Thanks for sharing!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Mockingjay was not what I'd expected it to be, either, but there you go...still a wonderful read, and I'm glad I stuck with the series.

Ruth Ayres said...

A plethora? More like a semi truck full! Wow! You amaze me with your reading. :)

(Here's a little secret...I haven't read The Hunger Games trilogy. I don't know why. The only thing I can think is I HATE to be told what to read and many, many, many people have told me to read it. Am I still passively resisting high school English?)

Glad you are sharing your reading with us. :)

Kathryn T said...

Like you I thought I wasn't into dystopian fiction, but when I read the trilogy I loved it. For me Gale was not a fully developed character, so I was reasonably okay with the last book and ending. Still revolted by the whole premise of the games though!

The One and Only Ivan is the next on my to buy list. I believe its very good.

Kellee said...

Yay! You will love Ivan!
And I agree with Hunger Games- it definitely got bleaker, but I feel like it ended with hope.

Happy reading this week and thanks for joining in!

Karen said...

Carol - you can absolutely not go wrong with The One and Only Ivan. It is currently one of my classes' read aloud, and they are loving it.

I love that your book club is reading The Hunger Games and then seeing the movie. Did you agree to read the entire trilogy or just the first book?

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

So glad you enjoyed Mocking Jay - the series is so wonderful!