Monday, January 16, 2012

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

Love It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  Joining in with Teaching Mentor Texts today as well as lots of other bloggers to share my recent reading.
My reading life has been a little crazy.  I have not given myself as much time to read as usual because I am really working hard to get into a good exercise routine (Reading Teachers Running).  It takes a lot of time to exercise and to eat healthy. And I know when I get into a good book, it is hard to make time for anything else. So, I am mostly reading at night.  I am trying NOT to read as much--last January, I read 40 books but I am trying to be a bit more balanced this January.This week, I read:

I missed last week's post so I'll talk about the last week or two of reading.

The Most Important Book I've Read Lately
Yesterday, I finished John Green's new book THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. This book has been hugely anticipated and I was looking forward to it. I am a huge John Green fan and have read all of his other books. PAPER TOWNS is my favorite. I was excited about this one but a bit worried that it couldn't live up to the hype. And it couldn't live up to his other books for me. How wrong I was. This is an amazing book. Brilliant and all-consuming.  It is the story of Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters.  I really don't even know what to say about this book except that I will most likely read it again sometime soon.  It is a story that will live with me forever--a story that actually changed who I am, I think.  No matter what is on your To-Be-Read stack, I would highly recommend moving this one to the top. The book is being reviewed and rated everywhere and I have not seen or have not heard of one person who was disappointed.  Be prepared--it is not an easy read. You will be sucked in to the joy, pain, fear and energy of these characters.  As I said, it is all-consuming.  (I actually purchased 2 copies of this book--one for me and one for my 21 year old. I do not want to give mine up and I know we will each want to keep a copy of this one forever.)

If you discovered the blog FED UP WITH LUNCH where Mrs. Q., a public school teacher, decided to eat a school lunch every day for a year. She took photos and blogged about her experiences. From the way the food looked to the way it tasted to the way it made her feel. She had no idea that the blog would attract so much attention but it is and she has become a huge advocate for healthier school lunches. Once she gave away her identity, she published this book. Her book has been recently released and whether you read her blog during her lunch-eating year or not, this is a great read. I was afraid it would be a repeat of the blog, but it wasn't.  There is lots of good information and ways to make a difference in your school community.  A great book and a great attitude about how to make good change.

Young Adult
Donalyn Miller recommended this book to me and I LOVED it. It wasn't a book I would have picked up myself.  I am not a horse love. Don't love adventure or islands really.  But I LOVED this book.  There is a bit of romance, but a huge theme that I loved.  The story is set on an island that provides an amazing backdrop for the characters. And I loved the characters the most, as I do in most books that I love. I loved the main characters and the not-so-main ones.  The island is a small town where everyone knows everyone, and somehow the author made you feel that way too. I can't really explain why I loved this book but I did and I highly recommend it.

Picture Books

Catching up on Caldecott reading as we get ready for Caldecott Voting at school next week. Last week, Miss Loren from the Dublin Library came to visit and talk to the kids about Caldecott contenders. We love when she comes because we discover lots of new books and we love to hear her thinking. This week, kids will have time to look around and vote for a book they think should win. I read the following books to catch up a bit on 2011 picture book reading.

*BLUE CHICKEN by Deborah Freedman
*PLANT A KISS by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
*ZOMBIE IN LOVE by Kelly DiPucchio (This one would make a fun Valentine's Day read aloud.)
**GRANDPA GREEN by Lane Smith
SAY HELLO TO ZORRO by Carter Goodrich
BEFORE YOU CAME by Patricia Maclachlan
NIGHT FLIGHT by Robert Burleigh
***WHERE'S WALRUS by Stephen Savage (One of my favorite new wordless books.)
WHERE'S MY T-R-U-C-K? by Karen Beaumont

Coming up Next
Not sure that I will read any fiction this week. I will probably choose a YA book sometime soon --maybe CINDER. Or I might read THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE by Christopher Paul Curtis. (I keep hearing amazing things about this one and I have an ARC from NCTE!) But I need to think about THE FAULT OF OUR STARS for a bit before I commit to new characters.

I will be reading a professional book that I am VERY excited about--OPENING MINDS: USING LANGUAGE TO CHANGE LIVES by Peter Johnston. I am a huge fan of Peter Johnston and his book CHOICE WORDS.  CHOICE WORDS is a small book that has had such a huge impact on my teaching. In it Peter Johnston teaches us about the power of language and the messages our language gives to children. This new book looks to be an extension of that thinking and I can't wait to read it.

I have also been looking forward to reading Louise Borden's upcoming book HIS NAME WAS RAOUL WALLENBERG.  I saw this one in process and can't wait to see the final book.  Such an amazing story.

I would also like to fit in ICEFALL by Matthew Kirby. I have been hearing great things about it and it is all of a sudden getting some Newbery buzz. And it looks like a book that my students would love. So I am wondering if I can fit it in before next Monday...


  1. Anonymous8:07 AM

    Feels like a Status of the Class question! :) I am currently reading "So What Do They Really Know" by Chris Tovani (professional book), "Danger Along the Ohio" by Patricia Willis (as a read aloud), "The Yada Yada Prayer Group" by Neta Jackson (for me!), and "Predator Showdown" by Scholastic (non-fiction picture book). Thanks for your list! I have added MANY titles to my next stack! :)

  2. Thanks for always keeping thinking and aware of new books. This year one of my reading goals has been to read or reread classics. I just finished The Good Earth and Hilary Spurling's biography, Pearl Buck in China. The Good Earth was even more wonderful than my 15 year old memory of it was. I learned it was part of a trilogy and so now I have even more to explore

    I also finally finished Out of My Mind this morning. That made me realize I need to make sure I read not only from the top of my pile but from the bottom too. Or maybe I should just show some discipline and not buy every great sounding book I hear about...

  3. Love this. I'm reading The Mighty Miss Malone and then moving on to The Fault in Our Stars - so excited! And I laughed when you posted about OPENING MINDS: USING LANGUAGE TO CHANGE LIVES - Donalyn just told me about this one yesterday. When you posted I ran off to order it. Looks like it comes out at the end of February - I can't wait!

  4. Thanks for sharing! Right now I am reading The Alchemyst by Michael Scott, but have recently finished The Report Card by Andrew Clements, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and The 68 Rooms by Marianne Malone. (I obviously did not meet my exercise goal as a New Years Resolution!)

    I think I will be finding The Good Earth soon, though. I spent last summer rereading classics and loved it! The Good Earth is one I had forgotten about...

    Lifelong Learning

  5. I feel like downloading The Fault In Our Stars this very minute. I've read about it so many times in the past days & this morning. I'm reading John Green this week & looking forward to all of him. Thanks for the list, always helpful to find others to add on! You are right-Icefall does sound interesting.

    1. The John Green book is available on! I started listening today!!

    2. Thanks much, Mary Lee. I see you got the replies going!

    3. Yup! We're in reply mode now! But here's my next question: How did you know I replied? Do you subscribe to blog comments, did you check back, or did you get a notification?

    4. No, I just checked back. Sometimes I subscribe, but for some reason this time I just looked again. And, FYI, I went to the grocery for a few extra things & there, lo & behold, was an exhibit of John Green's The Fault In Our Stars, & signed! I have to say it seemed meant for me. My store has good books, but rarely its own author exhibit. Good marketing ploy? Maybe the fault really is in the stars?

  6. I'm exactly halfway through The Fault in Our Stars, and I can't bring myself to continue. I have a hard time reading very emotional books, and it's making me feel things I'm not necessarily prepared to deal with. Obviously, this is a great testament to the power of John Green's writing, but it might be awhile before I feel ready to take on the second half of the story!

  7. A day off and the chance to finish 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Who said the man couldn't write romance?! This is a must read.

  8. I just bought John Green's new book. He's one of my favorite authors and I guess I was worried I would put too much expectation on it. So I am excited now that I've read your thoughts, esp. since Paper Towns is also my favorite. Thanks!

  9. So many great books, Franki!!!! I love it. I completely agree about The Fault In Our Stars...the characters have just stuck with me. He went where I didn't expect him to go and had me thinking about so many things. I love Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace. Love it. Thanks for joining us! I love to see and hear about what you are reading!

  10. I'm kind of holding off on talking about "The Fault in Our Stars" until it's out there more. I liked it, but I didn't connect with it emotionally - and it's the kind of book that I would have expected to. I felt like I was appreciating it from a distance.

  11. I am impressed by the reading you've finished. I just finished Thirteen Words by Lemony Snicket, Ten Birds by Cybele Young,Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister, and The Friendship Doll

    I want to read more picture books and need to read more chapter books.


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