After some slow reading weeks lately getting caught up on report cards, I am pleased to have more time to read late in this week and hopefully next week as well. I missed last week, but am attempting to link my reading summary up with the other great book bloggers at teachmentortexts.com (Thanks to Jen) and unleashingreaders.com (thanks to Kellee and Ricki). I have been trying to clear out some piles of picture books that should have been read ages ago, clear all the books in my NetGalley account and also pay attention to my Must Read in 2018 list and that will continue to push my reading for the next month.
Books I Finished This Week:
I really enjoyed this picture book from an author whose graphic novels I really loved reading last year. Ben Hatke wrote the Zita the Spacegirl trilogy and also the Mighty Jack series, which has just two books so far but a third is coming and at my school we are not patiently waiting. We thought it was coming in 2018, but it’s not. So, to help with the wait, I looked into this picture book which shows much of the same creativity and drawing style. The title character is kind of lonely in a big house by herself but when she invites any and all creatures into her home problems arise! How does she get all these creatures to co-exist.
This book was published last year and I intended to purchase for my library but I had far more books than funds. We got it this year and I really enjoyed reading it to a couple of groups last week. Photographs tell the behind the scenes story of what happens when two clay creatures are left alone by their artist. There were lots of giggles when kids saw the mischief that the two created in their own forms.
This is part of the Ordinary People Change the World series, which I have not really caught up on until now. If you like to use picture book biographies with older kids as kind of a mentor text, I think this is one of many good choices. The language is suitable for younger kids too, there are some technical terms, but I think they are well explained for most young readers. All will enjoy the story of how a young boy develops into one of the most famous astronauts of all-time.
To me, being Canadian, it seemed only naturally to pair I am Neil Armstrong with Scholastic Canada’s Meet Chris Hadfield. There are similar messages about how to prepare yourself for a goal that takes a long time to achieve and given the generation or so difference between the two some points of contrast exist as well. I think it would be neat to read both and have kids work on comparing the stories and the men. I think this story had a few more words on some of the pages and I am not sure how that will work, but I think both will interest young readers. Chris Hadfield has written a picture book himself and has lots of Youtube videos so there are many points of departure for readers after they learn about Hadfield in this really good book.
Today, I finished this family read aloud with my wife and two daughters (11 and 8). I enjoyed this as a re-read, I think my kids found it a little slow at first, but they were really into the last half of it. This book is about fifteen years old, but has kind of a timeless feel. A group of orphans and runaways look after themselves (for the most part) in Venice, but the story really takes off when a few mysteries are revealed and others arise. I think I like this book a little more because it took place in Venice, a place I adored travelling to. If it took place in… a random North American city, I am not sure it would have worked for me quite as much.
I really like this book’s cover, and I have liked some of the Rick Riordan Presents novels, so I got on NetGalley to give this one a try. Parts of it were exciting, but some parts just did not work for me. I just finished it today, so I am still trying to figure out exactly why. It is a space story with Korean mythology present as well. There are a lot of human characters, but also “supernaturals” who are descendants of tigers, dragons, goblins and foxes. Min, is a fox, and the plot centers around her efforts to find her brother who has been reported a deserter of the Space Force. Min knows he’s not, along the way she has encounters with ghosts, and gets caught up in the pursuit of a magical artifact known as the Dragon Pearl. If that sounds like a lot of plot, it is, and I would have liked more info on the supernaturals to round it out a bit. I think MG readers might be entertained by this, even though I had some issues. I think a second book might be even better, but I have read that this might be a stand alone.
This book has a lot of fun facts and neat illustrations. I think kids will find it fun to read even if they do not get all of the jokes. I had seen this title pop up on a few blogs and because I don’t think I get enough non-fiction in my library for young readers I jumped on this one. I would pick up others in this series on different animals. I think readers will find it engaging.
I Actually Read This Last Week
I love all of the Bruce books, so even though I was having a tough week at work and not finding much time to read, I made time to read this one. It did not disappoint. If you have any fans of these books, or are one yourself, you will love this one.
Grump is our new family read aloud, my choice, we have read all of the other Liesl Shurtliff twisted fairy tales (Rump, Jack, and Red- the latter two together) and they have yet to disappoint. My oldest has requested that I read The Hollow Boy, the third in the Lockwood and Co. series. These are exciting ghost stories set in a very interesting version of London. Stroud would be in her Pantheon of writers (Riordan, and John Flanagan) so she sees it as a series breach of my duties as a grade six teacher to not have read this whole series. The latter of the three above books is my class read aloud. I have my group listening to a chapter featuring three stories, taking some notes, and then writing about the one they think is a lie of the three. After we read all three (a few pages each, so sometimes we do it all in one day), I reveal which of three is a lie. I read these without knowing which is the lie myself. So far, it is great fun.
Speaking of great fun, I hope your reading week is great fun, and that I read more than just these three. I have a Scholastic Book Fair this week, so I may flip through a few books at the fair. Happy Reading and thanks for stopping here to check out my reading week.