It’s Monday, January 13, what are you reading?

We are just about to hit the first significant cold snap of the year where I live. Many areas in British Columbia have been hammered with snow, and no doubt there will be a snow day or two. Not in my small town. We seem to be in a snow shadow. Most days I will have a relative phone to ask how much snow we got overnight, and they are bewildered when I answer with none, or less than a centimeter. So, no snow day for me to read tomorrow (that might have been nice), but I am still pleased to have read several great books last week and be able to share them here. I will be linking up with the many great readers and reviewers at Teach Mentor Texts (thanks Jen V) and Unleashing Readers (thanks Kellee and Ricki). Check their sites for great lists of books to read now, and in the future.

Books I Enjoyed

Sunny Rolls the Dice

The third installment of the Sunny books was one I thought I would have read a long time ago. I thought my Scholastic Book Fair would stock it, but it did not. Then I had to buy it elsewhere (this is a struggle now that I am out of library money for the rest of the school year). I was looking forward to having this for kids and for myself. I really enjoyed it. The cover really tells a story here. Sunny stands out here, and this is another of many great graphic novels that tell the story of a tween or teen trying to find and be happy with themselves in the midst of pressure to look or act a certain way. My oldest loves the D & D references in this one.


I was happy to borrow this picture book from my wife (also a school librarian) as I had previously admired Jason Chin’s work in books such as Galapagos and Grand Canyon. Not sure why I did not have this book already (oh yeah, that budget thing), but like some of Chin’s other books it does a fantastic job of taking some complex things in nature and explaining them in simple terms for young readers. Mixed in with a slightly narrative non-fiction style and the great art work, this was another must purchase for me (I am keeping another list for next school year- lol).

The Distance To Home

This is a book that I never quite got to last year, but now I have read it out of my grade 6/7 classroom library (I have about 35% librarian time and 65% teaching time). I really enjoyed an ARC of Things You Can’t Say, which is out March 3, and so I went back to find one of her other books. I always really admired the cover of this one, but there are few baseball fans of this book so I wasn’t sure if it would connect with kids I teach (the cover, I mean). Having read it now, I know I will be able to sell it to fans of Dan Gemeinhart, who is very popular here. This book has “all the feels”. It has really well developed characters that learn and grow as they try to deal with some of the more challenging things life can throw at people (one of the major ones is grief).

Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer

I am not as big of a fan of the David… books as my library patrons, but I borrowed this one from my wife. It’s kind of wacky. Weird things happen and kids will likely enjoy that. This will get picked up by a lot of kids due to the author’s popularity. I don’t think they will like it as much as a David… book but they will laugh.

Ebb and Flow

This novel in verse was the winner of the 2019 Canadian Children’s Literature Award. I checked it out from my public library. It reminded me a little of House Arrest as it tells a story of a character who makes mistakes and goes through tough times using impactful, short pages of verse. It features very well written characters. It is really about a boy named Jett, who knows he has made a few very big mistakes, but shows the capacity to learn and grow from them. Following his “bad year” he stays with his grandmother and reflects on time spent with his friend Junior during the year and how things could have been different. Heather Smith takes her time in letting us know what Jett did, but the journey is worth it. In finding out how to forgive and redeem himself, Jett sees the possibilities in others as well. Jett believes he deserves to be “stranded on an island all by myself,” but eventually learns that life is like the tides and he has to deal with the highs and the lows.

Black Brother, Black Brother

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book to Book Portage, the ARC sharing group that I belong to. I read and enjoyed Ghost Boys so I was excited to get this upcoming book from Jewell Parker Rhodes. Donte is part of a bi-racial family and he and his brother attend a private school in Massachusetts. However, Donte is bullied and the subject of racial profiling and prejudice at his school, while his brother who presents is white is not. Donte only wants to be able to be seen for who he is. After being arrested for an “outburst” at school, Donte and his brother come up with a plan to get revenge on the worst of the bulliest, Alan, by competing against him at fencing, a sport in which Alan is the state champion. The fencing aspect of the book showed the sport to be one of tactics and strategy and I really enjoyed those scenes as well as the relationship between Donte and his coach, as well as Donte’s familial relationships. This story is fast paced and the most obvious readers for this at my school are the students who devoured the Track series by Jason Reynolds.

Currently Reading

The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4)Still Life with Tornado

My family and I are really enjoying book four of The Heroes of Olympus series. Its a re-read for me. I really enjoy every A.S. King novel I read, and I did not read one last year. I vowed not to repeat that mistake in 2020. I am only about 30 pages into this one but I am captivated by Sarah, a sixteen year old who is dealing with some problems in her parent’s marriage, the separation of an older brother from the family and something strange about her art teacher at school. I can’t believe I waited this long to read this book.

On deck books

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in AmericaLegends of the Lost CausesI Can Make This Promise

Thanks for stopping here to see what I have been reading, hopefully I will be able to see what you have been reading this week as well. Have a great week!

9 thoughts on “It’s Monday, January 13, what are you reading?

  1. I need to catch up with the Sunny books! And thanks for sharing the new Black Brothers and Ebb & Flow, both going on my list, Aaron!


  2. Understand being out of money! I am working on my last order right now, and then everything gets put off until August! I loved Sunny Rolls the Dice– I swear I had that exact kind of hot rollers when I was in middle school. The time period details are spot on!


  3. Pretty much everything Jason Chin is involved it turns out to be spectacular! I will be on the lookout for this Sunny book. I loved Ebb and Flow. I didn’t know it had won the 2019 Canadian Children’s Literature Award, but of course it is beautifully written. I cried my heart out. I’ll also be looking for Black Brother, Black Brother.


  4. I am always so impressed with your reading week. I have trouble getting more than 20 mins/day to read my MG books and it just means slow reading weeks.
    I still need to get to the newest Sunny GN. I have a stack of GNs to read….
    I really enjoyed Jenn Bishop’s first book, I think it’s my favorite of her so far. I’m looking forward to the new one.
    I read Ebb and Flow to get me out of a reading funk, I thought it being a novel in verse would help but I never really connected with it.
    Black Brother Black Brother is next up in my digital reads. Looking forward to it.
    Hope you have another great reading week, even without the snow!


  5. Chin’s work is always so beautiful! I never got to The Distance to Home, so I’m going to make sure that’s on my list. And I’m reading I Can Make This Promise this week, too. Enjoying it, so far! Thanks for the shares, Aaron. I’m late, yet again, this week. I hope to get caught up before February! 🙂


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