It’s the last Monday of the school year (for me) what was I reading to prepare for this?

This week I come to the end of the strangest school year in my 20+ year career, and I know a lot of people feel the same way. I hope to still have a few students in this week. The classroom has less clean-up than ever, because we had to move so much stuff out of it to allow for distancing of students. I have a Battle of the Books Year End event planned with a few authors helping out. Of course, also a lot of meetings too. So, it is not all great stuff.

I managed to find time to read a few books this week, although I must say, as usual, I am looking forward to the summer reading time that I will be getting soon. Thanks to Jen, Kellee and Ricki for hosting our link-up this week at Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts. I am hoping to have more books to share in the coming weeks, but this week the quality was really good.

Books I Enjoyed This Week

Fighting Words

Thanks to Penguin for providing me with an ARC of this moving story, which comes out in August. This book brilliantly tackles extremely tough topics of abuse and trauma. This might not be one for all of your readers, especially to read on their own. I think you have to know your students. It isn’t something I would have sought out as a kid, but that is privilege on my part. I had heard a lot about this book before reading it and I really loved both of The War books that she had previously written. As an adult, I was ready for it and I knew this writer would write something unforgettable. As she did in The War That Saved My Life, and The War I Finally Won, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley wrote about girls that face tough times without making us pity them and without just feeling sad. I felt sad, but I felt a whole bunch of other things too.

Words on Fire

This is another really great historical novel by Jennifer Nielsen in the vein of A Night Divided and Resistance. In this book, Audra’s parents are taken away by Russian soldiers occupying Lithuania. Audra is sent out before they can grab her too, with a package and instructions for what to do with it. She knows her parents were up to something to garner the attention of the Russian soldiers but she is surprised to find out that it was smuggling books to help keep Lithuanian culture alive. Can she help the cause? Does she even want to? There is lots of danger no matter which path she chooses.

Rise of ZomBert

I got this ARC through Book Portage, the ARC sharing group I belong to, and thanks to Candlewick for allowing us to read this book, which comes out on July 14.
Mellie and her friend Danny don’t have a lot of other friends in school but that is okay to them. They like filming their own horror movies, science and reading, and they have each other. When Mellie finds a scraggly cat in a dumpster, she wants to help it, but this cat is not exactly what it seems and helping proves a little tougher than she thought. There are a lot of little details about looking after the cat, and about Mellie’s family life that I appreciated.
I enjoyed this, and I know it is the beginning of a series, but the ending was really abrupt. I hope, because it is for young readers that the next book is available somewhat soon. Not sure I would grab this until I had the second for a child. But I am interested in this series, for some of my grade 6 students, and for some kids that are younger.


Interesting graphic novel about a grade 7 girl who finds that everything in school is changing. Relationships, interests, and how people expect others to act are all part of the fairly normal coming of age issues that young Cindy deals with in this story. A teacher inspires her to work as a cub reporter with a mentor who writes for the local paper. Through this and spending time with other people instead of her friend since grade 1, she learns many ways to write her own story, literally and figuratively. Great for fans of the Sunny Side Up trilogy, and this one is set in the time that the author grew up in as well, I believe, its the Nixon era 1970s. Thanks to the organizers of Nerdcamp Bellingham for providing an ARC of this book.

Currently Reading

Legends of the Lost CausesSweep: The Story of a Girl and Her MonsterThe Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immor…

These are my current re-reads. The first two for our Battle of the Books this week, and the latter is our family read aloud. All three should wrap up this week. I really like all three of them and hope they give some kids I know summer reading ideas.

On Deck Reads

TakedownRise of the JumbiesLove, Ish

I thought I might get to one or two of these last week, but I have been doing a lot of re-reading. I am starting Takedown today.

Thanks for stopping to view what I have been reading, I hope to see more of what others have been enjoying later in the week!

6 thoughts on “It’s the last Monday of the school year (for me) what was I reading to prepare for this?

  1. I am looking forward to the new Brubaker book & have Words on Fire, & the others on my list. There are just so many books out now I want to read! Best wishes for a great ‘last’ week, Aaron!


  2. These books sound great! I’ve seen a lot of praise for Fighting Words, and Cub sounds great as well, especially considering that I have enjoyed the Sunny Side Up trilogy! Thanks for the great post!


  3. I will look out for cub — I’ve started to have a fondness for kids books set in the distant past. Of my youth.


  4. Fighting Words and Jennifer Nielsen’s book are both in my pile. Zombert is one I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about. Thanks for your review, it will be interesting to see when book 2 will be published!


  5. I really enjoyed Nielsen’s Resistance and will have to get to both A Night Divided and Words on Fire. Thanks for reminding me of this one that I need to add to my list! I hope you enjoy the summer time you’ll be getting off. This summer has not been a great reading time, for me. We’ve been packing and fixing and cleaning in preparation for this move. And we’re supposed to close on the new house in three weeks. So this won’t be over any time soon. Just hope we tie up all our loose ends before another wave of Coronavirus hits. Hope you’ve had a great week, Aaron — I’ll see your blog again tomorrow. 🙂


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