It’s the First Monday of 2022, What are you Reading?


Many are saying good riddance to 2021 but to me if it proved anything its that turning the page on the calendar does not mean that we get a fresh start, or a better, pandemic free year. 2021 had it’s ups and downs, and this year will as well. Our third pandemic focussed year will hopefully be better than the last, but it will also be what we make it.

I ended 2021 by finishing 32 books. I met the reading goal I set for myself. The goal itself isn’t too important, but I set it a little too high to force me to read more picture books, early chapter books and sometimes graphic novels. If I don’t, I will not make my goal of 240 books. Last week, I read lots of the aforementioned types that I had in the library and was really feeling like I should read anyways. This goal gave me the kick in the pants I needed and I also get it done before school starts up again this week.

We have Monday off, and then start-up on Tuesday, but last week the government announced that they would not be bringing students back for the first week here in the province of British Columbia. In my town, there were some schools that were still arranging spaces for their students following the massive flooding we had in November, so it isn’t such a big change for my wife’s school, nor my oldest daughter’s, but my youngest and I were scheduled to go back on the 4th. This has been pushed back to the 10th so that schools can prepare to make the return for school safer in light of the rise of cases relating to our new variant.

Tomorrow we will make some final preparations for the return to work of the adults in our family. Part of that will be continuing the job of making bins for all of the classrooms in my wife’s school, the hardest hit due to flooding. A restoration company boxed up all of the stuff that was not wrecked from her K-7 library, and we were given half an hour to grab what we wanted. The boxes were not really labelled in ways that told you what was inside so we grabbed whatever we had space/time for and have been opening boxes (there are probably about 65 here and more we can pick up if we make an appointment with the restoration company) periodically. It is a little like Let’s Make a Deal, what will be in the box?… Amulet graphic novels… books that have been weeded but not withdrawn… a box of staplers and scissors. We are slowly moving the boxes out of our garage, and into our house before placing the books in bins that are appropriate for each classroom. They are moving the school to a church and there is no space for a library, or shelf space in the classrooms.

Binge reading some of my picture books that I have recently processed as well as graphic novels and early chapter books that I had not made time for was a nice distraction (I think Shaye @ Miller Memo did something similar). So was playing lots of games like Scattegories, Catan, and Dungeons & Dragons. I would not want to write about all 32 of the books that I read last week but some were outstanding so I will focus on those and maybe include a picture with the rest. Once I cleared out some books that I had been meaning to read, I picked some ARCs that I had been looking forward to as well.

Books I Enjoyed Last Week

A New Green Day

Short poetic riddles featuring sensory/imagery clues that will have readers guessing the subject that appears on the next page. I read a couple of other poetry books but I did not enjoy them as much as this one.

Our Table

I am honestly not as much a fan of Peter H. Reynolds books as some at my school, but I really love this one, and the timing of it is perfect. It has a strong message about what families need to do to stay connected that feels more relevant than ever. I think kids will really get this in my school with all that we have been through with flooding and fires in the last year.

Just Harriet

This would make a great class read aloud for grade 2/3/4 for teachers who love reading their classes books in which children mature, learn to make mistakes and how to make up for them.
Harriet has to stay on an island with her grandmother because her mother is on bedrest with her soon to be baby brother. It is a really great life, but Harriet is mad that her plans for summer have changed and things that her parents said would be true, ended up not being true (has that happened to anyone other than me during the pandemic?).
Through her experiences, Harriet learns how to better handle changes, being sad, or angry, and how to have hard conversations with people. There are also some very good secondary questions and a mystery for Harriet to solve. I read this as an e-ARC from Edelweiss but look forward to purchasing my own copy in February 1, 2022.

Anne's Tragical Tea Party: Inspired by Anne of Green Gables (An Anne Chapter Book Book 4)

I really enjoy these well made short chapter books depicting the highlights of the Anne of Green Gables series. If you know the story at all, the title is enough for you to remember what this one is about. Troublemaker Anne makes a mistake and is judged quite harshly, but is responsible and helpful when needed most. I enjoyed this e-ARC from NetGalley, the full version of this fourth book in the series comes out on February 15.

Big Truck, Little Island

My students that love all books with big trucks or heavy machinery will be invested in this right away, but the story itself is very interesting. At the end, the author states that the story of a huge truck on a very small island is based on a true story. The disruption to traffic is handled very well by the residents, and that is the best part of the story. I enjoyed this e-ARC that I read through Edelweiss, the final version is available May 3, 2022

48765648. sx318

The title really is a promise. I think young listeners in the library will have opinions and predictions to share.

The Rabbit Listened

Lots of the books I read last week were ones that I had been meaning to read for a long time and there was none that I shook my head at more for not reading sooner than this one. It is amazing! It speaks to how people need to handle situations in their own way and their own time in a way that young readers will be able to understand.

These were good too…

The Smart Cookie (The Bad Seed Book 5)Not as good as the others, but… still fun. Knot Cannot Silly puns made for a fair bit of fun as knot compares itself with a snake.

58837206. sx318 I enjoyed this e-ARC on Edelweiss. If you are familiar with the Stella books by this author, this new offering will not disappoint. It features a groups of kids playing together imaginatively as different animals. Later, it follows up with them having some similar characteristics in their homes.

Lunch Lady 2: Lunch Lady and the League of LibrariansLunch Lady 3: Lunch Lady and the Author Visit VendettaLunch Lady and the Summer Camp ShakedownLunch Lady 5: Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit

I read the second through fifth of this series that is very old, but were not in any of the libraries in my town. I find them very funny and full of book related and lunch room word play.

Friends ForeverSunny Makes a Splash: A Graphic Novel (Sunny #4)

I caught up with these two graphic novel series that are about growing up, and have characters that have really grown up for their readers, in the best way. You can tell that the writers use a lot of details from their lives or the lives of people they knew growing up. This makes it seem like the setting is better for people my age to read, but kids do seem to get a lot out of reading about the experiences of the tweens and teens in these series.

Henry Heckelbeck Gets a DragonHenry Heckelbeck Never Cheats

This is an early chapter book series that is a spin off from one titled for this character’s sister, Heidi. I hadn’t read it or even known of it when I picked this one up. I liked these ones, but the second was better than the first. The boy had to deal with the new girl at school playing the same position in soccer and being better than he was. In his family, the girls are magical and the boys are not, but he managed to sabotage the new girl in his class with magic anyways. He made a big mistake. When he realized it, he handled it well, and it seems that happens a lot in this series. It reminded me of Katherine Applegate’s Roscoe Riley Rules.

Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue

A girl with cat-like superpowers that she seems to inherit genetically from her Mom? How many girls are going to clamour for this? It seemed to be for 6-8 year olds in some ways but the chapters are quite long compared to most early chapter books I read and it is really for more advanced readers that age. I am going to be interested to see if older kids that read at that level will be interested in the plot which features a girl named Kitty testing her bravery and powers to help animals with problems at night (just like her Mom does).

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This one will likely be another pretty easy sell to some library patrons. I have lots of young readers that will appreciate the details of a night’s work for a snowplow depicted with rhyming text.

Thanks for making it to the end of this post. I hope you had an excellent end to the year, and have positive thoughts for 2022. I look forward to linking up this post with the other excellent bloggers that post at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. I am ever thankful to the hosts of those sites, Jen, Kellee, and Rikki for hosting. Enjoy your reading week!

14 thoughts on “It’s the First Monday of 2022, What are you Reading?

  1. It’s wonderful how much you’re helping with your wife’s school, going through all those boxes, both a joy and hard work! I loved those Lunch Lady books a long time ago & others that you shared like The Rabbit Listened. I still haven’t read Our Table, and I will. It reminds me of the older Byrd Baylor book, The Table Where Rich People Sit! Happy New Year, Aaron. Best wishes to you all in your start back at school!


    1. Happy New Year to you Linda. I have been hoping to hear that you are well with all of the news that I have heard from Colorado. You are right that our labors with the book are both joy and hard work (and a little pain). My wife could have done with less but that would not have been fair to her students. Tough spot, but she will get through. The Rabbit Listened was so good and your blog was certainly one of the ones that made me buy it when I eventually saw it in a store. I will have to look for Byrd Baylor’s book. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think most of us are trying to help with those impacted by the fires, Aaron, a horrible mess it is! There are already millions in donations & they’ve asked for no more food/clothing, etc. They are overwhelmed. I am in the middle of Denver while the fires are far north, nearer to Boulder. Like your floods, a sad end to 2021. If you can find that Baylor book or her others, they are old & wonderful favorites. Best wishes for you & yours!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, your situation sounds similar to the relief efforts here. Some of our families at school dealt with fires in the summer and floods more recently and the support was overwhelming for organizers, which is great. Food and clothing were given in abundant amounts which is fabulous. Great to see people come together.
        I actually had to check to see if you were from Denver or Boulder (Twitter bio) as I couldn’t remember. Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year Aaron. I am struggling with setting my reading goal for this new year. At this point in time I’m contemplating reducing my goal for number of books (although reaching that goal has never been an issue.) Every year I pick a word for the year and this year am contemplating balance. I’m wondering about continuing on with the blog as I seem to be moving towards reading more and more adult novels.
    Our Table is on my list. I’ve mostly liked what I’ve read of his, but haven’t read a whole lot. I’m looking forward to reading this Anne book. The Rabbit Listened is one of my favourite picture books.
    It’s unfortunate that I live just too far away from you or I would be happy to volunteer to help out with the book sorting.


    1. I always love reading your blog, even and sometimes especially when you are reading different books from me. I especially enjoy your focus on Canadian and Indigenous literature. It is a big commitment though. I like your choice of words, that is one I am hoping to get better at using too. I think we made some strides over the break. We did not worry as much about the boxes as I thought we would (thanks for what you wrote about volunteering, that is so kind, but you are WAY too far away). Happy New Year, Cheriee, I hope our highway situation gets/stays really good so that you can safely visit your family soon.


  3. I definitely agree with your thoughts on 2021 and 2022—years are just an arbitrary line in time, and they’re a wonderful chance to reflect and change our behavior for the future, but if no one actually changes anything, then expecting a magical improvement is not a great plan! Considering how much worse 2021 felt than 2020 (especially here in the U.S. with the January 6 insurrection), I’m not super-optimistic for 2022, but I’m definitely willing to be proven wrong! Also, I didn’t realize the flooding had been so bad that schools are having to reopen in other locations, but that’s wonderful of you all to be sorting through all those books so that the temporary classrooms have access to them! I hope you enjoy your slightly extended break and have a smooth return to school on the 10th.

    And wow—you read a ton of books this week, and the ones you mention all look great! I made note of Friends Forever and the two before it, since I really need to try those at this point. And The Rabbit Listened is an excellent book—I read it a few months ago and loved it! I’ve also heard great things about Our Table as well. Thanks so much for the great post, Aaron, and happy new year!


    1. January 6 was so surreal to watch, I can still hardly believe that it really happened. I hope things are stabilizing a bit, politically, but I have to admit I haven’t been paying as much attention lately. I am hoping that the slow return to work goes well. I am going to send some online assignments out tomorrow but they haven’t been super well received. Our District is really relaxed about people doing them, so for the most part, people don’t. Happy New Year to you Max!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. YES – totally agree on our going from December to January does not mean the impact of the pandemic is any less. I’d like to think we’re getting better at making adjustments, but the political division is still rather unsettling in my neck of the woods. It’s not that I mind a difference of opinion, it’s the anger and hatred and outright blame that is a concern at this point. For that reason, I haven’t minded so much being locked up in my home, more than usual. And what in the world would lead you to believe I’d done any binge reading?! 😂 I’m KIDDING, of course. I’m sorry to all of my Goodreads friends who had to tolerate somewhere in the neighbor of 100 books being logged to my “read” list over the last week. It had to be done. At least I’m all caught up on Goodreads. For now…

    I’ve enjoyed some of the picture books on your list, but I haven’t yet found a copy of Our Table. So I’m looking forward to that one. I also have Good Morning, Snowplow! on my list – in my town, this would be a great time to read that one. Thanks for these shares, Aaron!


  5. You’re right about Just Harriet being for younger students. Great job on the reading, and it sounds like you have taken a proactive and pragmatic approach to all of the last minute notifications for your school and family. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care what needs to be done in the library as long as elephants aren’t pooping there. We’re hoping to be back all week, but we’ve had a lot of early releases to cope with low staff of bus drivers. Good luck, and Happy New Year.


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