It’s Monday, January 10, 2022, What are you Reading?


Today, marks my first day back at school with students. I worked last week on a lot of library stuff, some preparation for the possibilities of sudden, short-term closures and also some time helping schools that are also coming back from the flooding our District experienced on November 15. These schools are returning to in-person learning for the first time since November 12. My wife’s library is all over the place. She has a small room in the church that is housing about half of her students, we also have books in an office in our house, in our garage, and in a bunch of bins we just loaded in our car. My oldest daughter returns to high school classes that will take place in two different buildings. She switches everyday at lunch from one to the other. My youngest is in a class that is being housed in a different elementary school from where she typically goes. It’s been a little chaotic getting everyone ready for all the changes, and there will be a lot of kinks to work out on the fly, but it will be nice to see some students and get many of them back reading.

As for myself, I think my reading year is off to a good start. I ended up requesting what might have been too many ARC MG novels that release on the same day. I was concerned I might not get them all read so I needed to start right away. You will see several of them in this post, as it turns out that February 1 is a pretty big release day. I am happy to link up this post with others at Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts. Thanks to the publishers of those sites for hosting this link-up.

Books I Enjoyed This Week

Forbidden City (City Spies, #3)

This is the third City Spies book and I read the e-ARC through Edelweiss. These have been consistently good, but I think this might have been my favourite one. The action took place in Scotland, Moscow and Beijing. There were a lot of great place details, and the character development is increasing as well (not that it wasn’t already pretty good).


First of all, what a great cover this is. Maddie is a girl that gets left behind in kind of an odd situation in which she somehow ends up alone, all alone. I didn’t find this part very plausible and I wanted more explanation, but what happened afterwards was interesting and exciting. Maddie collects her neighbour’s dog and learns how to survive alone, overcoming natural and man-caused disasters.

Omar Rising

This is one of the February 1 ARCs that I mentioned and the companion novel to Amal Unbound. A very good story about featuring Omar, a multi-talented boy who gets a scholarship to an exclusive private school in Pakistan. He knows it is the ticket to improving life for him and his mother. When he gets there he struggles with some of the extra burden placed on him as a scholarship student. How will Omar ever rise to this challenge and lift his family?

Be Strong

Similar to their collaboration in Be Kind, this has a great message. However, I loved how this one starts out with a focus on physical strength and then shows lots of different ways people can show strength.

The Suitcase

The creature with the suitcase on the cover is different. When he moves in, the other animals do not handle this very well. They mistrust it. They trample on it’s rights. They even break open the suitcase. Then, they learn how wrong they were and the animals come together to make it right. This is a pretty neat story that can be used to discuss how to treat new people, or with older kids we can talk about how immigrants have sometimes been treated, or even the way Indigenous peoples were treated here in Canada. However, we should talk about how to make things right too, its an important part of the book.

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The title characters here only look at their differences and are big rivals. Finally, after some shared experiences, they see what they have in common and how that could contribute to a friendship. The pictures of London are fun.

Currently Reading

People of the SunThe Golem's Eye (Bartimaeus, #2)The NestWhen Winter Robeson Came 

I started People of the Sun, as an e-ARC that comes out on Feb. 1, but it isn’t really working on my favourite device, so I reading it on my laptop. I am always slower when that happens, but I am enjoying this third book of Ben Gartner’s time travelling series. My family is reading the second in The Bartimaeus Trilogy and that is fun. My class and I are reading The Nest, we just started today. Lastly, when I can’t read on my laptop, I am reading When Winter Robeson Came, but I just started last night. I enjoyed reading about this on Michelle Knott’s blog and decided to try it.

Thanks for checking out what I have been reading over the past week. If you have a post out there, I hope to read about what you have been reading too.

4 thoughts on “It’s Monday, January 10, 2022, What are you Reading?

  1. I am in awe of all the planning you, your wife, and the kids have done to get back to school. Best wishes for better each day, Aaron. I know of some of the books you shared, but not the others & they all sound good. I see The Nest on your current list. What a frightening tale Oppel has crafted. I’ll be interested to read what you & your class think? Wishing you a great week back!


    1. The Nest has been one of my favourite books for quite some time. It is quite frightening as you point out, but also there is that other element of it, the connection between the baby in the story and one of Oppel’s children. That other element of the story is one that some students don’t see as the enthusiastically read a creepy story and this is one of the reasons I like to read it with groups and discuss. I don’t really recommend this article unless you have read the book, but since you have, I certainly do recommend it. Thanks for your kind words. The work has been hard lately, but definitely not without rewards.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow—between all the temporary locations for your family and all of the books from your wife’s library, it sounds like the return to school post-flooding is quite the challenge! I hope everything goes smoothly and you have a great first week back to teaching. All of these books look excellent—I’ve heard great things about Alone, and the same goes for The Suitcase! Omar Rising sounds really compelling as well—I haven’t read any of Aisha Saeed’s novels, but she co-edited an MG anthology called Once Upon an Eid that was absolutely phenomenal! Thanks so much for the wonderful post, Aaron!

    Liked by 1 person

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