Another week and summer is getting closer to an end. It’s hard to ignore that school is back in a month now that the calendar has turned to August and many educators are already back. I don’t normally feel this quite so deeply, but this summer was a very needed break. This past week, the family and I managed to make it up to visit my wife’s parents and that went well. We will head to my parent’s place soon as well, and plan to get some paddleboarding in. The weather has been warm, but not too much so, and we have been blessed with a lack of smoke in our skies. I feel for others who haven’t been as lucky this year. Also, a good summer for reading. I hadn’t finished nearly as many books in the first half of the year with demands at work being far more than in past years, but have been able to enjoy many more books in the last month or so.
I am happy to be able to share this post of a week of reading with other bloggers at our link-up at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Check these sites out if you haven’t already and get loads of great ideas for your to-read lists. Thanks to Kellee, Ricki, and Jen for hosting.
Books I Enjoyed This Week
A board book that gives a little more detail on the parts and attachments on a tractor accompanied with rhyming, repetitive text about the purpose of the different parts. Lots of little ones that love tractors will appreciate this. I read an e-ARC of this on Edelweiss and it is supposed to be released tomorrow.
This picture book’s author had a familiar name, and it wasn’t until I marked it on Goodreads that I noticed she had a few series for teens including the Wicked Lovely series, which I recognize the covers, but no little about. I was drawn by the photos of the horses and I have a lot of kids that love horses, as I teach in a ranching community. These were photos of wild horses, and we have some of those near my school too. Photos are accompanied by poetry written by the author who clearly loves observing these horses in the wild.
I mentioned this one last week, and I think it was favourite picture book of the week. A very subtle, wordless picture book that shows a cat waking up not really feeling up for the day. Cat’s friend Dog arrives and does his best to help. Through the pictures, readers can think about and discuss what it is like to feel the way that Cat feels, and what Dog can do to be a good friend. A good SEL title that came out on August 2.
This sequel to Nightbooks was even better than its predecessor. I loved the premise of a young author, Alex, having to sort through a graveyard of his old story ideas. I didn’t love the ending, to be honest (one of the characters made a decision that seemed too convenient for me) but the ideas in Alex’s stories were fun and a new, creepy villain was fun as well. If your students read Nightbooks, or watched the Netflix adaptation, they will really enjoy this next installment that comes out on August 16, I was able to get an e-ARC from Edelweiss.
I needed to read this 2013 release to find the connections to the author’s newest book, Drifters, which came out in May. This one was a good family read aloud in its own right, and I got the connections near the end of the book. This book is about a couple of kids who win a grant from the Fellowship for Alien Detection, they don’t know the work of the other until they come together with different pieces of the puzzle and a need to stop an alien plot that is controlling the mind of a small town.
This was a fun new graphic novel which, in the spirit of Roller Girl, describes how a girl deals with losing one of her best friends because their interests are not in alignment. Victoria likes horses, but her ex-bestie feels that competing in horse competition is the only way to go. Victoria can’t put that much of herself into it, even though she really enjoys riding.
Even readers who not into horses should be able to make connections to this, whether they think of another activity or sport (dance, hockey) where there is pressure to compete. Horse lovers will really appreciate the art and the parts of the story that take place at a stable.
The way that characters learn to handle having different interests from a friend or sibling made for a great resolution. I got an e-ARC of this from Edelweiss and it is out on August 16
I had heard that this might be the series finale, and I am not really sure from reading it. Could be. Anyways, fans of the series will enjoy this one, and the cover with the clowns will get the attention of kids looking for MG “scary” books.
This book took a little while to pick up on the cliffhanger ending of book three, it started to develop a plot of its own first, which eventually tied into the cliffhanger. However, the game between The Smiling Man and Coco and Brian picks up, as does the relationship with Ollie. The group gets a little more help from Phil and there is more interaction with their parents as well. This group has always used their brains to get the better of the evil Smiling Man and the resolution felt a little quick for me. There are also some interesting clues as to the past of The Smiling Man, and while I had heard this was the last book in the series, I think a prequel with his origin story might be even more interesting.
This is another picture book that I read an e-ARC of through Edelweiss. Like a few of the books here it comes out on August 16. This one, like Wild Horses, also has photographs. Each page has a photo of an animal with simple text for very young readers showing that the animals have the same body parts that the young readers do. I didn’t realize until the end pages that part of the point is to encourage positive body image. Not sure that young readers would either, but the pictures will please them for sure, and the repetitive, rhyming text probably makes it a good lap book for parents/guardians/grandparents and young readers.
Several years ago, I read and loved the book A Monster Calls, which is most often identified with the author Patrick Ness. I always remembered that the premise and idea for the book was actually conceived by Siobhan Dowd, but that she sadly passed away due to cancer before getting a chance to complete the book, and Ness wrote it based on the premise (they shared a publisher). As I really loved A Monster Calls, I thought it would be good to read one of the Dowd’s book and this was her second.
This book features an interesting main character Ted, who is on the autism spectrum, knows that he is on the higher functioning end of it, and feels that his brain runs on a “different operating system” from most people. When Ted’s cousin Salim goes missing, Ted and his older sister Kat are the last two people to see him. Their parents and Salim’s Mom (their Mom’s sister) are quite upset and do not want to listen to their theories to help solve the mystery of what happened when Salim did not appear to get off of the London Eye when he was supposed to. Eventually, they do have some ideas that might bear fruit if they check them out on their own, and one police officer is also very understanding. This pulls them into the heart of the mystery, and Ted is able to use his strengths to help out, and even his usually grumpy sister is an ally.
Currently Reading/On Deck Reads
I am currently reading this e-ARC that I got from Edelweiss. It publishes on August 16, its set in Indonesia and I enjoyed the beginning. It is tackling the complexities of environmental activism when it comes up against a needed part of the local economy, and does so from three perspectives.
After this book, I have a lot of e-ARCs to read but also want to try some books that are in paperback recently or about to be in paperback soon. I typically do this in August to find books to use for my school district’s Battle of the Books for the 2022-2023 year. I have a few good candidates that I have already read. If you have one that you think I should try, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Also, thanks for reading this far and for visiting my blog. If you posted as well this week, I plan to get to your site soon. Have a great week!