It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/17/15

When I started writing regular It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? posts, I struggled. Primarily, I couldn’t articulate why I did or didn’t enjoy a book. Although I’m still no Shakespeare when it comes to reviewing books, it’s a bit easier now than when I began.

If you’re like me and it’s difficult to write about books, check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers and read others’ reviews. I’ve learned what makes interesting book reviews just from reading other IMWAYR posts.

monday

Here are some of the books I’ve recently finished:

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl (#3) by Ben Hatke

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I absolutely loved the first book in the Zita series. Zita is charming, adventurous, and energetic even if it may get her in trouble. A lot of trouble. This graphic novel is full color and has the feeling of a comic book due to all the interstellar adventure.

For several reasons, I wasn’t sold on this third book in the series. I will admit I didn’t read the second book which may be why I sometimes felt lost while reading. But I was repeatedly confused with the inferring I had to do between each panel. I passed my English Praxis test, but boy did the inference really challenge me with this graphic novel. I was unfamiliar with the space objects which made connecting the panels and the plotline perplexing. I read quite a few graphic novels, even wordless graphic novels, and I’ve never had as much trouble as I did with this book. Nevertheless, my heart still has a soft place for Zita the Spacegirl.  

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce

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After reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid and contemplating its worth on an IMWAYR post, Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers left me a comment saying that she tries to get her kids to read Big Nate instead of Diary of a Wimpy Kid for several reasons.

I couldn’t agree more.

A partially illustrated novel, this book is written for middle grades kids. Nate is less than perfect, sometimes selfish, but he is real. He makes mistakes and gets caught in sticky situations, yet he has good intentions. This book may appeal to reluctant readers because of the authenticity and humor. This was definitely a much better reading experience for me than when I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova

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I picked this book up at Barnes and Nobles when I was on vacation a few weeks ago. When I bought it I hadn’t even seen the cover before and now I’m hearing more and more buzz about it. Typically I’m not at the forefront of reading popular books, so this is a huge win for me as a reader!

Awkward is about middle school, or did you guess that already? What could be more awkward than middle school? On her first day, Peppi stumbles awkwardly and falls. In front of everyone. At a new school. Despite an awkward start to school, Peppi finds redemption and a sense of belonging in art club. But her new haven is threatened when the rivalry between art club and science club gets too competitive.

I loved the themes of this book: kindness, redemption, forgiveness, competitiveness. I’m sure this graphic novel will also win the hearts of my seventh graders.

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