It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/16/15
I have become rather obsessed with reading newly published books and blogging about them. I feel like I’m in the loop and on the edge of literacy when I get to participate in the conversation, although that might be a bit of an exaggeration. There have been so many great recommendations for newly published books in the IMWAYR group that I’ve barely been able to keep up. This week I had some time to finish a few new books AND blog about them.
Here’s what I’ve finished:
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm
The hype about this book has been incredible. So incredible, in fact, that I had to order it. And read it in one night.
Sunny’s idea of a great summer vacation can be summed up in one place: Disney World. Much to her dismay, her summer vacation can be summed up in an altogether different place: retirement home.
Sunny is spending the warm days of vacay with her grandpa old-school style, which is really not that much fun.
I loved the theme of this book: If you see something that shouldn’t be happening you need to say something – no matter what age you are. There are times when even I see something but don’t do anything about it. This book inspired me to be more vocal about issues I see happening around me, even if I don’t think I’ll be able to make a difference.
When I brought this book to school, I had students nearly fighting each other to read it first. Thankfully, the school library also got a copy in. Like much of the anticipation surrounding this book, my students weren’t very patient waiting for it either.
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
This has been a popular IMWAYR novel, so of course I was ecstatic when I found it in the public library.
Micah’s grandpa is dying and the magic is fading quickly alongside him. After listening to stories about Circus Mirandus from his grandpa for years, Micah decides to find the circus in order to have his grandpa’s last wish fulfilled.
This middle grades novel is a nice blend of realistic fiction and fantasy. I liked the passages about the circus, but I was glad that wasn’t the focus of the group. The one fault I had with this book was the unrealistic and cliché plotline. Micah’s parents died when he was young and when his grandpa gets sick his evil great aunt Gertrudis moves in to take care of him. I realize this is why he had access to the circus, but I found it to be overdone. However, I still enjoyed the book.
I Yam a Donkey! By Cece Bell
I saw Cece present at NCTE last year and she was hysterical. My seventh graders love El Deafo and I’ve had to break up fights about who gets to read it next. In fact, when I wear my behind-the-ear microphone in class, the kids always tell me it reminds them of El Deafo. Fortunately, I’m really good at remembering to shut it off. When I read numerous IMWAYR posts raving about Cece’s picture book, I knew I would love it.
A quick and witty conversation between a yam and a donkey turns into an all-out grammar war between the two. While the yam believes in grammar through and through, donkey has no knowledge about the rules of language. In the end, there is one winner.
I read this picture book aloud as a prompt for a quickwrite in class. While I was losing my chair laughing as I read it to my first class, the tweens looked at me with straight faces and eyes that told me I was crazy. Learning from this experience, I prefaced the reading with my next class by giving them permission to laugh if they thought something was funny. Much to my delight, I had a lot of giggles and some big laughs during the reading.