It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/16/16

As the school year winds down, my reading life has picked back up. I’ve created several TBR piles for the summer, preordered a few books on Amazon, and have scoured the school library for summer titles. Oh, this is going to be a good, good summer.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog meme. The kidlit version is hosted by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts.


Here’s what I’ve recently finished:

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale


4/5 stars

Nathan Hale has a gift for writing clever, engaging nonfiction graphic novels and The Underground Abductor is no exception. Throughout the novel, I learned more about Harriet Tubman than I ever learned about her in American History during high school. Did you know why she carried a revolver with her through Underground Railroad escapes to Canada? She threatened to shoot any slave escaping with her who wanted to turn back. I also found out that Harriet Tubman was her free name – she was actually known as “Minty” before escaping. She escaped to Canada herself and then returned to the south again and again to lead slaves to freedom in Canada. She helped her entire family, including her elderly parents (but excluding her sister), to freedom!

After reading this novel, I have a greater appreciation for Harriet Tubman and all of her life’s accomplishments. Knowing more about her has made me even more excited for the new $20 bill!

Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley

something new

5/5 stars

There has been a deafening ringing in my ears for a few years now…wedding bells. If you are or ever have been 20-something, you probably know what I’m talking about! Everyone I know either has a ring, is getting a ring, or really wants a ring. Feeling the societal pressure surrounding weddings, I was relieved to read Lucy’s memoir about her own wedding.

 Clever, non-conforming, and purely entertaining, this book was published at just the right time for me. Lucy’s message to brides is clear: be aware of societal pressure, enjoy the experience, and be you. Do you want a ring? Then go for it – don’t limit yourself to the classic diamond cut either. Do you want to forego a ring? That’s okay, too! You don’t have to throw the 10-point shindig on Four Weddings or find your dress like they do on Say Yes to the Dress. I’m encouraged to have read an account of someone who has been there, done that, and I appreciate the honest insight Lucy shares in her book. Plus, we even get to read a story written by the groom (spoiler: he’s very articulate!). Fans of Lucy’s Relish will also love this graphic novel.

Booked by Kwame Alexander


4/5 stars

Can I just pause for a moment and thank Kwame for writing another free-verse, middle grade novel?

Thank you, Kwame. You understand kids. You know what hooks them and what they need, and somehow you manage to package it into 200 pages (with a really cool cover).

When I read The Crossover, I laughed and cried and lamented when it was over. With such an impactful book already published, Kwame made the better choice to not write a “sequel.” In this novel, I enjoyed getting to know a character different from the twins in The Crossover. The variety in both books appeals to different readers and can hook an assortment of readers, too. Because each novel can stand alone, I now have a go-to recommendation for students who loved The Crossover, and can recommend The Crosssover to students who loved Booked.