It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (And a challenge!)

It's Monday! Huzzah! It's Monday and I'm sitting at home on my big comfy couch, surrounded by books.

You just gotta love a three day weekend, right?

I've been reading oodles of books lately, partially in hopes of finding the just right way to reach my new students in my new school where I feel a little like Alice and a little like Goldilocks, and a lot like Mr. Magoo.

So between the bumps and bruises of adjusting to my new school home, I read.

Recently, I've read quite a few fabulous middle grade novels, with a stack of promising reads to keep me busy for at least another month. Here's a sample of what I've read so far:

Somehow, between having students with really good taste, and some excellent timing, I've managed to read (or reread) a few delightful books by Sharon Creech throughout the month of September. Love That Dog will always remain a favorite for me -- combining poetry with dog love and a boy learning to love words? Yeah -- you got me. I hadn't planned to read it to my classes so early in the year, but they prodded me and it ended up being a perfect beginning for us. Afterwards, a student handed me Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, which I hadn't read before. I love how Creech weaves together past and present in this short but touching tale of friendship. I'll definitely be passing it along to more students!

Love That Dog * Granny Torrelli * The Great Unexpected
And finally, I picked up a copy of the recently published The Great Unexpected. Interestingly, I heard a little bit of Rosie's voice from Granny Torrelli piping through in Naomi's best friend, Lizzie. I'm curious if anyone else heard that, as well! In The Great Unexpected, Creech tosses together folk tales with a little magic realism and a lot of love to create a story that any Creech follower is sure to appreciate. I know exactly which student I'll be handing this book to first thing tomorrow morning!
Almost Home

I also just finished Joan Bauer's Almost Home, which is as heartbreaking as it is endearing. I quickly fell in love with Sugar Mae Cole, the 12-year-old main character, and her tag along puppy, Shush. Exploring themes that perfectly spark #chooseKind conversations, Bauer also employs a variety of text genres. Readers will quickly understand how important words are in Sugar's world, while seeing models of letter writing, poetry, memoirs, and more. Within minutes of book talking this new title to my students, I had kids scrambling to be the first to read it. And now it's being passed from hand to hand. Almost Home is a beautiful story that any child with family struggles can relate to, and learn from.
Starry River of the Sky

Currently, I'm splitting my time between Grace Lin's Starry River of the Sky (I'm just on page 43) and an unwieldy stack of profession development books. My husband also keeps nudging Patrick Rothfuss' Wise Man's Fear at me, and on a good day, I read maybe a page of it at a time. I loved the first book in this trilogy, The Name of the Wind, but making time for this type of epic fantasy is hard for me these days! And even with as much as I am reading these days, my to-read stack just keeps growing... I need a vacation to catch up on my reading! Does this sound familiar?

The thing I love about reading this much is how it seems to effect my students. Each Monday we sit together and set a reading goal -- they hold me to mine, and I hold them to their goals, too. And when the following Monday arrives, if anyone hasn't met their goal they are expected to know why and have a solution. If they don't have a solution, our class community of readers offers suggestions. It's powerful to watch them transform each week from this simple conversation. So for as long as my nightly reading seems to inspire them to keep chugging along, I will keep reading. I don't know how many reader role models they have in their lives, but at least they can't count on me as one.
So What Do They Really Know?

While I have all these books spinning wildly about, I feel like I need to do something to ground myself in what I'm learning through my PD books. From October 14 through November 11, I'll be reading Cris Tovani's So What Do They Really Know? and posting each week to reflect on my reading. I'd like to invite you to join me. Comment if you're interested -- I'll post details tomorrow! (Be thinking weekly posts, twitter chat opportunities, and maybe even a google hangout to chat n' learn!) What say you, readers? Do you have time to spend a minute filling out this form so we can read and share together?


  1. I love that you discuss reading goals with your class. I admire you so much for teaching all of those kids the importance of loving to read.

    1. Thanks! It's definitely a passion -- kids have the right to love books, too! :)