Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers


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IMWAYR: Thinking About May

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

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I’m thinking about May and the end of the school year, and I opened It’s The End of the World and I’m In My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds. This is great! I wish I could avoid laundry. Eddie Gordon Holloway hates chores, especially laundry. He has a plan. Well, you know how plans work most of the time…

Two picture books I think everyone should read are Evicted! The Struggle For the Right to Vote by Alice Faye Duncan and Charly Palmer and It Fell From the Sky by the Fan Brothers. Evicted is serious – another story I didn’t know (that’s why we NEED TO READ). Black landowners in Fayette County, Tennessee were “free to pick cotton and corn but were barred from casting ballots.” People were evicted because they organized voting registration places and were left to set up Tent City. Finally, in 1965 the Voting Rights Act legally ended voter discrimination. This story is timely! This story is needed! Citizens of this country need to exercise their right to vote! (Read this book! Share with everyone!)

On a lighter note, what the heck IS that colorful object that fell from the sky? The insects don’t know, but Spider wanted them all to agree that he was the owner of this amazing find. It was his web that it landed on. (But was it, really? Hmm…) The Fan Brothers’ signature black-and-white-with-pops-of-color picture book is as amazing as the thing that fell and disrupted the creatures’ lives. Our students loved it!

See You Yesterday published last week, and this week I’ll have time to start reading it. I love Rachel Lynn Solomon’s work, so I’m sure it will be fabulous for my high schoolers.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?


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IMWAYR: “Ditto” and a “Brand-New” Picture Book

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

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I’m still reading the stack I gathered last week. The Aquanaut by Dan Santat is a fabulous graphic novel and every student is going to love it! I’ll need more copies in the fall, and I hear there’s more to come from the author. We Can: Portraits of Power by Tyler Gordon is stunning. The way the colors and lines bleed together to form a famous face…Wow! Get a copy of this title to keep!

NetGalley: There’s a brand-new book coming in August (Charlesbridge) called Brand-New Bubbe by Sarah Aronson and illustrated by Ariel Landy that’s wonderful! When a new addition to the family comes to visit, a young girl isn’t so sure about her. “I already HAVE Noni and Gram.” But Bubbe makes the best matzo ball soup. “But my other grandmas make soup, too.” Mom finally introduces a new concept to the child: Family isn’t only blood relatives. You can make up a family of all kinds of people, brought together by love. Preorder this one for Grandparents’ Day.

It’s MONDAY! What are YOU reading?


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IMWAYR: The Two-Week Plan – Thank you, Author Friends!

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

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Thanks to my author friends and Kathy at Brain Lair Books, I have enough to read for two weeks! My plan is simple: read and enjoy these amazing titles!

The Aquanaut by Dan Santat (Graphix 2022), Radium Girls: The Scary But True Story of the Poison That Made People Glow in the Dark by Kate Moore (Sourcebooks 2020), It’s the End of the World and I’m In My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds (Scholastic Press 2022), We Can: Portraits of Power by Tyler Gordon (Farrar Straus Giroux Books 2021), and Jump At the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D. Williams and Jacqueline Alcántara (Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2021).

I read Consider the Octopus by Nora Raleigh Baskin and Gae Polisner previously, but I had to read it again for Earth Day. If you haven’t purchased this one yet, make sure to add it to your list. Jeremy and his adventures traveling with Sidney Miller (no, not the famous researcher, but the 12-year-old Sidney) to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will leave you giggling AND wanting to save the ocean wildlife.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?


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IMWAYR: April Showers Mean More Time to Read

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

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If April showers bring May flowers, I’d better get a bunch of beautiful flowers for my birthday! At least being stuck inside means more time for reading! There are some amazing books out there in #kidlit right now. Check these out!

Only One, by Deborah Hopkinson and Chuck Groenink

Earth Day is just a week away, and you’ll want this new picture book for the occasion. In Only One, a young person gathers family and friends to teach them about the universe: galaxies, stars, planets, asteroids, comets, and especially our earth. We need to take care of Earth because this is the only one we have.

Things To Look Forward To, by Sophie Blackall

This book publishes tomorrow, and it’s wonderful! Things to Look Forward To is Ms. Blackall’s gift to all of us. When you’re feeling down, just read a page, like “11:11” and “A Cup of Tea.” I’m already sharing this with my daughter, who is looking forward to reading it.

Those Kids From Fawn Creek, by Erin Entrada Kelly

I’ve heard all good things about Those Kids From Fawn Creek and I love Ms. Kelly’s books. I’m starting this one tonight!

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?


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IMWAYR: I’m Loving These Reads!

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

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I’m loving these reads right now! I’m so lucky to have books to read and share, and friends who I can count on to join me. I’m following the plan I set up and it’s working well here in April. Now that spring break is over, I’ll need to keep it up. Will I? We shall see!

Picture Books are Perfect for Middle Schoolers! I’ve been talking about reading picture books in middle school for a long time now, and I still believe that sharing these gorgeous books helps even older students learn and grow. I read these last week, thanks to the generosity of Publisher Spotlight…

And…by Philippe Jalbert
Quizás by Chris Haughton
Smile With African Style by Mylo Freeman
Yoga Adventure! by Stevens and Alejandro

Middle Grade Wonders! This week I’ll start reading Those Kids From Fawn Creek by Newbery-Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly. I cannot wait to dive into this middle-grade novel about a new student at Fawn Creek — who moves to Fawn Creek, anyway? I’ll find out! Will this be another title for Newbery?

Those Kids From Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly

Yes, I’m STILL listening to Meet Me In the Margins on Libro.fm. It’s a good audiobook and the narrator is entertaining. I want to find a way to listen more often than just driving back and forth to and from work. Audiobooks are still hard for me to find time to read.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?


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IMWAYR: Let’s Be Realistic

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

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It’s spring break, yet I’m home and I’m cold. Will it ever stop raining and snowing? What can I do? I can READ! I want to read EVERYTHING to celebrate National School Libraries Week, but I must be realistic. Here’s my actual plan…

  1. Read about libraries and librarians: I have several titles in mind to discover or read again. Today I read My Librarian is a Camel by Margriet Ruurs (Boyds Mills Press, 2005) and Leilong the Library Bus by Julia Liu and Bei Lynn (Gecko Press , 2021 — thank you to Tracy at Publisher Spotlight for the gift of reading).
  2. Listen to Libro.fm: I must finish Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson (narrated by Talon David). It’s goofy and light-hearted and if I can get everything else to stop for about an hour, I would meet the ending to this delightful ebook.
  3. Read ARCs (early reads): I am LOVING the upcoming 2022 titles that I have on my desk. I finished A Perfect Mistake by Melanie Conklin (Little, Brown and Company, due July 2022), which was perfect and I cannot wait to add it to our school libraries this fall. I loved Max and his imperfect ADHD life and how he struggles and grows throughout the story. (Teachers and librarians: pre-order this one now. You’re going to want this on your shelves.)

I also read The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat, which is a fantasy that left me wondering about destinies and dreams. Another wonderful read by Christina! This book publishes on April 12th (Candlewick Press, 2022). Sail away to your local indie bookstore and grab this one.

4) Learning about Climate Change and Weather: I have Discovering El Nino: How Fable and Fact Together Help Explain the Weather by Patricia Seibert and Jan Davey Ellis (Millbrook Press, 1999), which is a factual account of how fishermen in Peru and scientists discovered the warmer currents in the seas and named them. Then later, Sir Gilbert Walker, a scientist from Great Britain studying monsoons in India, noticed that weather around the world is all connected. I recommend this one for ages 10 and up and those who want to learn more about the world’s weather patterns. It’s interesting!

Climate Action (“The Future Is In Our Hands” series) by Georgina Stevens and Katie Rewse is a big book (literally), full of facts and infographics about climate change from all over the world and how humans can take actions that will help. “We can all make a difference.” (360 Degrees/Tiger Tales, 2021)

5) CELEBRATE my friends’ book birthday! Consider the Octopus publishes tomorrow (Henry Holt & Co.)! I’m so happy for the terrific writing team, together again — Nora Raleigh Baskin and Gae Polisner — on this excellent new story of a crazy adventure aboard a ship in the Pacific Ocean. Jeremy “JB” Barnes has been roped into spending time on The Oceania II where his mother, a research scientist, is about to set sail to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Yuk! Last thing he wants to do during the summer. When JB finds out that he accidentally invited Sidney Miller (age 12) to the Emergency Global Summit instead of DR. Sidney Miller, the renowned research scientist, things become very interesting, to say the least. Oh, just buy the book tomorrow and read it. It’s fun! It’s interesting! It will make you want to save the ocean’s wildlife.

Join us at @BrainLairBooks’ virtual event (on Facebook and their YouTube channel) on Wednesday evening, 7:00 pm ET, for the book launch party!

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?


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Book PREview: The Door of No Return

In The Door of No Return, Kwame Alexander introduces the reader to 11-year-old Kofi and his tight-knit family. Kofi is smart, friendly, and a strong swimmer, showing off in the waters of the Offin River, the fastest of all his friends. Kofi dreams of water and wonders what his dreams mean. Nana Mosi, his grandfather and the village storyteller, warns Kofi, “The water is not your friend, at night…” Kofi wonders about all Nana Mosi’s sayings and stories but pays attention. Kofi knows his dreams and his grandfather’s teachings will keep him alert to the changes in the village. He will need every ounce of this knowledge in the future.

Kofi’s story weaves the reader in and then untwists the mind and heart as the plot moves forward. Hope builds, then curtails as the reader gasps for a breath before each new chapter. This novel-in-verse is a perfect collection, examining several forms of poetry through the pages while examining human existence. As the water of the Offin drifts, the reader’s expectations roll along, waiting for the next wave. (This book is the first in a trilogy.)

Thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and the author for the early copy of this fabulous tale and the expanded education for all readers. (Expected publication on September 27, 2022)


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Book PREview – Invisible: The Graphic Novel

Invisible tells the story of five students at Conrad Middle School who are called to the principal’s office regarding their actions that led up to April 18. The principal and community member conducting the interview assume that the students don’t speak much English, just because of their names and little-known backgrounds. These students are otherwise invisible at school. 

As the interview progresses, the story reveals how these students met — as community service patrons working in the school cafeteria, gathering hours towards graduation. They don’t know each other. They assume the stereotypes one would expect in school: the brain, the jock, the tough one, the rich one, and the loner (“The Breakfast Club” reference). To the adults, they are just “the Spanish-speaking kids.” They perform their tasks without much thought of community, until they meet someone outside the school fence. Things advance quickly, and the students have to learn about each other and band together as the community service members they are. Can they be unexpected upstanding citizens, even as middle schoolers? “How can you be yourself when no one sees the real you?” 

Read this book to find out more about being invisible and how being seen as your true self is the greatest reward. 

The text includes English and Spanish, a welcome inclusion in this engaging graphic novel by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Gabriela Epstein. Recommended for ages 10 and up. You’re going to want to add this title to your middle school shelves in the fall. Publishing August 2022 by Scholastic Graphix. Thanks to the author and publisher for the early read.


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Slice of Life Story Challenge: March 6

Today is the first day of a new week. Wait! Does the new week start on Sunday or Monday? This is a long-debated issue — right up there with “Which comes first? The chicken or the egg?” I’ve been thinking about debates (for school) and how we frame them so that we can be seen as “correct” in the end. I remind students to “prove it” (cite evidence) and “make them agree with you” (persuasive techniques). (I realize I have not done that here, but since it’s Sunday, it’s still my day off, so I’m not research writing. HA!)

Monday is the first day of the week. Those who work Monday through Friday are apt to say that Monday is the first day (of the work week) and plan their schedules with Monday being the first day in their planners. According to https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/days/monday.html, Monday is considered the first day of the week on many European calendars, adding the fact that Monday means “moon”. There’s also the idea that “Blue Monday” is the day employees (reluctantly) return to work after the weekend.

Those who may use the same source as I did above might say that Sunday is the first day of the week because, in many cultures, Monday means “second day.” Many U.S. calendars still use the Gregorian approach, and Sunday remains the first day of the week.

I find myself starting the week with Monday because that’s when I reset – I start the week after a weekend off of work. It makes sense to me. I’m also a fan of the “Monday, Monday” song by the Mamas and Papas, where Mondays are “so good to me,” but also “cannot be trusted.” It seems that “manifest destiny” relates to Mondays being known as the “bad day” of the week, and hence, “Let’s get it over with.”

Which day starts YOUR week?


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Slice of Life Story Challenge: March 5

Well, it’s March 5 and I’ve already missed a day. That’s okay; I needed Friday night to unwind and watch Netflix with my husband. I brought home vege pizza with extra cheese from Starlite Pizza (the best local pizza). We found Viking: Valhalla and stayed up late, but it was a relaxing night.

Today it’s warmer than it’s been in a long time and it’s sunny! We plan to hang out at home and maybe go to Menard’s and “save big money” on items for the kitchen and bathroom remodels. I love that peaceful feeling of days off. I hope you find some time to kick back and take it easy, too.

Happy Weekend!