Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers

IMWAYR: Happy New Year! Happy New Reading Life!


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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After realizing that my reading goals were not met in 2021, I’m happy that it’s a new year. Happy New Year! Happy New Reading Life! And I’m off to a great start with some excellent books. Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin (Read by Jason Reynolds and others)

I don’t have the physical book yet, but I’m going to grab it this week. Jason Reynolds can read to me any time – I love his passionate, articulate voice when he reads his own words. I listened to the ebook on (Thank you!). The second read with an ensemble of voices left me breathless. This audio version included a conversation with Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin at the end, which was an added bonus with extra insights. This book about oxygen (and/or lack of it) is organized in “breaths” – a creative way to develop characters who live during the recent pandemic (2020), not that it’s mentioned. It’s a symbolic commentary on our times, which is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. African Icons by Tracey Baptiste (Narrated by Karne Chilton)

I’ve been waiting to read African Icons for a while – I got distracted during December, but now I’m glad to listen and read this excellent nonfiction celebration of African leaders. I’m just at the beginning, where Tracey (via narrator, Karne) discusses the size of Africa and how it is distorted by the Mercator Map Projection. This is a social studies teacher’s dream book about Africa.

Physical Books: Stuntboy, In the Meantime by Jason Reynolds and Raul the Third

I LOVE this collaboration! I LOVED seeing that there was a display of this book cover in Times Square! I LOVE this graphic novel! The students are going to need more copies of this one.

Physical Books: The Deadliest Diseases Then and Now by Deborah Hopkinson

Deborah Hopkinson shares information in such interesting ways! Her “Deadliest” series is on my “must-have” list and Diseases Then and Now is timely, upsetting, and yet hopeful in the way it helps us to know that we have the power to change and improve our lives. The chapters are organized by historical time periods/worldwide disasters of disease: The plague, the 1918 Flu pandemic, other deadly diseases, and even COVID-19. There’s a glossary, so teachers have a built-in vocabulary list and lots of “further reading” information, including source notes, bibliography, and photos. Ms. Hopkinson is an excellent researcher who knows how to supply children with what they need to learn, grow, and make the world a better place. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Anyone who wants to learn about how diseases affected history needs to read this.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?


Author: Jennifer Sniadecki

I write about literacy education and my love for reading and writing. My passion is sharing titles I use for school libraries, classroom collaborations, and professional development. My goal is to collaborate, research, and share with other life-long literacy learners. Welcome to my blog!

5 thoughts on “IMWAYR: Happy New Year! Happy New Reading Life!

  1. I can’t wait to start Ain’t Burned All the Bright. But as I was telling Jen, I was confused when said it was only about half an hour long. Surely that’s a misprint (considering the hardcover will be 384 pages long)?? In any case, super excited about it. I think I have all these on my short list, except for The Deadliest Diseases Then and Now. But that looks fascinating, too! My husband and I were recently talking about how dangerous some of our common ailments would have been many years ago. I may have to hunt this one down soon. Thanks for the shares, Jennifer. Happy New Year!

  2. Loved all three of these and definitely have them on order. I’m sure Stuntboy will fly off the shelves.

  3. Happy new year, Jennifer! I’ve heard great things about both Jason Reynolds books, and I’m glad you’re enjoying both of them. African Icons is not one I’ve seen, but it sounds excellent too, and I know other people have been enjoying The Deadliest Diseases Then and Now as well! Thanks so much for the great post!

  4. I missed you posting yesterday, Jennifer! Happy New Year! I’m off to my favorite Indie, hoping they have Ain’t Burned All the Bright & this new Hopkinson sounds great! Thanks!

  5. Ain’t Burned All the Bright is on my list. After reading your remarks, I will be sure to listen to it. I have added Stuntboy, In the Meantime to it. If Jason Reynolds writes it, I will read it. Happy New Year!

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