Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers


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IMWAYR: November! Reading Until the End of the Year

It’s Monday, What are YOU reading?

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.

It’s November? Really? I have a LOT of reading to complete before the end of the year. I decided, though, to take it easy on myself, as I also have NaNoWriMo writing to do. (NaNoWriMo.org)

Physical Book: Ezra and the Mouse: The Search for Lafayette by Victoria J. Coe is the long-awaited historical fiction story set in Victoria’s hometown of Duxbury, Massachusetts. I’m digging in tonight! (I MUST read about this ship and the 500-lb block of cheese!)

Libro.fm: Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci is the book I’d love to finish listening to this week, if possible. I’ve been watching the CNN TV docuseries with Stanley Tucci traveling through the regions of Italy, meeting the locals, and eating all that food! Italy is on my bucket list, for sure! Now I know where to eat when I travel there. LOL

I “can’t even” with NetGalley this week. It’s too hard to remember to log in, with everything else I’m doing. It’s okay. I’ll get back there soon!

Happy Reading!


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IMWAYR: Stick with the Library Books — Great Graphic Novels

It’s Monday, What are YOU reading?

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.

I’m sticking with my library books this week, but last weekend I took a little break (fall break, here!) and read some fast, fun picture books along with the graphic novels to keep me going.

Graphic novels help when I need light-and-fast reads to keep me reading “something.” Sometimes it’s hard to read. I’m tired. I’m overworked. I don’t want to think. These two books hit the spot! Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter and Sunny Makes a Splash by Jennifer and Matthew Holm (Sunny #4).

To keep myself from starting something too heavy after those titles, I chose Battle of the Bands, edited by Lauren Gibaldi and Eric Smith. What fun! Many of my favorite authors contributed to this collection, which took me back to my high school and college days of attending my friends’ musical events.

I will continue to read through my library stack — such excellent titles coming up! Since it was fall break, I didn’t drive much, so I didn’t listen to any more Libro.fm audio books and I didn’t log in to NetGalley last week. I’ll catch up!

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?


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IMWAYR: Book Birthdays

The last couple of weeks have been amazing “book birthday” celebrations of excellent children’s and teen’s literature. I have my TBR list growing so fast, there’s no way I’ll get all the titles read by the end of 2021. Here’s the plan for THIS week:

NetGalley: I will finish The Vanderbeekers: Make A Wish for its book birthday tomorrow. Thank you for another great story, Karina Yan Glaser! Every time I finish a Vanderbeekers story, I long for a new one.

Libro.fm: I’m not going anywhere this week, but I hope to finish Chlorine Sky while driving to and from work. I love this one so far, but I haven’t really paid attention to it. I need to listen better (story of my life!).

Physical Books: This title got held over and will now be published in October instead of September, but I can’t wait to own a copy of Violets Are Blue by Barbara Dee. Barbara is a master of middle school stories – I love everything she writes! This one is going to be a must-read for my middle school theater and art students. I know I’ll have multiple copies available in the library.

It’s Monday, What are YOU reading?

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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IMWAYR: So Many Books!

I have a huge TBR pile again, and the last three weeks have been crazy for book birthdays (that’s “Tuesdays” to most people) — I cannot keep up! Here are some books I’m looking forward to this week:

Physical Books: I read Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes again because it’s part of our “characters” reads in middle school. I always love it, and I’m waiting to buy Paradise on Fire, which comes out tomorrow. Jewell’s stories always stay with me.

Libro.fm: Okay, I’m behind, but I haven’t driven much lately, so there’s no time to listen. I’m starting Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne next because it’s only 2 hours, so I can finish it in one trip to my mom’s house.

NetGalley: Getting to my home computer is difficult lately, but I have a bunch of downloads now that I need to get through. I’m ready for The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish by Karina Yan Glaser this week.

It’s Monday, What are YOU reading?

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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IMWAYR: A New Title From a Favorite Author

Physical Books: Brian Selznick is back! Have you heard? Kaleidoscope publishes on September 21st and people are looking forward to this one! I love that my bookseller friend, Kathy, shares ARCs with me, and this is an interesting hand-off. This is a collection of short stories with two main characters who connect through travels, dreams, and strange places. I can’t tell you much without giving it away, but its 200+ pages will leave you thinking, that’s for sure. I’m sure my middle school and high school teacher friends will use the stories in classrooms around the globe.

I’m STILL reading The Firekeeper’s Daughter because I’m interrupted constantly with school work now. I still recommend this title to anyone who is interested.

Libro.fm: I’m going to listen to The Plot next. I put it off before, but now I’ll be driving more miles in the next few weeks, so time is on my side for once.

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

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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Book Review: Heartless Heirs by MarcyKate Connolly

Publishes Tomorrow! The long-awaited sequel to Twin Daggers, HEARTLESS HEIRS will finally be available.

My review: Heartless Heirs is the second book of the duology, Twin Daggers by MarcyKate Connolly. The adventure, and the struggle, continues for the Magi and the Technocrats in the ancient-like city of Palinor. Magi leaders have been sacrified, and a dangerous traitor has emerged. Heartless Heirs picks up an hour after Twin Daggers, with heroines Aissa and Zandria, the Magi super-twins with special powers, running away with their childhood friend and Aissa’s new love, the Technocrat prince, Aro. Ahead of them is adventure, romance…and more danger than they can possibly imagine.

Aissa narrates with suspense and intrigue, as she and Zandria escape the city with childhood friend, Remy, in search of safety and answers to lingering questions about what exactly happened hundreds of years ago that split the Magi and the Technocrats into factions in the first place. Zandria is not happy with her sister, who is now a traitor for falling in love with (and binding her heart to) Aro, the Technocrat prince. Meanwhile, the Magi are hiding, the twins must find the hidden Magi library, and the Techno soldiers are hot on their trail, ready to eliminate them once and for all. The Alchemical Alliance, a group desperately trying to find a way to bring the Magi and the Techocrats together, is also in danger of falling apart with traitor, Darian, on the loose. Even the king and queen are heartless, dealing with their run-away son and their unsuspecting citizens. Hidden secrets, spells, and spies make this tale twist and turn. This book is a spell-binding (“spell” and “binding” are key words here) adventure in 350 pages.

Heartless Heirs is a story full of compelling characters and gripping events that will keep the reader guessing until the very end – Can the Magi and Technocrats all learn to live peacefully in Palinor? (Probably not.) Will Aissa and Zandria live to save the day…again? Readers will want to keep reading to find out.

A grateful thank you to Blink YA Books, HarperCollins, and Net Galley for the early read. And don’t forget your educator’s guide!


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IMWAYR: In the Wild Light PREview

Cash Pruitt is a hard-working 17-year-old from Sawyer, Tennessee, who has a hard past. Now living with his grandparents, Cash mows lawns, attends Sawyer High School, and hangs out with his best friend, Delaney Doyle. The two share heartbreaks (Cash’s mom died of an opioid addiction and Delaney’s mom is headed down the same path) and adventures (traveling on the river and digging in caves). Delaney’s adventures include discovering a new medicine in those caves, a medical science breakthrough that leads to an invitation. Middleford Academy in Connecticut offers Delaney a scholarship to the prestigious private high school, but she says she won’t go unless Cash joins her.


How does a teenager just pick up and leave the only home he’s ever known? What will happen to Papaw if he isn’t home to take care of him? Papaw will surely die from emphysema if Cash leaves. Mamaw cannot handle working night shifts and taking care of her husband all by herself. Cash’s decision to stay might just mean he’s stuck in the little Appalachian town forever, with little hope of a better future. Delaney’s decision to leave might just mean Cash loses his best friend…forever. 


Packed with references to commonly recognized settings (Dairy Queen, Little Ceasar’s Pizza, the Greyhound Bus Station, New York City…), readers will relate to Cash and Delaney and their story, eagerly following the two friends to their new home at Middleford Academy. The gorgeous language of Zentner’s storytelling, especially the details of scenes and scents, make the reader stop and appreciate nature, especially the river and how it nourishes the soul. Readers will also cheer for minor characters, other students who ascend on the school from everywhere in the world, who connect with Cash and Delaney and provide a family away from home.


In a welcome surprise, references to another Zentner title will help readers reminisce — a throwback that brings one forward to hope and renewed love of story.  Follow Cash Pruitt’s path from small town boy to boarding school  poet, living his dreams with him. Appreciate the intelligence of a strong female character with attitude, who can kick your butt, then give you a hug in the same scene, while all along working in the science lab to save the future. Grieve your losses alongside each of the characters, and lift your head back up to see the “wild light” that is waiting for you at the end.

Thank you to Net Galley for providing this digital ARC, and to Jeff Zentner for writing yet another wonderful book that celebrates nature, family, and friendships. In the Wild Light has an expected publishing date of August 10, 2021.


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NerdCampMI – another year of fabulous fun!

“What is Nerd Camp?” Wow! Fun-filled, exhausting days of learning, reading books, writing, meeting #kidlit authors in real life, reuniting with like-minded people, and visiting with fellow campers until the wee hours of the morning. #NerdCampJr was awesome this year, and those 3rd graders were amazing! THANK YOU to Alaina Sharp, Colby Sharp and family for hosting (again) the BEST summer PD EVER! Don’t forget, if you need books, order from Kathy at The Brain Lair Bookstore. One year with dreams of many more to come! I can’t tag everyone, or this post would be pages long, but please know that it was nice to see each and every one of you and I can’t wait until next year! ❤️


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Sunday Snippet – A Bit Of Thinking

Maintaining the Motivation – 

     Last week students at my middle school were lucky to hear author Sarah Aronson talk about her writing process and share information about her upcoming picture book biography, Just Like Rube Goldberg. I went home that night with renewed interest in researching and reading…and writing. 

     Four days later, I struggled to sit my “butt in the chair” today and write anything of substance. Why is that? How can we maintain the motivation for reading and writing after a big literacy event?