Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?- September, 30 21013

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Please click on a picture to go to the book's page on Goodreads where you can learn more about it.

With the craziness of the first weeks of school and my amazing time at NERA last weekend, I did not have time to post last week.  So, here are some of the books I have read lately.

Picture Books

Crankee Doodle
by Tom Angleberger

Crankee Doodle is hands down the funniest picture book I have read in a while.  I was actually laughing out loud.  Yankee Doodle is bored and cranky and wants something to do.  His trusty horse recommends that he "go to town". Well, "Crankee" doesn't want to go to town and he gives many funny reasons for not wanting to do so.  Then his horse suggests that maybe he could get a feather for his hat and it just keeps going from there. My 11 year-old daughter, Molly, also  loved this book. 

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
by Carol McCloud

Every child need to hear this book.  The author writes about how everyone has an invisible "bucket" inside them.  When the bucket is filled up with positive thoughts and kindness a person feels happy.  When their bucket is empty or others dip into their bucket, they feel sad. I love this metaphor and I think kids will really understand what kindness does inside a person after reading it.  A MUST read!

Hello, My Name is Ruby
by Phillip C. Stead

Sweet, little Ruby is in search of friendship and her place in the world.  She is fearless and asks the other birds lots of questions including "Would you like to be my friend?"  This book would be a great addition to any collection about friendship, empathy or courage.  It also got the Molly 2 thumbs up.  She really felt for Ruby who faced rejection several times, but did not give up. 

Hank Finds an Egg
by Rebecca Dudley

This wordless book is too adorable not to share with children.  Hank finds an egg that has fallen from its nest. Hank shows great ingenuity and determination as he tries to put the egg back where it belongs.  The story is simple and lovely.  On the jacket I read that the author creates everything on each page by hand, right down to each tiny leaf.  This book got the seal of approval from Molly with a big "Awww that's so cute!"

Middle Grade

The Boy on the Porch
by Sharon Creech

My friend Justin Stygles, book talked this book at our MRA open house last week so I decided to pick it up. I am glad I did.  It is a very quick read because of its number of pages and because it is really interesting.  A sleeping boy is left on the porch of a childless couple, John and Marta.  The boy seems to be about 6 years old and is unable to speak.  The boy produces a note that asks the couple to take care of "Jacob" and they will return for him.  Goodhearted John and Marta take the boy in, but they do not report finding him to the authorities. There is a great undercurrent of suspense as the couple grows to love the boy and foster his unique musical and artistic talents.  Will his parents return for him? Should they tell the authorities?  Who do you root for?  I think this book would make a great book for late 4th through 6th grade.  It would certainly spark many important discussions. 

Currently Reading

Reading in the Wild
by Donalyn Miller

I was lucky to win an advanced reader's copy of The Book Whisperer's newest gem at the NERA conference last weekend and, so far, it is a fantastic as you would expect. 
Please read more about my NERA experience and how I met Donalyn Miller and Penny Kittle here

Gigi McAllister teaches at Great Falls Elementary. In her 21 years as an educator, she has taught K-6 special education for 10 years, spent one year at grade 5 and is currently in her 10th year of teaching 4th grade. She is serves on the executive board of the MRA and on the planning committee for nErDcamp Northern New England (have you signed up yet?) You can visit her blog (The Late Bloomer's Book Blog) where she posts about books, reading and classroom practices here. You can also find her on Twitter and on her professional Facebook page


  1. Hi Gigi! I am so glad you posted about Hank, I fell in love with that book over the summer and was meaning to buy it with my budget money, but forgot! Now he is back on my radar :) I wasn't sure how kids would react to Boy on the Porch. I loved it, but was afraid there might not be enough "happening" to keep 4th grade readers hooked. When I book talked it in class half the kids had their hands up to take it...and the boy that got it read 70 pages the first night he had it. Sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised with how a book speaks to children. Have a great week. And enjoy reading Donalyn's book before the rest of us! ;)

    1. I was kind of wondering the same thing about The Boy on the Porch. I read it in two sittings which is rare for me. Hank is just too cute! So glad I found him.

  2. I don't think that The Boy on the Porch will resonate with 6th graders, mainly because of the lack of "things happening". It read more like a book that mothers would read for a book discussion group. I wish I had a very clear idea of what year it takes place, due to all of the legalities of Children's Services!

    1. It definitely does seem to take place a bit in the past. These days the couple would be in jail pretty quick.

  3. Reading in the Wild sounds like a lot of fun. I just ordered Penny Kittle's Book Love via Amazon and it arrived today, so I'm looking forward to reading it and using it in a course that I'm developing for our masters/phd students. Sharon Creech happens to be one of my 11 year old daughter's favourite, primarily because of Grandma Torelli. Will be on the lookout for this one.

    1. Your course sounds like a great one! I love Penny's book.

  4. Great job Gigi. I left a comment at your blog today.

  5. I can't wait to read Hank and Stead's book about Ruby! And yes, lucky you to have Donalyn's new book. I keep telling my Teacher Librarian that we must purchase this title for our professional collection.

  6. I will have to find "Crankee Doodle". Sounds like fun! I just reviewed "Ruby" too and just loved it. Philip Stead is a favorite of mine anyway.
    Glad I came by from Unleashing Readers as you have a lot of good books here.
    ~ linda

  7. I too finished The Boy on the Porch and enjoyed its quiet suspensefulness. I too wonder how it will fly with kids, but it sure has me thinking about it, even after I've finished it. Crankee Doodle was so fun! I'm patiently waiting for the new Stead book to come into the library.