Monday, August 13, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I've had a harder time finding my blogging rhythm over the summer but Jen and Kellee at have kept me going on Mondays with It's Monday! What Are You Reading? I love going over to their blog and seeing what other people are reading.What a great resource this has been for me!

Over the week, one of my favorite books I read was Becoming Naomi Leon by Pamela Munoz Ryan. My daughters loved it when it first came out but it slipped off my radar. I started listening to it but had to get the hard copy because I wasn't driving enough! I loved the characters in this book and, as a writer, admired how well the Pamela Munoz Ryan knew them and what had happened to them in the past.

Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O'Roark Dowell was another book I loved. As a writer, I loved the descriptions, characterizations and the honest voice of Janie, a high school freshman who is struggling with transitions and fitting in. This is a great book for strong upper elementary readers since the narrator is older but the book remains completely wholesome!

I also enjoyed Dreamsleeves by Coleen Murtagh Paratore. Set in the 1960s, the main character has a wonderful voice and an increasingly difficult life because of an alcoholic father. Some of Aislynn's issues are a little heavy for younger elementary readers but fifth and sixth grade girls would like this book and she is a creative, innovative, honest and brave protagonist.

A Corner of the Universe by Ann Martin surprised me because of the seriousness of the issues. This book is also set in 1960 and Hattie, the main character, meets an uncle she never knew about because of his mental illness. This is a great book for talking about ethical decision making, empathy, and how much society has changed insofar as how we treat people with mental illness. However, if you put it in students' hands, be aware that it is really sad. My twelve year-old loved this book but I'll wait to give it to my ten year-old.

Two more weeks of summer for me--straining out all I can of relaxed mornings, great reading, daily writing, ripe tomatos, and warm ocean waters. Happy August to all of you!


  1. Hi there Melanie, I am familiar with Pam Munoz Ryan's work as I have read and reviewed her "The Dreamer' with Peter Sis, but this one I haven't heard about yet. Thank you for alerting me to it. I also know Frances O'Roark Dowell's work as I've read and reviewed Dovey Coe as well, but this title you shared is also unfamiliar to me, so I'm glad to have visited your site. :)

  2. I love Becoming Naomi Leon, & other Ryan books. I have the Ann Martin book, but didn't realize it was so serious. Guess I should read it before sharing it. The other two also sound wonderful-good collection of books! Thanks.

  3. Love A Corner of the Universe. One of my fondest memories is listening to the audiobook while I was taking an early morning walk on the beach! It's is quite a sobering read, though (but well-handled, I think). I recommend 10 miles past normal at my library a lot. It's wholesome while still feeling fresh and modern.

  4. Love A Corner of the Universe- it was one of the first YA books I read when I started reading again. I have fond memories. The other 3 I have on my TBR and am looking forward to reading them, especially Naomi Leon since I loved Esperanza.

    Happy reading this week! :)