Sunday, March 29, 2015

It's Monday! Here's What I'm Reading...

This month, I have committed to writing every day through the community at Two Writing Teachers. All are welcome to the March Slice of Life Challenge! It's not too late to join in or comment or just read... Many of my posts will be at my personal blog, Just Write, Melanie, but the posts that relate explicitly to learning will be on both blogs. 

Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsburg at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What are You Reading? weekly on their blogs.  To see what others are reading and recommending each Monday, or to participate, be sure to head over to these blogs.

I visited my daughter in college over the weekend, and one of our favorite things to do is to go read picture books at the local Barnes and Noble. Even though she is nineteen, it is a wonderful way to spend time when we need a break from shopping and eating.


 My Pen by Christopher Myers was one of our favorite books we read this morning. The black and white pictures in this book are incredible and would be wonderful in an elementary class to inspire close looking at details. The narrator's pen gives him power, since it creates so many different things. There's not a story in the classical sense, but rather lots of jumping off places for meaningful discussions about our world and the power of imagination.

I loved How to Babysit a Grandpa, as it was such a great mentor text for our how-to writing units. Any book that can show students how to write information text with beauty and creativity is high on my list. How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan is just as good! Young students will enjoy the role reversal, and they will identify with the universal experiences of spending time with grandparents, but missing parents. This book could serve not only as a strong mentor text for how-to writing, but also as a way to write about special memories. Doreen Cronin also uses punctuation purposefully throughout the text, which I am also always looking for.

I Don't Want to be a Frog by Dev Petty is a great book to read for the message which is predictably along the lines of appreciating and valuing your own individual strengths. However, since many of our students are in the middle of opinion writing, I have been thinking a lot about reasons and evidence, and this book is a great mentor for talking to students about those tricky words, why and because. 

Larkin had never read Knuffle Bunny, and she picked up Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems on her own. It was really fun to read that book through Larkin's artistic lens, as she loved the way the comics were juxtaposed with the realistic images of the city. She also loved the subtle humor, laughing out loud in the middle of the story as she pictured Trixie's parents trying to explain the significance of 2:30 in the morning. Oh, to be able to write a book of such universal appeal!


I'm still reading and enjoying lots of great slices at Two Writing Teachers. Tomorrow is the last day of the March Slice of Life Challenge.

Happy Reading and Slicing,






13 comments:

  1. One of my favorite outings is perusing the books at B & N. What fun to have Larkin there to share in the joy. I haven't been in a while, so it looks like I need to stop by there soon.

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  2. I do this too, although usually just a few at Target, Melanie-saves some money! I do love the art of the Knuffle Bunny books-very clever. I just got I Don't Want To Be A Frog from the library, but still haven't read it. I'm sure it's wonderful. And My Pen looks like one to own. Thanks!

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  3. Knuffle Bunny--like so many Mo Willems titles--never gets old. I just ordered My Pen yesterday so am pleased to see glowing reviews on a couple of Monday blogs today. I, too, love a trip to the bookstore to read PBs! How wonderful that you share this with your daughter!

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  4. Miss you and LC already! We'll have to have some more B&N outings when I come home in FOUR WEEKS!!

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  5. My Pen sounds great, Melanie - thanks for sharing these titles.

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  6. My Pen sounds great, Melanie - thanks for sharing these titles.

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  7. Oh I love to sit with my mom and laugh and share the beauty and joy of picture books at the book store. Such a simple good time that is! My Pen looks gorgeous--will have to check it out.

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  8. We have to get that I Don't Want to be a Frog - We ordered it from the library but is isn't in yet :(

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  9. Thanks for these lovely titles. I'm hearing great stuff about My Pen so I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I don't want to be a frog is on my to read list, but I haven't heard of How to Babysit a Grandma. I think I will have to purchase that one for me. (Someday I am sure I will have grandchildren to read it to)

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  10. My Pen and I Don't Want to be a Frog are both new to me and both look terrific. Thanks for sharing, Melanie!

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  11. Isn't this Dev Petty so much fun!!? I adored it. I want to get a copy and read it aloud to my class. I read it while on vacation in Seattle.

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  12. I love that you do this with your daughter. I could spend some time with you two reading picture books. I read How to Babysit a Grandma. Isn't it clever? My Pen reminds me of my father and his black and white pointillism.

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  13. Oh wow, it's the second time I am seeing My Pen - now I would really pay greater attention and try to find it in ou library. Love all of Mo Willems' work - and Knuffle Bunny happens to be in my top list. :)

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