Monday, January 28, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Every week, I look forward to the posts that are linked to because I find some of my favorite books through this wonderful system of sharing. Thanks to Jen Vincent and Kellee Moye for creating and hosting this wonderful Monday tradition!

I had some time to spend in the town library while I was waiting for one of my daughters and I walked out with a pile of books that have been on my TBR list for a while. Thank you to all who have been recommending Bear Has A Story to Tell by Philip Stead. What a wonderful book! I loved how important it was for Bear to tell his story and finally how important it was for all of his friends to hear his story. I also appreciated the messages of empathy and kindness that exist within this book. This is one that I may have to purchase and share with anyone who will borrow it!

Since many of our classes are beginning or in the middle of fictional/narrative writing units, I loved Zoe Gets Ready by Bethanie Murguia. An important lesson for young writers is that writing topics exist in their world within the daily moments, struggles, and decisions of their days. Since thinking of stories can be so difficult for young writers, Zoe's challenge with deciding what to wear could really be inspiring to many students--such a simple, but common, problem that children can relate to! I highly recommend Zoe Gets Ready as a mentor text for teaching focus and plot development to writers.

I also loved A Secret Keeps by Marsha Wilson Chall for teaching focus. In this story, a little boy goes to visit his grandparents and has to uncover a secret that his grandfather has for him. While the boy's activities cover many of the farm activities, he remains focused on the secret in a charming and effective way. The language and the rhythm also offers many opportunities for mentoring young writers across several grades.

How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan would be a great mentor text for students learning to write "All About" or "How to" books, since there are instructions and bulleted lists on almost every page. This book is another resource for teaching students that sometimes they have more in their bag of writing topics than they think they do!

Following along the babysitting theme was Willie and Uncle Bill by Amy Schwartz. While I agree with an amazon customer review that Uncle Bill modeled and taught some sneaky behaviors to Willie, I really liked this book as a mentor text for the students who feel compelled to include many adventures in one story. This book has three separate stories and three distinct adventures so again, it could be a great resource for helping students to develop focus in their writing. Uncle Bill is also quite a character and offers some opportunities for young students to infer and predict, as well as analyze some questionable babysitting decisions! ;)

Most of you have already read and recommended Babymouse books by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm so I finally read two of those over the weekend and I have to say that Babymouse Rockstar and Babymouse for President were both funny and entertaining to both me and my 10 year-old daughter. I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed these books so thanks to all of you for the recommendations.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a couple of my 2012 favorites to win Newbery honors today and I thank all of you for helping me keep my TBR pile so stacked with wonderful books.

Happy reading,


  1. Bear Has a Story to Tell is such a wonderful picture book. I adored it! My class really enjoyed Willie and Uncle Bill - the three adventures in one is different in a picture book and intrigued them! I really need to get more BabyMouse titles read. They are so popular and I am not keeping up!

  2. I love Bear has a Story to Tell too. My kids love to talk about how they forget their stories too if they have to wait too long. :)

    I haven't seen the others! Will have to check them out this week.

    First in Maine

  3. These look like charming books - especially the one about the grandpa.

  4. What a great selection you read. I LOVED Bear Has a Story... I am interested in the Zoe book, it looks really cute!