Monday, January 12, 2015

It's Monday and a Snow Day! Here's What I Read...

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.

We had a snow day here in Connecticut (which was really a rain day, but that's another story), and I was able to spend some time at the local book store reading some of the newer picture books on the shelves.

So many examples of end punctuation!
One of my favorites of the day was Goodnight Already!  by Jory John and Benji Davis. I could easily see using this as a mentor text in a writing workshop to illustrate conflict, different types of beginnings and endings, as well as several convention moves. On one particular page, there are several examples of periods, question marks, and exclamation marks. How fun would that be for teaching first-graders the importance of end punctuation! Goodnight Already also has several opportunities for young readers to talk about "what else" is happening on the page, even a couple of pages without any words.

We always have to read a Mo Willems book, and today we read A Big Guy Took My Ball. If you have not read this one, find it and read it. Soon. All of the Elephant and Piggie books have messages for living, but I especially liked this one because it was so much about empathy and perspective. A big ball to a pig is not a big ball to a whale. Also, in our competitive world, it's good to talk about the fact that we can usually find people who are smarter, faster, stronger, richer, thinner...yes, Elephant, there is someone who is bigger than you.

Although I am not positive how I would link A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell to writing workshop, I think that young children would think that the premise of this book is hysterical. Furthermore, the message that could come out of this book is important as well, since the main character struggled so much with perfection that he froze and gave up. Don't we all sometimes?

I have a new idol and his name is Brad Meltzer. I had not seen Brad Meltzer's series about ordinary people who changed the world until today. I read his book, I am Rosa Parks. Told as a personal narrative, Brad Meltzer weaves in many facts and details through Rosa's voice. In addition to Rosa Parks, he has written others from the points of view of Albert Einstein, Jackie Robinson, Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, and Lucille Ball. With not only the narrative, but also the graphic representations and speech bubbles, readers will come away with so much knowledge about the person and time period! In addition to the body of the text, there is also a section in the back with photographs, archived information, and additional resources. For anyone with a biography unit, I highly recommend these for middle to upper elementary students.

Over the rest of the week, the majority of my reading time has gone to my on-line writing group. I am so grateful to these people for having the courage to share their writing and critique mine. Some day, I hope to write about their books with a link to Amazon!

Happy Reading!


  1. Thanks for these recommendations Melanie! I plan to check out Brad Meltzer's series first.

  2. Goodnight Already looks so cute, Melanie. I've read the 'messed up story', also fun. Glad the group is going so well. Happy Writing!

  3. Such a delightful group of books, Melanie.

  4. Thanks Melanie for talking about I Am Rosa Parks. I'll try to get a copy to read. Isn't Mo Willems brilliant? last week I read Wating is Not Easy to groups of k/1/2. We had such rich conversations. Of course all the older kids had to drop in to read the new Elephant and Piggie book also.

  5. I must get hold of a Mo Willems book! I see them recommended all the time but have never picked one up; I'm sure my toddler would love them.

  6. Let me just say, I need a snow day! Thanks for the recommendations. And the shout out!

  7. I chose Big Guy for the Elephant & Piggie title I wanted to read aloud to my Children's Lit students this week. How I love that one! It's hard to pick a fave Elephant & Piggie title though. So many good ones. (I'm a Frog and We're in A Book are right up there for me as well.) I need to get A Perfectly Messed Up Story--it sounds delightful!