Monday, April 18, 2016

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

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.

Since I was on vacation last week, I had more time than usual to allot to reading, although I have to say, I managed to fill up my week! Two awaited books arrived in my mailbox during the week, and they get my Monday reading attention. 

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo arrived and went to the top of my reading list. I had to keep slowing myself down as I read this book. The chapters are short, the plot is tight, and the sentence structure is fairly simple, so readers can fly right through it. However, when I slowed down, or even reread some parts, the craftsmanship and the mentorship that this book offers writers is huge. Yes, there is a strong sense of what characters want and what gets in the way, but there is also amazing voice created through the details each character notices, the predictability of the characters' actions, and the memorability of even minor characters. It's a book that I'm sure will be used extensively in the teaching of reading and writing. 

I'd also been waiting to get my hands on Booked by Kwame Alexander. I could write a strong literary essay on the similarities between these two books, as both deal with divorce, quests, and developing friendships with memorable secondary characters. (Some of our fifth-graders are in the middle of that unit.) Because the narrator is obsessed with soccer, Booked had the potential to either attract or lose readers, but it is about much more than soccer. Told in verse, Kwame Alexander weaves in life struggles, humor, middle-school insecurities, and even vocabulary lessons in a story that appeals to both boys and girls. It's another one that I had to keep fighting my tendency to whip through it and slow down to enjoy the craftsmanship, lyrical quality, and lessons on plot development and character complexity.

Happy reading,


  1. I read both of these books as ARCs and I need to reread them now that I own them. I agree with what you said, both of the books are easy to fly through, and I need to reread them on a slower pace.

  2. Both on my list, but still haven't read them. Someday soon! Thanks for the review showing how important both are to writers!

  3. We are right in the middle of reading Raymie Nightingale and haven't made up our minds about it yet. It was so helpful to read your thoughts about the book.

  4. I reviewed Raymie today, Melanie...great minds think alike, I guess! I am waiting for a student to return Booked so that I can enjoy it,too!

  5. Oh such beautiful books. I'm reading Raymie Nightingale, and looking forward to booked.

  6. Both of these sound good. I never could find enough soccer books for my fans of the game when I was teaching. I wish I could have shared Booked, but am looking forward to reading it myself.

  7. I'm really excited for Booked, basketball isn't all that popular here, but a lot of kids love soccer. Now if only he would write a hockey book, now that would fly off the shelf. :)

  8. These are two that I'm super excited to read. In a way, I don't want to start them because then they will be over sooner. ;)

  9. I just found out that Raymie Nightingale would soon be available in our library! Really very excited about it. :)

  10. I agree Booked is about more than soccer. Another wonderful book from Kwame Alexander. I am reading Raymie since she arrived last week. I agree with you about the character development. Kate DiCamillo is a master. We can look to both of these authors as writing mentors.

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