It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 07/02/2018 #imwayr


Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday!

We’ve had a wonderful summer, so far. This last week brought LOTS of rain and then cooler temps followed. Now it seems my whole neighborhood is gearing up for 4th of July which means fireworks have been going off in my neighborhood for over a week, now! And is it only MY city or are all grocery stores are already stocking “back to school” supplies?? Summers seems to be getting shorter and shorter every year. Enjoy it while it lasts!

On to my reading week…


A Torch Against the Night
Sabaa Tahir
August 30, 2016

A Torch Against the Night picks right up where An Ember in the Ashes leaves off, but instead of only being told from the perspective of Elias and Laia, Helene (formerly the best friend of Elias) has been added to the narrative mix.

Most people,” Cain says, “are nothing but glimmers in the great darkness of time. But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift-burning spark. You are a torch against the night–if you dare to let yourself burn.”

For a large chunk of book #2, these three characters are in different locations, slowly filling out details to reveal the big picture. In the beginning, Elias and Laia are attempting an escape to rescue Laia’s brother, Darin. He is being held in the worst of the Empire’s prisons and the Commandant is on a mission to wipe out all Scholars as she travels from prison to prison. Along the way they face many soldiers and eventually find the tribes where they seek refuge. If you haven’t read book #1 then there’s not much more I can share without spoiling the story. 🙂 But it’s very insightful, with a fuller view of Elias’s early story (including his birth and biological mother’s actions). While it’s 452 pages, like Ember, it is engaging and reads so quickly. So now I wait for book #3 to arrive in my mailbox (yes, it’s on order).

Wild-Robot-EscapesThe Wild Robot Escapes
Peter Brown
March 13, 2018

This is book #2 in The Wild Robot series and it picks up just shortly after book #1. Roz has been taken back to the robot factory to be tested and refurbished.  Roz robot instincts kick in so she’ll survive the interrogation:

In the wilderness, I camouflaged my body to survive. In the robot factory I camouflaged my personality to survive. I pretended to be a perfectly normal robot. I did not say that I had adopted a goose, or that I could speak with animals, or that I had resisted the RECOs. I said what I had to say to pass the test. And it worked.”

Roz was released from the factory and purchased by a disabled farmer with two children. She meets the cows on the farm and strikes up a secret friendship. Additionally, Roz tells her island stories to the children on the farm without revealing that they’re true stories. But eventually the truth comes out and it becomes obvious to everyone involved that Roz must escape and be reunited with Brightbill on their beloved island. But how will they pull this off?

I would say this one has even more intriguing questions and philosophical ponderings than book #1. Peter Brown explains (in a note at the end) that this “return to home” required research, study of artificial intelligence, and exploration of expert predictions of our potential future. In his words: “The story had to be filled with heart and soul and action and science and even a little philosophy.” And that is exactly what comes across, this time. This is yet another great read-aloud book for kids of all ages.

All-That-TrashAll That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge
and Our Problem with Stuff
Meghan McCarthy
February 27, 2018

This was one of the most entertaining AND educational picture books I’ve read over this past month. In 1987, a New York landfill became keenly aware that it was almost completely out of room. To solve this issues, they decided to load 3,186 tons of trash onto a barge, take it to North Carolina, and turn the decomposing garbage into methane gas (which eventually can be used as electrical energy). It was actually a brilliant idea, well ahead of its time, but things started going wrong when a local reporter in North Caroline noticed the barge approaching and shared the news story on the 6 o’clock news that evening. So… North Carolina turned them away and thus began a series of states refusing the barge from Alabama to Mississippi to Louisiana to Mexico to… um, WHERE will they land?


The garbage found a potential location near the Bahamas, but even there the barge was turned away before they could start unloading. In the end, the barge returned to New York. Are we surprised that they even faced issues there–where the garbage originated?



I won’t spoil the ending, in case you don’t already know about this big event of the 80s, but I WILL say that this historical experience is probably what ignited our modern day understanding of how to make better use of garbage. The back of the book provides a section on barge facts, recycling facts, garbage facts, ocean garbage facts, and a lengthy bibliography. Overall, this was an intriguing nonfiction book that will likely appeal to many young readers.

NOTE: It may sound silly, but I kinda agonized over what pages to share while staying within the 10% legal copyright limits. So just know there are even more entertaining illustrations that explain the experiences and the science of what they were trying to do. 🙂

To Be Read:

I have a few ARCs I’m very excited to read this month. I’m starting with these two:

Thanks so much for visiting. I fell behind on comment responses the last two weeks, but I’ll do better from this point forward. Have a wonderful reading week, everyone!

27 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 07/02/2018 #imwayr

  1. I need to get All That Trash for sure. And I didn’t care for Raymie Nightingale (never even managed to finish it–but may try again–but still looking forward to the new Kate DiCamillo). I’ve been loving the cooler temps and only wish the whole summer could be like this! I never need for it to be above about 70!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had heard that Louisiana’s Way Home was a good stand alone book, but yesterday I decided to go ahead and read Raymie Nightingale just to make sure there weren’t any details I was missing before reading the 2nd book. I’ll be interested to see where DiCamillo takes us with the story. And one thing I’ve appreciated since moving from the south to the midwest is that we actually get 4 seasons. But just about a month into summer and I’m usually already looking forward to fall. LOL Have a great week, Elisabeth!


  2. Now I am completely intrigued to see what happens in All That Trash. I live in NY and am all to familiar with the Staten Island garbage dump so curious if that was the dump that tried to get rid of the trash.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was just re-reading the book in hopes of answering your question. It says the barge took trash from a landfill in Islip and that the trash there came from both New York City and Long Island. Does that help? I think it’s a pretty neat little book — hopefully all the libraries in New York made sure to get a copy. 😉


  3. All That Trash was an amazing story, one that makes me wonder how many of those kinds of stories are hidden when cities especially are looking for places to “dump” their trash? And I enjoyed The Wild Robot Escapes very much! I’m jealous that you have Louisiana’s Way Home. So many are already shouting about it! Enjoy it and your holiday, Shaye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so glad you liked it, too! I love it when these types of historical experiences come to life in picture books. I just finished Raymie Nightingale yesterday, so I’m ready to go with Lousiana’s Way Home this week. Thanks for visiting, Linda!


  4. I was glad The Wild Robot Escapes was released last year after many teachers read The Wild Robot for Global Read Aloud. Looking forward to reading Louisiana as well. And you will devour 24 Hours to Nowhere in less than 24 hours. It is that good! Happy 4th and have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, this is my first experience with Tahir, so I know how you feel. I love how interactive she is on Twitter. She seems so witty and wise. Thanks for dropping by, Ricki!


    1. I’ve heard more than once that Louisiana’s Way Home is a good stand alone book, but I went ahead and read Raymie Nightingale yesterday, just in case I might miss something. So now I feel fully prepared and I’m wondering how many of the previous characters will be included in Lousiana’s Way Home. lol


  5. I’m really looking forward to reading Louisiana’s Way Home. I love all of Kate DiCamillo’s books. 24 Hours in Nowhere is a great book to help kids learn that they’re stronger together, than alone; and that you can rise above your circumstances and not be defined by them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the other books, too. I’ve definitely got a lot of reading to do! Have a great 4th of July!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now I’m even more excited about 24 Hours. And I just finished the precursor to Lousiana’s Way Home, last night. So I feel ready to start reading (hopefully tonight!!). Have a great 4th, Jana!


    1. Very excited to start 24 Hours tonight! I adored Bowling’s Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. So I was thrilled when Sterling Publishing allowed me an ARC of her latest book. And I really hope you enjoy All That Trash. Thanks for visiting, Aaron!


  6. I loved the An Ember in Ashes series and hope there will be more of them. I read The Wild Robot for GRA with my students and this book answers a lot of our questions about Roz’s world. I had not heard about All that Trash. Sounds like it would be an interesting book to pair with Ada’s Violin. Happy Summer Reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read that the Ember series was originally planned as a 4-book set. So unless they’ve made some changes, I’m banking on a 4th book. Sooo excited that book #3 just came in my mail today. Woohoo!! Thanks for stopping by, Stacy!


  7. I need to start the Tahir series. I own the first one. I’ve been hearing really great things about the upcoming Kate DiCamillo book. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I purchased book #1 months ago, and the “big book” summer challenge is what encouraged me to finally get started on it. I’m quite happy about that because the series is flying by, now. Thank you for swinging by my blog, Michele!


  8. Louisiana is GOOD, Shaye! Enjoy! I also have Dusti’s second book around somewhere to read–I need to get to it at some point. And I Wild Robot 2 is a must get–I don’t own it yet, but I need to. And the trash book is one I’d love to have in my classroom.

    Happy reading this week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I absolutely love ARCs. Louisiana’s Way Home looks very promising indeed – anything by Kate DiCamillo is sure to be wonderful. I know what you mean about summer being shorter each year – I spent mine last year in Munich – now am just here in Singapore, soaking up the sun. 🙂


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