It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/03/2018 #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!

Kat-Greene-Comes-CleanKat Greene Comes Clean
Melissa Roske
August 22, 2017

Kat Greene is keeping a secret that is eating her alive from the inside out. Her mom cannot stop cleaning their house and washing her hands (until they are raw). This unusual behavior is interfering with their lives and, while Kat knows she should tell someone, she’s afraid her mom will be institutionalized and then she will be forced to live with her dad and his family, permanently. At the same time she’s facing these difficult home troubles, she’s also having a rough time at school. Her class is performing a play from her favorite book, Harriet the Spy, and she landed the most unimpressive role. Even worse, her best friend suddenly won’t speak to her. Because boys. Thank goodness she finds an outlet by emailing with her middle school counselor!

It’s always hard to come to terms with our parents’ imperfections, but Roske’s story beautifully demonstrates how the proverbial village can collectively raise a child without destroying child/parent ties. I am always thankful when a middle grade novel showcases teachers and other adults as allies. What a crucial message for children who fear grown-ups too much to reach out for help. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting Kat Greene, you’ll want to add this sweet middle grade title to your list!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

Everlasting-NoraEverlasting Nora
Marie Miranda Cruz
October 2, 2018

Meet 12-year-old Nora, a Filipino child living in a dire situation. Her father died when they lost their home in a fire, she is now living in a cemetery, her mother is nowhere to be found, and robbers have attacked her and stolen her prized possession. And you thought YOU were having a bad day?

Thankfully, Nora discovers there are people in her community who will lend a helping hand and treat her as family. For example, her closest friend in the cemetery, Jojo, risks his life to help Nora regain her treasure. Nora wants to obey the instructions of the well-meaning adults who ask her to stay home and be safe, but she knows that if she was ever in a dangerous situation, Jojo would come for her. The heart-pounding climax of this story follows Nora on a very dangerous journey through the city and into the unknown in an effort to save her friend’s life.

There were moments where I felt such sadness, reading this book. This story provides in-depth exposure to the reality of loss, constant danger, hunger, no medical care, and homelessness — there’s so much to discuss after reading this one! But despite the horrific scenarios in this story, the characters have such drive and determination. They will persevere! NOTE: I read that Marie Miranda Cruz got the inspiration for this story from reading a blog post about a real-life missionary from Kentucky who journeyed to the Philippines and discovered an orphaned child who lived in a cemetery. This isn’t entirely fiction — it is the reality for some!

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 4.16.45 PMMusic Content and Strategies for Elementary Classroom Teachers
Revised Edition
Dawn S. Baker & Patrick A. Garrett
Linus Learning

This is the textbook we used for my Music for the Classroom Teacher course, this semester. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this course has become mandatory as regular music classes (and certified music teachers) are slowly being removed from many smaller schools as they must cut corners. To keep music in schools, regular classroom teachers are now introduced to the five major concepts of music (rhythm, tone color, dynamics, pitch, and musical form). This book provides teachers with classroom activities, resources, and tools to help integrate music education into the regular self-contained classroom. I just finished the textbook, last week. And aside from one chapter that I eliminated from our weekly studies, I felt like it came full circle. It was almost entirely b&w text, lacking any color and containing maybe 4 pages of b&w photos. But the price was right and it covered the fundamentals quite well.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

Happiest-Book-EverThe Happiest Book Ever
Bob Shea
October 11, 2016

In this crazy little picture book, a very motivated narrator asks the reader to help get frowny frog to smile. For example, we are asked to “give the book a good shake” or to read jokes in the back of the book to get the frog to smile. But despite all we try (and the color and flare and flowers and sparkles), sad-faced frog keeps his natural frown. At one point, the narrator even puts a smilie-faced post-it over frog’s face and then later photoshops frog out of the picture, entirely. But then we discover that the book is very unhappy without frowny frog being included. In the end, frog forgives the narrator and holds a big blue balloon to end the story as “the happiest book ever.” I’m going to have to get my hands Shea’s The Scariest Book Ever, next!

While I could not find a note on how the artwork was created, it looks at least partially digitally rendered. I’ll provide one example, below:


You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

276576How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight?
Varsha Bajaj
Ivan Bates, Illustrator
April 1, 2004
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

This book is a really nice “night night” book that integrates night time cuddles and counting. Each page spread showcases a different animal mother or father asking their baby how many kisses they want before bed time. It goes from one up to ten and then the final two pages are of a human daddy and his little girl (who wants a hundred kisses) and then of a human mommy and her little boy (who wants a million kisses). This is an older book that I picked up at a rummage sale, but I realized I hadn’t yet read it to our daughter until this week. She adored it, so we’ll have to add it to our regular bedtime reading rotation.

The illustrations were done in watercolor and colored pencil on Winsor & Newton Lana paper. I’ll provide one page-spread as an example, below:


You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it new HERE.

To Be Read:

This week didn’t exactly go as planned and I didn’t get as far along in my novel stack as I had hoped. So in the coming week I plan to finish reading Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno along with The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. If I have time after that, I will start Lu by Jason Reynolds.

What are YOU reading?

24 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/03/2018 #imwayr

    1. Completely agree on challenging topics in an age appropriate way. There’s a real art to it and I’m always impressed when I see authors pull it off so beautifully. I, too, and looking forward to seeing what Roske has up her sleeves! 🙂 #superlateresponse


  1. “How Many Kisses. . .” looks so sweet, Shaye. I’ll look for it! And I will also find “Everlasting Nora”. Our news last night just featured a family with 3 small children living in a park. They’ve been evicted after missing one rent payment! I imagine they’ll get help now because of the news, but how many others are facing this. Your Nora story hits home here! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m impressed that your local news covered the story. We tend to keep these situations well under wraps, but it’s happening all over. I cannot imagine how frightening this must be for a parent! #superlateresponse


  2. Thanks for sharing a little more about your music class. I hate that music is being eliminated from schools. I don’t think we could be doing a worse job with children’s education than we are currently doing. As tedious as I find my son’s online school, I am grateful that some interesting electives have been offered, as the art and music appreciation classes have been quite good and he’s far more interested in looking at paintings and listening to music than he is in the Krebs cycle (aren’t we all??).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is terrifying seeing the arts being removed. We did a bit of looking at research articles on the importance of music education and how music affects the brain and how it bleeds over into all other subjects, etc. But still, music and librarians and arts are typically the first to go when budgets get low. So very sad! #superlateresponse


  3. The Happiest Book Ever is a great book for anyone that is starting to feel grumpy, especially during the busy days through the holiday season. The other books on your list look like terrific middle grade novels that definitely need to be added to my To Read list. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It looks like you have been doing some amazing reading this week Shaye. Everything looks fabulous. I love the art in How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? I’ve started listening to Lu and will be interested in reading your reflections on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While Lu wasn’t my very favorite of the four, I did really enjoy the story — and that ending! I think Sunny is still my favorite. I can’t believe the series is over!! 😦 #superlateresponse


    1. I really enjoyed The Kiss Quotient — I’m not into adults jumping into bed with each other on a whim, but I was happy to see a real story underneath it all. I think it’s great to showcase attractive and successful people on the spectrum. Thanks for visiting, Sue! #superlateresponse


  5. I have been meaning to get to Kat Greene and Everlasting Nora for a while. I gave my copy of Nora away at the end of the school year (it was won in a #kidsneedbooks draw) and my library does not have one. I have to pick one up soon. Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, agree! The Kiss Quotient was quite different from my usual reading, too. But I was very happy to see a successful, attractive person who was also on the spectrum. We need more of that in popular reading! #superlateresponse


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