It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/28/2019 #imwayr

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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!

p14891466_v_v8_aaThis week my family finally watched the documentary about Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? It was an incredibly moving experience and I think I cried silent tears throughout the entire thing. I was born in the 70s and have very fond memories of watching Mr. Rogers, but there’s no way I could have ever known the back story. My family is big on documentaries, watching them all the time. But if I had to choose only one to watch this past year, it would be this one. I highly, highly recommend watching if you haven’t already.

On to my reading week…

36292177The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
Dan Gemeinhart
January 8, 2019
Henry Holt & Company (BYR)

This book was just as outstanding as I’ve heard. I started out savoring it… reading a handful of chapters the first 2 days. But then suddenly I couldn’t put it down until everything was resolved. Wow, did it grab me and pull me in!

Twelve-year-old Coyote and her father, Rodeo, are trekking across the country in an old school bus named Yager with no particular destination in mind. How did they end up in a bus, you ask? They lost Coyote’s sisters and mother in a tragic accident just five years ago. To escape the pain of such a devastating loss, they legally changed their names and started a unique adventure. And they haven’t been back “home,” since. However, Coyote receives devastating news from her grandmother and must find a way to return home in just 4 days to fulfill a promise — a promise that Rodeo simply won’t understand. On their journey they take on a variety of passengers and face unexpected obstacles the entire way. Without spoiling anything, I love that Coyote makes her very first friend and bonds with her “dad” in a way she never imagined possible. Over the past year I read The Honest Truth and Good Dog, and Dan Gemeinhart plucks my heartstrings every time, leaving a stream (or river) of tears. But his books aren’t just sad, they’re also filled with comic relief that speaks so strongly of those middle grade years. I will read everything he writes!

NOTE: This one also has the following song “Be Set Free” in the story, so I had to hunt down an old video of Langhorne Slim singing it with just a guitar (like Rodeo does in the book).

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

38225791Two Can Keep a Secret
Karen M. McManus
January 8, 2019
Delacorte Press

I enjoyed One of Us is Lying so much last year that I knew I had to read her next murder mystery novel, Two Can Keep a Secret. This one had several layers of mysteries from different years going on in the very same town, but somehow it all worked beautifully. First, the twins’ aunt went missing before they were even born, then teenage Lacey Kilduff was strangled just five years ago, then at the beginning of this story there’s a hit and run death that remains unsolved, and finally, over the course of the book a fourth person goes missing. The story is told from two different perspectives: Ellery Corcoran’s and Malcolm Kelly’s. Seventeen-year-old Ellery and her twin brother, Ezra, have moved in with their Nana (back at their mother’s hometown of Echo Ridge) while their mother is going into drug rehab. Ellery is a murder mystery reading buff, so she brings a lot to the table when it comes to figuring out who-done-it. Malcolm is a native of Echo Ridge and his older brother, Declan, was a former suspect in the murder of Lacy Kilduff. One of McManus’s strengths is her ability to distract the reader into considering the guilt of every person. I kept wondering how all of these murders would be solved simultaneously, but she pulls it off. A fun, fast read that kept me seriously guessing right up until the last couple chapters.

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

221340What Do You Think?
A Kid’s Guide to Dealing with Daily Dilemmas
Linda Schwartz
Beverly Armstrong, Illustrator
October 1993
Learning Works

I purchased this book years ago and used it in my 1st and 2nd grade classrooms when I was teaching in public schools. Every day we examined a new dilemma and talked out the scenario until we had good ideas on ways to deal with each issue. This was a great book for its time (published in 1993) and even proved helpful through 2003 when I was still using it with my students — using problem solving skills and collaborative discussion. However, as I read it again with my own children in 2018-2019, I realized that some of these situations are outdated. There are loads of new technological dilemmas that kids are bombarded with that could be included (if Linda Schwartz were to make an updated and revised edition). I would also love to see sources (websites, books, etc.) provided that students could peruse after each discussion for further consideration on each topic. Nevertheless I did like it, overall, and hope to find a good replacement now that we’re finished reading it.

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

6527841A Conspiracy of Kings
(The Queen’s Thief #4)
Megan Whalen Turner
March 23, 2010
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers

Alrighty, I finished book #4 in this AMAZING series and I (apparently) liked it better than others have. YAY! This one was told from a unique perspective — the king of Sounis. The whole thing feels like one huge retelling of what happened to him. And if you haven’t yet read books #1, #2, and #3 then I won’t spoil anything for you. I’ve just started book #5 and I’m quite excited to complete the first five before book #6, the final installment of the series. It will be published March 19, 2019.

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

To Be Read:

I’m still working my way through Game Changer and will likely finish that this week. I’ve also started Thick as Thieves (book #5 of The Queen’s Thief series) and I hope to finish The Unteachables, too.




#MustReadin2019: 5/42


What are YOU reading?


26 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/28/2019 #imwayr

  1. I shared Coyote Sunrise today too, & also could not put it down. Gemeinhart has given us such wonderful stories! It seems that What Do You Think? would be great if it was updated! My first grade granddaughter told me about an argument with her classmates about who really had a phone, first grade! Yikes, parents need to make some better decisions! Thanks for all, Shaye!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As soon as we finished the dilemma book, I started searching for a new book to purchase. These conversations are some of my kids’ favorite “discussion” times in our household, so I didn’t want that to stop. But I’m just not finding much in book form. I did find some websites and printables that will keep up busy for a couple months. But yeah, they need an updated book with realistic modern dilemmas that kids face every day now that technology is woven right into the fabric of our every day lives. And I cannot say enough about Coyote. I’m so thankful to be able to get his books into the hands of readers. Have a wonderful week, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. *sniff* That documentary made my cry, too – I grew up with Mr. Rogers, wow did it take me back! I’m not that far removed from my students in the grand scheme of things, but some of the challenges they’re facing, and the dilemmas they’re dealing with, seem so foreign to me – I didn’t get a phone until I was in grade 12, and Facebook wasn’t released until I was in college, so all the online and social media pressures they’re facing at such a young age feels so strange and shocking to me! So many of the 4th graders I work with are seasoned Instagram users, and I only started playing around with it in my 30s!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, Jane! There are many pressures and these are all SO public. Most of today’s children are creating a digital footprint that will follow them the rest of their lives. I hope they get more guidance than just a quick “digital literacy” course that they check off a list. There should be constant reminders of what online conversations replace and how they still require empathy and support. I cannot imagine what life would have been like for me if I had grown up with today’s tools with little guidance or boundaries. Thanks for visiting, Jane, and have a wonderful reading week!


  3. I am glad you included the song Be Set Free with your review of Coyote Sunrise. I love listening to music mentioned in books to help put me in the mood of the story. I really enjoyed reading that book. I still need to see the Mr. Rogers documentary, but I’ve heard lots of great things about it. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t familiar with the song until I read the lyrics in the story, so I just had to go hunt it down. I found a few settings of him playing the song, but that intimate one seems most appropriate for what it was like in the book. And YESSSSS! Go grab a copy of Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I want to watch it again — so many meaningful points and I deeply appreciated all the commentary from his family and the studio staff who worked with him for years. Make sure you have Kleenex! ❤


    1. I loved the documentary SOOO much… I wished I had been writing down all the amazing things that were said — important quotes to pattern one’s life after. I hope you enjoy it, Lisa!


    1. Ricki, I feel quite certain you will love it. Fred Rogers lived his life the way he taught others to live it. I found such meaning in the things he said (and in what others said about their experience of working with him). I’m glad my mention of it will encourage others to watch it!


  4. I absolutely adored Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I too cried. We don’t have anyone like him to take on the role he did. It is heartbreaking! I too want to see it again. I might even just purchase it.
    Loved the clip of Be Set Free. My library finally has The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise on order, and I will get one of the first copies. The more I read about it, the more excited I am!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean, Cheriee. I might have to purchase a copy of the documentary, too (and watch it when I need my confidence in humanity restored). I’m so glad to hear your library has a copy of Coyote on the way — it will be difficult to keep on the shelves!


  5. I didn’t read much on what you said about Coyote and Two because I cannot wait to read them, and I don’t want any spoilers!

    I can’t wait to watch Won’t You Be My Neighbor–I’m sure I’ll cry also!

    Happy reading this week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No spoilers here — I understand! I like to keep my blog discussions as close to the book blurbs as possible. I was especially worried I might run into spoilers over Two since it’s a big mystery. But somehow I made it through both One of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret without reading any spoilers. Whew! And I really hope you love Won’t You Be My Neighbor (I know you will)!


  6. Oh, I MUST see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I was born in ’65 so perfect timing for the start of Sesame Street, Electric Company, and Mr. Rogers, which were all a part of my childhood. And I also watched Mr. Rogers with my younger son, who loved it. I’ve been wanting to see this, so thanks for the extra push!

    So many good books for you this week, too! I also enjoy Gemeinhart’s books, especially The Honest Truth. Coyote sounds excellent with Gemeinhart’s talents, and….road trip!! Any story with a road trip is an automatic winner for me 🙂

    I missed One of Us is Lying, so now I want to read both that AND Two Can Keep a Secret – both sound great!

    Hope you have another great reading week, Shaye!


    Book By Book

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely loved hearing more about Mr. Rogers. I know his show was a big part of my life growing up. And when they released his shows for free on Amazon Prime several years back, I remember sitting down with my children to watch them again.

      I loved Gemeinhart’s Honest Truth, too — and Good Dog!! And I just downloaded Scar Island to read some time this spring. I hope you enjoy Coyote!

      I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but both of McManus’s books kept me on my toes.

      See you next week, Sue!


  7. I purchased both of Karen McManus’ books this year – I’ve heard nothing but great things so I’m just assuming I will enjoy them! I can’t use them in my classroom but between my daughter and my sister, I figure they will be read 🙂
    I agree with everything you said about Dan Gemeinhart’s books – heartstring pullers but also some great comedy relief!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s something very comforting about finding an author that you feel will meet your expectations! I just reserved Scar Island through Overdrive, so I’m very much looking forward to getting one more Gemeinhart book under my belt this spring.


    1. Both were quite good — for different reasons, of course. I needed to read Two Can Keep a Secret AFTER I read Coyote, because Coyote was so HEAVY! Thanks for dropping by, Vidya!


  8. I’ve heard really good things about Coyote Sunrise. You remind me I need to bring home Game Changer. I bought it, but it’s at school. Have a great week.


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