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!
It’s Monday! What have I been reading??
January 8, 2019
Balzer + Bray
Zachary Kermit was once the most vibrant teacher at Greenwich Middle School, beloved by students and admired by fellow educators. But after an unfortunate cheating scandal took place in his classroom around 25 years ago, his reputation and drive was badly damaged. For years he’s been content to just float along until early retirement (which he will finally qualify for this summer). This year, at the last minute, the Superintendent decides to place Mr. Kermit in room 117 with 7 misfits who are considered the 8th grade “unteachables.” When class starts he doesn’t care what their names are, why they were each placed in room 117, or how they do on their work. Day after day, it’s the same thing over and over again — load up on coffee, hand out a worksheet to keep the kids busy, and start working on the daily crossword puzzle. What could possibly awaken Mr. Kermit from his teaching slumber?
The Unteachables is narrated from multiple perspectives, giving the reader an opportunity to empathize with each character, including Mr. Kermit. The story highlights the importance of forgiveness, the power of student bonding, and the fact that not all bullies are children. It’s a feel-good story that will provide both sniffles and giggles.
Jennifer A. Nielsen
August 28, 2018
Resistance is a historical fiction novel based on the happenings of Nazi-occupied Poland during WWII in the 1940s. Chaya Lindner is a Jewish teenager living in Poland with her family. Her little sister is taken just before her brother disappears. As her parents are left utterly devastated, Chaya is determined to act on behalf of her people. She has blond hair and can easily pass as Polish, so she joins a resistance cell where she acts as a courier using forged papers to smuggle in/out food, supplies, and information throughout the ghettos of Poland. But no place is truly safe for Chaya and her travel companions. If her bags are ever searched, what is found could get her beaten or even killed. But seeing the devastation all around her, she only knows she must keep going.
This is an incredibly important and intense read. The entire book kept me on the edge of my seat. There is an important Afterword you won’t want to miss which reveals the names and details of many real-life individuals who participated in the uprisings described in the book. I toured Poland about 25 years ago. And after having visited the surrounding concentration camps (with a tour guide who was once a prisoners in Auschwitz), I’m horrified knowing there are so many modern Holocaust deniers today. It’s a relief to see the number of middle grade and young adult historical fiction titles popping up from this time period, bringing to life both the devastation and the bravery. NOTE: Resistance is classified as a middle grade novel for ages 8 to 12, but I would give a warning to be aware of very sensitive readers. The scenes aren’t graphic, but the reader will know what’s happening. Publishers Weekly said, “the book is unapologetically grim and violent, like the events it so persuasively depicts, and may not suit readers at the younger end of its stated range.”
Thick as Thieves
(The Queen’s Thief #5)
Megan Whalen Turner
May 16, 2017
This installment of The Queen’s Thief series follows Kamet, a slave whose master has been killed. This means he will also very likely face his own demise, soon. Kamet, however, is offered an escape to another kingdom where he is told he will live as a free man. By land and sea he travels in terrible conditions, facing near death more than once. Even if he reaches his final destination, he wonders if he will be killed as soon as he arrives. Throughout these first 5 books of the series, I’ve been very careful not to give any spoilers for those who still plan to read it. So this is all I’ll share for now. Book #6, Return of the Thief, is the final installment and it will be released March 19, 2019.
Henry and the Yeti
February 23, 2017
Last week our family watched the movie Small Foot, so I thought this might be a fun little book to read at the same time. While the Small Foot movie has a yeti attempting to find a small foot (AKA human), this story features a young human named Henry who is attempting to find a Yeti. His father doesn’t seem overly concerned about his young son’s plans to trek across an ocean, through a forest, and over several mountains in search of a yeti, just as long as he doesn’t stay up late. (Heehee!) At school, no one believes in Henry’s expedition. Everyone laughs at him and his principal only tells him he must bring back evidence. But keep reading because Henry just might get the last laugh! The artwork is mixed-media paintings with simplistic characters. The pages feature a different colored backdrop in each new spread. I’ll provide one spread as an example, below:
To Be Read:
I am still reading Game Changer! and I must say that I’m sooo happy to have a copy of this one to keep on hand. I am also hoping to finish reading Watch Us Rise and Cogheart.