Monday, January 23, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? Picture Books to YA (9)

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.  Jen & Kellee from 
Teach Mentor Texts have adapted this to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.
Each week I'll recap what I've read/reviewed the week before 
and then look ahead to what I am planning on reading/reviewing in the upcoming week.

Last week's book adventures:
January has been an incredibly strong reading month.  I had another great week, and have discovered some fun new reads.

Here are some of my favorites from the week:

Favorite Caldecotts of the week:
Over the course of last week, I managed to find and read 23 of the Caldecott winners spanning from Mei Li (winner of the 1939 Caldecott Medal) to So, You Want to be President? (Winner of the 2001 Caldecott Medal).  It was interesting to consider the social, political and economical factors that may have contributed to the stories that were published in those times. It is amazing to see how many books featured characters or story lines for other cultures/countries.  Mei Li was in some ways an amazing choice for the Caldecott Committee.  The story is about a young Chinese Girl who wants to join her brother in the city for the New Year's Day festivities. Though relatively free of stereotypical images, the story strongly communicates that a girl's place is in the home/kitchen.  I found myself struggling to know how to rate or judge a book that would be seen as unacceptable in it's message today but would not have been questioned at the time of publication.  My favorite picks were books that have managed to remain relevant despite the passage of time. 

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack won the Caldecott Medal in 1964.  The story and vibrant illustrations are still relevant for 48 years later and Sendak's book was truly advanced for picture books of it's time. 

Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say won the Caldecott Medal in 1994.  This autobiographical story reflects back to the author's memories of his grandfather who journeyed to California in the early 20th century.  Though this book is one of the more recent winners (just less than 2 decades ago), Say's storytelling and text compliment each other beautifully.  I can see this standing the test of time as well. 

As a runner up to my favorites from the week, I would add one more.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats won the Caldecott Medal in 1963 the year before Where the Wild Things Are.  This story about a little boy who plays in the snow is one that I know is still used in classrooms all around and I still enjoyed reading it again.

Picture Book:

Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems
Pigeon and Duckling are back.  This one will be released on April 3, 2012.  Add it to your TBR list if you are a Mo Willems fan.  He has another book that is sure to make fans laugh.  And Duckling is the perfect match for Pigeon.

Early Readers:

Dodsworth Series by Tim Egan
After reading Dodsworth in Rome, I had to go back and read the rest.  I finished reading the other three books in the series and definitely hope there will be a new one soon.  Check out my review here

Early Chapter Book:

The Legend of Diamond Lil: A JJ Tully Mystery by Doreen Cronin and Kevin Cornell
Last year, Doreen Cronin came out with The Trouble with Chickens for her first chapter book.  It was a hit with my 2nd and 3rd grade students.  J.J. and the chicks are back and they have new trouble brewing.  Release date: February 28, 2012

Middle Grade Books:

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
This novel in verse will appeal to fans for the Little House on the Prairie Series.  Times are tough for Kansas homesteaders.  May B's family hire her out to help a young couple homesteading 15 miles away.  When the couple she is working for, don't return one day, May B has to figure out if she should try and manage until the couple returns or find a way home.  Rose's use of verse emphasizes the emotions experienced by this young protagonist.     

The Mighty Miss Malone by Paul Christopher Curtis
I mentioned that I was reading this one in my post last week.  I won't say much about this book here because I am planning on reviewing it this week.  However, I will say the book definitely deserves all of the buzz it is receiving.  I certainly expect it to be on a short-list for the 2013 Newbery.

Professional Text read:

Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning by Peter H. Johnston
Several of my Twitter pals had been discussing this last week on Twitter.  I decided to listen to the audiobook which was wonderfully narrated by the author, Peter H. Johnston.  However, despite how great the audiobook is, you will need a print copy as well.  I kept finding myself wanting to highlight and star important points.  I think every teacher and administrator should read this one.

Upcoming book adventures:
My goal this week is finish up the first part of the Caldecott Challenge.  I have 9 more Caldecott Winners to read.  Once I am done with those, I will start in on all of the Caldecott Honor books.  Additionally, I am still aiming for one Middle Grade Novel and one Young Adult novel to read.  And don't forget to check in on Wednesday for the non-fiction picture book version of What are you reading?

So, what are you reading this week? 

Please share! And remember to check in at Sheila's or Jen & Kellee's blog to see what they and others are reading!