Monday, April 2, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Be sure to visit Jen and Kellee at Teach.Mentor.Text for a full list of all of the blog participating in the It's Monday! What Are You Reading meme!

Have you ever hit a reading "slump"? You love to read. You know you should be reading. You have fantastic titles in your TBR pile. You have time to read. Yet you just can't seem to pick up a book? Yeah...well that's been me for THREE.LONG.WEEKS.  I was getting worried! Not completely out of character for me!  After my marathon reading for the Maine Student Book Award committee I think I was just plain exhausted!  Then, about a week and a half into my reading "slump" I happened across Teri Lesene's (@professornana) post, Reigniting the Passion, on the Stenhouse Blog.  Whew...was I relieved! She reaffirmed for me that it's okay to take a reading break once in awhile...and so I did.   I still perused Goodreads and Twitter, adding to my TBR pile, but I allowed myself the time to rest. And then, suddenly on Friday...I began to feel the "urge" to pick up a book...and so I did...and the "slump" was over! So here's what I read this past week. Okay, really it is what I read this past week"end" but still...
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (February, 2012)
Ages 9 & up
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.  As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.  Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret. (description from

If you've read The Secret Garden, this story will sound familiar. The Humming Room is a shorter, more contemporary version of the classic yet has it's own twists and turns.  It's included mystery, ghosts, a hint of fairy tale, and a cast of intriguing characters that middle grade readers will enjoy.  I was thrilled to receive my copy directly from Ellen Potter herself, signed of course, so this one will have an extra special place on the classroom library shelf...but it won't be there for long after I book talk it tomorrow! Of that I am sure!

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (January, 2012)
Ages  10 & up

May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love. (description from

This debut novel in verse by Caroline Starr Rose is already getting a lot of high praise from people in the book "know", receiving starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus Reviews and I can see why.  May's determination and fight for survival alone on the prairie is fascinating enough, but the flashbacks into her learning difficulties when she was at school make her even more  intriguing.   Rose does a beautiful job of describing the harsh Kansas prairie that easily drew me into the story. In the end, May B. shows the reader through her spunky, determined, and strong-willed character that "there is no shame in hoping for things that might seem out of reach."

Favorite Non-Fiction read:
This title would be great to pair with The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine!
by Shelley Tougas

Favorite Picture Book
The illustrations in this one are beautiful and brought back so many wonderful memories of my grandmother who was an amazing quilter AND storyteller!
by Julie Paschkis

Favorite Poetry Book (it is National Poetry Month after all):
I love Helen Frost and this poem in picture book format is beautiful! If you're looking for new "spring" or "nature" books, don't miss this one!

I'm currently reading:

 On deck in my TBR Pile:

As I reflect on this post and my reading "slump", I realize that allowing myself to take a break was not only in my best interest but it was also in the best interest of the books in my TBR pile.  Had I forced myself to read out of obligation or because I "had to" I'm pretty  sure I wouldn't have enjoyed these books as much.  And taking my reflection one step further, I need to remember my student who has just finished a challenging read or longer novel may need a reading "break" also. Not a three week break of course...but they can read picture books, a poetry collection, or maybe even re-read a favorite shorter novel.  Isn't that what readers do in their "real life" reading lives?

 Have a great week among the pages!