Summer Reading – Day 31! It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week.  Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

It’s always a bit dangerous for me when I find myself surrounded by new picture books because I want to buy them all!  This past week, Surrey Kidsbooks came to one of my workshops and “set up shop” in the school gym!  As always, Maggie had new books set aside to show me and I’m excited to share them now.


On the top of Maggie’s “A MUST for teachers” list this fall, and now on the top of mine, is Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale.  This book is themed around self regulation, a topic of growing interest in education thanks to the insightful work of Canadian educator  Stuart Shanker and others. In this book, we meet Clark – a shark with a very BIG personality.  Clark LOVES everything but sometimes his boisterous enthusiasm gets in the way of his friendships.  His teacher, Mrs. Inkydink, helps him to devise a strategy of making up simple rhymes to calm down and “stay cool”.   An excellent book to share with children – entertaining as well as an important message.


The Very Inappropriate Word by Jim Tobin is a celebration of words.  I loved this book for so many reasons – it’s funny, has great illustrations and a wonderful subtle message about using appropriate language.  The best part for me is the fact that it’s also written for those, like me, who love words.  The boy in this book loves words – big words, interesting words, hard words.  Things go a little sideways for him when he learns a word that is inappropriate and tries using it.   I love words and I love this book!


What Are You Doing? by Elisa Amado is a celebration of reading.  On his way to school, a young boy notices many different people reading.  “What are you doing?”  he asks, to which each responds with another reason for reading.  One person is reading instructions to fix their bike, another is reading a story, while another is reading a guidebook.  Later in the day, he borrows his own book from school to read.  The simple text is a reminder to all of us about the pleasures and purposes for reading.


The Man with the Violin by Canadian writer Kathy Stinson is based on the true story of renowned American violinist Joshua Bell who gave a free concert one day in a Washington, D.C. subway station.  Thousands of commuters rushed by but only seven stopped to listen.  Dylan, the fictional character in the story, is one of the seven who did stop, although his mother did not want him to.  He is mesmerized by the beautiful sound of the music and the song plays in his head all day.  The illustrations are beautiful and the writing floats and dances like music.  This book is a celebration of music and a great reminder to take the time to appreciate beauty that surrounds us.  An interesting account of the real event is provided at the back.  This was such an interesting story and one that I can see would be the starting point for some excellent class discussions.  I can’t wait to share this with my students.  LOVE it!  81IKKWK3r0L._AA1500_[1]

Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler is another beautifully illustrated book that celebrates the cycle of seeds and seasons.  Miss Maple collects and cares for lost seeds, carefully searching for a place for them to grow when the time is right for them to find their roots.  I felt like I was walking through a garden when I read this book. A perfect book to launch a science unit on plants or seeds.


In this witty book Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds, a group of misunderstood carnivores, tired of being made fun of by their plant-eating enemies, form a support group in their attempt to become more politically correct.  Their first plan is to think of converting to plant-eating but that plan does not go well because Wolf can’t find a berry bush without a bunny in it!  (hilarious!)  This book is meant to be read out loud – it is so funny.  Small children may not understand the humor but the bold, punch-line, slap-stick delivery would certainly be appreciated by older students.


David Shannon latest book  Bugs in My Hair!   is a humorous look at head lice.  Let’s face it – most teachers have had the unwelcome experience of a lice outbreak in their classrooms.  This book deals with this situation in an informative and light-hearted way that would make children feel less embarrassed about this unpleasant experience.  A great book to have on hand – just in case you get a case!


A Mountain of Friends by Kirsten Schoene is a heartwarming story of a penguin who has a dream to fly.  His friends work together to help him achieve this seemingly impossible goal.  The illustrations are beautiful and children will love how the book needs to be turned from landscape to portrait to view the “mountain” of friends.  A great book to teach children about working together to help others.


The Road to Afghanistan by Linda Granfield is a moving book honoring those committed Canadian soldiers who fought in this war and experienced things none of us really can understand.  This is a reflective book about the successes and challenges of war and gives us a glimpse of Afghan people, culture and land to help us connect.  It is definitely a book I will add to my Remembrance Day collection, particularly given the Canadian focus.

Well, it’s been a great week of new books!  I’d love to hear about what you’ve been reading!


Filed under Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Science, Social Responsibility

15 responses to “Summer Reading – Day 31! It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

  1. Ooh! I can’t wait to read THE MAN WITH THE VIOLIN!

    I can’t believe how much I enjoyed BUGS IN MY HAIR. I thought for sure it would be a train wreck. I should have known better coming from David Shannon. 🙂

    • Thanks, Beth! Yes, The Man with the Violin is an amazing book, especially given that it is based on a true story. Watch the YouTube clip of the real Joshua Bell playing in the station when you get a chance – extraordinary!

  2. What are you doing? sounds just lovely…. Good to know about another David Shannon book although I don’t think I’ll be too eater to read it! 🙂

    • Thanks for reading my post! What Are You Doing? is such a great way to introduce different text forms and purposes for reading to young children. Yes, the lice topic is not very appealing but Shannon handles it carefully and with humor as only he can!

  3. What a great selection of new titles! I bought Miss Maple’s Seeds in June – was sold as soon as I saw the page with all of the seeds – reminded me of A Seed is Sleepy. Such a special book. Many of these titles are on my “I want/need” list (funny how I usually convince myself that I really do need each book on that list!) Bugs in my Hair is a must for my classroom. Let’s just say my students have shared a little too generously with their lice outbreaks. I am now an expert at getting rid of these little critters. Can’t wait to see how Shannon tackles this subject! The book I really am looking forward to is The Man with The Violin. What an amazing author, illustrator pair! Looks like it is going to be a wonderful fall of fantastic books! This post of yours is an amazing sneak peek!

    • Thank you! The Man with the Violin is amazing – especially when you know it’s a true story and watch the actual YouTube clip of him playing in the station. Yes, Shannon does a great job of dealing with head lice issue – you will certainly need to add this to your class collection! Happy first week back, my friend!

  4. This is a wonderful list of books, Adrienne! I put them on my TBR list-always growing, but especially love the sound of the music book, along with What Are You Doing? Thanks so much for sharing them all!

    • Thank you Linda! I highly recommend The Man With the Violin – such a beautiful book to read and look at and the fact that it’s a true story makes it even more special. I plan to read it to my students and then show them the YouTube showing the actual event when Joshua Bell played in the subway station. What Are You Doing? is a wonderful introduction to younger children about the purposes for reading! Enjoy!

  5. Thank you for sharing The Road to Afghanistan. I will have to check that out.

    • Thanks for reading my recommendations! The Road to Afghanistan is well worth a look – a great introduction to the war, the country and the struggles both the soldiers and the people of Afghanistan faced.

  6. Hi there Adrienne, I love everything you shared here. I would definitely add The Man With the Violin to the books I need to hunt down from the library. I know about the actual event as it has gone viral on Facebook at the time, I’m sure I would love the child’s version of the story. The Very Inappropriate Word also appeals to word-lover in me, will check that one out too. Thanks for all these lovely recommendations! 🙂 Have a great reading week!

    • Thanks, Myra! Yes, the children’s book version of the violin in the subway is worth getting – a beautiful book and definitely one for sharing. Yes, I love the word-loving boy in The Very Inappropriate Word. I’m going to share this book with my class to inspire us to be “word collectors” this year! Happy reading week to you, too!

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