It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – New Books for the New Year – Part 2

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.

Last week, I started to share some recently released picture books – and this week I will continue the list of new discoveries…


My Father’s Arms Are A Boat – Stein Erik Lunde

Stein Erik Lunde is an award winning author in Norway.  This is his first book to be translated and published in the US. Hmmm… what to tell you about this book.  I was immediately drawn to this book by the title and cover but I was certainly not expecting a book about loss and grief.    The book starts out with a boy crawling onto his dad’s lap, looking for comfort.  He begins asking his dad questions (love this part) about and worrying that the birds outside will not have enough bread. From the questions asked and the answers the dad provides, we infer there has been a loss of someone special in their lives.   This book lingered with me after I read it – it was beautiful, sad, comforting and moving.  The cut out, layered illustrations are amazing.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this one…


Jemmy Button – Jennifer Uman

This book is based on the true story of a boy who was taken away from his native home in South America, traded for a Mother-of-Pearl Button, and taken to be “civilized” in England.  He lives there, is taught the European way of life and then is returned to his native home.  This book is definitely one I would share with older students.  It left me feeling rather sad – I can’t imagine how traumatic this experience must have been for him or for his family.  My connection was to Aboriginal children who were taken away from their  families to Canadian Residential Schools.   The illustrations in this book  are rich and colorful.  An excellent anchor book to use for intermediate students for practicing questioning.


Jane, the Fox and Me – Fanny Brit

Another translated book that surprised me, this is a graphic novel, exquisitely illustrated, about an overweight girl who is being teased and bullied at school.  During her torment, she makes three connections that eventually bring her solace and comfort:  the fictional character Jane Eyre,  a girl she befriends and, surprisingly, a beautiful fox.  This book is intense, emotional, disturbing, (the girls are so cruel to her)  haunting, visually stunning, powerful and moving ( hmmm….there seems to be a theme emerging from my first three books!)  This is definitely a book geared for middle school students.  Another book that lingered long after I finished it.


The King of Little Things – Bil Wepp

Never underestimate the power of little things – for they are what make the big things possible!    The King of Little Things rules happily over all things small – from buttons to beetles, from marbles to macaroni. Enter King Normous – who thinks he rules over all the land until one day he discovers that a little king in a little land rules over little things.  The King of Little Things is clever, funny, well written and has amazing illustrations, not to mention an important message and a happy ending.  I loved the idea of this book – and have a new appreciation for paper clips, dice and all things small!


Sidney, Stella and the Moon – Emma Yarlett

Sidney and Stella are twin sisters who, like many siblings, do not share very well.  While fighting over a ball one night, it accidently knocks the moon out of the sky.  This leads to the need for the two to problem solve together.   A cute, imaginative story for the younger primary students – connections to sibling rivalry and discussion about working together to solve problems.  The illustrations are AMAZING!


Swimming to the Moon – Jeff McMahon

This is a poetry collection – reminiscent of Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss – filled with silly characters, wacky words, funny rhymes.   Great for reading aloud for early primary children – great rhythm, lots of fun, great pictures!  Very imaginative and many poems would be great for visualizing!


100 Snowmen – Jennifer Arena

What do you get when you mix a little Math with a whole lot of Snowmen?  You get this GREAT book!  I so enjoyed it – could look at the pictures again and again!  A great counting book for Primary students (the Math does get more complicated as the book goes on), fun rhymes and each snowman has its own unique characteristics.  Delightful, fun and a great link to Math!


Silver Buttons – Bob Graham

I wrote about this book a few weeks ago in my Top Books of 2013 post, but it’s worth sharing again!  Silver Buttons begins simply enough – a little boy taking his first steps and a girl drawing pictures on the floor.   But the book is an extraordinary look at all things that are happening within the neighborhood and city at the same exact moment.  A celebration of life’s moments and how we are all connected – Simple. Beautiful.


Inside My Imagination – Marta Arteaga

Beautifully illustrated book about a girl celebrating her  imagination – where it comes from and where it can take her.  A great anchor book for motivating imagination in writing.  Also great examples of similes – “my imagination is like a meadow full of shooting stars… like an enormous music box where I keep everything I see and hear.”    Lovely words, lovely pictures, lovely book! 

Well there is my rather diverse list!   What have you been reading recently?


Filed under Connect, graphic novel, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Poetry, Question, Writing Anchors

11 responses to “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – New Books for the New Year – Part 2

  1. I love the look of the Bob Graham book. He has a kind of magical ability to make the everyday seem so special and precious. The cover for Swimming to the Moon looks beautiful. My class is very excited about sharing poetry in buddy reading right now. I need to put out more of my collection and acquire some more I think! I just picked up Jemmy Button at the library and will be reading it for next week. Just scanning the pictures, the illustrations seem amazing. Lots of lovely here! Thanks for sharing.

  2. New book explosion! Really interested in reading Jane, The Fox and Me… soon hopefully. Happy reading week to you! 🙂

  3. I just ordered Jane, the Fox and Me for my collection! Thank you for sharing the title, it looks lovely. At least the illustrations look lovely. It sounds intense! Have a great week! ~Megan

  4. Bought Jane, The Fox and Me a couple of months ago but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Your review makes me want to move it to the top of the TBR pile! And so many new-to-me picture books! Seriously, these Monday posts are TERRIBLE for my credit card bill! Excited about the Bob Graham title especially.

    • Sorry about that credit card, Elisabeth! I know what you mean! Mondays are getting to be an expensive day for me, too! Every blog I visit, I find new titles. If you are a Bob Graham fan-you will love this new one. So simple but thought-provoking. Thanks for visiting and have a great week.

  5. Wow I want to read everyone of the books on your list.The cover art alone is amazing. I think though 100 Snowmen and Inside my Imagination I will have to get right away. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Thanks, Georgette! 100 Snowmen is so fun – and such a great tie to Math. I’m also thinking of how I could do an Art lesson using these fantastic snowmen as inspiration! I’m going to visit your blog now! Have a great week!

  6. I love seeing all the books you share every week as most are quite unfamiliar to me. These are great titles. My course reading list is always evolving, thanks to the Monday reading community who provides such stellar recommendations! I still owe you a blogpost from your lovely tag! I’m hoping to get to it this week!!! 🙂

  7. Glad you found some new titles this week, Myra! Most of these are just recently released. No worries about the post – I look forward to reading it whenever you get a chance! I’m off to read your IMWAYR post now, as a matter of fact! Have a great week!

  8. ejmam

    I just read Jane, The Fox, and Me last week and also found it very moving. It was interesting to me that the main character was not drawn as overweight, which seemed true to life if not to the image the mean girls and the narrator herself had of her body.

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