IMWAYR – It’s Monday! What are You Reading? – Hot Off the Press: More Amazing New Releases

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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: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

It’s hard to keep up with all the amazing books that are being released this summer!  Here are some of the new picture books I read this week.

1. The Summer Nick Taught Cats to Read – Curtis Manley & Kate Berube

An adorable story about a determined boy who teaches his two cats to read.  A perfect way to illustrate that not all readers learn the same way and that finding the ‘just right book’ for every reader is an important part of the process.  A delightful book to celebrate reading!

2. Follow the Moon Home: A Tale of One Idea, Twenty Kids, and a Hundred Sea Turtles

– Deborah Hopkinson & Philippe Cousteau

WOW!  Take note of this book!  It is ah-mazing!  So much to love about this book, written by the grandson of Jacques Cousteu.  I especially love that it combines so many amazing ‘teachable’ themes including: creative problem solving, animal activism, young people making a difference, community as well as fascinating sea turtle facts woven into the story. This one’s a winner!

3. On The Farm, At The Market – G. Brian Karas

A delightful, informative look at how produce gets from the farm to the farmers market to a restaurant.  This book would make a great introduction to farmer’s markets, gardening, community and farming.  Charming illustrations.

4. More-Igami – Dori Kleber

This book totally surprised me when I read it!  It is the story about a little boy named Joey who loves folding things.  When he tries to make an origami crane, his determined effort unfortunately results in a lot of frustration and crumpled paper.  (Think ‘Most Magnificent Thing‘) A lovely book about perseverance and passion and would also inspire some origami art! Lovely illustrations by G. Brian Karas – who has been busy as the previous book was written and illustrated by him as well!  Instructions in the back to make an origami ladybug (a little odd because the book was about a crane! )

5. Come Home, Angus – Patrick Downes

Great book dealing with how to manage when sometimes our small frustrations can lead to big emotions.  Clever clues in the illustrations to help capture the growing emotion in Angus.  I like that even when Angus runs away, Mom is never far behind him.

6. The Class – Boni Ashburn

Well, I know that there are hundreds of ‘BACK TO SCHOOL’ books to choose from but I couldn’t help myself – this one is must have this year!  What makes this one special is we follow 20 different students from 19 different homes as they get ready kindergarten.  This book is a true celebration of diversity with children from many different backgrounds, morning rituals, routines, families, and ways of getting ready to go to school. Adorable illustrations and a perfect ‘CONNECT’ book!


This is My Dollhouse – Giselle Potter

A celebration of imagination and creativity!  A young girl creates a detailed dollhouse out of a cardboard box but worries her friend will not like it as much as a ‘real’ dollhouse.  When I was younger, my sister and I spent hours designing houses for our dolls and stuffies – I would have loved this book then, and I love it now!  Would be a great book to inspire creative thinking and play!


Yaks Yak – Animal Word Pairings – Linda Sue Park

A funny, playful look at homophones through animal pairings and word play.  On each page, animals act out the version of their names as verbs – Fish fish with lines and hooks; Bats swing bats at baseballs; Slugs try to slug one another with boxing gloves.  I loved the chart at the end of the book which gives the etymology for each of the words.   Great fun and if you love words, like I do, you will love this book!

7. Madeline Finn and the Library Dog – Lisa Papp

This is a delightful little story which highlights the use of therapy dogs in libraries to help reluctant readers. Madeline Finn doesn’t like to read because she doesn’t read well.  But Bonnie, the beautiful dog who comes to the library, listens patiently and doesn’t laugh when she stumbles on some of the words.  Unconditional love and suppport goes a long way when you are struggling reader.

8. Ada’s Violin – The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay – Susan Hood

For those of you who do not know this story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay- it is a must read and a must share with your class.  This non-fiction picture books tells the remarkable true story about a visionary teacher who finds a way to help children escape their lives of extreme poverty through music. A beautifully told, hopeful, inspiring story with gorgeous colorful collage art.  My personal connection to this book is that my next-door neighbour is involved in a recycled instrument campaign here in Vancouver and hosted this group when they came to play here in May.  When they left, they presented him with one of their recylcled instruments – one of only 4 that they have ever given away.  The documentary film Landfill Harmonic about this extraordinary journey will be released this fall.  You can watch (and share) an inspiring 4 minute video, with the ‘real’ Ada  here or a longer report 60 Minutes did on this story here.

9. Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story – Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus

This book has not yet been released but I was fortunate enough to read the a copy of the ARC that Kidsbooks had. It is a powerful and poignant story of the damage of wastefulness.  It is an important one to share with your students and would be a great companion book to Ada’s Violin.   With the help of his grandfather, Arun learns how every wasteful act, no matter how small, affects others. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  This is definitely a Transform book and I would use the ‘one word’ activity with it – using the word WASTE.  


Which book or books have caught your eye?

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. The only one of these that I’ve read is Madeline Finn. I liked it a lot and want to read it to my first and second grade reading intervention groups. The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read is another one I’ll have to check out. I enjoy books about books and reading. Follow the Moon Home is one that I’ve been wanting to read.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Thanks for your comment, Lisa! Books about reading are also ones I keep an eye out for – this one is especially good because of the focus on different learning styles and finding books that interest you. So sweet – I love it!

  2. Linda Baie

    Adrienne, you always bring books new to me, so thanks very much. I’ll definitely look for The Class, the market book and Come Home, Angus. I loved Ada’s Violin and need to find Follow The Moon Home which I’ve heard about but still haven’t read. Have a great week!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Thanks, Linda! There are so many amazing books coming out, it’s hard to keep up! The ones you have noted are all great choices – especially Ada’s Violin. The book and story behind it is truly amazing and worth sharing. Have a wonderful week!

  3. carriegelson

    Some titles here are ones I know and some just went on my To Read (and maybe purchase) list – Ada’s Violin (wanting to read for so long), Be the Change and More-igami. Thanks so much for the detailed descriptions and the links you included.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Ada’s Violin – and the story behind it is certainly an important one to share and would be perfect for your older students this year! Be the Change is another one worth noting! How goes the packing and sorting?

  4. Michele

    Lots of great books here! I just found out Evan Turk illustrated the Ghandi PB. His style is unique.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      It is a very special book and I agree, Evan Turk’s illustrations really add richness to the story. It would be a great book to read at the beginning of the school year.

  5. msyingling

    I keep torturing my principal with the idea that my next dog will be a certified therapy dog so I can bring it to school to read with the children! I might have to read the one picture book.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      I also love the idea of therapy dogs – they certainly seem to work in Senior facilities so I would love to see more programs in schools. This is a wonderful book to support the cause! Also the new novel When Friendship Followed Me Home by John Griffin? It is great story with the same theme of dog therapy in school. Maybe you could read it aloud to your principal during recess!

  6. Tara Smith

    Ada’s Violin sounds like a must have for my classroom. Thanks for sharing your reading life today!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Oh, Tara – you are SO right when you talk about sharing Ada’s Violin with your class! It is such an inspirational story and the video clips bring the story to life! I would love to hear the response and the amazing lesson I know you will create around it! Thanks for stopping by today.

  7. cheriee weichel

    I agree with you about Follow The Moon Home. It is such an inspirational story! I’m also looking forward to Ada’s Violin and The Sumer Nick Taught his Cats to Read.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      All 3 books you have mentioned here are wonderful choices – I LOVE them all! Ada’s Violin is so inspiring, as is Follow the Moon Home!
      Nick teaching two cats to read is adorable – especially love the fact that both cats learn very differently!

  8. Kay McGriff (@kaymcgriff)

    Wow! What a great collection of picture books. I’ve seen videos of the recycled orchestra. They are amazing.

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