It’s Monday! What Are You Reading! – Great New titles!


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

Lots of great new picture books are coming out in time for starting school.  (Sadly my school district is still on strike so I’m not sure if we WILL be starting school!)   If you already checked out my recent  10 for 10 post – you may recognize a few titles that I featured there.


Okay to Make Mistakes – Todd Parr

What can I say?  I love Todd Parr.  I love his simple, poignant messages; his bright, bold, colorful signature illustrations.  In his latest feel-good book – Todd encourages kids to embrace those everyday mistakes – spilling, coloring outside the lines, dropping.  Once again, Todd Parr makes us feel good about ourselves, despite the mistakes we sometimes make.  A perfect book for making connections with a primary class.

Here’s Todd talking about his new book:[/embed]  


What If? – Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne is a master story teller – and I am always excited to see a new release by this author.  What If…? is a story of a young boy, Joe, who experiences some anxiety about going to a party and being left there without his mother.  “What if I don’t know anybody?”  “What if nobody talks to me?”  What if I don’t like the food?   On the way to the party, Joe’s imagination gets the better of him as he begins to imagine many frightening possibilities.  I really like the way Anthony Browne’s surrealist illustrations and often sparse text weave together and allow room for thinking.  A perfect book for inferring but also one I know  many children who have felt apprehensive about a new experience will make connections to.

The Boy on the Page

The Boy on the Page – Peter Carnavas

Peter Carnavas is an Australian songwriter, author and illustrator.  His new book, The Boy on the Page, is a simple, yet profound book (my favorite kind!) that asks the eternal question: What am I here?”  It begins with a small boy landing on a blank page.  Slowly, as you turn the pages, he begins to discover new and surprising things.  We can infer that this is similar to a new life – at first there is nothing, but then life begins to appear as we grow and discover the world around us.  A perfect book for younger students to think about their own life “story” and the question “why are we here?”  This book leaves lots of room for interpretation and would certainly be a great one to inspire “deep thinking” for younger students.  I can’t wait to read this to my class!

You can watch Peter Carnavas sing about the book at his book launch here:

Or read about the book on his website here:

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The Thingy Thing series – By Chris Raschka

I was DELIGHTED to discover this new series by one of my all time favorite author/illustrators – Chris Raschka!  The “Thingy Thing” series is theme based:  Cowy Cow’s theme is “feeling smart”; Crabby Crab explores “feeling grumpy”; Whaley Whale is about “hide and seek”; Lamby Lamb is “getting dressed”.  Chris Raschka uses humor through is sparse text and trademark brush-strokes to tell his story.  Delightful, interactive read-alouds for your younger students.  My favorite is Lamby Lamb – where a little reverse psychology is used to get lamb dressed!

The Midnight Library

The Midnight Library – Kazumo Kohara

The Midnight Library is only open at night.  It is run by a little girl and her three owl assistants who spend their time helping the animal patrons each find “the perfect book”.  Despite the challenging requests, they manage to find a book for everyone!  I always love books that focus on libraries and this is a sweet imaginary story that will be a perfect library read-aloud for younger students.  I was particularly fond of the woodblock illustrations, reminiscent of Nikki McClure’s work.

Chicken Clicking

Chicken Clicking – Jeanne Willis

While this book looks like it is one for the primary classroom, its content and subject is definitely one I am going to use with slightly older students when we practice inferring.  In this extraordinary play on “chicken little” – readers are introduced to the dangers of exploring on the internet and connecting to a new “friend”.  This book has an ending that leaves readers saying “What?  That’s it???”   This book is clever with an important message that I know will stimulate some worthwhile classroom discussions about online safety.   A great one to recommend to parents as well!

If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers

If…A Mind Bending New View of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers   – David Smith

This book is Fantastic!  AMAZING!  It is a book that helps children (and adults!) understand the concept of scale.  In a similar he used in his book If the World Were a Village, David Smith’s takes large concepts that are sometimes hard to wrap your brain around and scales them down by using comparisons that young readers will connect with.  “If the solar system was laid out on a football field and the sun was a grapefruit” – a great book for visualizing!  Other concepts Smith looks at are the size of the universe, ocean, and continents, history of the world, economics and food.  My only criticism is the jump from inches to cm – which could be confusing.  But I can see SO many uses for linking this book to many subject areas – including science and math.  The illustrations are wonderful!

the girl cover

The Girl Who Writes – Richard Cole and K. Jane Watt

Last summer, I focused one of my posts on a new book sent to me by a local author/illustrator team Richard Cole and K. Jane Watt called The Boy Who Paints.  (You can read that post here) The same collaborative team has just published their second book entitled The Girl Who Writes.  While the first book focused on the journey of discovery of a young artist, this book focuses on the journey of a young girl who dreams of becoming a writer.  For any of you out there who are writers or aspiring writers or dreaming about writing – you MUST read this book!  It is truly a gift and I felt as though it was written about me.  This book is about perseverance, passion, imagination, stories that surround us, the reading-writing connection, word choice, self confidence, beauty, life, wonder – this book has it ALL!  This is a book makes me want to shout, dance, cry, laugh – but most of all this book makes me want to WRITE!  I LOVE THIS BOOK!

OK – I’ve calmed down now.

There are my picks for the week!  Thanks for stopping by!   Please leave me a note to let me know which book caught your eye!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. thelogonauts

    So many great suggestions! Will keep an eye out for Chicken Clicking, as I can always use a mentor text for Internet safety. Is The Girl Who Writes out yet? I couldn’t find anything at my local library or Amazon … ?

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Chicken Clicking is excellent for discussing internet safety! I know The Girl Who Writes is out in Canada and is available on (Amazon in Canada). Perhaps you could order it from there? It’s definitely worth ordering!

  2. Bryn

    I love the idea of reading The Girl Who Writes to all of our young aspiring writers! Will be looking for that one asap, since you sing it’s praises so highly. I’m also crossing my fingers that we are back to school soon!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      The Girl Who Writes will inspire both you and your students! I am also crossing my fingers that school will be back on time – but my optimism fades a little each day! 🙁

  3. Michele

    My library still doesn’t have If…. I’ve seen it several times now and I would love to read it. Hopefully soon! I enjoyed The Midnight Library more than I thought I would. It took me a couple of reads before I really liked it!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      IF is worth waiting for – reminded me a lot of Steve Jenkins’s Just a Second. Have you read that? Yes, the Midnight Library is one that grew on me too! I like it a little more each time I read it! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. carriegelson

    If . . . and the Midnight Library look particularly appealing to me. Love the colours in The Midnight Library – I too am a sucker for anything book/library related. Let’s hope you will be sharing these books early in September. Such a strange August . . .

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Yes, it’s strange not knowing whether we will be back or not! This media black-out is killing me! I want to know what’s going on! Hopefully we will get some news this week – one way or another! I think your students would love the midnight library! It would be fun to read and then have the children think of their own library assistant animals! What grade do you think you might have this year? I think I have a 2/3 – perhaps we could be penpals?????

  5. Myra GB

    Hi there Adrienne. Sounds like Midnight Library would have been a perfect fit for our library reading theme a year ago – have you heard of The Night Bookmobile, a graphic novel by Audrey Niffenegger? That one was particularly unsettling. “If” and “The Girl Who Writes” do sound like books I’d enjoy reading. Thanks for sharing them. And regarding the comment you left on GatheringBooks, we did feature Rose Blanche just last week for Monday reading! Great minds. Here’s the link:

  6. Adrienne Gear

    Hello Myra! I have not heard of The Night Bookmobile but sounds like a great addition to the “library” theme. I do so enjoy your theme collections! I should have known that you would have included Rose Blanche already! I think you will really enjoy The Girl Who Writes! Have a great week!

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