Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Monday, January 21, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Book Journey with a children's/YA version at Teach Mentor Texts.

Last week, I started with finishing Jackie and Me by Dan Gutman in preparation for the theatrical version at Metro Theater Company.  It was a smart and engaging way of looking at what everyday life would have been like for Robinson and other black people in New York at the time.  This is the first of the Baseball Card Adventures I've read and I'm curious about what angle the others take.

Next I read Mind Fields: The Art of Jacek Yerka, the Fiction of Harlan Ellison by Harlan Ellison, illustrated by Jacek Yerka.  I've been a fan of Ellison's for a long time, and when one of my coworkers found out I didn't know about this book, he insisted on lending it to me.  He was right to insist.  This is some of Ellison's shortest fiction, but he succeeds in encapsulating a feeling or moment to go with Yerka's surreal paintings perfectly.  I wasn't familiar at all with Yerka before, and now I'm not sure why.  This book reads like a Chronicles of Harris Burdick by adults.

Next I read Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders.  The New York Times says this is the best book you'll read all year.  I can't say I agree with them, but it is very good.  The stories have a quite way of making a deep impact and the whole thing reads very easily and enjoyably.

Finally, I started Passenger by Andrew Smith, the sequel to The Marbury Lens.  So far it's picking up right where the first left off, with plenty of disturbing and creepy stuff that you can't wait to find out the meaning behind.  These books feel so different from anything else I've read.  They're like the YA fiction version of Donnie Darko.

I also finished Little Women by Louisa May Alcott on my Kobo app.  Sad to say, this is not entering my list of favorites, or even coming close.  I'll probably get a lot of disagreement in the comments, but I found the whole thing frustratingly puritanical and more than a little sexist.  (As a side note, I find it very interesting that when I've mentioned my reading it to people in real life, they've invariably said something like "Ew, why would you do that?" while the commentors to this blog have been disappointed I'm not falling in love with it.  It's a curious contrast and I wonder why that is.)

I also read some picture books from the Hachette Spring-Summer 2013 catalog:

A Long Way Away by Frank Viva
Awesome visuals, as usual, but not my favorite read of his.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Such a sweet story that will really resonate with little ones who are scared of the dark with really striking visuals.

Awesome Dawson by Chris Gall
A fun imaginative books for those who like making new inventions out of the old.

Chamelia and the New Kid in Class by Ethan Long
A cute story with fun illustrations.

Martin and Mahalia:  His Words Her Song by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
An easy-to-understand look at an underrepresented figure in civil rights, using King's familiar story to tell Jackson's.

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea
A great sense of humor and many quotable lines.  This is a new favorite.

This week, I'll be finishing Passenger and starting The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding in preparation for her author event.

What are you reading?


  1. I still need to start Passenger. I think part of the problem is that I know it will be dark and disturbing and I have not been in the mood for that. I've got my eye on The Reece Malcolm List. I look forward to hearing what you thought.

    1. You definitely shouldn't read Passenger if you want something on the lighter side. If anything, it's more intense than Marbury Lens. It's had a couple reveals that sent chills down my spine.

  2. I will have to add some of those picture books to my list for my students! :)I still need to read THe Marsbury Lens

    1. The Marbury Lens is very dark and creepy. It's not for the easily disturbed, but I can see it finding fans in the reluctant reader department.

  3. Interesting mix of titles + formats! The “Mind Fields” looks especially fascinating. Will check it out. Have a lovely reading week :) here are my reads:

    1. Mind Fields will leave you with a lot to think about. I think it would be a great read for creative writing students.