It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/18/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Well, it’s the first time in a long time that I haven’t finished a book in a week. Blaming it on remodeling my son’s room and reporting back to school on Thursday.

And tomorrow, the students arrive!

Hopefully, I will finish at least one book this week….

Currently Reading:


Currently Listening To:

rottersI started listening to Rotters by Daniel Kraus last summer riding the Amtrak from Chicago to New York since I cannot sleep in a moving vehicle of any sort. Talk about creepy! I didn’t finish it before it automatically returned itself to the public library, and I never did get back to it right away. When I tried again, I started having trouble using Overdrive with my iPad. This year, I must travel to work alone, rather than with my husband and son, so I made sure to visit the library to check out the CD version. I started at the beginning, and it is definitely as disturbing as I remember.

random reads

August Random Read

undermyhatIt is wwwaaayyyy past time for a new Random Read, which also counts for Gathering Books’ CORL 2014, of course. I usually post this on the first day of the month, but it’s still August, so it still counts ;-)

The website gave me #86 on my Shelfari “Plan to Read” shelf, so this month I will read Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, a short story collected edited by Jonathan Strahan. Contributing authors include Garth Nix, Holly Black, and Neil Gaiman. What a perfect book for the start of school, since I can dip in and read one story at a time! Edge time reading, anyone? :-) And I am already booked to read Halloween stories to 7th graders, so I will be on the lookout for a good read-aloud as I go along. It seems that “random” worked out well in my favor this time around.

I’ll also update my year’s progress through the end of July.

2014 Challenges: July Progress

  • Goodreads goal of 125 books in 2014: 10 this month; 84 total
  • CORL 2014 goal of 25+ books from my “plan to read” shelf: 2 this month–Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan; The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. 12 total. I still need to step up on this one!
  • Random Reads goal of 1 book per month: Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan



2015 Rebecca Caudill Roundup: Never Say Die by Will Hobbs

never say dieNever Say Die by Will Hobbs starts out with a bang, or rather, it doesn’t start out with a bang because when fifteen-year -ld Nick Thrasher is charged by the largest, most ferocious bear he’s ever seen, he can’t find his rifle. Instead, he raises his huge knife and makes it to his boat just in time, with the bear charging into the water after him. When Nick returns home and describes the bear to his grandfather, the two surmise that a grizzly and a polar bear must have mated, producing what they decide to call a grolar bear.

Soon after this harrowing experience, Nick is contacted by his older half-brother, Ryan, a wildlife photographer interested in documenting caribou migration. As Nick is an Inuit hunter and knows the Canadian arctic region well, Ryan invites him along to be his guide and companion. Although Nick is reluctant to join this half-brother he has never met, he eventually agrees at his grandfather’s urging. After flying to the remote Firth River, the two have barely started their journey when their raft capsizes and they lose their supplies. The two brothers swim to safety, winding up on opposite sides of the river, with no way to reach each other anytime soon. And it gets worse–the two must not only improvise to survive, they must also be on the lookout for wolves, grizzlies, and, of course, the grolar bear.

Will Hobbs once again delivers an exciting survival story with a strongly presented setting. Woven through the novel is information to raise awareness about how climate change is affecting the arctic region. But the best part? Grolar bears are real! So you can lead students to informational texts, such as this 2006 article from National Geographic or this 2012 article from the Toronto Star, to learn even more.

Other 2015 Rebecca Caudill Reading Roundup Posts



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/11/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Today’s installment will be short and sweet, as we have been finishing a home improvement project before we go back to school on Thursday. And also I have a raging headache for the second night in a row :-(

Last Week’s Books:

14thgoldfishJennifer L. Holm’s new book The Fourteenth Goldfish will be published on 8/26, but I got to read it on NetGalley. Ellie begins sixth grade with some apprehension–she is not a big fan of change and her best friend has almost abandoned her for the volleyball team. And then…her mom brings home a strangely familiar 13 year old boy–who turns out to be Ellie’s grandfather, Melvin! It seems he has been working with an anti-aging drug derived from a rare jellyfish and tried it on himself. Melvin, Ellie, and Ellie’s new friend Raj get into a few scrapes trying to break into Melvin’s old lab. And by the book’s end, Ellie hels her grandfather realize that perhaps the world in not ready for his discovery. This quick middle-grade read was enjoyable, but the goldfish motif seemed an unnecessary and unsubtle add-on.

thereplacementI read The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff to participate my Goodreads All About Fantasy group’s “Sisterhood of the Travelling Book 2014.” A number of us are passing the book around and writing comments in the endpapers. In this creepy novel, there is something rotten in the town of Gentry, and it has been there for a long, long time. Sixteen-year-old Mackie is not your average teenager–in fact, he is not even human. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a stolen baby, unable to stand the sight of blood, to touch iron, or to stand on consecrated ground. His family have accepted and protected him, but he definitely stands out in a crowd. When a toddler dies, her older sister, Tate, approaches Mackie for help, and he enters the world below to find out more about himself and to try to steal back Tate’s real sister. The tone of this YA book was well-developed, and I found myself both sympathetic to and unsettled by Mackie and those like him.

threetimesluckyMo LoBeau has lived with Miss Lana and the Colonel ever since she washed up on a river bed during a hurricane. Together, they run Tupelo Landing, North Carolina’s best, and only, cafe. When local crotchety old man, Mr. Jesse is murdered, not only is the town in an uproar, but Mo’s best friend, Dale, was in the wrong place at the wrong time and might be the prime suspect. The two decide to investigate the murder, but have stiff competition from out-of-towner detective Joe Starr and Deputy Marla. And when Miss Lana is kidnapped, things get even worse. This novel has the same folksy tone as The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, but it started to wear a little thin for me. The mystery, however, had an interesting and unexpected resolution that I found quite satisfying.

Currently Reading:




2015 Rebecca Caudill Roundup: Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

bombFor the past couple of months, WGN America has been blasting TV viewers with previews of its newest series, Manhattan, a drama set in a secret New Mexico town in 1943, the time of the Manhattan project. Although I have not been tuning in, I hear that 2.2 million viewers have tuned into the first episode. While historical figures are referenced, fictional characters are the focus of this historical series.

Those who would like to brush up on the facts of the Manhattan Project would do well to read the informational text Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. 

When I first read Bomb in January, it took me a couple of weeks to get through it because there is so much to digest inside, and I really wanted to take my time thinking about it. The time spent conducting research for such a thorough work must have been fascinating and probably grueling at times. What I liked best was how Sheinkin conveyed the personalities of the people involved in the bomb’s making and use and of those who sought to buy, sell, and trade its secrets. And so it was really a story of the people of the bomb rather than of the bomb itself.

Bomb is definitely one of the most challenging books on this year’s Caudill list. Although Sheinkin spends time explaining the historical context of the Manhattan Project and provides background information about World War II, Bomb‘s in-depth treatment of the political and scientific ramifications of the project demands close and careful reading. That said, Sheinkin does as an excellent job of making the story of The Bomb exciting, intense, and even suspenseful at times so that readers will be motivated to put in that hard work. I am certain that upon reaching the end of the book, young readers will know more about the subject than a great many adults.

Awards for Bomb: 2012 National Book Award Finalist, 2013 Siebert Medal Winner, 2013 Newbery Honor Book,  2013 ALA Notable Book for Middle Readers

Fun Fact: According to his website, Steve Sheinkin is a former textbook writer who “walked away forever” in 2008 and fills his books with all the stories he collected and was “never allowed to put into textbooks.”

Other 2015 Rebecca Caudill Reading Roundup Posts