It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/5/14

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.

Last Week’s Books:

beforeyougoMy April Random Read and CORL 2014 challenge book, Before You Go by James Preller, left me disappointed. This YA title from 2012 started off with a horrific event: a car crash in which one teenager was killed and others injured. Then the book told the “before” and “after” events.  More than anything, I felt that Preller was “telling”rather than “showing” readers the story of sixteen-year-old Jude Fox, whose family is still suffering the repercussions of his sister’s accidental drowning seven years earlier. Jude’s major events of the summer include getting his first job and falling in love (sort of). I say “sort of” because the romance is more of a flirty friendship that almost ends when Jude sees Backa sitting on another guy’s lap at a bowling alley. Their reactions to this “betrayal” seem less than warranted since the romance never seems to get off the ground. And ultimately, the car accident occurring in the last third of the book and the “after” just didn’t work for me. Maybe I am just not a fan of Preller’s style, as I remember not enjoying Bystander all that much either.

snicker of magicBut, oh, how I loved A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd! I was completely involved in the story by page two, drawn in by Lloyd’s beautiful language. This book tells the story of fifth-grader Felicity Pickle, who has lived in so many places and faced so many new beginnings due to her mama’s restless heart. When their rambling takes them to Midnight Gulch, Mama’s hometown, Felicity wants more than anything for her family to finally stay put. Can she make it happen? If so, it will take not only a village, but Blackberry Surprise ice cream, a mysterious do-gooder known as The Beedle, an ancient curse(!), a banjo, and a little more than a snicker of magic, too.

Felicity possesses the magical gift of being able to see words shimmering, shining, and floating in the air above people, places, and things. She is a word-catcher, who writes words down in her blue notebook and on her shoes and then spins them into poems she often has trouble sharing with others. And so it is not surprising, then, that Lloyd fills her book with beautifully crafted language. There were so many sentences and turns of phrase that made me pause and smile. Here are just a few:

  • Her speaking voice is wonderful, but my mama’s story voice is like nothing I’ve ever heard, like something between a summer breeze and a lullaby.
  • Jonah Pickett was like snow days, field trips, candy stores, and Christmas Eve all blended into one big swoosh of a feeling.
  • And I could tell–by his strong shoulders and bold words, and by the twinkle in his eye–that he was a man who’d been dearly loved.
  • But then the little circle of warmth I felt heated into an almost-burn, and then the almost-burn scorched its way into an almost-sorta-deep-fry.

To sum it up, this wonderfully written heartprint book has so much to say about the power of family, magic, and, most of all, love that I didn’t want it to end. I think it deserves to be required reading for middle graders and those who work with them, and I highly recommend it to everyone else, too.

Up Next:

My May Random ReadWaiting to Forget  by Sheila Kelly Welch. Getting it done early this month 🙂





7 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/5/14

  1. Hi! I’ve been enjoying your reviews, and I admire your work with students, having been a teacher myself years ago. If you think your students might like a book to read on their devices, I can send you a copy of this month’s Random Read as a digital file. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much–I would love a copy 🙂
      My email is ipushbooks (at)

      My son’s band concert last night means I haven’t gotten too far into Waiting to Forget yet, but I am already connecting with T.J. Such strong voice!

  2. Snicker is at the top of my pile right now. I’m planning to make May and June all about middle grade and can’t wait to finally get to some of the titles I’ve been reading about in all these Monday posts!

  3. I love how you described Snicker of Magic. I just borrowed it from the library a week ago. I am about to finish a Benjamin Alire Saenz novel (Last Night I sang to the monster), two-thirds through. Will begin with Snicker of Magic right after. Love the idea of a poem-catcher, sounds exactly like me. 🙂

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