Tag Archives: historical fiction

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/26/16

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.

Short and sweet edition due to the holidays. Hey, there’s no garbage pick up, mail, or banking today either 😉

Later this week I will do some end-of-year round-ups.

Last Week’s Books:

Note: Dead Man’s Song  counts for my Horror Reading Challenge 2016.

Currently Reading

On Deck: 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/10/16

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:

Scary Out There is a YA short story  and poetry anthology from the Horror Writers Association and edited by Jonathan Maberry.  As with most collections, some entries are stronger than others. My favorites included Carrie Ryan’s “What Happens to Girls Who Disappear,” Josh Malerman’s “Danny,” and Ilsa J. Bick’s “Bearwalker”–although the most disturbing thing in the book was learning that Bick is a child psychiatrist, as she has definitely written some uniquely horrifying works featuring children. Short stories just don’t go well in my collection; however, one of our public librarians booktalked this at Books and Bites last week and students seemed very interested. This book counts toward my Horror Reading Challenge 2016, which I am continuing to read for even though I have already met my goal because 1) it’s October and 2) it’s horror!


Michael P. Spradlin’s Into the Killing Seas is a fast-paced, harrowing account of the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, as told by a boy who stowed away upon the ship with his little brother. As historical fiction goes, this one is primarily plot-driven and includes plenty of dangerous situations, lots of sharks, and a good dose of suspense. I would definitely suggest this book to reluctant readers who are looking to (or are being required to) dip into this genre.

Currently Reading/Listening To:

On Deck:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/3/16

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:

I was perusing at Barnes and Noble when the cool cover of Penguin Problems by Jory John caught my eye. And then I saw Lane Smith’s name. So I sat awhile and read this wonderful picture book. The plot is simple. A penguin is complaining about every annoying about his life. A walrus overhears and reminds him of all the good things. The penguin starts appreciate the good things…until waking up tired the next morning…. I think this book is something we can all relate to, and I will consider purchasing it for my middle schools and recommending as a discussion starter.


Gennifer Choldenko’s Chasing Secrets is an engaging account of turn-of-the-century San Francisco. The main action revolves around a suspected outbreak of bubonic plague and the subsequent quarantine of San Francisco’s Chinatown district. Choldenko has much to say about gender roles  and race relations during this time, and it is woven expertly into the story of 13-year-old Lizzie Kennedy, a doctor’s daughter who wants to enter the medical profession herself one day, and Noah, the son of Jing, the cook, who has been in hiding to escape the quarantine. Lest it sound like I think the book is all about teaching good lessons, I will also say that it is a great mystery/adventure with strong, vibrant characters that readers will grow to love. I am not someone who often chooses to read historical fiction, and this audiobook kept me enraptured from beginning to end.

Currently Reading:

On Deck:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/26/16

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:

Pax  by Sara Pannypacker is the beautiful story of the impact of war on man and animals. In an unnamed time and place, Peter’s father is going off to lay electric lines for the war effort. Because 12 year-old Peter will be staying with his grandfather, the boy’s father makes him release into the wild his pet fox, Pax, whom he raised after finding him abandoned as a kit. Peter is unable to bear this separation and fears that Pax will not be able to take care of himself, so he secretly heads out on foot, embarking on a hundreds-of-miles long journey to rescue Pax. In alternating chapters, readers live Peter’s journey, including his stay with veteran-turned-hermit Vola, and Pax’s encounters with other foxes, predators, and prey. Readers will become fully invested in the fate of these two friends and will find lots of food-for-thought along the way. Highly recommended for  all middle grade readers, this book would also make a great, albeit tear-inducing, read-aloud.


Another beautiful and heart-felt book, Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton is a historical fiction novel-in-verse about 12-year-old Mimi Oliver, a half-black, half-Japanese girl who is struggling to adjust to her new home in Vermont and dreaming of being an astronaut. Set against the backdrop of the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission, this book poignantly explores the challenges Mimi faces not only because she is biracial, but also because she is a girl interested in science and engineering. Mimi’s fierce pursuit of her dreams makes her story an admirable and inspiring one for young readers.

Currently Reading/Listening To:

On Deck:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/19/16

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:

Batgirl, Vol. 3: Mindfields was the end of this incarnation of Batgirl, as she decides to leave Burnside for other adventures. Although I enjoy this Batgirl’s character, I did feel that this final volume was rushed to wrap things up.


Everything great you have heard about A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen is true! I so admired and loved Gerta’s fierce independence and resourcefulness and her dedication to finding freedom and reuniting her family. And how nervous I was that the tunnel would collapse before they could all escape to the West (even though I am fully aware of how MG books “go”)–so that’s a testament to excellent storytelling and pacing. Plus, the divisiveness of the Berlin Wall is not a topic with which many middle graders are familiar, making this a very enlightening book for them. Highly recommended for elementary and junior high libraries.

Currently Reading:

On Deck: