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Book Pair + 3 More

Posted by in Book Review

I’m joining Teach Mentor Texts and  Unleashing Readers for It’s Monday! What are you reading?

some assembly required   20873172

First up, I stayed in bed all Sunday afternoon reading alongside my 19 year-old who is home from college for the holidays. Bliss! I devoured Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen, by Arin Andrews. This book is a well-written account of Arin’s journey as he comes to terms with the knowledge that he is a boy born into a girl’s body. Arin’s memoir would pair really well with Gracefully Grayson, by Ami Polonsky.

oliver and the seawigs

I don’t know how I missed Oliver and the Seawigs, written by Philip Reeve and illustrated Sarah McIntyre in 2013, but I’m sure grateful it found its way to me! This chapter book for upper elementary readers is just plain fun! Oliver’s parents are explorers, and he chases after them after they unwittingly explore a rambling island. These islands do just what their name implies; they ramble around the seas searching for decorations for their seawig heads. Oliver meets a mermaid with poor eyesight and a couple of dangerous villains. The illustrations add to the engaging fantasy adventure.


The Jacket, written by Kirsten Hall and illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova, is a clever picturebook about Book who longs for a child to discover him. Finally, a little girl does, but her dog brings nothing but grief to Book, the final one involving a great deal of mud. The little girl saves the day by making a jacket for Book. The jacket in the book matches the jacket in the reader’s hands. Peak under the jacket, and you will discover that you have been reading the actual Book, complete with his eyes!

little red

Little Red Riding Hood, told by the Brothers Grimm and translated by Anthea Bell, is exquisitely illustrated by German artist Sybille Schenker. Her laser die-cut paper artistry is breathtaking. Explore her work further here. She has also illustrated Hansel and Gretel.

Tagged in: Children's Novels Picturebooks

Noggin: Quotes for an Unexpected Life

Posted by in Book Review

I’m joining Bookshelf Fantasies for Thursday Quotables.

Noggin, John Corey Whaley’s National Book Award finalist, is one of my favorite YA reads of 2014. 

My journal is overflowing with quotes from this amazing book, but the following is my favorite:

“I want to tell you a story about how you can suddenly wake up to find yourself living a life you were never supposed to live. It could happen to you, just like it happened to me…” (p. 2).

If you suddenly find your life taking an unexpected turn, this book is a must read. I hope it brings you a measure of comfort, as it did me.


After being frozen for five years due to a diagnosis of terminal cancer, 16-year-old Travis wakes up with his head attached to another guy’s body. The rest of his family and friends have continued to live their lives, but Travis feels like only a few minutes have passed. This work of speculative fiction reads like a realistic novel, so don’t let the sci-fi element keep you from giving it a try.

Whaley won the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature for his book: Where Things Come Back. Check out his website.


Tagged in: Young Adult