#IMWAYR – May 31, 2016

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. This weekly roundup is a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share recommended (or not so recommended….) titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.


Have you seen Finding Nemo? Do you remember Bruce the shark and his “fish are friends, not food” motto? This darkly hilarious story from Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat is reminiscent of that reluctant carnivore – three apex predators are secretly hurt by their reputations as mindless eating machines, and seek to change their ways and their relationships with their fellow animals. This story will likely appeal to a certain sort of sense of humour, it’s a little  bit twisted, but in a very funny way. And Dan Santat’s illustrations steal the show, as usual.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick

Teachers/librarians looking to inspire budding writers really ought to have a copy of this elegant and evocative picture book in their arsenal. It truly is fantastic. The premise is ingenious – a mysterious man named Harris Burdick visited a publisher to show him samples of his work. He claimed to have written 14 stories, and brought with him a single illustration and quotation from each story. The publisher was impressed, but when he tried to contact Harris Burdick, he discovered that the man had vanished without a trace, leaving only the mysterious images behind.

This collection of illustrations and quotations, rendered in Van Allsburg’s signature shades of grey, would be an inspiring writing prompt for writers young and old.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love cats. The only thing standing between me and full-blown cat lady status is my ridiculous cat allergy. So, a picture book about a kitten already is already right up my alley.

This picture book is adorable. I am pretty picky when it comes to rhymes, and I really enjoyed Linda Newbery’s bouncing, joyful text. The earth-toned illustrations are unique and completely enchanting, and anyone who has ever had a kitten will be able to relate to Posy’s charming exploits. A very sweet and endearing rhyming picture book.

The Song of Achilles

I picked up this book on a whim, drawn to its striking cover, and I am so very glad I did. This beautiful retelling of Homer’s classic epic poem, The Odyssey is stunning. I devoured it in record time, reluctant to put it down and be parted from it. Madeline Miller is a master storyteller. The text is lush, lyrical, and completely absorbing, and the tragic, all-consuming love story she has created is one for the ages. There is some adult content, including some scenes of violence (this is the story of the destruction of Troy after all), so do bear that in mind, but I cannot recommend this novel enough.

Have a great reading week, everybody!

Five Finds – Asthma

I have asthma, and growing up, I resented being dependent on my medication, and I didn’t like being different from other kids. As an adult, I would sometimes forget to take my medication, usually because I was rushed/tired and/or lazy. I was so used to having asthma I didn’t take it seriously, and forgot just how destructive this disease can be.

This winter, however, I got the flu, and with it a bad, bad case of bronchitis that landed me in hospital, with my worst asthma attack in twenty years. As the Lung Association says so well, when you can’t breath, nothing else matters.

For my “Five Finds” today, I decided to find children’s books and novels featuring asthma. It’s a life-threatening condition that can be managed, but it is something that really can make kids feel like weirdos (think: “sucks to your assmar!” from Lord of the Flies)

flowers (3)

 Might Monty / Johanna Hurwitz

Monty, a quiet first-grader continues to come into his own–playing the part of a tree in a comically miscued school play, sharing his enthusiasm for ants at an outdoor birthday party, and even signing up for karate class despite his asthma.

 I Have Asthma / Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

The child in this story suffers from asthma, a chronic condition that sometimes produces frightening attacks. But kids learn that with proper medical supervision and treatment, asthma can be kept under control, and kids who are affected by it can live happy, active, and normal lives.

Abby’s Asthma and the Big Race / Theresa Martin Golding

Abby is determined to participate in the big race, and won’t let her condition, or the teasing of a classmate, stand in her way. Abby talks with her doctor, takes her medicine, exercises regularly, and proves to her classmates that kids with asthma can do anything other kids can, too.

Bobby the Brave (Sometimes) / Lisa Eye

Fourth-grader Bobby is hurt when he hears his father, a former pro-football player, say that they are nothing alike, but finally summons the courage to talk with him about it after he suffers a public, and scary, asthma attack. Bonus points for illustrations by the ever-popular Dan Santat.

 Mostly Monty / Johanna Hurwitz

Because he suffers from asthma, six-year-old Monty is nervous about starting first grade but he soon learns to cope with his illness and use his special talents to make friends.