Monday, January 2, 2017

It's Monday! What are You Reading? 1-2-17

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  Be sure and stop by to participate or see what others are reading and recommending this week.

With a new year upon us, it is my goal to write a #IMWAYR post on a regular basis, even if it is every other week.  My reading life in 2016 became a little stagnant, and I missed reading and sharing books with others.

What I have read lately.

Yard War by Talyor Kitchings

I am always looking for titles to add to our Civil Rights because this is a period we must never forget.  This book takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in 1964.  Trip Westbrook invites the family maid's son to play football, which causes quite a stir in his white neighborhood.  Trip learns about how racism can divide neighborhoods, friends, and even families.

The football plot in this story will certainly add interest for the boys in the my classroom.  Although this book takes place in 1964, I never felt like I was placed in the time period.  Something just didn't connect the setting for me, but I am sure many of students will enjoy reading this book.

Code of Honor by Alan Gratz

Kamran Smith plans to go to West Point, just like his brother, Darius.  His plans change and his world turns upside-down when his brother is accused of being a terrorist.  Kamran sets out to clear his brother's name after watching videos of Darius making terrorist threats against the United States.  Kamran believes that Darius sent him clues in the videos to prove his innocence, and Kamran knows Darius would never break their code of honor. This book is action-packed and certainly makes the reader think about the times in which we currently live.

This is my second book written by Alan Gratz, and certainly will not be my last.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

I participate in a group of teachers who read books, share on social media and pass them on to the next #bookrelays team member.  We were blessed to be given the opportunity to read an ARC of Goodbye Days.  This book is written by Jeff Zentner whose debut novel in 2016, The Serpent King, is receiving rave reviews.  His second book leaves no doubt that he is a brilliant writer.

This book is about four boys, Carver, Eli, Blake, and Mars, who attend an arts school in Nashville.  Three of the boys are killed after the Carver sends them a text.  Carver is asked by Blake's grandmother to have a goodbye day with her to share their favorite moments and memories of Blake, and to say goodbye.  As Carver tries to forgive himself and overcome his guilt, he faces severe anxiety and panic attacks.  Unfortunately for Carver, the other two families are not as forgiving as Blake's grandma, and his goodbye days with them are heart wrenching.  

Carver's story is one that will make you laugh out loud, will pull on your heartstrings, yet will also help you find hope in moving on.

Reading this book as a parent with of young adults gave me a different perspective.  The boys reminded me of own son and his three friends. (Yes, one is even named Eli!)  Several times I wanted to go hug my kids while reading about the lives of these four boys.  

Circle March on your calendar because this is a book you will NOT want to miss.

Happy Reading!


  1. These books are all new to me. Goodbye Days sounds really emotional. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. How great that you've set a goal for posts. Knowing that I'll be posting about my reading on Monday helps to keep me somewhat more on track with my reading. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I agree with Lisa: knowing that I'm trying to post on Monday motivates me to finish something every week. Sometimes it's only picture books, but that's ok. Code of Honor looks like one I should get for my reluctant guy readers. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Goodbye Days is definitely on my YA list this year. I'm looking forward to reading that one. His other novel Serpent King is coming up soon to read for me as well. I hear he is a great writer.

  4. All of these sound very good, Leigh Anne. I loved The Serpent King, and will note this new one by Zentner. Thanks for all, nice to see you sharing!

  5. The Serpent King is on my to read list. I hope to get to it in 2017. I really appreciated Code of Honor, but I'm having a hard time with Gratz' Projekt 1065 just because it is so brutal. I think my difficulty is a testament to his fine writing. I've stopped listening to it and will finish it with my eyes.

  6. How I love this #IMWAYR community! So wonderful to find out about everyone's reading lives.

  7. I hope you do post on Mondays! I always like seeing what you are reading :)
    I put Serpent King on my mustreadin2017 list because it's one I've owned since it was released but never got to it. I picked up Goodbye Days at NCTE. I'm looking forward to both.

  8. I got a copy of Alan Gratz's newest book, Projekt 1065, at ILA last summer and like it, so I'll be on the lookout for Code of Honor. The other books are new to me, but sound worth seeking out. Thanks for sharing Leigh Anne! Happy New Year!

  9. Leigh Anne, I understand how you feel about posting on Mondays more regularly, and this is something I need to do a better job with this year.
    I can't remember what age of students you work with-- these books would be over the heads of my kiddos (I have 3rd and 4th this year), but I'm really intrigued by the Gratz book! That definitely sounds like a page-turner! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Happy New Year!

  10. You've got me wanting Goodbye Days.

  11. I have yet to read Serpent King and now am looking forward to reading Goodbye Days. Looks like a truly riveting and timely read.

  12. I have a funny connection for you. I grew up in Jackson and Taylor Kitchings' father delivered me, many years ago. I've never met him, but I do have a signed copy of Yard Man. I've had one boy read it. Another gave it a shot but couldn't finish it. It bothered me that there were so few chapter breaks. The setting felt right for me because I grew up there. I placed it in my own backyard.