Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nonfiction Monday Round Up and tons of announcements!

It's Nonfiction Monday right here this week! Add the link to your specific Nonfiction post on the Mr. Linky below, then do try to get around and see some of the great nonfiction reviews out there! Common Core or not, it's fun to pair fiction and nonfiction books. I especially like the one I'm reviewing today, which actually listed a couple of good space themed books in the back!

Jacqueline WilsonAlso, have a question for Loyal Readers-- have any middle grade people read Jacqueline Wilson? She's my daughter's favorite author, and her UK publisher has approached me about the possibility of putting together a blog tour to try to get some interest raised in publishing more of her books for the US market. She's got a huge number of books (usually realistic fiction with some family problems, but other things as well) in the UK, but very few in the US. Please e mail me if you would be interested in this-- the publisher is willing to send out some books.

Summer Reading Throwdown has started! Hop over to The Brain Lair to sign up. Librarians only, of course! (Oh, okay. No competition if teachers don't sign up, too!) No way I'm reading more than last July-- read 54 books!

How Do You Burp in Space?: And Other Tips Every Space Tourist Needs to KnowGoodman, Susan E. and Slack, Michael. How Do You Burp in Space?: And other Tips Space Tourists Need to Know.
9 July 2013, Bloomsbury USA
E ARC from

Will space tourism really catch on? Maybe not, but this fun collection of information about what it is like to be in space will whet kids' appetites for it! I learned a lot of things that I didn't know, such as the fact that carbonated beverages in zero gravity are a bad thing, despite the fact that Coca Cola tried really hard to formulate a good version for astronauts, the fact that Sunita Williams ran a marathon in space, and lots of technical tidbits about food, walking outside of the ship, and details of every day life aboard a spacecraft. Of course, the science fiction books never address these little issues, but it's fun to think about them.
Strengths: Sidebars with quotes from astronauts, lots of photographs, and fun illustrations add a lot to the already good information in the text. Complete bibliography is an excellent resource for further reading.
Weaknesses: When space tourism takes off, this will have to be weeded, just like the books I got rid of entitled things like "Space Exploration TODAY!" that claimed that someday man WOULD walk on the moon!

The Menagerie (Menagerie, #1)Sutherland, Tui and Kari. The Menagerie.
12 March 2013, HarperCollins

Logan has moved to a small town in Wyoming with his father after his mother has left the family. One morning, a creature is in his room… and turns out to be a griffin that has escaped from the collection of Zoe’s family. Zoe is descended from Kublai Khan, and her family has kept magical creatures safe for years. Now, however, they have five baby griffins loose in the community, eating everything in sight and looking for “treasure”. Oddly, Logan can communicate with the animals, so Zoe’s family reluctantly agrees to let him help and decide NOT to wipe his memory clean! Along with Squorp, Logan manages to track down Flurp, Chink and eventually Yump, the one that has been eating so much! The school librarian, Ms. Sameera, is aware of the magical creatures, and the kids aren’t quite sure what side she is on, especially after events come to light that explain why Logan can communicate with the creatures. At the end of the book, the goose that laid the golden egg is found murdered, leading into the next book in the series... (Dragon on Trail, due 11 March 2013)
Strengths: Tui Sutherland is one of the authors who write as Erin Hunter, and her prose is smooth and engaging. The setting of this was perfect, and the creatures amusing. Students who like Mull’s Fablehaven  books will find this a good series to read. Enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.
Weaknesses: Zoe’s family has a lot of people in it, and there were times when I was overwhelmed by either those characters or new creatures. Still fewer characters to keep straight than Warriors, though!

My New Teacher and Me!Yankovic, Al. My New Teacher and Me.
25 June 2013, HarperCollins

When Billy show up on the first day of school with dirt all over his shirt, his new teacher, Mr. Booth, wants to know what happened. Billy spins a long string of improbable tales that get him sent to the principal's office, but when proof of one of his exploits falls out of his notebook on the way out of class, Mr. Booth softens. This rhyming picture book is full of all sorts of silly things that young children will adore, and the language and rhyming are quite good. This type of writing is a natural extension of what Mr. Yankovic has done for the last 30 years, and should be adored by young fans and newcomers alike.

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts. Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for the 4th through 8th grader.


  1. Enjoyed all three reviews -- am especially interested in the space book and Al Yankovic's PB. Sorry to say I'm not familiar with Jacqueline Wilson's work.

    Thanks so much for hosting this week. My link will go live Monday morning at 6 a.m. EDT. :)

  2. I would definitely be interested in taking part in anything to do with promoting Jacqeline Wilson - a wonderful writer! How do you Burp in Space - how my sixth graders would love this! Thanks for hosting today.

  3. Anonymous9:30 AM EDT

    Great round up and thanks for all the reviews. I am looking forward to building my libraries non-fiction collection I must say!

  4. Anonymous9:46 AM EDT

    Running around with head half off...forgot to say that I have not read any of Jacqueline Wilson's books. Checked out her site, read blurbs on her books and they do sound pretty darn good, so will be sure to read them.

  5. I didn't know Al Yankovic was an author! I am a child of the 80s so would love to read his book.

    I've never heard of Jacqueline Wilson before but I checked out her site and her books look very interesting. Hope they sometime make their way across the pond to Asia!

  6. I have a review today of Kadir Nelson's picture book biography of Nelson Mandela.

    Also, I'd be interested in Jacqueline Wilson blog tour. Let me know more at margo_tanenbaum(at)


  7. Thanks for hosting NF Monday! We are reading On the Beam of Light : A story about Albert Einstein.
    My Teacher and me seems like a great read aloud book with rhyming text and really interesting story line. I need to look for it in the library. Thanks for the review.

  8. Thanks for hosting today! That space burps book looks hilarious!

    (P.S. I'd love to participate in the Jacqueline Wilson blog tour.)

  9. I'd be interested in Jacqueline Wilson's books too.

    I blog at

    My rising 5th grader loves realistic fiction and she would chime in on her own blog too

  10. We have lots of students who are interested in space at my school-the Space Burp book looks great. And The Menagerie sounds a bit creepy, but I'm sure there are some who would love it. Thanks also for the cute Yankovic book. I don't know it & I imagine our primary teachers would love it. I don't know Jacqueline Wilson's books, but would be willing to read a few books & help her out!

  11. Unleashing Readers would be happy to be part of a blog hop promoting Jacqueline Wilson- just let us know :)
    Love books like How Do You Burp in Space?! Sounds like so much fun!

    Happy reading this week! :)

  12. Anonymous9:49 AM EDT

    I haven't read Jacqueline's books but would be interested in blog touring. I will email you!

    Thanks for mentioning summer throwdown! I will email about that too!!

    Love this nonfiction Monday, this is a meme I can fully get behind!