It’s Monday! What are you Reading?


I missed last week but I was still reading – just very slowly. I finished reading Nobody’s Secret and Counting by 7’s. These books are listed as MG and YA. I also threw in a Picture book because it was dealing with secrets as well.

Nobody’s Secret by Michaela MacColl was a good old fashion mystery book with our dear Emily Dickenson as sleuth. The lines of poetry lead us into each chapter connecting us to Emily, the poet. We find Emily fascinated with a young stranger who calls himself Mr. Nobody. He seems to understand her strange ways, keen interest in nature and words.images-1

But this stranger turns up dead in the family pond and Emily begins to investigate his death. Who is Mr. Nobody and why do the clues not make sense?

MacColl does a wonderful job of placing us in Emily’s life and times.  We learn what it is like to live when women were expected to be at home cooking, cleaning and sewing. They certainly would not be walking around town alone, looking at dead bodies or writing.

It is a fun way to kick off a poetry unit or include in a mystery unit. The use of direct lines of poetry through out the book help us to see how a poet uses quick short lines to express thoughts and feeling. “I’m nobody!  Who are you?  Are you nobody too?”

images-2The Secret Olivia Told Me by N. Joy was a quick picture book read about sharing secrets. This story is written in rhyming verse and reminds me of the old game telephone. The secret gets bigger and bigger each time it is told. The black cut out images by Nancy Devard focus our attention as the red balloon pulls us along with the secret. This is a great story to begin the year with as you help students develop strong positive social behaviors at school.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan was just released this last week. It is a great MG read. It has a great collection of unlikely people who find themselves involved in the life of Willow Chance.images

Willow is adopted, extremely bright, and has a few odd habits, like counting everything by 7’s. Her favorite number is 7. Willow needs things to be in order, neat and precise.

Within the first chapter we find that Willow’s life has been turned upside down and backwards. She arrives home to find her parents have been killed in an accident. Order is no where to be found.

But there is a Hispanic taxi drive, a not so willing Greek school counselor, and a Vietnamese family who become Willows support as she navigates the waters of loss, grieve and rebuilding of a new life.

Sloan approaches a tough subject with grace and humor. She leaves room for the discussion of what is family. She helps us see that we all learn and grow when we reach out to others.

What a great read aloud!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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