My Week in Books (MWiB): A New Series

I enjoyed participating more fully than ever before in this summer’s #bookaday challenge, the brain child of Donalyn Miller. I describe that challenge here (be prepared to read through a link or two to learn about this amazing educator).

Most of my colleagues are thinking about heading back – or have already headed back – to the classroom, and their leisure time for hours of extra reading is over. I promised myself at the beginning of the summer, and the beginning of my retirement, that I would post more regularly about the books I’m reading. With that in mind, I used the #bookaday challenge to flex my posting and reading muscles and to test my stamina and style for regular posting on a particular topic. I realized that I really do read many books, that I finish at least one book a week, and that I certainly have something to say about the books I finish.

With that in mind, welcome to my new series:  My Week in Books (MWiB for short). Each week (or so) I’ll talk about the books I’ve finished. I won’t promise to post on a certain day. I already know I’m kind of crummy at that. But roughly once a week, if I’ve finished any books the previous week, I’ll talk about them in a MWiB post.

My focus in reading is still largely children’s books, because they are my love, and because though I’ve retired from my school library, I’m still passionate about the power of reading for students, and the importance of providing young people with engaging, thought-provoking, exciting and beautiful books to read.

I’ll share grownup books with you as well, as time goes by. If it’s on my bedside table, and I finish it, I’ll share.

I can’t tell you where MWiB will take us, but I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

Here’s the first-ever MWiB.

This week I finished a picture book, a middle grade novel, and a young adult novel which was recommended by a former student.

I am a member of SCBWI. I love children’s literature, and when I’m finished with the book I’m currently writing, I will be jumping into the kidlit scene with some children’s books of my own. In the meantime, I get notices for book launches from my local SCBWI chapter. When I can, which is not as often as I’d like, I go out to support these amazingly dedicated and friendly local authors.

This week, I got to go to the launch for The Problem With Not Being Afraid of Monsters, by Dan Richards, illustrated by Robert Neubecker.

2014-08-06 20.33.56

This fun little book will have great appeal for the youngest set, and could be used as a wonderful read aloud, with possibility for pregnant pauses between each page turn. Most delightful was meeting Dan himself. His launch was very busy, and the crowd was buzzing. It was a fun evening.

I also finished The Badger Knight, by Kathryn Erskine.


I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley, as I do many of my books for review. What a great historical novel. The character of the Badger (otherwise known as Adrian, when he’s not hiding), is luminous and memorable. I find myself thinking back to many of the other characters in this book as well, so alive were they for me. I was right alongside Badger as his frailness and his differentness set challenges before him at practically every turn. I love how he didn’t give up, in spite of everything thrown his way. Class differences are very evident, as are the superstitions against those who are born with physical differences. This is wartime in Medieval times, and the description of the brutality of war as seen through the eyes of the uninitiated makes it shocking and all too real for the reader. The setting was masterfully drawn, and took me right into the period. I highly recommend this one for fans of historical fiction. It’s a great book with heart and history intermingled, a wonderful story about the power of love, loyalty, and open-mindedness.

Legend, by Marie Lu, was recommended by a student who graduated this year.


I’m honored when students share book choices with me, especially middle school students. I feel as if I’ve been allowed into their lives somehow. This one is pretty potent. I found it an exciting young adult read packed with secrets and brutality and questions left hanging. The characters are very relatable and drew me in, and I’m ready for the sequel. For fans of dystopian fiction, this one delivers.

What books grabbed you this week? I’d love to hear from you!

Next time: Code Name Verity as an audio book, and more!

About vst3in

I am a writer, avid reader, library techie, birder and runner. I make felt and teach others. I love colors and textures and birds and books. I'm working on a historical novel and reading lots of books for young people. I am running to get stronger, and I sail with my husband. This blog contains thoughts about all these things.
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