#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books, Poetry

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/30/20


Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Maryland public schools will be closed for least another three weeks. This week I am engaging in training for remote learning, virtual professional development, and faculty meetings. Like most educators, I am stepping into the unknown which is scary. What is most difficult is figuring out how, as a reading specialist, I can support students, parents, and teachers in this new way of learning.  Answers change daily so I am trying hard to be flexible and remember we are all doing the best we can.  Grateful for my husband who cooks great dinners, family and friends who I can connect with virtually and of course, Bella who insists on multiple ways a day regardless of weather.


Our Recent Reads:

More Than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear by Rosanne Tolin 

I remember checking out A Bear Called Paddington from my elementary school library and fondly reading about the adventures of this adorable bear.


More Than Marmalade tells the life story of Michael Bond, tha author of the iconic Paddington Bear series.   An author’s note precedes the first chapter where Tolin explains that she uses facts and fictionalized scenes to write this biography.  Readers will learn about Bond’s childhood growing up and how his love of reading was nurtured early by both of his parents.  Bond had a big imagination which I believe fueled his passion for writing. World War II also had a huge effect on Bond, for he had empathy for the many child refugees who arrived in England from other countries.  These children became the inspiration for Paddington who was an orphan himself.

Perserverance is a strong theme in More Than Marmalade.  Readers learn that Bond had many jobs before becoming a published writer.  Although his writing was rejected many times he recalled his grandfather’s advice to never give up.  He also valued suggestions from editors and his agent which helped him persist.  Children also learn that Bond “wrote what he knew” in the sense that Paddington was a stuffed bear he bought his wife for Christmas.  I like that kids will be able to relate to writing a story using their favorite stuffed animal as a main character.

More Than Marmalade not only tells the story of Bond’s life but also shows children how historical events like a war can affect us and change us.  With COVID-19, I wonder how this experience will shape us and be the inspiration for new stories. Thanks to Rosanne Tolin for sending a review copy to Beagles and Books.  More Than Marmalade recently published on March 3, 2020.



Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward

This historical fiction picture books tells the story of how US female factory workers, British female farmers & a spunky tractor helped win WWII & reminds us that by working together, we as a nation & world can overcome the toughest battles.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.


Today is a Beach Day by Nancy Viau Illustrated by Charlie Alder

What I wouldn’t give for a beach day!  If I can’t actually go, the next best time to read about it right?  Written in rhyme, Today is a Beach Day is about the excitement of a day at the beach.  I love how the story begins with the children getting in the car with their beach gear in hand.  Once at the beach, the children engage in many activities such as observing seagulls, playing in the water, searching for shells, building sand castles and eating ice cream.  I love how Viau uses rich vocabulary like ” wispy waves,” “hasty licks” and “tousled hair” which will expand young children’s oral vocabulary.  Alder’s illustrations are big and bold and convey the immense excitement of the children. Today is a Beach Day is a story that will delight no matter what the season!Thanks to Albert Whitman for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Today is a Beach Day celebrates its book birthday on April 1, 2020.

Paper Planes by Jim Helmore Illustrated by Richard Jones

Best friends Mia and Ben enjoy doing a lot of things together but their favorite activity is making paper airplanes.  Their goal was to make a plane that could fly across the lake.  But news that Ben’s family is moving threatens both their dream and friendship. Readers see Mia’s hurt and angry feelings due to the many miles between them.  But Ben finds a way to bridge the gap with a project he and Mia can do together.  While Paper Planes is about a maintaining long distance friendship, the story really hit home because with stay at home orders, I know children are experiencing the same emotions as the characters, for it is frustrating not to see or play with friends.  What I love about Paper Planes is Ben’s creative idea to keep their friendship going.  During this unprecedented time, we all need to be resourceful in finding ways to keep in contact with friends and family.  Thanks to Peachtree Publishing for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  Paper Planes recently published on March 1, 2020.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

Cat and Dog’s Alphabet by Diana and Christyan Fox

Dog sees something peculiar in the air and quickly calls Cat for help.  As the image gets clearer, Cat informs Dog that there is not reason for alarm; it is just the 26 letters of the alphabet.  Thinking the letters are dangerous, Cat teaches Dog their utility such as spelling words. Dog gets frustrated because he can’t remember the letters in sequential order much less spell words correctly. Cat is not deterred and continues to explain the power of the alphabet.  Cat and Dog’s Alphabet is a unique alphabet book because rather than focus on each individual letter and sound, the story explains how letters are used to help us communicate anything we want to say.


Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

3 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/30/20”

  1. I always love seeing the pictures of Bella, and the books were fun as well. Glad you have her drag out outside these days!


  2. This is the first time I’ve heard of Paper Planes and now I can’t wait to read it. Thanks so much for sharing, Laura, and I hope you continue to navigate these unexpected changes through the remainder of the school year.


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