January Random Reads: Life is So Good and Why We Broke Up

random reads

Random Reads was started by imlovingbooks.com. Readers pick a random book or two from their Goodreads TBR list using random.org and then read it sometime during the month they were picked.

January’s Random Picks:

life is so good why we broke up

Can I just tell you how excited I was when I stumbled upon this meme? I weeded my Goodreads TBR pile over break, but it still has almost 100 books on it. I love the fact that the books are randomly picked for me too. This adds a little more fun to my reading routine and will expose me to some great books. I mean, once upon a time there was a reason I put these on my list in the first place, right?

Life Is So Good (#16 on my TBR list) by George Dawson and Why We Broke Up (#33 on my TBR list) by Daniel Handler have been on TBR list for three years. While one is about a man who learned to read at the age of 96 and the other a Printz honor book about a break up, I am pretty excited that these two vastly different books will be read sometime this month.

Happy Reading, everyone!

10 for 10 Picture Books Event

pb 10 for 10 015

Thanks so much to Cathy Mere of Refine and Reflect and Mandy Robeck of Enjoying and Embracing Learning for leading this blogging event. (Click on the picture above for more info.) The question was basically….What 10 picture books could you not live without?

My very first 10 for 10 picture books come with a twist – they are all books that my seventh and eighth graders explored during our Wordless Picture Book Study last spring. The idea for the study came from browsing Twitter one afternoon and turned into one of the coolest things I have done in my Focus Reading classes so far. Day 1 involved exploring the books and browsing at our own pace, on days 2-4 we spent time studying different elements of the book and noting authors’ choices, on days 5-6 we wrote dialogue and narration for our favorite titles, and days 7-10 were spent making mini Smore Page book report ads (www.smore.com) for a book of our choice. It was such a great experience and I can’t wait to expand it to even more titles next spring. Without further ado, here are the 10 books we used last spring:

Click on each book to add these titles to your Goodreads TBR pile!


I introduced the unit with Bob Staake’s Bluebird, which had just recently been released. Students were hooked on the idea from day 1.


Shadow by Suzy Lee – Beautiful pictures

robot dreams

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon – More of a wordless graphic novel. Students enjoyed this one.


Chalk by Bill Thompson – Students really liked this one. Very popular!

the lion and the mouse

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney – AMAZING pictures and a beautiful story!


Zoom by Istvan Banyai – Can be “read” backwards for a completely different perspective. Students were impressed with this one.

the adventures of polo

The Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller – Another favorite of students. There are more Polo titles out there that I will use next spring.


Window by Jeannie Baker – My personal favorite of the bunch! The collage pictures are stunning!

the arrival

The Arrival by Shaun Tan – Very complex and thoughtful. Students liked the futuristic themes.

the red book

The Red Book by Barbara Lehman – A book about a magical book! Students liked this one a lot.

I’ve already started a new wish list for books that I’d like to add to our collection. There’s always a chance of having students two years in a row, so I am invariably trying to keep things fresh. I hope you enjoyed this list and are thinking about a wordless picture book study for your class. I’d love to hear about your favorite wordless picture books and add them to our collection!

Happy Reading!

Lesley ♥