The Top Ten Things I Learned in my #bookaday Reading This Week by Teri S. Lesesne

If it is May, there is a good chance there will be rain in Texas.  The last few weeks have been more like hurricane season than a lead up to summer.  Houston received almost a foot of rain on one day.  Our lake, the one nearly drained a few years ago due to droughts, is not more than adequate for a summer of boating.  When it rains, it pours lately.  And that means that there has been plenty of time to read, read, read.  I love reading, and I love that every book brings me a new idea, fact, thought.  This past week was no exception.  So, here are the Top 10 things I learned from my reading this week.

octopus sci

1. Octopuses is the plural of octopus (not octopi as I had always believed), and octopuses have 3 hearts, blue blood, and come in more than 250 varieties. Female octopuses lay eggs only once, at the end of their lives. Want more?  Read The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk by Sy Montgomery.


2. It is possible to tell a story and to read that story despite the book being textless (wordless). The Only Child by Guojing is all the proof you will need that illustrations alone can tell a story, elicit a response, and provide a reason to read and reread repeatedly.

srsly hamlet

3. There is more than one way to tell a familiar story. Srsly Hamlet joins YOLO Juliet and Macbeth #killingit  to present the works of the Bard as they might appear in an online social media site.  Of course, knowing the play already allowed me to enjoy the parody even more.  To prepare readers for meeting Hamlet and his company later, educators might consider Something Rotten  by Alan Gratz.


4. Reading with my “ears” helps me to add more and more books to my reading over the course of a month. Summer marks the beginning of the annual YA Sync free audiobook season.  So far, I have 8 new audiobooks downloaded to my iPod.   Each and every week, two audiobooks are made available for download (using Overdrive, a free app).  The books are paired: a classic with a contemporary book each week.  For more information, visit:

it's just a jump to the left

5. Libba Bray writes a heckuva short story. And she loves “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”  How do I know these things?  I downloaded the story, “It’s Just a Jump to the Left,” for $1.99.  It came in so handy when I was stranded in a waiting room after I had completed the book I brought along.  While we are all waiting for Lair of Dreams, this story might help us be more patient (I actually have an ARC!  Squee!).

fish in a tree - final cover

6. I can fall in love with a character and feel as if I know her or him as if they live and breathe off the page as well as in the story. Actually, I fell in love with three characters from Linda Mullaly Hunt’s Fish in a Tree:  Ally, Keisha, and Albert.  In addition to loving this story of how the three become friends, how Ally learns to trust a teacher who wants to help her, and how a teacher can make a difference, I also grew to love the three central characters.  How I wish I could join them at the lunch table, too.

walk the earth

7. Combining history with a touch of fantasy makes for an interesting mix. Walk the Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson is set in the days of the early California Gold Rush. Lee, the main character, is a young woman who can sense the presence of gold.  Of course, anyone who is the least unscrupulous would love to have Lee’s help staking out claims. Adventure and survival propel the reader into this story that defies genre categorization.


8. Patrick Ness pulls me into a story in the opening words. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is hypnotic; it cast a spell over me that made the real world fade away as I entered into the world he has created.

christmas books

9. Christmas arrives early in the land of picture books, too. I have read a handful already including How to Catch Santa, The Reindeer Wish, and Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein.


10. No matter how many books I read, I still manage to fall into that stage of “unconscious delight,” a stage where I happily become lost in the book.  I look forward to many more days of curling up with a book, I know that all my fellow NBC members will do the same.  What a community!

Teri Lesesne is a professor in the Department of Library Science at Sam Houston State University.  She teaches courses in literature for children and young adults.  You can follow her on Twitter (@professornana) and join Teri and Donalyn Miller for a monthly chat called #bproots where the two discuss the roots of  our best literacy practices.  She blogs about books ( and about education ( when she does not have her nose buried in a book.