Oregon Battle of the Books, or OBOB in our neck of the woods

Published December 22, 2019 by neverwearmatchingsox

I’m sure that I have written about OBOB before.  A state wide voluntary reading competition that students in grades 3-12 can compete in.  I am a coach for both 3-5th grades and 6-8th grades.  It seems that I won’t have a 6-8 team so I have stopped reading those titles but I didn’t get through a few:


These are the three titles I read from the 6-8 list and I enjoyed them all.  I’ll write about Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and it’s follow up Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus.

The elementary (3-5) list this year is very engaging and also very different from one another.




These are just three of the books for the 3-5th grade list.  There is something for everyone.  If you have kids in school, I sure hope that your state/city/county has some version of Battle of the Books.

Ali Cross by James Patterson

Published December 22, 2019 by neverwearmatchingsox

   I am so happy to read another suck me in until the end Patterson book.  As I have never read an adult novel by him, I was not sure if this story is a continuation of an Alex Cross book.  Ali is the youngest child of Alex Cross and he tends to go all in when something needs his attention.  His father is going to trial, his friend is missing and he has to deal with bullies at school.  Ali thinks that the police aren’t doing enough to find his friend Gabe, so he starts his own investigation.   It’s Christmastime so houses are full of gifts.  Break-ins start to happen, even at the Cross home.  Ali wonders if his friend Gabe has anything to do with it.

A book about not giving up, being true to your friends and standing up for what’s right.  I hope this is a series.

You Get What You Get by Julie Gassman

Published October 16, 2019 by neverwearmatchingsox

Melvin has difficulty when things don’t go his way.  Fits are kind of his thing.  It doesn’t matter what happened, if it wasn’t what Melvin wanted, watch out!

Something that upset Melvin even more was his teacher’s favorite saying, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit”.  The only good thing that came of that was it was only for school, not for home.  What happens when Melvin still throws fits at home???

This will make a good read aloud for my storytime.  Some kids will be able to relate to the pictures of Melvin throwing a fit.  The illustrations are lovely and it is the right amount of text.



Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Published October 11, 2019 by neverwearmatchingsox

This book makes me so mad…I mean REALLY mad…..at myself. Let’s be honest…I’m a white woman of privilege and it has absolutely nothing to do with money.  I read this (actually I listened to it which was probably more intense for me) and I realized how truly naive I have been all my life.
This is the story of Mia and her parents who are all immigrants. They have not been in the states for long and mom and dad both try to keep employment but through no fault of their own, they end up getting fired. However Mia’s mom applies for a job at a motel, thinking she would never get it, and guess what??? She gets the job but her husband has to work there too. “Two for the price of one” says the owner. Mia runs the front office…she’s 10….and does her best to make things good for the customers and the weeklies, and safer for her family.
At the end of the audio book, the author notes that the events are based on true life events in her life. Then I was sad because how humans can treat other humans so poorly is beyond what I can understand.
So many more things happen in this book…it would take a very long time to explain it all. Pick the book up or download the audio version. Read it as a family, read it yourself, read it to your class….just read it.


The Happy Book by Andy Rash

Published September 9, 2019 by neverwearmatchingsox

The Happy Book and other feelings is a great book to talk to kids about feelings.  Happy camper and his BFF Clam struggle with some emotions, especially when they aren’t feeling the same way.  Colors and emotions are matched up in this wonderfully illustrated picture book….red is angry, happy is yellow etc.  I read this at story time and what I loved was that one little person said all the colors were happy. If only adults could have an attitude like that.



When Sadness is at Your Door by Eva Eland

Published August 25, 2019 by neverwearmatchingsox

Things are so much different now than when I was a kid.  We didn’t talk about our feelings, or things like diversity, trauma, hardship.  Along comes Eve Eland who brings sadness to the front lines.  What is sadness?  Do you see it?  Feel it?  Does it want to sit quietly?  Or does it wish to draw something fantastic?  This new picture book is beautifully illustrated with crayons (or something else that looks like crayon) is a book that kids may relate to without actually being called sad.  A great read aloud or a book to sit quietly with a little and talk about what is happening.


When Sadness is at Your Door by Eva Eland

Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!

Published August 13, 2019 by neverwearmatchingsox

Lovely illustrations go along with the story about saying goodbye. Do goodbyes always have to be sad? Does it always mean something bad? In this picture book, you and your littles will discover that when a goodbye happens, a hello will soon follow.