I am currently loving Alan Gratz's books about refugees. I just finished Refugee. I love the way he weaves together stories from different generations and situations flawlessly. Any age person would enjoy this book because it picks up stories that every generation can relate to. It is also a great mentor text for students to use for voice. Also, I think that it gives great background knowledge for those times in history. I plan on using it as a read aloud in 5th grade. I think it will provide great discussion and openings for explanations about things in history.
March 26, 2017
The Lemony Snicket series has entered my life. My youngest read these, and I thought to myself, "I won't like these." So, I didn't check them out. But, a new student came into my life this year and she raved about them. Her enthusiasm caused me to see what all the fuss was about. I'm so glad I did. I'm currently on volume three. My goal is to finish them by school's end.
January 1, 2017
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park was a joy to read. I really like the format that she used. The book has two different characters, in two different times, who we learn about. Their lives intersect at the end. I thought about teaching this book one character at a time. But, I soon realized that I can't do that. If I did, there would be no aha! moment at the end and that would be disappointing to students.
July 12, 2016
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson provides the reader with a plot that is engaging, emotional and thought provoking. I love when fiction books rely heavily on non-fiction events. The author includes quotes at the beginning of each chapter that are written in that times vernacular which made the words the author has written even more believable. I think if I were a student reading this I would want to learn more history about this time period in our nation. I am going to suggest this to our middle school social studies and communication arts teachers for a cross curricular study. Post Revolutionary War time frame with lessons of compassion for today's youth.
June 9, 2015
The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler
Jess is a privileged teenager that is having a tough time right now. Her best friend Penny is no longer in her life. Her mom is haunted by a tragedy. And she must ask herself if her new best friend, Nance, is really a friend. Then, along comes Flynn. Jess and Flynn are thrown together through circumstances. Most people in their lives are not excited about their relationship. Will they persevere?
February 18, 2014
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
This book is written in comic book format and has a very easy flow for reading. This is story primarily about Raina and her sister Amara. It also includes their mom, dad, brother and other family members for part of the action. The story focuses on a driving trip that she and her family take to an out of state family reunion. There are flashbacks and all sorts of underlying plot twists. And, the book is very realistic, as it should be. It is a fairly fast read. I think the story is universal and grades 3 and up will understand the language and nuances well. I think Junior High and High School students would enjoy the story too.
February 1, 2015
Homesick by Kate Klise
The main character in the book, Benny, lives in a small town. He faces challenges just like all young people face, in his case, the impending divorce of his parents. His mother leaves him with his father to strike out on her own, promising to come get him when she gets settled. His dad goes a little crazy and switches from being a collector to an all out hoarder. This causes concern for the townspeople. The plot that continues follows all those challenges that young people will face when this type of dishevelment strikes a family. The ending to this book is realistic and really captures what this area faced during a specific, memorable time in it's history.
December 3, 2014
Some books I've enjoyed this fall include the following:
Step on a Crack, book one, Michael Bennett series by James Patterson
This is book one of 6, I think. Michael Bennett is a character that mixes raising a family of 10 with fighting crime in New York City. He is believable and inspirational and a character that I look forward to reading about in all the books to follow. They are on my bookshelf, just waiting for me to turn the pages.
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Gayle Forman lets up catch up with the characters from If I Stay. There are some twists and turns and the reader is left to wonder, will there be a third installment.
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
Miss Malone deals with life's trials with a clarity way beyond her years. This is a depression era book that helped me gain some insight into this very difficult time in our history.
I recently finished reading I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora. Having taught To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee for several years, I was anxious to take a look at this book and see what it was all about. It was a very fun read. The book refers to things in Harper Lee's book periodically, but not so much in the sense that the reader has to complete To Kill a Mockingbird first. It's really a book about friends and how they try to pay tribute to a beloved teacher who has passed on.
I kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora