I’ve been doing some reading for work. Since I teach 7th grade history and English reading for work takes me places it might not take other grown men. Not that I mind. Two strong contenders for actual classroom use this time around. The first is M.T. Anderson’s graphic novel (illustrations by Andrea Offermann) Yvain, The Night of the Lion based on the 12th century French epic … Continue reading Two with Pictures: The Singing Bones and Yvain, the Knight of the Lion
My school librarian recommended both of these books to me. Acutally, she tested them out on me. They shound interesting, she said, why don’t you read them. They did sound interesting, so I read them both. Both are good books, well drawn characters that would appeal to middle school and younger high school students. Both have good stories with happy endings that are earned and … Continue reading Trouble in Mind: Two YA Novels about Thinking Problems.
I’m one of those people who get excited over the Man Booker Prize. Almost every year, once the long list is announced, I head over the my local library to get as many of the nominated books as I can. Typically, there are a few not yet available in America, and there are a couple my library doesn’t have yet. So I check out two … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Why the Booker Short List Ruins my Reading and Other Bookish Items
Our search for the next school wide read continues without success. There have been books some teachers on the “committee” loved, some that were good for grades 6 and 7 but not 8, some good for 8 and seven but not for six. And the science and math department, along with the forces at large, are still pushing for a non-fiction title, which only makes … Continue reading My New Favorite Book: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Finding a book suitable for grades six, seven and eight is not easy. The difference between a seventh grader and an eighth grader is dramatic, but the difference between a sixth and an eighth grader is stunning. This year we did our first school wide read, Chew on This by Charles Wilson and Eric Schlosser, based on Mr. Schlosser’s best-selling book Fast Food Nation. Each subject area read several … Continue reading Looking for the Next School Wide Read
Reading is a creative act. This is a controversial idea, one that many people resist strongly, one I resisted when I first learned about it. But, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate it as an adult reader. That young readers are creative agents is apparent to me and to probably anyone who has spent more than a few years working with them. In her … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Ponyboy and Johnny and Dally
This review may have spoilers. Three lovable misfits spend their senior year together, trying to survive life in small town Tennessee where misfits are not exactly welcome, no matter how lovable they are. The Serpent King is actually a very dark story. The lead character, though the narrator’s focus will shift between all three, is Dillard Wayne Early, Jr., the son of a snake-handling Pentecostal preacher … Continue reading The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
There’s a good chance that I’m just a sucker for romance. Somewhere in the middle of The Sun is Also a Star the lead characters Daniel and Natasha stand facing each other on the streets of New York City. They lean in, their heads touching. Daniel’s long hair falls forward forming a curtain around their faces shielding them from the city. Man. I fell in love … Continue reading The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Homecoming by Cynthia Voight is the story of four children on their own. The oldest, Dicey Tillerman who is still young enough to pass as a boy when she needs to, leads her three siblings on a cross country journey in search of a home. They must face this journey alone after their unstable mother abandons them in a car outside of a large shopping … Continue reading Homecoming by Cynthia Voight
This post is more of a ramble than a rant, so don’t worry. It’s been a busy week, getting ready for the 20th anniversary party C.J. and I threw yesterday, so there have not been many posts here lately. I’m hoping to have a good amount of down time today, enough to relax and get a bunch of robo-posts ready for the week. Some I’m … Continue reading Sunday Salon: Catching up with This Week’s Reading and Lionel Shriver Wears a Funny Hat.
What if you like a book in general, but there are some things that bug you about it? Do you always end up with one of those weighing the scales reviews? List the pros? List the cons? It’s so difficult to do that without being wishy-washy. There is a lot to like in Shaun David Hutchinson’s YA novel We Are the Ants. The story is about … Continue reading We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Adventure can rely on character. Robert Lewis Stevenson demonstrates this in his classic novel Treasure Island. There’s plenty of adventure in Treasure Island: mysterious strangers arrive on stormy nights; innocent people survive savage attacks; abandoned ships drift out to sea; pirates climb the walls of forts under the cover of darkness to attack sleeping innocents; castaways, marooned for years, are rescued; fortunes are found and … Continue reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson