Post Thanksgiving, Pre Christmas = Spinning Head

 In all the chaos it is sometimes hard to find time to reflect on all the books I'm reading through.  I've just finished up a great graduate course on digital literacy, and am supposed to feel like I've got a bit more time on my hands.  Funny how it finds ways to fill itself.

So, it's been a couple of weeks...maybe 3...I'm not checking, since I've posted my Monday post.  So here comes the catch up!  Buckle up!

Hosted by Jen & Kelle at Teach Mentor Texts

Gustav Gloom and the People Taker (Book 1) by Adam-Troy Castro
Illustrated by Kristen Margiotta
Grosset & Dunlap, 2012
227 pages
Recommended for grades 4-5

I love a creepy tale (but you're a loyal reader of mine, so you already know that), but I don't love this creepy tale.  Mainly because it is lacking in the creep department.  Mostly we have here a fantastical journey through Gustav Gloom's looks-are-very-deceiving-size-wise-mansion, while young Frannie What tries to get out of the house alive...and with her shadow.  Residing in Gustav's home is the People Taker, his monster pet and a ton of shadows that have been relieved of their people.  I don't truly understand much about this book...except that I didn't really like it.  But, man, that's a pretty sweet cover and title.

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert
Disney, Hyperion, 2012
Graphic Novel
92 pages
Recommended for grades 4-8

Here we go!  This is an amazing graphic novel!  In this story about Helen Keller's young life we are focusing more on her teacher, Annie Sullivan, and her backstory.  The artwork in this book is well thought out.  When we begin the book all passages that are from Helen's perspective are drawn with a black background with a featureless childlike figure of a solid color as the main image of each box.  When Helen meets Ann their perspectives are woven together, but it is clear to the reader which boxes represent Helen's point of view.  And the more Helen learns and experiences, the more we see her self image begin to sharpen.  Flipping between Helen's present and Annie's past we learn how Ann Sullivan spent her early years.  With passages from Ann's own journals spread throughout the book, we  are directly linked to the history behind this story.  

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic Press, 2012
416 pages
Recommended for grades 9+

And here it is, my favorite YA book (to date) of 2012!  Last year I was wowed by Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.  This year, it is hands down The Raven Boys.  Too bad I review for a committee that builds a reading list for grades YA love for this book will not be included on that list.
At 416 pages this book was far, far too short.  Yes, too short.  We meet Blue, living in house with her psychic mother and aunts, and discouragingly not a psychic herself, however Blue does possess the ability to strengthen her aunts' powers when Blue is near to them .  Blue has been told for ages that if she kisses her true love he will die.  In an early scene Blue and an aunt visit a cemetery on St. Mark's Eve, where the spirits of all that will die that coming year pass by on the ley line.  Blue sees her very first spirit, a boy about her age.  He mumbles a name, Gansey, to her, and it means nothing to Blue. 
As we journey onward and meet the "Raven Boys" from Aglionby Academy we keep the knowledge of the threat of the fatal kiss and the mysterious spirit boy tucked in the back of our minds.  Now we meet Gansey and his roommates, all well developed and vastly different characters.  Gansey is on a passionate quest to find a ley line, a line that can connect this world with the spirit world.  Blue becomes a part of this quest, and even though we know what we know, it is so very easy to be wrapped up in the story to forget what destiny has already been shared with the readers.  The twists and turns and ever added layers spur this story onward, though it moves at a pace that seems slow and enveloping.  I loved every minute spent with this story.  

I've also recently read:

Into the Woods (Bigfoot Boy Book 1) by J. Torres and Faith Erin Hicks
Kids Can Press, 2012
Graphic Novel-Fantasy
100 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin
Roaring Brook Press, 2012
32 pages
Nonfiction Informational
Recommended for grades 3-5

One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath
Schwartz & Wade, 2012
Realistic Fiction
224 pages
Recommended for grades 5-7

Sway by Amber McRee Turner
Disney, Hyperion, 2012
Realistic Fiction
311 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6

Pigmares: Porcine Poems of the Silver Screen by David Cushman
Charlesbridge, 2012
40 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6

Happy to share thoughts on any of those, but truth be told, I'm rather sleepy now.

On to Tuesday!


Popular Posts