Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7-22-13

Hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers.  

And this week, I need your help!  Every year I use a portion (of an undisclosed percentage) of my budget to add to my classroom library.  I'm always on the hunt for books that my students will love, books that will teach them, help them grow as readers, etc.   As I sit down to begin my list of books to order I feel excited and nervous!  That budget money is precious, and so are books!  I've got to proceed with caution, order well, and have fun!

In the comments section feel free to let me know what book(s) you think are a must for a 4th grade classroom library!  I'd appreciate your help, and I will love seeing what you all have for favorites!

Books I Read This Week:

An Army of Frogs: A Kulipari Novel by Trevor Pryce with Joel Naftali, illustrated by Sanford Greene
Amulet Books, 2013
273 pages
Recommended for grades 4-7

This certainly feels like the making of a series.  We follow the frogs as they stand off against their enemies the scorpions and the spiders, in an attempt to keep their Amphibilands and their lives.  
Sweet wood frog Darel has longed to follow in his father's footsteps as a member of the elite Kulipari, unfortunately, the Kulipari are all poisonous frogs, and Darel is not a poisonous.  But Darel's preparation to become a warrior pays off when the enemies invade.
Kids will like the danger and adventure, and some may love the fight sequence.  
The illustrations are bold and will certainly have appeal to many readers.  They have a strong cartoon animation feel to them, which makes sense considering the illustrators background of doing animation.
This book isn't a top favorite of 2013, but I'm sure I will have plenty of students interested in reading it this fall!

More to come on this.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff
Graphic Novel
First Second, 2013
169 pages
Recommended for grades 7+

 Humor, sword fighting, traveling, blood, and revenge are all packed into this short graphic novel.  A fun read, but geared beyond my students.  Love the artwork.

The Boy Who Cried Ninja by Alex Latimer
Peachtree, 2011

Cute idea about a boy that is telling the truth and not believed.  I would have loved the ending to be as catching and clever as the beginning of the book.  Cute pictures.  I'll be watching to see what Latimer comes out with as he continues on his writing journey.

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Happy reading and discovering to you this week!  Thanks for stopping by.  

P.S. Congratulations to Andrea for winning an ARC of The School for Good and Evil!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7-15-13

Joining in the weekly fun, hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers (by the way I might not have told Kellee that I think that blog name is awesome, so I am telling her now...)

This week was a home run reading week for me.  Maybe I shouldn't have finished two spectacular books in the same's going to be a tough act to follow.  I LOVE when I find myself thinking about a story or the characters, and am truly just itching to get back to the book.  Let's be honest, with the volume of reading many of us do, this is not always the case.  

As promised yesterday, I will be giving away my preloved ARC of The School for Good and Evil, so be sure to enter at the end of this post!

So, here we go:

Books I Read This Week:

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Harper, 2013
496 pages
Recommended for grades 4-8 

This hefty novel opens with a letter to readers from The School Master.  A favorite section: " must learn to respect each other, for no matter how different you may seem, you cannot exist without the other.  The line between princess and witch is a thin one indeed..."  What is good without evil?  Are there good people without any traces of evil within, and can we really distinguish an evil disguised as good?  And how hard or easy is it to switch from one side to the other?  It will be difficult not to ponder questions like these while stumbling through the paces of The School for Good and Evil alongside best friends Sophie and Agatha.  

Skinny, blonde, beautiful Sophie desperately wants to be taken by The School Master, while others are doing their best not to be torn from their families and homes.  
You see, Sophie has dreams of becoming a princess, and she has the picture perfect princess exterior already in her favor.  Knowing that two children are taken every four years, one good and one evil, Sophie has plans to secure the evil slot for her graveyard dwelling friend Agatha.

But when the girls are dropped at the schools, roles seem to be reversed.  Is it a mistake, or is it fate?  

Witty, clever writing leads readers into a world that feels as real and as wonderful as we could ever hope to be lost in.  

Fan art (by Esther @AnguilaGretchen) perfectly captures the two leading seems to be more satisfied than the other with her new image...

This is a book for readers that love to be immersed in story.  It is high fantasy though, think Harry Potter (spells, magic, boarding schools, etc.), and isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea.  But whether you love or hate princesses, you will surely be represented within these pages!  Though the book ties up nicely in the end, there is certainly plenty of unexplored ground for following stories.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Random House, 2013
289 pages
Recommended for grades 4-7

A fast paced mystery is afoot while 12 twelve year olds compete in the ultimate game at their new public library.  Eccentric game maker, Mr. Lemoncello, has created a puzzle where the clever kid or kids to solve it win big.  The game: the kids are locked in the new library overnight with the task of figuring out how to get out of the library before time is up.  The catch: they can't go out the way they came in, and can't use any exit that will set off an alarm.  
Mr. Lemoncello has book titles woven into almost all his lines, which I got a huge kick out of-very cleverly done!   I loved solving this mystery alongside these authentic characters.
In the author's note at the conclusion of the book we find this little mindblower: "There is one more puzzle in the book that wasn't in the story.  (Although a clue about how to find it was!)"  He's killing me!  I want to reread this already!  Someday I will.  It would be fun for kids to keep track of all the book references that pop up throughout the story, I know I wish I had!  Go get this one, it's fun!

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Requested by the publisher, I won't be publishing a review for this one until September.  However, I'm super excited to read it now because I've got to prepare some questions for one of the creators.  I will have the opportunity to interview the one and only, amazing and talented...

Brett Helquist!  

Yahoo!  Why am I telling you this now?  Because I want to open the questions up to anyone!  If you've got something you think I should ask Brett just leave it in the comments section.  I've been a huge fan of his for...ever!

Thanks for stopping by!

Giveaway Alert!

Because I loved it sooo much, I would love to giveaway my ARC copy of The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani! (Since I will immediately be buying the hardcover for my classroom library!)

Enter to win this preloved copy in my It's Monday!  What Are You Reading? post.  I will also be posting my thoughts and review of the book tomorrow.  The contest will run through July 18th at midnight.  See you then!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7-8-13

Hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers.  Thanks ladies!

Books I Read This Week:

Like Bug Juice on a Burger  by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Amulet Books, 2013 (Provided by publisher for review)
Novel in Verse/Realistic Fiction
166 pages
Recommended for grades 2-4

If you teach grades 2-4 this is pretty much a must for your classroom library!  With short, simple sentences this text will be accessible to young readers.  Written at a reading level that seems comparable to Magic Tree House books, but feels so much more sophisticated and authentic to the "kid experience."  
If you've ever been to summer camp you can relate in one way or another to Eleanor.  I myself have some loathsome memories of a certain summer camp in Maine.  I'm sure this is a fine, fine camp.  However, when you are from out of town, don't know anyone, play tennis for beans and are deathly afraid of dock spiders...well let's just say camp feels less than fine to that girl.   I could be Eleanor, I felt her experience that well.  At the end of the school year I had a student mentioning multiple times how much she hated summer camp because of the BUGS.  I get it, I truly get it.  And, I can't wait to hand this book to that girl in September!
I also made sure to buy Like Pickel Juice on a Cookie, which came out in 2011, and which I did not know about until I fell in love with this little bit of a story.  

I'm Currently Reading:

And currently loving!  This one is hefty, but I should be through it in a few more days.  

On Deck:

Well, since I've been so spastic about my book choices lately, I'm not locking myself into anything.  I've got a new title from the library, which I will probably focus on next.  As soon as I find it...

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Claiming My Blog on Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
This is just to say that I've joined the masses in hooking up with Bloglovin!

I've added my button in the sidebar.  Happy reading :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7-1-13

Hosted by Jen & Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts-My favorite place to be on a Monday for more book recommendations than I can keep up with, and fun discussions and comments on our week of reading!

Again I find myself busier than planned, which cuts into my reading time.  I did work my way through a couple of books, but I still feel rather behind.  But, it's ok!  I had a blast making some wedding decorations with the future in-laws:
We gathered sticks after hitting up the used book sale
Punched two different sized flowers out of old book pages
Hot glued the flowers to our sticks
And made the sweetest little decorations!

This ties my book love into my wedding even more.  We are also going to use antique books as part of our centerpieces.  

And a moment to brag before I get to my week's reading:
A nearby library hosts New England's largest used book sale annually.  The sale is a major even, tons of people, tons of books!  This little spread was a whopping $12.50!  

11 Graphic Novels
2 Audio Books
2 Awesome Vintage Books
2 Hardcover Novels
2 Paperback Novels
5 Hardcover Nonfiction Titles
4 Paperback Nonfiction Titles
1 Star Wars Book
What a deal :)

Books I Read this Week:

The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick
Algonquin Books, 2013 
(Provided by publisher for review)
Fantasy/Science Fiction
307 pages
Recommended for grades 5-8

Strong beginning: Edward is a loner, lives with his odd aunt, and he slinks by in school trying not to be noticed.  When Edward needs a rock for a school assignment he grabs the first one he can find in his backyard.  What Edward doesn't know is that he has picked up a fetch.  The fetch contains snatches of time that have been collected and stored.  What is the most valuable thing we all have: time.  
As the story progresses we see what happens when the fetch is disturbed.  Basically, chaos breaks out.  
Things went a bit wild towards the later third of the book, expect anything to happen.   The conclusion of the book made me feel like I was finally getting to know the characters.  I wonder if this is book 1, or a stand alone title.  

Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy Tale Voices with a Twist by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Matt Mahurin
Wordsong, 2013
40 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

Classic fairy tale characters are the voices within these pages.  I love the following lines in the Note to Readers: "Imagine.  Enchant.  Write a poem that rewrites the tale.  Make a little magic."  Each poem from a different character voice and perhaps from an unfamiliar perspective.  The poems were fun, for me it was the artwork that shined though.  

 I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck: 

Thanks for stopping by!