Monday, March 31, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3-31-14

If you live in Maine you know that it's been a long winter.  You also know that spring has been rather reluctant in showng herself.  This past weekend we had one glimpse of what is ahead, and it felt glorious!  My favorite outside activity this weekend was letting the dogs bound around the dog park for while.  You really can't help but be happy when you watch dogs play!  What are you enjoying about the approaching spring?

As usual, thanks to our dynamic hosts:

 Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers!!

Books I Read this week:

Duke by Kirby Larson
Scholastic, 2013
Historical Fiction
232 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6

It's hard to even choose a beginning point when thinking about all the reasons I love this story.  In this WWII story readers follow 5th grade Hobie through the ups and downs of daily life.  Ups include the pickup baseball games after school and through the summer, they include the cakes his mother makes with her sugar rations, and ups come in the form of new friendships.  But Hobie's biggest up becomes his biggest down.  Duke, Hobie's beloved German shepherd, is the brightest star in Hobie's life while his father is away in the war.  Hobie, and many citizens, are doing all they can to support the war effort- Larson weaves in these small acts, such as the students lining up at their teacher's desk once a week to purchase war stamps.  But when Hobie is approached and told about the Dogs for Defense war effort Hobie must dig deep to find out how much he is willing to sacrifice for the war.  
Hobie is a character that is honorable in every sense of the word.  From small acts like occupying his younger sister when his mother needs a moment of solitude, to larger acts, guessed it, sending his best friend away for the war effort.  Dog lovers beware, you will need a tissue.

Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner
Bloomsbury, 2013
Science Fiction
272 pages (ARC edition)
Recommended for grades 5-8

After becoming familiar with Messner's last two fast paced kid-centered mystery/adventures, I was ready for more fast paced action!  In her newest novel, we meet a group of 12-14 year olds that are hoping to get state of the art treatment at I-CAN, a "miracle clinic in the swamp," promising to reverse the damage caused to the brain during a concussion.
Once at the clinic, things seem a little off.  Soon the kids are discovering that the two doctor's treating them are in fact up to something far more serious.  The doctor's are involved in a scheme to create a team of geniuses, using DNA and microchipping data to transform these teens into minds like: Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, Robert Oppenheimer, and on.  Once the team is created they can begin working on secret government projects in the war against terror.
Full of the fast paced action Messner fans will expect, but this time with a cool science fiction backdrop.

I'm Currently Reading:

On Deck:

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a happy reading week!

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3-24-14

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers

An entire month has flown by since my last post!  What has gone on in my reading life since then?...So much!  The time between the January and March meetings for the Maine Student Book Award  Committee are packed with reading.  In January the committee created a "short list" of 118 titles- what we thought were the best of the best in middle grade literature published in 2013.  When we regrouped in the middle of March it was time to discuss and cull that list of amazing titles down to about 40 titles.  The work is extensive, exciting, and rewarding.  I love my work as a committee member, and take it very seriously.  Blog posts might have slowed down this past month, but my reading did anything but!

Some seriously happy Bookworms!  
(Not all books are pictured)

Head here to check out my reviews for books found on the Maine Student Book Award list for 2014-2015.  Please be aware of a couple of big things: First, these are my opinions, not the committee's opinions.  Second, the grade level recommendations are based on my experiences with young readers, also my own opinions.

Books I Read this week:

The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
Starscape, 2013
Science Fiction
256 pages
Recommended for grades 4-7

What's my least favorite genre?  Sci-fi!  Looking back through my past posts will reveal a lack of science fiction titles.  That being said though, I know that no genre is full of identical books, and here I am, saying that this sci-fi title wasn't so bad!

Set far in the future, humans are well versed in space travel, and have found a distant Earth-like planet which they want to inhabit.  But humans are not the only ones in the universe after this planet-enemy race the Tremist are also after this new planet, and might steal Earth in the process of getting hold of what they want.

When the adults on board the spaceship are taken hostage, it is up to a group of students to put their training to the test to save Earth from the Tremist.

I'm Currently Reading:

A happy reading week for you!  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Maine Student Book Award List 2014-2015

March 2014: Creation of the 2014-2015 Maine Student Book Award list

Note: Not all books shown.

Click on the book covers to be directed to an earlier post featuring my review and opinion of each book.  Have fun exploring the titles, and keep in mind that all opinions are mine alone, and do not reflect the committee as a whole.

Books arranged alphabetically by author's last name:



Below I have included the recording form I give to my book club and reading students.  The form is kept in students' binders and referred to throughout the year.  It can be helpful at voting time for students to have a collection of their thoughts on books read all in one place.

If you are a Maine teacher or librarian and would like more information about the Maine Student Book Award, how to become involved, resources, conference events, etc, feel free to e-mail me!