Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews!
The days truly feel like they are flying by right now. Sometimes I feel like I'm flying along with them, and other days I feel utterly left behind.
I only have nine more days with my students until my maternity leave begins. Nine days, after spending two wonderful years with this group of diverse learners and thinkers. My mind (and body!) is in a place it's never been before, and I find myself needing a reminder to slow down and honor the place I'm at with my students. The nine day countdown is the same span of time for both me and the students, but the impact and feelings around it are not the same. There is a genuine bond that is formed after spending two years with a group of students, true power in the long-term relationship between teacher and student. And so, my goal for the next two weeks is to be totally present with my kiddos, mindfully appreciating each one of them.
Books I Read this Week:
The Dyerville Tales by M.P. Kozlowsky
Walden Pond Press, 2014
Recommended for grades 4-8
Wow. I read this book slowly, and even then, I didn't spend enough time with young Vince. The summary of the book can be found here.
I love the parallel journey readers are taken on, as they follow young Vince setting out to find his father, and as they follow Vincent (Vince's grandfather) retell the story of his life through his book: The Dyerville Tales.
Readers will wonder where the truth begins, and where it ends. They will wonder if Vince is truly going to find his father. There will be moments of joy, sadness, and times when they are scared. And at the end of the book, readers will want to close it, only to turn it over to start again. At least, that is how I experienced The Dyerville Tales.
Now, a warning on age appropriateness. On my ARC it says 3rd to 7th grade. I gave my 4th graders fair warning about some of the scary parts, because there are some parts of this book that might legitimately bother young readers. And, there are thrill seeking readers that will find this not at all scary! It depends on the reader, but even though, I don't think I'd put it in the hands of many 3rd graders.
The Dumbest Idea Ever, by Jimmy Gownley
Recommended for grades 4+
This memoir by Jimmy Gownley, creator of the Amelia Rules series, gives readers insight into his youth, specifically his high school years, when he became a comics writer/illustrator.
I was struck at first by how idealistic Jimmy's young life was. Perfect grades, skilled athlete, got along with everyone...I was waiting for the: just kidding, no one's life is that perfect. But it didn't come...Jimmy's life was pretty perfect. And then he got sick, was out of school for weeks, and rethought who he was and what he wanted out of his life. Hence, a change occurred which ultimately brought Jimmy on a journey to create his first comic book.
In a time when graphic novels are such a huge part of children's literature, I think young readers really appreciate the vast array of genres available to them. A glimpse into: how did this guy get where he is today? is fun for those budding artists that dream of one day creating their own comics. Look at the success in Raina's memoir, Smile. Kids like reading about people, and they like learning, as much as they like to be entertained.
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Scholastic Press, 2014
Recommended for grades 4-6
I listened to this on audio-great reader, very youthful sounding, which gelled well with the young narrator.
This one has been bouncing around the internet for months now, so I now my review isn't the first you've come across. So, I will get straight to the point.
I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I admittedly got tired of the phrase, "a snicker of magic." I'm sorry. I think this book is perfect for girl readers that like a realistic fiction story about friendship and overcoming one's personal battles. Because even though there is mystery and fantasy, this story feels very realistic throughout.
I'm Currently Reading:
On a side note, I had a TON of fun at the 2014 Maine Comic Arts Festival held in Portland yesterday:
The book geeks arrived...
Me with my buddy Ben Hatke
Ben's fun presentation...
Portland's Own: Lincoln Pierce
The amazing Kazu Kibuishi!
Jimmy Gownley (and my buddy Sam-a fellow MSBAer and total book geek!)
This event was a blast, and was free to kids under 12, only $5 for the big people. If you live in Maine, get to it next year!
Have a wonderful week!