It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-25-14

August 25th-seriously?!
I'm pumped to start the new school year, but I feel far from ready!
I have yet to step foot inside my classroom, and won't be able to until Tuesday.
I've never come this close to the first day of school without having been in my classroom.
Normally I would be all set up, ready to put pen to paper for some fabulous lesson planning.
Not this year.
This year I will crank out an awesome classroom layout, followed by some awesome lessons and activities, all in a matter of days.
Why am I not allowed in my classroom until Tuesday?  Because it is brand spanking new, and that's when we have the green light to enter the building!
So, there is a very cool upside to my late setup.  I can't wait to see my new room, and I can't wait to share it with you!

On to the books!

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers.
Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews!

Books I Read this Week:

The Thickety: A Path Begins by J. A. White
Katherine Tegen Books, 2014
488 pages
Recommended for grades 5-8

Oh, I so wish I could add this book to my classroom library.  I've asked myself a few times whether or not I think it is too scary and heavy for 4th graders.  If I'm asking myself, I think I know the answer...darn.  Although, it's not much worse than A Tale Dark and Grimm...and my students eat that one up.  I will toy with this for a while.
BUT, if you teach 5th through 8th grade this is a must!

The opening scene is rough. Our narrator, only five when the book opens, is kidnapped and taken to her mother's execution.  I know, harsh.  What happens to accused witches?  You know.
Jumping ahead seven years we meet back up with twelve year old Kara.
Readers are just as uncertain as Kara is over the notion of Kara being a witch just like her mother.
On the Island magic is evil.  If Kara does have powers she had better keep them secret.
The Thickety sits on outskirts of town, darkly waiting to claim those that come too close.  Growing and stretching each day, the Thickety must be kept at bay by constant hedging.  And that's a job no one wants.
It isn't until a strange one-eyed bird comes to lure Kara into the night, that we enter the Thickety.
What Kara is taken there to do will change not only her life, but the lives of every single inhabitant on the Island.
And before things get good, they will get very, very bad.
The Thickety is full of fantasy, mystery, action and evil.  You know a reader that will love it!

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
Delacorte Books, 2014
Science Fiction
400 pages
Recommended for grades 5+

There has been a lot of hype about this book, which intrigued me.  And though everyone I've heard from has loved this book, it just didn't hit the mark for me.  It's not that I found the book unenjoyable, it's just that it was built up so high in my mind that it wasn't able to meet my expectations.
In short, Piper, a girl with a gift of "working" with machines, makes her living by collecting things that fall from the sky during meteor showers, fixing them, and selling them.  Piper's gift ends up being far more important than she expected when she finds herself on a journey to help one of the elite, a young girl with the mark of the dragonfly.

I'm Currently Reading:

I'm Currently Listening to:

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Have a wonderful reading week!


  1. Happy 100th post! How exciting to have a new classroom! How nerve wracking to not be able to see it so close to the start of the school year! I appreciate your reviews since I've been on the fence about reading these two books!

    1. Ahh yes, exciting and nerve wracking is right! Glad to share my insight-always! I hope you like The Thickety!

  2. I really enjoyed Half a Chance. I've never seen or heard of The Thickety but will be ordering it for my son's 6th-grade reading class library. Sounds like one many kids would enjoy! I read a couple of articles this summer about how under-decorated classrooms are actually better for learning, so don't feel bad if you can't get everything done that you want to get done! Enjoy your week!

    1. I am finding Half a Chance to be very enjoyable. Cynthia Lord has never let me down though! I hope that The Thickety finds a large audience in your son's classroom library! And how awesome is it that you add to it just for the sake of sharing a good book?! Love that!

  3. Congratulations on your 100th post! I loved Half a Chance, I hope you enjoy the listen. Can't wait to see your new classroom! I can't enter my classroom either but that's because we are on strike and who knows when school will ever start. So I need to live vicariously!

    1. Oh Carrie, I feel so badly that you are in the mix of a strike. Is there really no end in sight? I can't imagine how you feel...I should go check out what's going on up there, because I'm not up on the causes of the strike. I will be sure to share pictures of the new room. And hey, while you've got time you should jet down to the've got quite the following down here ;) You could start the Carrie Tour of Picture Book Excellence!

  4. I didn't buy A Tale Dark and Grimm for my middle school library until it showed up on the battle of the books list. There was just something about it that bothered me. It's funny how books hit us all differently.

    1. Oh, that book was the one and only book that I was questioned about by a parent. Not that I was upset, or even surprised really...That book is quite edgy. However, it is also hilarious and beautiful. Adam has come to my classroom and skyped with my kids, and each time I worry that I will lose my job ;) Those Grimm tales are scary! But kids love Adam, and love his work! And the beauty of having our own libraries is that we are the keepers of them, to add or not add what we choose!

  5. Hello there Nicole, a 100th post is indeed worth celebrating! I can imagine your excitement as you see your blank classroom walls, kind of like a blank slate, really. :) I'm sure it will be a thing of beauty once you're done decorating. I am currently reading The Night Gardener, and I have a feeling it will be a great companion book for The Thickety - which sounds exactly like my kind of read. :)


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