Monday, August 31, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-31-15

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!

The new classroom space is feeling a lot more like home now that the books are settled. There are still some adjustments to be made, but I am feeling ready for school to start. My new school community has been wonderfully welcoming, helping in any and all ways possible. And everyone is so ambitious, I am loving it! I would like to share some classroom pictures-soon!

Books I've Recently Read:

A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
Bloomsbury, 2015
224 pages
Recommended for grades 5-7

This book opens with force. The recommended age range in the ARC is 3-6. I find myself often wondering if I am too conservative, am I censoring??!! my classroom library, or are some books simply being pushed too soon on readers too young? What do you think: The book opens with a scene in which our main character's mother hangs herself outside the hospital from the branch of a dogwood tree. Pram's mother is pregnant, and as a result Pram also dies, and is then revived. This dying and reviving is part of the backstory to where Pram's ability to communicate with the dead, and to move between the space of the living and the dead, comes from.

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Disney-Hyperion, 2015
Historical Fiction
368 pages
Recommended for grades 7+

Set in the 1920s-1940s, first in America and then in Ethiopia, we are taken on a journey with Emilia and Teo, the children of pilots Rhoda (White Raven) and Delia (Black Dove).  This book offers a different perspective on what was taking place as WWII gained momentum in Ethiopia, not our typical American and European views. Of course the war is only one piece of this story. It is so much more, a story of family and courage, of being true to yourself and also finding who that self is.

I'm Currently Reading:

Thanks for stopping by! Happy back to school time :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-17-15

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! 

I'm deep in the middle of the giant undertaking that is: moving and setting up a new classroom! Classrooms come in so many different shapes and sizes, each school has different things they allow you to do or have in your classroom, and moving in to a new school means getting comfortable and familiar with both aspects. Hopefully before school begins ;)

Books I've Recently Read:

Like a River: A Civil War Novel by Kathy Cannon Wiechman
Calkins Creek, 2015
Historical Fiction
336 pages
Recommended for grades 6+

A moving novel that follows two unlikely soldiers in the Civil War, a young boy trying to fill his brother's shoes, and...well the other one doesn't want you to know why he isn't your typical soldier!
As the novel changes perspective, readers will be given a broader view of what was going on in the war at the time the novel takes place. A large focus turns to experience many prisoners had at Camp Sumter, which is a setting I don't think I have come across in another children's book.

Half a Man by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Gemma O'Callaghan
Candlewick Press, 2015 (First U.S. Edition)
Realistic Fiction
53 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

I love this short story about how young Michael comes to know the whole man inside his grandfather. Michael was always told not to stare at his grandfather when he came to London to visit Michael's family. Much later, Michael goes to stay with his grandfather on the small island of Bryher, and it is during this summer stay that Michael and his grandfather grow closer than they have ever been. Michael learns what his grandfather lost, which is so much more than the missing skin and bones that grabs the attention from onlookers. The relationship Michael grows with his grandfather  just might be one of the most important his grandfather has known since he was in a fiery ocean explosion.
Under the dust jacket is a different, yet similar cover. I love the hidden cover so much more than the exterior cover. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Little Robot by Ben Hatke
First Second Books, 2015
Graphic Novel/Science Fiction
135 pages
Recommended for grades 2+

A sweet story of a (nameless) little girl that finds a robot floating down a stream in a box. The robot becomes the girl's friend, perhaps her only friend. But when the robot yearns to be around others like himself, the girl becomes jealous. A classic battle between trying to keep our friends close and ultimately pushing them away. Will the girl be able to come to terms with the robot being his own being, with his own preferences and friends? Well, has Ben Hatke let us down yet?
Other things worth noting: young female mechanic, living in a trailer park, feeling like an outcast.
The fluid and vivid panels are wordless for stretches, as the girl is the only human character with much presence. I picture using the beginning of the book with a document camera to talk with a class about how to read graphic novels and how to read and process the story with no words-and to remind readers to slow down and take in the art!

I'm Currently Reading:

Thanks for stopping by!