It’s Monday! What are you reading? #IMWAYR 9/29/14

IMWAYR

We are a month into the new school year and wow, is it going fast! I’m still catching up on my 2014 Goodreads goal of 140 books and I am behind for sure!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Here’s what I’ve read lately:

(Click on the covers to read a book’s synopsis and reviews)

 

killer instinct

Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

YA Mystery, Expected release date 11/4/14

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars

This is the 2nd book in The Naturals series and it starts right where #1 ends. The Naturals are a group of misfit teens with incredible talents and are used in a secret FBI project to solve crimes that no one else can. While this book is centered around Dean and his super creepy father, the main character, Cassie, is still dealing with trauma and feelings from events in book 1. I love the characters in this book and feel that this series is set up so well for a successful teen CSI type psychological thriller TV show that I would not be surprised if it happens sometime soon!

upside down

           Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

     Middle Grade Historical Fiction, 2014

   My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

This book takes place in the Ninth Ward neighborhood of New Orleans before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. Armani Curtis and her family are celebrating her 10th birthday on the day the devastating hurricane changes their lives forever. This book is long at 320 pages, but would make an excellent read aloud if you have the time. I had to read it in sections because of the lump in my throat that wouldn’t go away. I participated in a mission trip to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and helped rebuild a house. While there, we toured the city, including the Ninth Ward. This book really resonated with me. Beautiful writing and a very sweet main character that will stick with you!

bronx masquerade

 Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes YA

Realistic Fiction, 2001

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 stars

This award winning novel is centered around a poetry slam and gives readers a glimpse at the lives of 18 different teenage writers in a Bronx High School. The poems are gritty, heart wrenching and most often, heartwarming. I loved the poetry aspect of this novel, but did find the multiple points of view hard to keep up with. It was challenging to follow all of the sub plots and keep everyone straight. I did appreciate that after each poem there was commentary from Tyrone, who moves the story along with his thoughts and updates about how this group of teenagers is transforming while sharing their writing with each other. This book would be a great addition to a poetry unit with older readers and writers about finding your voice.

geography of you and me

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

YA Realistic Fiction, 2014

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars

Fans of Smith’s other books, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like, will not be disappointed with her newest title. Set in New York, and a plethora of other places, this is a sweet look at two teenagers who meet each other in the middle of a sweltering summer blackout in NYC. I did enjoy the first two books more, but this one will definitely be as popular as the others with young readers. I also just found out the The Statistical Probability… has been picked up and optioned for a movie. This would be interesting to see on the big screen!

It’s Monday! What are you reading? #IMWAYR 9/8/14

IMWAYR

We are starting our 3rd week of school, and let me tell you, I have some readers this year! We have set up our interactive notebooks, talked about the 40 Book Challenge, and most classes are reading 20 minutes a day already. I’ve managed to read a little bit too, and hopefully I can catch up on my Goodreads goal by the end of the month.

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

 Here’s what I’ve read lately:

(Click on the covers to read a book’s synopsis and reviews)

nest

Nest by Esther Ehrich

Historical Fiction, Release Date: 9/9/14
336 pages
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 stars
Nest is one of those books that is hard to put down. The main character, Chirp, has such an unforgettable voice – she’s vulnerable, sassy, wise and unsure all at the same time. While Chirp is an expert on birds and loves to watch and observe them, she is still very much figuring things out at home and school. After a family tragedy, life gets very hard for Chirp and she becomes a shell of her vibrant self. It takes an adventure and a lot of understanding to come back to where she belongs. I loved the 1970’s music and culture references throughout and the themes of family, friendship and love are very strong. Beautiful book!

payback time

Payback Time by Carl Deuker

Realistic Fiction/Sports, 2010
304 pages
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
This is my first read by this author. I picked it up at a book sale, while crossing my fingers that it would be a good fit in my middle school classroom. I was super excited that 1. it takes place in Seattle, which is my favorite city, and 2. it is a great book that will be an excellent addition to my classroom library. Mitch is an overweight sports reporter for his high school and he and Kimi, the photographer assigned to work with him, stumble upon a football mystery while working their senior year. Mitch and Kimi are excellent students with bright futures, and find themselves way over their heads as they unravel a story of ineligible players, cheating coaches, and a state title on the line. Fans of Mike Lupica and John Feinstein sports books will like this one, too.

shackleton

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi

Historical Fiction Graphic Novel, 2014
128 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 3/5 Stars
I plan on doing a quarter long unit with my seventh and eighth grade students in my reading intervention class that centers around explorers, and specifically Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic explorer. Shackleton is a fascinating person to read about! While I am not sure this is the best book for my students, it does have some very cool layouts of the ships and some interesting maps. Bertozzi also has a similar book on Lewis and Clark that is probably worth checking out.

Happy Reading, everyone!

Lesley ♥

It’s Monday! What are you reading? #IMWAYR 8/11/14

IMWAYR

Helloooo, August! I can’t say I am particularly happy to see you, as summer for this teacher is rapidly coming to an end. Here’s what I’ve read lately. I’ve been looking for some YA books to pair with Romeo and Juliet for my 9th grade English class and haven’t been successful. If you know of any (that aren’t in this post) please let me know!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

 Here’s what I’ve read lately:

(Click on the covers to read a book’s synopsis and reviews)

 everything leads to you

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

YA Contemporary Fiction, 2014
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5
I loved LaCour’s Disenchantments, and was looking forward to this one too. It does not disappoint. It is all about behind the scenes of moving making, old and new Hollywood, friendships and relationships. Cool book.

clockwork angel

Clockwork Angel (The Internal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

YA Fantasy, 2010
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5
The Infernal Devices series is the prequel to The Mortal Instruments series. I love the world Cassandra Clare has created with these books and Will Herrondale’s character is everything! Loved it and can’t wait to read #2.

beastlyBeastly by Alex Flynn

YA Urban Fantasy (remake of Beauty and the Beast), 2007

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
This is book #1 of my quest to find some contemporary lit to go with Romeo and Juliet. I liked the story a lot and I am sure that students would really enjoy it too.

warm bodies

Warm Bodies by Issac Marion

High YA Urban Fantasy, 2010

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
I read another book about zombies! This is book #2 I chose to read in my search for books to pair with R&J and I really enjoyed this one too. It is funny, endearing and has smart writing. It took me awhile to get over the creep factor, but definitely a great book that I am glad I read.

perfect chemistry

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

YA Fiction, 2008

My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Possible book #3 for my R&J unit is set in Chicago, and is probably one of my favorite star crossed lovers adaptation I’ve read. Great story for older readers.

escape from lucien

Amulet #6 Escape From Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi

MG Fantasy, 8/26/14 Release Date
I was happy and excited to find out that I was pre approved to read this ARC on Netgalley and although the whole book did not have color in the posted version, it is amazing! This volume is action packed and several new characters are introduced. Students will love it! I’ve already preordered it for my classroom, and really want to read #5 and this one again before I hand it to students. I might have to do that in secret!

sisters

Sisters (a companion book to Smile) by Raina Telgemeier

MG Realistic Fiction, 8/26/14
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
This was another ARC pre approval on Netgalley. Sisters is a great graphic novel for fans of Smile. It is funny and would be a great mentor text for using flashbacks. I thought it was a cute story and have already preordered for my room!

when I was the greatest

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

High YA Realistic Fiction, 2014
My Goodreads Rating 5/5 Stars
Oh, how I love this book! I would have given it a few more stars if I were allowed. Fans of Matthew Quick’s Boy 21 will like this one a lot. Set in Bed Stuy, New York, the story centers around 3 teenage boys – Ali, Noodles and Needles.  Definite mentor text for characterization.

While none of the books I read to possibly use for my Romeo and Juliet unit will work in my middle school classroom, I read a lot of great books over the past month. Thankful for summer reading!

Coming Full Circle With the Wonder of Wonder & Part 2: Julian’s Chapter

julians chapter

A little background…

During the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, my school read Wonder by RJ Palacio for our first “One Book One School” event and promoted the book’s “Choose Kind” message all year long. Students embraced the story and it was a great experience! My students and I used this resource from the Help Readers Love Reading blog and it helped tremendously with student background knowledge and prompting discussions. I highly recommend checking both Wonder and pairing it with this blog if you haven’t already. As you can imagine, it was very exciting and rewarding to discuss and refer to Wonder with students and staff members throughout the year.

Fast forward to May….

This spring, RJ Palacio released an ebook companion to Wonder called “Julian’s Chapter”. If you haven’t read Wonder, Julian is the bully and antagonist of the story that creates a lot of trouble throughout the book. Like any good reading teacher, I kept the release to myself, as I wanted to surprise my students with it and wow, were they excited! They remembered Julian as the bully and mean kid and did not have nice things to say about him. We read “Julian’s Chapter” over the course of a little over a week (it’s a lot longer than I thought it would be) and it was a great way to end the school year. I read it with the students and didn’t preview it ahead of time. This lead to some great discussions as we found things out together.The Help Readers Love Reading blog has some great resources for Julian’s chapter, too. It’s no surprise that reading a story from the bully’s perspective is a unique opportunity and students learned a lot from this read aloud. Every story has two sides and by the end, we appreciated that Palacio gave her readers more story.

Without giving too much away, “Julian’s Chapter” gives insight into why Julian acts the way he does, his home life and how he comes to terms with what happened during his fifth grade school year. He goes to visit his grandmother in Paris and this was my favorite part of the story. His grandmother tells a story from her childhood that Julian has not heard, and it kept my students and I on the edge of our seats. Full disclosure, this part really got me choked up and there was a mad dash to get the teacher some tissues that day! Overall, revisiting RJ Palacio’s characters was a great experience, and one that I’m sure students will remember for a long, long time.

Looking back……

As an educator, it doesn’t get better than this. Through two stories, and lots of discussions over the course of 8 months, we ended the school year full circle – promoting the “Choose Kind” message with a shared reading experience that students will not soon forget.

 

 

Literacy Loot: Shoes, Totes and Tequila!

literacy loot meme

In an effort to find some interesting items for this week’s post, I challenged myself to find things from places other than Etsy, which is my go to site for all things cool and unique. Honestly, this was a really tough task and I struggled a bit. I hope you like what I came up with!

♥ Click on the pictures for more information ♥

♥ Scroll to the bottom for links to past Literacy Loot posts ♥

 Literacy Loot to Wear:

shoes of note

These “Shoes of Note” Flats from ModCloth ($64.99) are too crazy not to share. I loved reading all the reviews, from mostly English teachers, about how excited buyers were to wear these to school. Cute!

alice necklace

This “Down the Rabbit Hole” Necklace from Out of Print ($32) is perfect for Wonderland fans of all ages.

 Literacy Loot for the School:

Jo Tote

Calling all Little Women fans! This “Bookshelf Bandit Tote” in “Jo” by Out of Print and listed on ModCloth ($19.99) has an adorable pattern that I love. All of the “Bandit Totes” are worth checking out.

greatest first lines mug

The “Greatest First Lines of Literature Ever Mug” from Bas Bleu ($12.95) would be a great addition to any classroom, whether it holds pens and pencils or some much needed morning caffeine!

Literacy Loot Items for the Home:

tequila mockingbird

This Tim Federle book would be the perfect adult book club read. Funny and entertaining, this title is listed on Amazon ($11.46).  The sequel, Hickory Daiquiri Dock, a cocktail book for new parents, comes out in December.

 

Previous Literacy Loot Posts:

Introducing…. Literacy Loot! Week 1

Literacy Loot (2) Reading signs for the home

Literacy Loot (3) Buttons and T-shirts

Literacy Loot (4) Library Stamp, Notebook iPad Cover, T-shirt

Literacy Loot (5) Read & Write Banners, Grasshopper stapler, and Grammar Plates

Literacy Loot (6) Teacher Treasures: Teacher Business Cards, Shelf tree wall decals

Literacy Loot Week 7: Teacher Treasures PART 4: The Best of the Best

Harry Potter Must Haves and a Book Scented Candle

 

 

It’s Monday, what are you reading? #IMWAYR 7/14/14

IMWAYR

 

Does anyone else think that summer is FLYING by at an alarming rate?! Sigh. I sure do and I am not a fan. But, I am still getting a lot of reading time and making the most of it so I can’t complain too much. This past week I picked up and read a few books from the library and also read the newest title by one of my very favorite authors. I’ve already decided that next year I am NOT bringing a big box of books home from school because I have barely touched the one I brought home in June. I hope you’ve had a great week of reading!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Here’s what I’ve read lately:

(Click on the picture to head on over to Goodreads and check out a synopsis and more reviews of each book)

landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Contemporary Fiction, 2014
308 pages
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

Landline is about a very busy television writer named Georgie McCool, her husband Neal, and what happens when a couple’s marriage is at a breaking point. It’s Christmas time and Georgie, Neal and their two daughters are supposed to be heading to Omaha to spend the holidays with Neal’s family, but Georgie and her writing partner, Seth, are on deadline for pitching their new show that very likely will be their biggest hit yet. Georgie decides she has to stay in LA while Neal leaves with the girls, and not on very good terms. I love that this book is all about relationships (one of Rowell’s specialties) and communicating or the lack their of. This book is so, so good and I think every married couple should read it. Here is an amazing NYT review  of Landline that you should definitely check out.

flora and ulysses

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Middle Grade Fantasy, 2013

233 pages
My Goodreads rating: 5/5 stars
Flora and Ulysses is a charming, and often very funny story about a little girl named Flora who loves words and superheroes, and what happens after she watches her next door neighbor’s supercharged vacuum suck up an unsuspecting squirrel, whom she later names Ulysses. Ulysses and Flora become fast friends and with Ulysses’ new found talents, they go on several adventures. There are some unforgettable characters in this book and I think it would make a fantastic read aloud. I plan to read it to my 6th grade reading classes this year and follow it up with my beloved The One and Only Ivan.

the truth about alice

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

YA Realistic Fiction, 2014
208 Pages
My Goodreads Rating: 3/5 Stars
This is a super quick read that breaks your heart. The story of Alice and what happens to her is told by 5 different characters. It is tough to read and I got really angry at certain characters throughout the book. Oh, the power of jealousy, rumors and lies. While the book does a great job moving the story’s plot along with differing perspectives using very realistic characters, language and situations, I think it could have been more developed in spots, and especially at the end.

Here’s what I’m planning on reading next:

(Click on the pictures for more info)

everything leads to youthe ring and the crown

 clockwork angel

Literacy Loot is back! Literacy minded items for school, home and even to wear!

literacy loot meme

Hello, Literacy Lovers! I don’t know about you, but I love finding fun and unique bookish items to ooh and ahh over, and every once in awhile, buy for school or home. I am not afraid to admit that I’m also a sucker for a fun bookish t-shirt to represent my love of reading and writing. I’ve missed these posts, so I thought I would start them up again. Enjoy! :)
If you’re new to Literacy Loot posts, you might want to start here:

Introducing…. Literacy Loot! Week 1

Literacy Loot (2) Reading signs for the home

Literacy Loot (3) Buttons and T-shirts

Literacy Loot (4) Library Stamp, Notebook iPad Cover, T-shirt

Literacy Loot (5) Read & Write Banners, Grasshopper stapler, and Grammar Plates

Literacy Loot (6) Teacher Treasures: Teacher Business Cards, Shelf tree wall decals

Literacy Loot Week 7: Teacher Treasures PART 4: The Best of the Best

Harry Potter Must Haves and a Book Scented Candle

 

And now, without further ado, here’s this week’s Literacy Loot!

(Click on the pictures to go to original source)

Literacy Loot to Wear:

library stamp tshirt

Isn’t this t-shirt cool? I am a little biased, since my anniversary is March 23rd, but what a cool concept! $28 from outofprintclothing.com

library due date tshirt

This cute t-shirt is from ShopJustWish on Etsy and is $19.95. There are a lot of variations and color choices of this tee and the site also lists some shoes and other clothing items (notebook paper onesies, anyone?) that are worth a look!

 

Literacy Loot For School:

teacher stamp

I love classroom library stamps and think this one is perfect. Listed at $31.50 from YellowFishPaperie on Etsy.

PageMarkers10057638_2_x

These page markers come from The Container Store and are $7.99. I love the packaging and think this would be a fun teacher gift to start or end the school year.

 

Literacy Loot for Home:

harper lee print

The Etsy shop Bright Designscle features 40 really cool literary art prints that you need to check out! They are $18 each and so gorgeous. There are quotes from several authors, including John Green, Cassandra Clare, Stephen Chbosky and J.D. Salinger.

book crane mobile

This upcycled origami crane mobile made of vintage children book pages is simple, functional and pretty affordable at $29. You can find it at Spare Bedroom Studio on Etsy.

See you next Friday with more literacy loot! Happy shopping!

(Disclaimer – These items were found via Pinterest, Etsy or through internet searches. I am not being compensated by companies for posting these items… even though that would be pretty cool.)