Today I’m recapping all the books I read in January. I was able to read five books, while getting back into my classroom routine after Winter Break, and having a surprise snow day definitely helped!
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Biography, 5 out of 5 stars
A fascinating story about track phenom and WWII POW Louie Zamperini, and his courageous spirit. This YA adaption of the adult version is easy to read, but doesn’t skimp on pictures and details all of the hardships Zamperini faced during his lifetime. A great addition to the informational section of your classroom library.
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
YA Fantasy, 5 out of 5 Stars
This is the third, and final, book in the very popular Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series and it continues the story right where book two ends. I regretted not re-reading book two before starting Library of Souls, but once I got about fifty pages in, I was once again captivated by the storyline and unforgettable characters. If you haven’t ever read this series, it centers around Jacob, an ordinary boy who finds himself in a very peculiar world. The author incorporates creepy vintage photographs into the storyline and has created a fascinating world and cast of characters. I really enjoyed this book and especially its ending. I cannot wait until the movie for book 1 comes out at the end of the year!
I Crawl Through It by A.S. King
YA Surrealistic Fiction, 3 out of 5 stars
I am a huge A.S. King book and have read all of her books, but this one threw me for a loop. I have not read very books in this genre, and it was hard to acclimate to it. It is a very interesting story about four teenagers crippled with grief and how they are struggling and dealing with school and life while most of the adults are oblivious and incompetent. The daily bomb threats and emphasis on standardized testing at school add to the chaos of the teenagers’ lives. This would be a good fit for a high school English classroom for older readers.
A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
YA Contemporary Novel in Verse, 4 out of 5 Stars
Ever since my colleague and I did a novels in verse unit this fall with our students (it was amazing!), I am on the look out for more novels in verse to add to our collection. This book is an interesting look at a teenage Indian girl’s life and love of ancient dance after a terrible accident. I love the Indian influence in the book and the protagonist, Veda’s resilient spirit. An interesting read for those who like novels in verse.
Help Wanted at Mount Vernon by Holly Young and Cathy Morgan
MG Informational, 4 out of 5 Stars
I bought this book after Corbett Harrison (corbettharrison.com) suggested it as a companion for one of his Writing Lessons of the Month. While it was a little pricy on Amazon, I am glad I got it. The story is about two characters – a fainting goat and spitting lizard, who are out of work, stumble upon Mount Vernon and try to get new jobs. While trying out for several positions on the grounds, they learn all about the creative problem solving George Washington used to run his plantation in the 1700’s. A lot of cool History and Math is used in the book and while the characters’ blunders are a little cheesy, the book is pretty cool. There is also an online component that can be used for a neat PBL opportunity. I would love to have a class set of these books!
I hope you had a great reading month in January! I’d love to hear what books you loved so I can add them to my TBR list!