Archive | September, 2018

This week’s booktalks 9/24-28

28 Sep

Banned Books week booktalks are always fun. This year, the  kids in both of my classes asked more questions about how books get banned or challenged, than all other years combined.  Here are the books that got them fired up.

Monday

The Seventh Wish  by Kate Messner

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Tuesday

The Golden Compass  by Philip Pullman

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Wednesday

This One Summer by

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Thursday

Harry potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

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I am out for a meeting today, tp there is no Friday booktalk.

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Aftermath

27 Sep

We had a lockdown drill on Tuesday. They always make me sad. Sadder still is what happened in Nigeria four years ago.

The world was shocked when, on the night of 14–15 April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of  Chibok, Nigeria. They made news for a long time, then, as these things do, their story seemed to just drift away.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani brings their story back to us in her novel,  Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree.  it gives us some insight into the aftermath of the abduction, to what the gorls had to go through.

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Publisher’s Summary: Based on interviews with young women who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, this poignant novel by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani tells the timely story of one girl who was taken from her home in Nigeria and her harrowing fight for survival. Includes an afterword by award-winning journalist Viviana Mazza.

A new pair of shoes, a university degree, a husband—these are the things that a girl dreams of in a Nigerian village. And with a government scholarship right around the corner, everyone can see that these dreams aren’t too far out of reach.

But the girl’s dreams turn to nightmares when her village is attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group, in the middle of the night. Kidnapped, she is taken with other girls and women into the forest where she is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs and watch as her best friend slowly accepts everything she’s been told.

Still, the girl defends her existence. As impossible as escape may seem, her life—her future—is hers to fight for.

I picked up an ARC in New Orleans, hoping it would be a book I could use in my class. I think it is just a little too mature for 6th graders. I hope some of my students read it when they get to high school.

Tibet or not Tibet

26 Sep

In an interesting twist of reading life coincidences, I started two books set in Tibet this week. It was an unplanned coincidence.

At school, I am reading Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth. In the car, I am listening to Lands of  Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris. The former is set  almost exclusively in Tibet. The latter opens in Tibet and returns to it near the end after traveling the Silk Road. At least I believe that to be true. I haven’t finished either yet.

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Publisher’s Summary: Join 12-year-old Tash and her best friend Sam in a story of adventure, survival and hope, set in the vivid Himalayan landscape of Tibet and India. Filled with friendship, love and courage, this young girl’s thrilling journey to save her parents is an ideal read for children aged 9-12.

There are two words that are banned in Tibet. Two words that can get you locked in prison without a second thought. I watch the soldiers tramping away and call the words after them. ‘Dalai Lama.’

Tash has to follow many rules to survive in Tibet, a country occupied by Chinese soldiers. But when a man sets himself on fire in protest and soldiers seize Tash’s parents, she and her best friend Sam must break the rules. They are determined to escape Tibet – and seek the help of the Dalai Lama himself in India.

And so, with a backpack of Tash’s father’s mysterious papers and two trusty yaks by their side, their extraordinary journey across the mountains begins.

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Publisher’s Summary: As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved—to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician—had gone extinct. From what she could tell of the world from small-town Ontario, the likes of Marco Polo and Magellan had mapped the whole earth; there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond this planet, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars.

In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. Forget charting maps, naming peaks: what she yearned for was the feeling of soaring completely out of bounds. The farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within.

Lands of Lost Borders is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore—the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here.

Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer, Kate Harris offers a travel account at once exuberant and reflective, wry and rapturous. Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Weaving adventure and philosophy with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world, and ultimately to each other—a belonging that transcends any fences or stories that may divide us.

OFFF and on

25 Sep

Rain Friday night did not bode well for Saturday morning. But the sun made a valiant effort and rain turned to light showers as the sun rose. By the time I was ready to get in the car to drive to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, the sun was beginning to shine through the clouds and my heart was aglow.

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The clouds dissipated as I drove the 30 miles south of Portland to the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby, Oregon. I had a finite amount of cash and a camera- when the cash ran out, I knew it would be time to go home.

I started out by walking through the vendor displays to get a sense of what was there – everything from yarn and soap, to baskets and fleece.

Once oriented to the vendors, I ventured to the real stars of the festival: the animals. <y first stop was the bunny barn. Okay, the sign said RABBITS, but angoras are just so darned cute! And fluffy!

The rabbit on the right was getting a blowout as I entered the barn. He was a good sport through the whole thing and his handler was clearly enjoying herself.

The festival featured lots of animal judging and 4-Hers abounded. I was feeling a bit peckish so bought a nice slice of pear walnut bread from a 4-H stand and enjoyed it while I watched some goat judging.

Feeling restored, I did some yarn shopping. There were yarn people from all over Oregon, and from as far away as California and Utah. And then I was off to the sheep and goat barn. I laughed a lot at their funny faces.

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A little more shopping, then I visited the llamas and alpacas.

My final purchase was some lovely goat cheese, which I carefully packed into my bag, nestling it amongst the skeins of yarn.

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As I drove out of town,  the sun was shining. Just after I hit the Interstate, drops of rain began to fall. Within 5 minutes, it was a downpour and the temperature had dropped 10 degrees. I had timed my day perfectly.

Life on the move

24 Sep

 

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Kids shouldn’t have to wish for a toilet, but Felix does. That’s because he and his mom are living in their Westfalia van. They’d had a house, but  due to a series of unfortunate events, they became homeless.

Nielsen does a great job illustrating what it is like to be homeless – how to tay clean, eat, cover-up that you aren’t – in a way that let’s the reader understand how exhausting it can be. I loved Felix’s voice. He felt like an authentic 7th grader and I pictured him in the halls of my middle school, trying to keep everything together. When you pick up the book, keep an eye on Mr. & Mrs. Ahmadi. They are the real heroes of this story.

 

 

This week’s book talks 9/17-21

21 Sep

Monday

The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm

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Tuesday

Ebb & Flow by Heather Smith

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Wednesday

Estranged  by Ethan M. Aldridge

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Thursday

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

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Friday

Spooked! How a Radio Broadcast and The War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America by Gail Jarrow

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Spooky!

20 Sep

I think my first exposure to the infamous1938 radio broadcast tof War of the Worlds  was a 1975 made-for-TV movie entitled The Night That Panicked America.

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In this era of “fake news” and fake “fake news” Gail Jarrow’s new work of nonfiction, Spooked! How a Radio Broadcast and The war of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America Spooked, takes a new look at that event and makes connections to the present.

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Publisher’s Summary: Acclaimed author Gail Jarrow explores in riveting detail the famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast from 1938, in this nonfiction title. Jarrow highlights the artists behind the broadcast, the broadcast itself, the aftermath, and the repercussions which remain relevant today. On the night of October 30, 1938, thousands of Americans panicked when they believed that Martians had invaded Earth. What appeared to be breaking news about an alien invasion was, in fact, a radio drama based on H. G. Wells’s War of the Worlds, performed by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre players. Some listeners became angry once they realized they had been tricked, and the reaction to the broadcast sparked a national discussion about fake news, propaganda, and the role of radio. Archival photographs and images, as well as an author’s note, timeline, bibliography, and index round out this stellar nonfiction title.

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