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This week’s book talks 11/13-17

17 Nov

Monday, one of my favorites to share, because I have stories to tell about real kids this sort of thing happened too. The kids are shocked every time!

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Tuesday, we went the chess route. I asked the kids to think about whether they think they know everything about their parents.

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Wednesday, we took a trip to Vietnam.

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Thursday, we thought about fresh starts.

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And then we finally made it to the end of the first five-day week in a while. I celebrated with a favorite.

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Another finale

16 Oct

The third and final book in the Court of Fives  series, Buried Heart, has come, and gone, for me. Kate Elliott wrapped everything up nicely.

Buried Heart cover (resized)

Publisher’s Summary:

Choose between your parents.
Choose between your friends.
Choose between your lovers.
Choose who you are.
 
On the run from the murderous King Nikonos, Jessamy must find a way for her beloved Kalliarkos to take his rightful place on the throne. Only then can he end the oppression of the Commoners by their long time Patron overlords. But Kal’s rise to power is fraught with manipulation and shocking decisions that make Jes question everything they promised each other. As their relationship frays and Jes’s family and friends beg her for help, will she cast Kal and her Patron heritage aside? Will she finally join–even lead–the rebellion that had been burning among the Commoners for years?
This explosive finale of World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s Court of Five series forces Jessamy to confront an inescapable truth: with or without her, the revolution has begun.
 I really liked about this series because Jessamy is a strong female character. She grew from a disobedient, rebellious girl in the first book. She is able to look beyond herself and care for the concerns of her family and her people. Kate Elliott invents a new world and a new sport.
If you have someone looking for something a little different, look no further than this series.

Just a little creepy

12 Oct

I make no apologies to my students. I tell them straight up that I don’t like scary stories because they give me nightmares. I am not such a weenie that I eschew all books that are potentially scary books. I can read a book until it crosses a creepy line that is complicated to explain in words. It is a gut feeling and a sense of where a book is going.

I read and added Thornhill by Pam Smy to my classroom library. It is potentially scary, but I got through it well enough. The book is half text, half illustrations. To be honest, the scariest bits are told through the black and white illustrations, so I could look quickly and move on. I haven’t book talked it, and yet the book has been checked out several times. There is a audience for scary books.

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Publisher’s Summary:  Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as a girl unravels the mystery of the abandoned Thornhill Institute next door.

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

2017: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl and solidify the link between them, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.

Told in alternating, interwoven plotlines—Mary’s through intimate diary entries and Ella’s in bold, striking art—Pam Smy’s Thornhill is a haunting exploration of human connection, filled with suspense.

 

This week’s booktalks 10/2-6

6 Oct

It was series week in my classroom. All my booktalks were about the first book in a series I thought my students might enjoy.

MONDAY I talked about Spy School by Stuart Gibbs. In addition to talking about that series, I also shared some of his other series.

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TUESDAY, I went a little more serious with Silverwing  by Kenneth Oppel.

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WEDNESDAY, I went for spooky with Jonathan Stroud’s first Lockwood & Co. book – The Screaming Staircase.

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THURSDAY,  I veered into the history of World War I and talked about Steampunk by talking about Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.

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And, finally, on FRIDAY, I booktalked L. A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack,  the first book in a series I hold very dear.

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A very satisfying end

25 Sep

Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote a post about the fourth Lockwood & Co. book. At the end I refer to an unnamed fifth book.

Well, this weekend, I finished the fifth book,  and with it, the series has truly come to an end. Fortunately, it was a very satisfying end.

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Author’s website: After their recent escapades, Lockwood & Co. deserve a well-earned rest  . . . so naturally they decide to break into the country’s most heavily-guarded tomb.

What they discover there changes everything.

So begins a desperate battle to uncover the truth behind the epidemic of ghosts. It’s a battle that will force the team to journey to the Other Side, bring them face to face with hideous phantoms – and pit them against the most terrifying enemy they have ever known.

Will everyone make it out alive?

As much as I like the US cover, I must show you this UK cover. I

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Although Lucy is the narrator and Lockwood the leader, I think George and the Skull might be my favorites in this book. Their characters are more fleshed out in book 5 than in any of the previous four books, and  Skull’s humor provides a nice counterpoint to the scary ghost stuff.

I am sad to see this series end. Stroud leaves things open enough that more books could come, but I imagine he already has something new series in mind.

 

 

This week’s booktalks 9/18-9/22

22 Sep

Monday, I actually encouraged students to listen to The Inquisitor’s Tale  because the audiobook is rather excellent.

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Tired Tuesday, feeling groggy after BTSN, I chose a book I could get super excited about sharing.

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Wednesday, I went for inspirational.

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Thursday, because we were talking about maps as inspiration for writing personal narratives, I chose The Map Trap, with its obvious connection.

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And, finally, Friday, I recommended All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook,  just because I like it. It is the perfect book to curl up with this week.

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Thank you!

10 Sep

Thanks to everyone who has donated to my project to get books for a Mock Newbery Club. The Donors Choose fundraiser finished and most of the books arrived this week.

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I couldn’t order everything I wanted through their program which utilizes Amazon Business. I have a second fundraiser going through a local  school district-based organization, the Beaverton Education Foundation.  I will use that fundraiser to order the rest of the books through Powells Books, who have been great supporters of Beaverton schools.

I am only $250 away from fulfilling that fundraiser. Your tax-deductible donation to the Stoller Middle School Mock Newbery Club,  no matter how small, can help me provide students with the books that will make our Club a wonderful experience. Just click on the link above. Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 9.31.37 AM

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