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My last read aloud?

21 May

Choosing a classroom read aloud is important and tricky. I am about to finish our current read aloud and have been thinking about which book I can read aloud to finish off the year. I found it in Breakout by Kate Messner.

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Publisher’s Summary: Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek–two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town’s maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.

Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics–a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project–Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who’s really welcome in the places we call home.

So, what makes this a great read aloud for the end of 6th grade?

  • a great mix of action and reflection that will appeal to readers who like those types of books
  • a variety of styles and voices that holds readers’ (and listeners’) attention
  • it tells the story of the end of a school year
  • authentic voices – I could visualize the protagonists right away
  • it touches on current issues without feeling preachy

The book comes out on June 5th, and Kate Messner is writing a series of posts about her experience writing the novel on her blog. It is well worth reading and I will probably share her posts with my students because it is interesting to see how she incorporated real life into a work of fiction.

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Back to the books

2 Apr

The SOLSC Challenge is over, so now I am back to writing mostly about books – except on Tuesdays when I will post a weekly Slice of Life Story.

I read a number of books in March, but I will use today’s post to list the books I finished during Spring Break.

Picture Books

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The Great Dictionary Caper by Judy Sierra
illustrated by Eric Comstock

 

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Grace for Gus
written and illustrated by Harry Bliss

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On the Other Side of the Garden written by Jairo Buitrago
illustrated by Rafael Yockteng

 

Middle Grade Novels

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Arlo Finch in the Valley of  Fire by John August

 

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Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman

 

Young Adult Novels

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Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Of course I said yes

18 Mar

When the email came asking me to present at the Spring mini conference for local school librarians, of course I said yes. I’d once been the person coordinating that conference and knew how hard it could be to find someone to present on a Saturday.

When I saw the schedule I balked.

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Who would want to see my presentation when they can see a Newbery honor author? I wondered. I was half hoping and half fearing everyone would want to see her.

Regardless, I spent the week getting my presentation together. I put a link to our Sibert phone calls into my Powerpoint and then wondered about embedding the video right in the presentation. I was surprised to see there was no “download this video” button on YouTube. A quick Google search informed me I didn’t need to download an app, there was an easy way to do so. I was glad because I wanted the clip, just in case I ran out of things to say. By Friday night, I felt ready for whatever Saturday was going to throw at me.

I could have just arrived in time for my presentation, but, presenters attend the mini conference for free. As a morning person, it just made sense to show up early. I drank coffee and reconnected with some former colleagues. I attend a Makey Makey workshop for the first session to keep my nerves at bay. In the break between sessions, I set up my computer and books in the lab.

And then Saturday threw all it had at me.

“Adrienne, our author is running late. Is it OK if we start the second session later than planned?” one of the conference organizers asked me.

Of course I said yes.

And when she came to me again to explain that a communications snafu  had sent Ingrid Law to the wrong school, I was asked to present to the whole group. Of course I said yes.

Like most teachers, I am totally comfortable in front of a room full of kids. Not so for adults. I moved everything into the library and presented to the large group. I was a little nervous starting out, but was okay by the end, I think. I was maybe a little sweaty. I managed to fill the hour, and it was a good thing because although the video ran fine, the speakers didn’t work. In case you’d like to see the video, here it is.

 

Congrats — You are a Giveaways Winner!

13 Mar

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This message appeared in my inbox yesterday morning. Yes, I was a Goodreads Giveaway winner of a copy of this book:

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I am not much of a gambler. I don’t buy lottery tickets. When I drive past the highway sign advertising the Powerball  and MegaMillions,  I like to imagine what I’d do with the money if I ever won. Just for the record, last Friday, when I turned in my glitter-covered shamrock, I got a scratch-it lottery ticket. I scratched, but won nothing.

The only real gambling I do is on Goodreads. Sometimes, I like to go into my Goodreads account and click on the Giveaways. I only ever enter giveaways for books I can put in my classroom library. And I never win, until now.

Maybe that shamrock was lucky after all.

 

 

 

What I’m reading now

5 Feb

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Publisher’s Summary: Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.

A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.

As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Will the Thunderhead intervene?

Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?

I am savoring this one and reading it at school. I get 15 minutes in each Humanities class and 20 more minutes every other day, when I have an Enrichment class. This is too good to rush through.

A few new characters are added, and, in this book, the journal entries come from the Thunderhead itself, giving us some insight into its mind and thinking, if AI can possess such things. A couple of students have read Scythe and they are eyeing my library copy enviously. Maybe I tease them with it a little, waving the cover at them. I did tell them that Neal Shusterman will be at the Powells in Beaverton on February 15th. I hope that makes up for the teasing.

Two of my favorite things

22 Jan

Unsurprisingly,  two of my favorite past-times are knitting and reading. A perfect stormy day in the Pacific Northwest combines the two – I can knit while listening to an audiobook!

This rainy weekend, I spent a little time not knitting, but reading about fans of my two favorite past-times.

Baabwaa & Wooliamwritten by David Elliott and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is an amusing tale that shows the power of story.

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Publisher’s Summary: Baabwaa is a sheep who loves to knit. Wooliam is a sheep who loves to read. It sounds a bit boring, but they like it. Then, quite unexpectedly, a third sheep shows up. A funny-looking sheep who wears a tattered wool coat and has long, dreadfully decaying teeth. Wooliam, being well-read, recognizes their new acquaintance: the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing! The wolf is so flattered to discover his literary reputation precedes him that he stops trying to eat Baabwaa and Wooliam. And a discovery by the sheep turns the encounter into an unexpected friendship.

The book is funny, and, in this time of entrenched  beliefs opposite sides of a great chasm, it offers an intelligent way to bridge the gap.

Your part matters

6 Nov

The cold and rain have returned to the Pacific Northwest. I put flannel sheets on my bed and baked cranberry-pumpkin bread this weekend. When Lucy and I went out for a walk, few people were on the street and Lucy turned right around and headed for home as soon as she had done her business.

I was warm and cozy at home when I heard about the latest tragedy.   Fortunately, the characters of Come With Me, written by Holly M. McGhee and illustrated by Pascal Lemaître, reminded me, and younger readers,  that it is important to get out of my cozy comfort zone and be a positive part of the world.

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Publisher’s Summary:

McGhee’s website has a great explanation of the story behind the book. It is worth reading.

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