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11 Aug

For several years, in the days between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, my sister and I would ask, “When is Children’s Day?”

Every year, my mother would reply, “Every day is Children’s Day.” She was old school that way.

Apparently, Sunday, August 9th was National Book Lovers’ Day. I missed it, but can’t help channeling my mother because I believe that every day is book lovers’ day.

The pandemic has caused me to lose a bit of my reading mojo. I have lost the desire to read fiction – in print or as an audiobook. I seem to only have a desire for nonfiction, and not just the nonfiction books I have to read for the committee I am on.

I have always been able to lose myself in a fictional world. You would think that, homebound for the most part, I would easily escape to some fictional place, an armchair traveller. But, for some strange reason, I long to escape to real places: under the sea with whales and octopus, to Colombia and Washington, into politics and philosophy.

I know several people who have completely lost their reading mojo. So to lose interest in fiction isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. It’s just a thing.

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TBR

17 Mar

I had a moment of panic yesterday.

Do I have enough books? I don’t think I have enough books and the library is closed.

I decided to do an inventory.

I have some books I need to read for the 2021 YALSA Nonfiction Committee I am chairing. There are three books I have to read and four I could read. Others have signed up for them, so I don’t have to.

I grabbed all the books I haven’t read yet and collected them together. I have lots of audiobooks in my library account. Unless this thing goes on for a really long time, I should be OK.

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Library Confidential

12 Mar

I am an obedient person most of the time, but I often bend the rules of my local public library system. I have a few confessions to make.

Although they have eliminated fines for all children’s and YA books, I do like to return my books on time. If I haven’t finished with a book and it has no holds, I just hit the renew button. Unfortunately, you can’t renew books that have holds. But a few years back I have discovered a work around. When it says a book is due on Sunday, I can return it Monday morning on my way to work and it won’t be considered overdue. And not having overdue books is important to me.

If I were a superhero, my library card would be my superhero gadget. In fact, I have two library cards. I have my everyday, regular person card. My superhero library card is an Educator Card. It allows me to place more holds, and keep things twice as long as my regular card allows. I use my Educator card for print and audiobooks. I use my regular card for print books only because I have given my password to my twin sister. She uses my library card to access audiobooks.

I live in a large urban area with a great public library system. In fact, the Multnomah County library always scores high on “best of ” lists. My sister lives in a small town with a perfectly adequate library system. But her access to audiobooks is more limited, so I share.

As bibliocrimes go, these are pretty minor. Maybe that’s why I feel more proud than embarrassed about them.

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Happy 10th Gotcha Day, Lucy

17 Jan

Ten years ago yesterday, I drove out to Sherwood to pick up Lucy from the foster home where she’d been staying. In honor of this auspicious occasion, here are three of my favorite books featuring basset hounds.

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan

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Publisher’s Summary: Jake Semple is notorious. Rumor has it he managed to get kicked out of every school in Rhode Island, and actually burned the last one down to the ground.

Only one place will take him now, and that’s a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic and hilarious family of artists: poet Lucille, theater director Randolph, dancer Cordelia, and dreamy Destiny. The only one who doesn’t fit the Applewhite mold is E.D.—a smart, sensible girl who immediately clashes with the defiant Jake.

Jake thinks surviving this new school will be a breeze . . . but is he really as tough or as bad as he seems?

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

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Publisher’s Summary:

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:  Debate Club.  Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”  A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:  A knockout figure.  A sharp tongue.  A chip on her shoulder.  And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend:  the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks.  No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.  Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.  Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.  Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.  When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.  And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:  Possibly a criminal mastermind.  This is the story of how she got that way.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

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Publisher’s Summary: Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

My Life in Books 2019

24 Dec
I got this from Deb Nance at Readerbuzz.
Using only books that you have read this year, complete these sentences:
  1. In high school I was a—  One-Third Nerdand it was Operatic.
  2. People might be surprised by— How It Feels to Float.
  3. I will never be— Shouting at the Rain or The Lost Girl.
  4. My fantasy job is—   Queen of the Sea.
  5. At the end of a long day I need—  The Bridge Home.
  6. I hate—  The Sound of Things Falling.
  7. Wish I had—  Infinite Hope.
  8. My family reunions are—  A Place to Belong.
  9. At a party you’d find me with—  The Innocents and  away from the The Poison Eaters.
  10. I’ve never been to—  The Fountains of Silence nor Torpedoed.
  11. A happy day includes—  Stargazing and Best Friends.
  12. Mottos I live by:  Look Both Ways and Feed Your Mind.
  13. On my bucket list is —  The Ice at The End of the World
  14. In my next life, I want to have—This Golden Fleece.

They’re listening

10 Dec

Friday afternoon. I was tidying the classroom in that half-hearted way you do when you just want to get the heck out of Dodge. I had picked up a pencil or two, straightened some books on shelves, all the while keeping one eye on the windows, to see when the buses left so I could leave.

As I looked out, I noticed a sticky note stuck to the wall. What the…. I half thought, half muttered as I strode forward ready to rip it off the wall. I reached my hand towards it and stopped.

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It was a misquote of something from our class read aloud, Posted by John David Anderson,  but it touched my heart.

Not all the 6th teachers at my school do read aloud and I am certain almost no 7th and 8th grade teachers do it. But my 8th grade teacher, Mr. Ziegler, did and it is one of my favorite things to do.

Very few kids just sit and listen. Many draw, some read their own book. I  am very liberal when it comes to this because, in my heart, I hope that they are listening because I choose my read alouds carefully. I like to think that they give us a common language, a shared experience that we can apply to what we do in class, and in our lives.

I plucked that sticky note off the wall and brought it home and stuck it on my computer. I brought it back to school on Monday and stuck it on the wall behind my desk where I keep the pictures students draw for me. I still don’t know who wrote it, but I see you.

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Home going

11 Jul

I have a trip planned for August. Until then, I am enjoying being an armchair traveler- visiting various times and places through literature. Recently, two books stuck me because, in both, the main character travels back to a country in which they’d been born in an effort to make sense of the world.

In Forward Me Back to You  by Mitali Perkins, tells the story of two characters, one who is recovering from an attack and another who was adopted and an infant and is struggling with what to do after high school.

 

Publisher’s Summary: Katina King is the reigning teen jujitsu champion of Northern California, but she’s having trouble fighting off the secrets in her past.

Robin Thornton was adopted from an orphanage in India and is reluctant to take on his future. If he can’t find his roots, how can he possibly plan ahead?

downloadRobin and Kat meet in the most unlikely of places—a summer service trip to Kolkata to work with survivors of human trafficking. As bonds build between the travelmates, Robin and Kat discover that justice and healing are tangled, like the pain of their pasts and the hope for their futures. You can’t rewind life; sometimes you just have to push play.

In turns heart wrenching, beautiful, and buoyant, Mitali Perkins’s Forward Me Back to You focuses its lens on the ripple effects of violence—across borders and generations—and how small acts of heroism can break the cycle.

 

I received an ARC of Randy Ribay’s Patron Saints of Nothing at ALAMW in Seattle and only just got around to reading it.

 

Halloween is in the air

22 Oct

My costume is ready and – spoiler alert –  I won’t be a ghost or a vampire. They are, however,  the topics of two fun (middle school aged) graphic novels I read this weekend.

In Sheets by Brenna Thummler, one of the main characters is a ghost. The other is a girl holding her grieving family together. This is a serious story of loneliness, grief and invisibility.

Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen-year-old in charge of the family laundry business, her daily routine features unforgiving customers, unbearable P.E. classes and laundry…always, always laundry.

Wendell is a ghost. A boy who lost his life much too young, his daily routine features ineffective death therapy, a sheet-dependent identity, and a dangerous need to seek purpose in the forbidden human world.

Find out what happens when their worlds collide.

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner, is sweet, funny, and chock full of Twilight  references.  It is about fandom and first crushes. All I have to say is, are you sure you teachers are what they say they are?

Publisher’s Summary: It’s the beginning of the new school year and AJ feels like everyone is changing but him. He hasn’t grown or had any exciting summer adventures like his best friends have. He even has the same crush he’s harbored for years. So AJ decides to take matters into his own hands. But how could a girl like Nia Winters ever like plain vanilla AJ when she only has eyes for vampires?

When AJ and Nia are paired up for a group project on Transylvania, it may be AJ’s chance to win over Nia’s affection by dressing up like the vamp of her dreams. And soon enough he’s got more of Nia’s attention than he bargained for when he learns she’s a slayer.

Now AJ has to worry about self-preservation while also trying to save everyone he cares about from a real-life threat lurking in the shadows of Spoons Middle School.

This week’s book talks 10/15-19

19 Oct

The Scholastic book fair happened during conferences. I bought two books and students donated two to the classroom library.

Monday

The Grand Escape by Neal Bascomb

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Tuesday

The Plot to Kill Hitler by Patricia McCormick

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Wednesday

The Faithful Spy by John Hendrix…I had an ARC of this one at home and decided to bring it in as a compare/contrast to Tuesday’s book.

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Thursday

Grenade By Alan Gratz

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Friday

The Fever Code by James Dashner…to break the red & black cover cycle.

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LOL

14 Aug

I love when kids laugh out loud during independent reading. It warms my heart to know that someone has connected so deeply with a book, and it puts a smile on my face.

Yesterday, during our TCRWP reading training, our afternoon session had teachers as students, watching the skills the TCRWP trainers were modeling for us. Following the mini-lesson, we were given time to read from a book we had chosen. The room was very quiet – everyone was reading or making notes about their book – until I laughed out loud.

The thing is, I was so surprised at my outburst that it made me laugh harder, then snort. In an effort to get myself under control, I put my forehead on the table. I was silent, but it took a few moments to still my shaking shoulders, I was laughing that hard.

The thing is, the paragraphs that got me laughing weren’t really that funny. They were some of Willow’s observations in chapter 4 of Holly Goldberg Sloan’s Counting by 7s. What made me react so strongly was that I recognized myself in her description because this is how I dress at home.

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Maybe you don’t see it as funny. You probably don’t dress this way, but when I am home, I wear a t-shirt and elastic waist shorts in the summer, and a t-shirt and elastic sweat pants in winter. I am not yet elderly, but Willow’s matter of fact description of my dress habits just struck me as funny at that particular moment, after lunch, in a reading workshop. I hope my laughter  during class warmed the heart of someone in that room and it put a smile on their face.

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