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This week’s book talks 4/22-26

26 Apr

Monday

The Girl in the Well is Me by Karen Rivers

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Tuesday

Trapped: How the World Rescued 33 Miners from 2,000 Feet Below the Chilean Desert by Marc Aronson

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Thursday

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

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Friday

Obsessed: A Memoir of my Life with OCD by Allison Britz

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This week’s book talks 4/1-4

4 Apr

It’s National Poetry Month, so this week I book talked novels in verse.

Monday

Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words  by Margarita Engle

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Tuesday

Audacity by Melanie Crowder

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Wednesday

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath

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Thursday

Brown Girl Dreaming  by Jacqueline Woodson

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I am going to hear Jacqueline Woodson speak at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall tonight. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

 

 

 

Goodbye March

31 Mar

IMG_0019I don’t do much gardening anymore;
I only keep a box and
a few pots on my stoop.

But, like March,
the season of the flowering kale
has come to an end.

 

 

In its place comes April,
full of hope and new possibilities.

 

 

I have replaced the kale IMG_0020
with pansies for now.
Later, I’ll put my dahlia tubers in pots
and change up the pansies
for something that can take
the heat of summer.

And so, Spring Break ends,
this month of daily writing ends,
but the journey
around the sun
continues.

It ain’t over yet

17 Mar

Saturday morning, I ran through my regular weekday routine – up with the alarm, shower, coffee, walk Lucy – before heading out the door. I wasn’t on my way to school, I was on my way to our regions OBOB tournament.

OBOB is short for Oregon Battle of the Books and I was taking in a group of wiggly sixth grade boys, who I hoped knew their 16 books well enough to come out on top. They had battled through january and February to come out on top at our school. Today we’d find out if they had the stuff to get to the State finals.

Our very large and heavily populated region has been broken into three mini-regions. We should have had 16 teams, but apparently only ten would be showing up.

“That could be good,” I told the team late last week at a before school practice.

“But not if the weak teams dropped out,” replied one of the four. Too, true.

We arrived Saturday morning and looked over the four battles we’d have in the round robin portion of the morning. I was glad we were in the half of the teams that would be rotating – these boys needed to move between battles, not sit in the same room.IMG_0192

By the end of the round robin we had won all four matches and were hopeful we’d end up in the final four. We waited with the other 9 teams in the school cafeteria for the results were posted. As we waited, cupcakes arrived at a neighboring table and “Happy Birthday” could be heard. We all joined in. The more cupcakes arrived at another table and a second round of singing filled the room. What a way to spend your birthday!

A hush fell as the chairperson arrived to post the tallied points. We had the highest point total!

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And then we were off to the next battle. We were now in sudden death elimination battles and this was a tough one. Fortunately, the boys prevailed and we were in the final.

The final was made up of 32 questions, twice as many as the preceding rounds. I was nervous after the last match, but the boys were cool-headed and prevailed, beating the other team 95 to 35, and earning a trip to the State final.

I gave the boys the option to not meet to practice next week, and that we’d start up again after Spring Break. They would have none of it. They are excited about representing our school and our District and are eager to stay at the top of their game.

Wish us luck!

Toe Jam

16 Mar

I got home Thursday night, tired, but determined to finish the toe of my sock.

After dinner, I got myself settled with my favorite knitting podcast and my project bag. I knew I was close to working on the toe. Once I got the toe started the sock would be finished in an hour. After knitting for a while, I measured and tried it on. I was close, so I knit two rounds and began the toe.

As I had predicted it took less than an hour to knit the toe. I sewed the toe closed and wove in my ends before doing my favorite thing: putting the finished sock on for the first time.

It fit, but it felt a little short. It was nearing bedtime and I weighed my options. I could live with it, or I could rip out the toe and revise my work. It was like I was one of my 6th graders. Tearing it out would mean I wasted a whole evening of knitting. If I just lived with it,  I could be finished, and start the second sock – but would I be really happy with the finished product?

I grabbed my scissors.

Friday evening found me back where I started.

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Friday night found me happy.

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Guest blogging at The Hub today

7 Feb

The Hub gave me the opportunity to interview John Hendrix, a 2019 finalist for YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for his book , The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler.

Click on the link below to read what he had to say.
Read the interview at The Hub.

FaithfulSpy

An unexpected surprise

6 Feb

Last summer, I picked up an ARC of Mary McCoy’s I,Claudia. It looked vaguely Roman and I thought it might work for the seventh grade Humanities teachers, who teach Ancient Rome and might be able to use it for a book club. It sat around in a TBR pile until last week when it became  Printz Honor book. Now, I am reading it. I am far enough in to know that it is a little too mature for middle school, but I am really enjoying it.

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From the author’s website: Disaffected teen historian Claudia McCarthy never wanted to be in charge of anything at the elite Imperial Day Academy. She never even wanted to be noticed. But when she’s pulled into the tumultuous and high-profile worlds of the school’s Senate and Honor Council, suddenly Claudia is wielding power over her fellow students that she never expected to have and isn’t sure she wants.

Claudia vows to use her power to help the school. But there are forces aligned against her: shocking scandals, tyrants waiting in the wings, and political dilemmas with no easy answers. As Claudia struggles to be a force for good in the universe, she wrestles with the questions: does power inevitably corrupt? Can she rise to power without losing herself in the process?

Based loosely on Robert Graves’s I, Claudius, Mary McCoy’s novel sheds light on the insidious nature of political power through the lens of one very smart and shrewd girl who uses ingenious methods to tell her version of history.

 

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