Tag Archives: Gary D. Schmidt

Pay Attention, Readers!

22 Apr

Some books are just fun to read aloud. There is a clear definition of tone when certain characters talk. There might be humor, or sarcasm. There is a theme or series of events that capture the interest of the audience.

Read aloud is one of my favorite parts of my day. I often joke that teaching is performance art, but reading out loud truly is. You will know this if you have ever listened to a poorly read audiobook.

Last week, I started reading aloud Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt and the kids and I are hooked.

The main character, Carter Jones, talks in long run-on sentences and I think the kids like seeing how long I can go without taking a breath. The Butler speaks in very proper English. I wish my English accent were better, but I get the point across. And even though everyone in the book is very white, my majority minority class is hooked because of the witty battle of wills between Carter and The Butler, but also because of the way cricket is woven throughout. Cricket in the sense of the precursor to baseball. I have kids who actually know about cricket. This might be the book I use as the first read aloud of next year.

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Publisher’s Summary: Carter Jones is astonished early one morning when he finds a real English butler, bowler hat and all, on the doorstep—one who stays to help the Jones family, which is a little bit broken.

In addition to figuring out middle school, Carter has to adjust to the unwelcome presence of this new know-it-all adult in his life and navigate the butler’s notions of decorum. And ultimately, when his burden of grief and anger from the past can no longer be ignored, Carter learns that a burden becomes lighter when it is shared.

This week’s book talks 4/15-19

19 Apr

What a crazy week!

The lodge at the camp where we are supposed to attend Outdoor School next week burned down and I, along with my students and their families, have been stressed about what will happen. We are suppose to leave Tuesday, and we are still in limbo, wondering what will happen.

To relieve tension, I shared some new books. New books always make me feel better.

Monday

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

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Tuesday

Pay Attention, carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt

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Wednesday

Disaster Strikes! by Jeffrey Kluger

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Thursday

Ronan Boyle and the Bridge of Riddles by Thomas Lennon

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Friday

The Girls of Firefly Cabin by Cynthia Ellingsen

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The Haul

31 Jan

True confession: I didn’t read the whole time I was at ALA. Well, I read menus and schedules, but no books. I find it kind of funny.

I mailed two medium sized boxes of books home and the last one arrived last night. I made an effort to be selective about what I took – in part to be mindful of my consumption, in part because I took a small suitcase on the train. Aside from about five books I brought to school yesterday, this is my book haul:

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Here, in no particular order, are the ones I am most excited about.

Patron Saint of Nothing by Randy Ribay

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The Size of the Truth  by Andrew Smith

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Last of the Name  by Rosanne Parry

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Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt

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Susan B. Anthony by Teri Kanefield

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This week’s book talks 6/4-6/8

8 Jun

Monday

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Rebound by Kwame Alexander

Tuesday

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Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith

Wednesday

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Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

Thursday

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Okay for Now  byGary D. Schmidt

Friday

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Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

This Week’s Book Talks 1/30-2/3

3 Feb

I intended to bookend the week with nonfiction.

Monday I talked about this classic:

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I saved this one for today, but the weather prevented me from book talking it. Yes, we have another day off due to freezing rain. The streets are covered in ice. I guess I will start next week with We’ve Got a Job.

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In between, I talked up these three gems:51hhnx3g3jl-_sx334_bo1204203200_

I will read anything Stuart Gibbs writes!

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Orbiting Gary D. Schmidt

9 Nov

Oh Gary D. Schmidt,

What you do to my heart.

I was in tears yesterday afternoon reading your latest novel Orbiting Jupiter. 

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I read it, as I often read, nestled between Fiona and Lucy on the sofa. Fiona is not doing well these days and I fear I will have to make a big decision one day soon.

 Having just heard Jack Gantos on Saturday, Orbiting Jupiter was the perfect book to read because it is about that the perilous moment in a a young person’s life as they wrestle with their internal and external lives, trying to find their balance and their place in the world.

Publisher’s summary: The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.

This is a short book, with spare but effective writing. The publisher lists it as middle grade, but it would be a good book for readers transitioning from middle grader to YA.

 

John James Audubon: Fiction/Non-fiction Pairings

19 Jun

I just got my hands on This Strange Wilderness:The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain.

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John James Audubon’s The Birds of America, was published in 1838, a mere 32 years after the  Lewis and Clark expedition  returned from their cross-country journey. I think we forget how challenging it must have been for Audubon to produce his masterpiece. Plain’s book is an excellent biography of the artist and naturalist, giving us an idea of the personal tragedies he suffered  and the challenges he faced as he roamed the country to paint the 489 pictures of The Birds of America. The book includes many full-page, full-color interior illustrations.

While reading This Strange Wilderness,  I got thinking about books n which John James Audubon plays a role. The first one that came to mind was one of this year’s OBOB books, A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole.

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Celeste, a mouse longing for a real home, becomes a source of inspiration to teenaged Joseph, assistant to the artist and naturalist John James Audubon, at a New Orleans, Louisiana, plantation in 1821.

Audubon’s The Birds of America  plays a significant role in Gary D. Schmidt’s Okay for Now.

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As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends, an abusive father, and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him until he finds an ally in Lil Spicer–a fiery young lady. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage.

 

 

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