Tag Archives: Todd Strasser

Most checked out 2018-19

19 Jun

As always, graphic novels were the most checked out books form my classroom library this year. Here are the top three stats on what kids checked out most in graphic novels, fiction, and nonfiction.

Graphic Novels

# 1 – This One Summer by  Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki


# 2 – Hey Kiddo by  Jarrett J. Krosoczka


#3 – Brave  by Svetlana Chmakova



#1 –The Valiant  by Lesley Livingston


#2 – The Fourteenth Goldfish


#3 – Fallout by Todd Strasser



#1 – The Faithful Spy  by John Hendrix


#2 – Spooked  by Gail Jarrow


#3 – Poison  by Sara Albee





This week’s booktalks 11/19-20

21 Nov

I didn’t let a very short week hamper me. I decided to do a fiction-nonfiction pairing on each of the two days of school we had this week.


Blacklisted: Hollywood, the Cold War, and The First Amendment by Larry Dane Brimner  & The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

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Bomb: The Race To Build – And Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin & Fallout by Todd Strasser

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The turbulent 60’s

7 Nov

How much can a six year old understand her father’s deployment? In 1968, Suzanne Collins’ father was sent to Viet Nam. Her new picture book,  Year of the Jungle, gives us some insight.


Young Suzy’s understanding expands throughout the year. Beginning with a view of the jungle based on her experience  of a Saturday morning cartoon (I’m pretty sure she watched George of the Jungle) we see her excitement over the postcards her dad sends and her understanding of the temporary shifts in her family dynamic with her father away. Then, fewer postcards arrive and there is a long silence.We are with Suzy  the evening she first sees the war on the evening news on a TV set someone forgot to shut off. We watch the understanding dawn  and feel the pain  and worry that comes with realization of where her dad is and what he is most likely doing.

This sis a serious book and the cartoon-like illustrations by James Proimos are perfect and a little reminiscent of  George of the Jungle.  Here’s one from the book:


Here’s one from the 60’s cartoon:


On a more dystopian note, Todd Strasser’s Fallout imagines a world in which the Cuban Missile Crisis ended with nuclear war.


In alternating chapters, we see the neighbors scoff, as the narrator’s dad builds a bomb shelter to hold his family and what life is like when they are actually living in it. At first, this style irritated me, but then, I realized that it really helps understand the characters and how they behave in the shelter. In the middle of the night in late October, when the unthinkable happens, those same neighbors force their way into the shelter before Scott’s dad can shut the door. With not enough room, not enough food, and not enough air, life inside the shelter is filthy, physically draining, and emotionally fraught. I was slow to warm to the book, but was glad I didn’t give up on it.

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