Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lots of reading over Thanksgiving Break!!!

I read Fudge-a-mania, Maniac Magee, Dog Whisperer, Ghost.  I enjoyed reading all of these books.  We are starting these books for our literature circles in class.  Fudge-a-mania is your typical humorous fiction with a few laugh out loud moments.  If you want something light hearted - this is for you.  The other two books were a little more "deep." In Dog Whisperer, Ghost an adopted little girl wants to know more about her "real" mom and dad, but she discovers other adventures that are just as important.  Maniac Magee really surprised me on the content.  Part of it shows how Maniac Magee (a white boy) is discriminated against by black children and adults.  It is also about a special relationship he develops with various people (his parents were killed in an accident when he was little).

Pick up these books and give them a try!  It is well worth it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Books, Books, and More Books

We had Book Fair this week, so my students bought me some FABULOUS books!  I got Shadow by Michael Morpurgo, War Spies by Daniel Polansky, My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen, Flora and Ulysses  by Kate DiCamillo, and  Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

I am also getting ready to start novel studies in my classes, so that means I have to read the books that I haven't read yet.  I just finished Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff. This was an amazing book.  It was recommended to me of course - isn't this how you choose most of your books to read? The story is about an orphaned girl named Hollis Woods who loves to draw.  Actually, she is an amazing artist.  But she is also a trouble maker and does not stay in one home for very long.  Finally she meets a family and they love her and she likes them.  She wants to make this her forever home and family, but something goes wrong and she is on to another adventure.  This book is written in first person and includes lots of flashbacks.  It can be somewhat confusing if you are not reading this carefully.  It would take an advanced reader to be able to focus and stay with this book.

I also read the graphic novel, Sisters this week. It is super easy to read and can be done in one sitting. This is the second book to Smile by the same author.  These are true stories about her family.  She portrays the situations in humorous ways.  In Sisters, the mother, two daughters, and son go on a journey across the western part of the US to visit other relatives.  Many families probably have similar experiences, that is what makes this so much fun to read.

I decided this was the year to read out loud to my fifth graders.  They love it and I think it is important to keep up with this as students get older.  I have to keep reminding myself to take time to read aloud. This year, I started with My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulson (author of Hatchet). This is a nonfiction book that chronicles many of Gary's dogs he has had throughout his lifetime.  Each story is unique, heartwarming, and captures the reader. If you are a dog lover or even an animal lover of any kind- you have to read about the special and sometimes hysterical relationships he has with his dogs.

It feels so good to get back to reading books again!  This teacher loves the Aggies and Books!  Whoop!

Friday, October 17, 2014

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

WOW!  I haven't been able to read as much since school started.  I have been trying to find the time, hasn't worked out.

I did just finish a book my daughter, Courtney, recommended.  It is 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass.  It is about a boy and girl from two different families that share the same birthday.  They have their first- tenth birthday parties together.  But at the 10th birthday party, they get into a fight and don't speak to each other for an entire year.  They have their 11th birthday parties separately.  That is when things all start going wrong.  The parties are not very good, so they go to bed upset.  When they wake up in the morning, it is their 11th birthday again! The day is repeating.  They are both stunned.  This continues to happen for several days in a row.  Finally the two start to talk to each other and devise a plan to stop the repeated day.  Read 11Birthdays to see how they solve this mystery.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Spirit Animals

I just recently finished the first two books in the series Spirit Animals. In these fantasy books, children are paired with a spirit animal on their 11th birthday. The Great Spirit Animals return, and an adventure starts out for the children. After finishing the first book, I had to read the second one to see heat happens to the children and animals. If you are into fantasy and magic, you will enjoy this series. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Catching up on Books read...

Among the Impostors by Margaret Peterson Haddix is the second book in the series Shadow Children.  The first book is called Among the Hidden. Among the Impostors started where the first book in the series left off. For me, it had a very slow start, but as I continued reading - I enjoyed the ending of the story.  I wonder what Luke will do next.  Among the Hidden is an excellent book and pretty exciting throughout the entire story line.

I also read Firegirl. This book is about a girl who was severely burned in a fire who begins attending a private Catholic school near the hospital where she is receiving treatments.  This book only takes place over a two week period where she attends the new school.  When it comes time for her to leave, the has affected one particular classmate in a strange way.

My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian is hilarious.  There were parts where I LOLed!  As I was reading, I made some connections to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  Derek reminded my of Greg. If you do not like to read, this would be a great book to start with. I was totally thrown off by the title - the book was not what I expected at all.  Take a chance and read this one!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Books for Boys and Girls

Ok, I love to scroll through PINTEREST! Guilty!  When scrolling, I found a blog post titled "40 Fiction Books for Boys." I'll admit, I don't know a lot about what boys want to I search for ideas online.  You have got to check out this link, it gives a summary of each of the books.  Please check it out!

I also found another link, "40 Chapter Books for Girls."  I am definitely going to check this one out!  Click here to see the list.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Matched by Ally Condie

The first book in a dystopian trilogy.  (Click here for definition of dystopian.) In Matched the Officials (or government) will decide where you work, live, what you eat, and even who you can fall in love with and when you die. There is no choice in which the society Cassia lives.  She soons begins to realize this after her Matching Ceremony that the Society she has always trusted may not be what she thought.  She is faced with some difficult decisions throughout the plotline.  Read Matched to find out what "choices" Cassia begins to make.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wonder by R.J.Palacio

Do you ever feel different?  Have you ever had to go to a new school? Do you have fights with your siblings or parents? Auggie Pullman certainly did!  As you read Wonder you will see how he is different from his classmates and how he is teased by them. You will also see the sibling rivalry between Auggie and his sister. You will definitely get sucked into this book once you started.  A must read.  See the book trailer.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Theodore Boone: Accused by John Grisham

Who doesn't like a good mystery?  As an adult, I love John Grisham novels, so when I saw he was writing young adult novels; I just had to read them!  I also read Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer a couple years ago.  If you love mysteries - you will like this book! I try to figure out "Whodunit," but I was totally wrong in Theodore Boone: Accused.  I was definitely outsmarted in this one.  Grisham had me hooked until the very end of the novel.

Athlete vs. Mathlete by W.C. Mack

This is a 2014-2015 Bluebonnet Award Book.  This book could be a bit challenging to keep up with whose point of view you are reading.  The main characters are twins - one is an athlete and the other a mathlete.  Each chapter alternates between Owen's and Russell's points of view.  At times, I had to really focus on who was speaking.  This is a great story and I highly recommend this, especially if you like realistic fiction.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Killer Species by Michael P. Spradlin

I just finished up Killer Species: Menace from the Deep. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this book.  It is more of a SciFi- which I am typically not interested in reading. But the plot line of this book really kept me interested in it.  I still have not figured out who the villain is - named Dr. Catalyst in the book.  I thought I knew, but it left a to be continued since this is a series.  If you are into adventure and SciFi, you will love this book.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Books I am Reading

Wow!  Can't believe I am reading several different books right now.  A book I am almost finished with is The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  If you are a language arts teacher, this is a MUST read! I have always struggled with getting my students to love reading- ok - I get why they don't like it - I didn't like it as a kid, but I LOVE to read now!  I don't want them to think they have to read.  This book is showing me the LIGHT! I hope to implement Donalyn's ideas next year in my language arts classes!

I am also trying, and I stress TRYING, to read Life of Pi. Kaylee (my oldest DD) had t read this book for her freshman English class.  I have heard wonderful things about it and I really want to stick with it, but I am having a hard time getting started!

With my youngest DD, Courtney, I am reading The Haunted Museum, The Titanic Locket. It is good.  I stop reading and Courtney says, "Please, one more chapter." So this is good, if she wants to keep going.  She is not a reader like my oldest DD. I hope to use some of The Book Whisperer moves on my youngest DD.

I also started reading Killer Species: Menace from the Deep because I know the boys in my class will enjoy this.  It seems to be a SciFi book.  It was actually a coincidence because we were reading an article about invasive species and this book right off the bat talked about the boa and python being invasive to the Florida Everglades.  So that did pique my interest.

That is what I am reading now.  I am ready for summer, so I can do LOTS of reading!