Saturday, June 16, 2012

Heading into Summer

Summer vacation is finally here and I am so excited to be able to have time to read more amazing books!  I did a lot of reading this week because I came home so exhausted from packing up my classroom every day that I didn't really feel like doing anything else.

    I will start with my reviews of a couple graphic novels I read.  These books are quick to read and will be great additions to my class library.  I witnessed the power of the graphic novel this year when the only time I had no trouble at silent reading was when I had a new GN to give one of the boys in my class.  I will be pushing this genre next year and am really excited about the idea of helping students see the inferences they have to make when reading these books.

The first GN to talk about is Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. 1 by Svetlana Chmakova.  This graphic novel was reminiscent of Manga for me.  I don't think it is classified as such but there were many Manga like faces drawn that conveyed certain emotions of the characters.  This is a book about vampires, witches, and other supernatural forces.  There is a school that serves as the Nightschool campus and the woman that is the director of this school is a new employee there.  There seems to be all sorts of evil and danger lurking about which I am sure the reader finds out more about in the next book.  This is an intriguing first book in a series and I will be interested in finding out more about the story in subsequent books.  I would recommend it to students that are more into fantasy because I don't see it necessarily appealing to all audiences.

The second GN that I read this week was Sidekicks by Dan Santat. This is a fun story about a superhero who is searching for a new Sidekick.  In the past he has used his pets as sidekicks but this time he wants to find someone else because he does not want to put his pets in danger.  The pets have something to say about this and go out to train so that they can audition for the part.  Meanwhile, there is a new superhero on the scene and mayhem is about to break out.  I love superhero stories and this one was a fun one.  I would recommend this for kids from 4th grade-adult.

On to the other books for this week.  The only strictly young adult book I read this week was Fallen by Lauren Kate.  I have had this book in my to read pile for a couple months since I found it at HPB one day.  I enjoyed this book, but I felt that the action was dragged out.  It might just be because I have read so many of these paranormal romance books, but I felt a little tired of the whole "does he like me or not?" back and forth that was going on.  I did think the setting of a boarding school for court-ordered youth was an interesting twist.  This book reminded me of Hush, Hush because of the rough treatment of the main character by her love interest and Evermore because of the story of generations of the same doomed love story.  If I had read this book first maybe I would have liked it more, but I couldn't muster the same enthusiasm for this one as I have for others in the past.  I am going to read the other books in this series because I am intrigued and I do like the characters.  I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoyed the other paranormal romance books.  I don't think anyone will be disappointed by this one.

The other three books I am reviewing here were books I read because of the blogs I have started following thanks to Twitter and Teachers Write.  I am participating in an online writing camp this summer and I have been very inspired by book recommendations and writing that is occurring there.

The first book is one I looked up because the author is one of the people who founded our writing camp, which actually has over 1,000 participants at this point.  Gae Polisner is very active in commenting on Facebook and providing feedback to everyone who posts.  I really enjoy reading her comments and answers to questions.  I requested her book The Pull of Gravity from my library and devoured it almost in one sitting.  Her characters jump off the page and come to life in this story.  When Nick's neighbor and best friend the Scoot asks him to take a book back to his father, he finds himself compelled to comply with the request.  It doesn't help that his new friend Jaycee seems to be plotting along with the Scoot to get Nick to help out.  Scooter has a very rare condition and is dying and this is a request that Nick cannot refuse.  Nick and Jaycee end up on an adventure to remember at a time in his life in which his family seems to be crumbling before his eyes.  I very much enjoyed this story.  I found myself making connections to the book Freak the Mighty.  Both Scooter and Freak had a condition that seemed to be similar, if not the same condition.  I enjoyed the references to Of Mice and Men throughout the book and now find myself inspired to read this classic and a little embarrassed that I haven't read it yet.  I would highly recommend this book to all students and I will be seeking out a copy to add to my class library this year.

Since this post is getting extremely long, I will reserve my reviews of the following books for the next post.  These are the other books that I would highly recommend reading and please come back tomorrow for their reviews.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Wonder by RJ Palacio

No comments:

Post a Comment