Monday, July 30, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/30

Every week Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts host a meme for people to post about the young adult and kid lit reading they are doing.  Go on over and check out their blog!

I did not get to post last Monday so I will be talking about my last two weeks of reading.

Nonfiction books I read:

Even before the Common Core, I knew I had to bring more nonfiction into my classroom.  Now that I have had more time to really dive into these standards, I know it will be crucial to have students doing more nonfiction reading.  I enjoyed both of these books and will recommend them to students.

Fiction I read:

Bird by Angela Johnson is a short and easy read.  Bird has run away from home because she is following her step-dad who just left one day.  She can't understand why he left.  She is camping out in a barn and sneaking food from the farmhouse when the family is gone.  I love Angela Johnson's ability to get into the minds of young people and to deal with very difficult subjects in a straightforward way.  I will recommend this one to reluctant readers this fall.

Whirligig by Paul Fleischman is a book about retribution.  When his classmate Brianna rejects him at a party, Brent feels humiliated.  In his intoxicated state, he drives erratically and decides that he doesn't want to live anymore.  His attempt at suicide actually causes a fatal crash that does not kill him, but kills the young woman in the other car.   He is surprised in the trial when the woman's mother suggests a way for him to make retribution for the crash.  He sets out on a road trip around the country.  Meanwhile, the reader is given glimpses into the lives of the people who are affected by the gifts he leaves in different spots throughout the country.  This is a book about how a rash decision and stupid mistake can forever change your life.  I was pleasantly surprised by the uplifting feeling that I had while reading this book about a very serious subject.  I was reminded of Touching Spirit Bear while reading and could possibly see doing a unit about justice using these two texts.

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer is a great realistic fiction book.  Hope has lived all her life with her aunt who works in restaurants.  They have moved multiple times and Hope has had to adjust to many places.  In the latest move, Hope and her aunt are moving from Brooklyn to a small town in Wisconsin.  Joan Bauer does an excellent job with characterization in this book.  I loved Hope and all of her friends.  I will definitely recommend this book to students this year.

I was looking for digital books to borrow so that I could just bring my Kindle on my trip and I was pleasantly surprised that Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs was available for check-out.  The cover of this book is so intriguing and I have almost bought it multiple times.  The book is an interesting story which mixes mystery with fantasy and science fiction.  I enjoyed the book but it was different from what I thought it would be.  I will be interested to see where the author takes the story in the next book.

I started reading this book at 9pm on my last night in Denver.  I expected to read a chapter or two and then go to sleep so I would be able to get up bright and early the next morning.  Instead, I stayed up until 2:30am finishing this book.  This does not happen to me often anymore.  I was sucked into this book and just had to know what was going to happen.  I am excited to read the next book to see if it will have the same effect on me.  I appreciated the realistic, not-very-optimistic look at what a post-apocalyptic world would be like.

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban is a great middle grades novel.  It is a cute story and I enjoyed reading it.  I would recommend it to students in grades 4-5.

I moved this book up to the top of my to-read pile because of the multiple times I read recommendations from Colby Sharp.  I really enjoyed Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson.  This story is a riveting story of a young girl who moves to Montana to try to prove up a homestead claim.  Hattie is a courageous and big-hearted character who has wonderful friends and neighbors.  This historical fiction novel is an excellent glimpse at what live in the West was like in 1918.  I will definitely recommend this book to students this year.

I enjoy John Grisham thrillers and have been curious about this book since it came out.  I enjoyed reading this book and I think that Grisham did a pretty good job getting in the mind of this 8th grader.  The premise is a little unrealistic, but Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer was an entertaining read and I will recommend it to my students.

The Liberation of Gabriel King by K.L Going is a book about being brave and standing up to bullies.  It is set in the time of integration and Gabriel is best friends with the one African American girl in their class, Frita.  This causes him to be the victim of bullying by boys who have racist parents, but he has had a break from the bullies this year because they moved on to fifth grade in the upper school.  Gabriel decides that he does not want to get moved up to fifth grade if that means that these boys will be in the same school with him again.  Frita works to convince Gabriel that it will be okay and that he needs to move up to fifth grade.  Over the summer they work to overcome their fears...some of their ideas work out and some don't.  This is a good look at some of the hate that existed during this trying time in history.  It is a short read and I would recommend it to students grade 5 and up.

I finished listening to Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.  I had not heard of this book or this author before.  I was glad to get this free download and enjoyed listening to this story.  I will definitely look for more books by this author in the future.  The mystery was fun and I know kids will enjoy the creepy ghost story.

Professional Books Finished This Week:

Chris Tovani has many great ideas in her books.  I had to read Do I Really Have to Teach Reading? because in her newest book about assessment she references some ideas from this one.  I love the way she keeps track of group discussions and helps students learn how to have effective discussions.  

Books I am currently reading:

A Step From Heaven by An Na---I officially have stopped the Newbery challenge and decided to work on Printz books instead.  I will read all the books I have that are on that list and then look for the rest.  

Real Revision by Kate Messner---This will be an excellent resource for the coming school year.  

Clock Watchers by Stephanie Quate and John McDermott---I was lucky enough to be in a session with these two dynamic authors.  Their ideas are very much aligned with what I believe in my classroom and I am enjoying reading about some new ideas to incorporate.  

Books on the horizon:  Whatever strikes my fancy from my numerous to-read choices.

Bookaday update---In 46 days so far of summer break I have read 65 books:  19 picture books and graphic novels, 7 professional books, and 39 novels or nonfiction chapter books.

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7/16

Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts host a weekly meme for people to share what they are reading each week in the world of YA and kid lit.  Head over to their blog for links to many other bloggers who are sharing their reading with us.

Books I read this week:

Please see my posts from this week to hear more about the following books.

La Linea by Ann Jaramillo tells the story of Miguel, a young boy who starts out to make the journey to join his parents in the United States.  It recounts the very real dangers that people face to cross the border and is a book that many of my hispanic students will relate to.

Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes really tells the story of how perception can be very wrong and people need to act with empathy and not in a selfish way.  I like the way Henkes really got in the head of the two young boys and the reader got the whole story and knew more than either boy did the whole time.  This would be a good book to use to talk about perspective and point of view.

Everlost by Neal Shusterman is an imaginative story about where you might end up after dying.  I avoided this book for a while because I was afraid it would be too creepy or sad.  It was neither, I really enjoyed the entertaining story and was impressed by the imagination that created this world.  There are some great themes in here about identity and fear of change also.

Entwined by Heather Dixon is a great story.  This one kept me up late.  I had never heard of the fairy tale about the twelve dancing princesses until I read the Goodreads reviews of this book.  I enjoyed this story and thought the author did a great job of balancing creepy elements with a good story.

This is a book that I have not yet written about on the blog.  Please click on the image to go to the Goodreads page if you want more info.  I read this in one sitting.  It was different from the books I usually read and I really enjoyed the new perspective.  I was crying through a lot of the book because I was so touched by the influence these teenagers had on one another.

Newbery Challenge and Graphic Novels:

UGH!  I am really rather annoyed that these first Newbery books are so hard to read.  I may be rethinking the challenge because it seems like such a waste of time to read them.

I continued to read graphic novels this week in a quest to find some that would be appropriate for my class library.  I really enjoyed all 4 of these books, especially To Dance.  This memoir is so accessible and I can see many students enjoying this short introduction into a dancer's life.

Professional Books:

How to Write your Life Story by Ralph Fletcher is not really a professional book, but I read it for ideas for my writing classroom so I am putting it here.  I need to look into getting all of his books about writing for my class library.

So What Do They Really Know? by Chris Tovani offers some good examples of formative assessment in the reading classroom.  I enjoyed the book and will be using some of the suggestions in my reading block next year.

Books I am reading:

Smoky the Cowhorse is not as bad as the others so far, Do I Have to Teach Reading? by Chris Tovani,
I am also listening to Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Books on the horizon:

I spent too much money with the discount code at Stenhouse so I have some professional books to get through.  The one I am most excited about reading is Real Revision.  Other than that I will just pull from the to read shelf.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bird Lake Moon, Everlost, and Entwined

In Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes, Mitch is living with his grandparents on Bird Lake because his world has been devastated by his parents' separation.  He wants to take over the abandoned house next door and begins to fantasize about how he and his mother will be able to live there.  Then when Spencer and his family show up, he is angry that his house has been taken over by "intruders" and plans to scare them away.  Little does he know that the family is coming back to Bird Lake for the first time since the oldest child in their family drowned 8 years ago.  Throughout the novel the reader gets a glimpse at two young boys living through big times in their lives.  I loved the lesson that Mitch learned about understanding others' perspectives before acting.  This book is one I would recommend to a reader who does not want to difficult of a book to read and enjoys realistic fiction.

I had Everlost by Neal Shusterman sitting on my shelf for quite a while.  I was intrigued by the premise but worried that I would be creeped out by the book or that it would make me sad.  In this book Nick and Allie are in a car crash and both are headed down the tunnel towards the light when they bump into one another and fall out of the tunnel.  They wake up nine months later in a beautiful forest.  A kid is there and explains to them that they are in a kind of in-between realm.  They are no longer alive, but they did not get where they were going so they are now doomed to exist in this realm.  Both Nick and Allie are desperate to get home and check on the rest of their family to see if they survived the crash.  They set out on an adventure to move across a world where the only solid ground is any spot there is a dead spot...the place a person died.  On their way, they hear about a terrible monster who preys on kids like them.  This book is an incredibly imaginative story.  The author manages to write about a topic that could be quite uncomfortable in such a way that the reader is taken in by the story and racing to find out what will happen next.  The ending is an unexpected twist and I was glad to be left with such a sense of hope and a desire to read the next book in the series.  I would recommend this book to young adults.  Because it deals with the subject of where people go after death, I think the concepts are a little too mature for middle grade readers.  I enjoyed this story and look forward to reading the next creative story from this author.  

I picked out the book Entwined by Heather Dixon at a Scholastic book fair.  I had asked my students to help me pick out books that seemed like they would be good for the class library and some of my girls picked up this one.  I loved this story!  I had no idea that it was a retelling of a fairy tale until I read some of the Goodreads reviews of this book.  When Azalea's mother dies, it is up to her to take care of her eleven little sisters and to negotiate the long mourning period that they are forced to endure.  Their father, the king, has distanced himself from them and all of the girls are certain that he never really loved them, but did the kind things he did because their mother had required it of him.  Azalea is left to be the nurturer of the girls and at the same time is anxious about the selection of a husband for her which will be coming up after mourning is done.  The girls find a magic passage and a small escape from their sadness, but Azalea quickly finds out that there is a price to pay for their time there.  I was enchanted by this book.  I am a sucker for a good fairy tale/princess story and this one did not disappoint me.  I devoured the long book---over 450 pages--in one day (staying up WAAAY too late to finish).  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy (think Coraline meets The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, meets Cinderella).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Olive's Ocean and La Linea

Even though this summer has been busy with Professional Development and a writing class, I have been enjoying reading and writing like crazy.  I wanted to give an update on my book-a-day challenge here.  I am trying to read a total of 76 books in the 76 days of summer vacation that I have.  As of right now I have read 40 books in 24 days.  I am super excited about this and look forward to surpassing my goal for the summer.  Let's see if I can keep it up!

     In La Linea by Ann Jaramillo, Miguel finally gets the message that it is time for him to journey north to join his parents and the twin sisters he hasn't met yet.  He gets everything together and goes to Don Clemente to pay and get the instructions for his trip.  He has a going away party, says good-bye to his grandma and his sister and takes off on the journey.  From day one this trip north is full of dangers and surprises, including a stowaway sister that Miguel now has to take care of.  This book is full of adventure and describes some of the very real danger that people face to try to come into the United States.  Miguel and his sister have been suffering as many children in Mexico do, waiting for the day when their parents will have the money to send for them.  I have seen families that are separated like this, waiting to someday be able to bring the rest of the family here.  I would highly recommend this book to teens, especially to Mexican-American students.  I think that a lot of them will find a story that they can connect to.  For teachers, I think this would be an excellent read-aloud that would highlight the issue of immigration policy.

Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes tells the story of a young girl Martha who is just starting to figure out her identity.  The book opens with a scene in which a woman Martha has never met introduces herself as Olive's mother and leaves a journal page with Martha.  Olive was a girl in Martha's school who had died recently.  Martha is confused by this at first because she and Olive had not been friends.  When she reads the journal page she discovers that Olive might have wanted to become her friend.  This starts Martha thinking about how people treat each other.  Then, when Martha's family takes their annual trip to her grandma's house, she starts to notice things around her.  Her grandmother and she start to exchange information about themselves each day and Martha grows throughout the summer.  I really liked this story.  There is some beginning teenage love in the book, but it is really a story about the relationships forged in a family and the way that a tween can negotiate the difficult years of friendships and broken hearts.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction.

One Crazy Summer and Empty


One Crazy Summer is a book that adds to the discussion about the Civil Rights Movement. The main character Delphine is struggling to take care of her two younger sisters during a trip to see their mother. I really enjoyed this book.  The author did a great job of capturing the voice of this young girl and giving an interesting insight into the activities of the Black Panthers in California.  The three sisters act like sisters and bicker and fight but they are loving sisters and they stick together.  I would highly recommend this quick read to everyone.  I learned a little bit about the Black Panthers and am curious to find out more after reading this book.     
Goodreads Summary:  In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp

     This book describes a world in which the oil wells of the world have run dry.  People are unable to sustain the lifestyles that they had before because many products are not available anymore.  Think about all the products that rely on oil--plastic being one of them.  This is a good cautionary tale about the effects of relying on a non-renewable resource and not exploring alternative greener possibilities for power.  I did not love the style of the writing in this book as an adult, but I know that my students will love it.  The beginning of the book read like some of the series that I read as a teenager.  There are some complicated teenage relationships in the book which makes it more interesting for that audience.  I would recommend this book to many students because it really makes you think about our world and what might happen if we're not careful.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading? 7/9

Jen and Kellee at host a weekly meme entitled "It's Monday! What are you Reading? From Picture Books to YA"  This is a chance for people to share the books that they have been reading throughout the week, especially focused on kid lit and YA lit.

Books Finished this week:

I read a number of professional books this week.  I am trying to figure out how to make my reading and writing blocks more intentional and organized.  There are a number of district mandates that I need to follow.

Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles is a practical guide and I will definitely be pulling this one out multiple times this year.  This book gave me a few ideas about how to tweak my literature study and a great sample schedule and calendar.

  The Book Whisperer is an excellent resource to have for any teacher of reading.  I have been very excited to find the Nerdy Book Club and all of the support on Twitter.  I can't believe that it took me so long to pick up this book and read it.  I misunderstood at first about the target audience of the book.  I wholeheartedly agree with Donalyn Miller that this type of reading classroom is the way to produce life-long readers.  It was a great read for me this summer because it helped to validate what I already knew.  My classroom was this kind of reading space when I had younger students and the flexibility to design my curriculum. Now, with middle school students and a more structured set of mandates from the district, my reading classroom has suffered.  This book helped me to rethink some of the structure in the requirements for my students and I am glad that I decided to read it.  I will be recommending it to many teachers in the Fall when I get back to school.

Power Tools for Adolescent Literacy was another book I read.  This was a quick read because it is filled with practical lesson plans.  Many of the suggested strategies are things that I already do, but there were some gems in here.  I will definitely be pulling this book off the shelf while planning this year.

Inside the Writer's-Reader's Notebook by Linda Rief gives another set of suggestions about how to set up a notebook.  It was interesting to see how this middle school teacher sets up her expectations to work with the multiple classes that she works with.

A Writer's Notebook by Ralph Fletcher is not exactly a professional resource but I read it that way.  I am trying to figure out how best to guide my students in setting up writer's notebooks and how to set up my own.  This book is full of ideas and I enjoyed reading it.

The rest of the books I finished this week were young adult or children's books.

The Dark Frigate  was part of the Newbery Challenge.  I didn't hate the book but it took a long time to hook me.  I would not recommend it to any students unless they were big fans of Treasure Island or similar books.

Houdini: The Handcuff King by James Sturm is a graphic novel about Houdini.  It was fun to read the graphic novel and the real biographical information mixed with a sort of glossary at the end that explained some of the historical points in the story.

Pearl by Jo Knowles was another book that I am sure my middle school students will love.

Dragons in the Waters by Madeleine L'Engle:  I found this book in my library while browsing.  I was excited about the fancy new cover that makes the book seem much more intriguing.  I LOVED all of L'Engle's books when I was younger and loved this one on the second read.  I need to seek out all of her books with these new covers and stock my class library with her awesomeness...not just the class set of A Wrinkle in Time.

The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic is a book I read about in a post from Teachers Write.  This picture book is an excellent example of how profound picture books can really be.  The subject of how a child perceives his world after his mom dies is heartbreaking but this would be an excellent mentor text for voice because you can really feel that this is a young person talking.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia is a wonderful book and would be a great book to recommend for a Civil Rights unit.  I can see why it was nominated for so many awards.

Tales From Silver Lands...UGH!  This was a hard book to get through.  I usually like traditional tales but these were dry and oh-so-boring.

Empty by Suzanne Weyn is a book I will recommend to students.  I really wasn't all that thrilled by the writing in the book.  The first 50 pages or so read a lot like a Sweet Valley High book or something similar.  The subject matter is interesting and it is good food for thought.  I can see middle school students being intrigued by this book and going to find out more about oil supplies and renewable energy.

Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes is a great story.  I expected it to be more sad than it was and that was a pleasant surprise.  I enjoyed reading about Martha and her family trip complete with a tween romance gone wrong.  I thought the relationship she had with her grandmother was quite touching.

Books I am Currently Reading:

So What do They Really Know? by Chris Tovani
Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman
La Linea by Ann Jaramillo

What's on the horizon in reading:
I have an entire shelf of books to read...I have forbidden myself to request any more books at the library based on recommendations that I see on Twitter until I read more of my shelf.  I don't know which books but I will be getting them from that shelf.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Super Books (Again)

     This summer there is no end to the fabulous books that I have been reading.  Every Monday I make my way through the other book blogs from teachers and librarians out there and end up with at least 2 or 3 new books on my to read list.  The best part about this is that every book I have picked up this summer has been well worth my time.  Last week was a great reading week with enjoyable book selections.  

I was very excited to go pick up the copy of Bitterblue that finally came in for me at the library.  I had been waiting not so patiently for a few weeks.  I absolutely loved both Graceling and Fire and was really anxious to read the newest book by Kristen Cashore.  This book definitely lived up to my expectations.  Here's the Goodreads blurb about the book (they said it far better than I can):

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

What I loved about this book is that I was re-introduced to the characters that I loved in the first book.  I also love the fact that Bitterblue is another strong female character that learns a lot about life and love throughout this book.  Although this book was a bit thicker than Graceling and Fire were, I devoured it in as short a time as with the others.  At the end of this book I had that bittersweet feeling when you are glad to know how the story ends but sad to see the characters go.  I hope to see a lot more from this author in the future!

I purchased The Glass Maker's Daughter by V. Briceland through the Kindle store with one of their deals.  I was intrigued by the cover and the title and thought that this book would be  historical fiction.  I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading and it became obvious that this book was a fantasy novel.  Risa is a daughter of one of the seven chosen families in the land.  As such, she expects to be sent to the boarding school to be taught how to use the magic of the land to form the enchanted glass that the people expect from her family.  Fate is not on her side and she unexpectedly gets left behind.  Then one morning her parents are summoned to the castle and do not return.  She is suspicious of the Prince and unsure of how to proceed.  Risa must rise to the occasion and work to save her home and her land.  This book was one that caught my attention from the beginning and kept me reading.  I loved it that there was yet another strong female lead character in this book.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy (and a little romance) and will certainly look for the other books in the series to read.  

Jumping off Swings is another excellent book by Jo Knowles.  What I love about all of her books is that I can definitely see recommending them over and over to all students.  The length is quite manageable and I can see many students really connecting with these characters.  In this book, Ellie has gone too far searching for love and is now pregnant.  Josh buckled under the pressure from some of his "friends" to just do it already.  Caleb and Corinne are the friends who support Ellie and Josh through it all.  The book tells the story by alternating perspectives of all four of these teenagers.  I stayed up way too late yet again with this book...this author seems to have that effect on me.  I will be recommending this one to all of my students.  I would highly recommend it to any teenagers who enjoy realistic fiction.  

When I was walking through Target the other day, this book jumped into my basket.  I had heard great things about Smile by Raina Telgemeier and am looking to expand the graphic novel section of my class library so I thought, why not?  I am so glad I picked it up.  This is a funny and touching story that I am sure all middle schoolers will be able to relate to.  I loved the fact that, since it was a memoir, it was set in the years that I was in middle school.  The late 80's and early 90's references and clothing drawn here were very entertaining for me and I am sure would be great fun for modern day middle schoolers.  Who didn't go through that self-conscious and awkward stage in middle school?  This character has real challenges to feeling good about herself and her friends do not make it much better.  This is an excellent graphic novel and I can't wait for her next one!

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

Jen and Kellee at host a weekly meme entitled "It's Monday! What are you Reading?"  This is a chance for people to share the books that they have been reading throughout the week, especially focused on kid lit and YA lit.

Books Finished this week:

The Glass Maker's Daughter by V. Briceland.  I thought this book was going to be historical fiction, but was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a fantasy. I really liked the strong female protagonist and will look forward to more from this author. 

Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean by Les Standiford.  This is a non-fiction book about the building of the railroad that connected Miami and Key West.  This was a near-impossible feat and the construction was plagued with horrible luck with hurricanes.  This book was recommended to my mother and me while down in Key West for the Key West Literary Seminar.  We have gone there for a few years in a row now and always enjoy it.  That connection made this book interesting for me. There were some parts of the book that were rather dry...more because I do not usually read non-fiction, but I am glad I got through the book because it is a very interesting story.

 The CAFE Book: Engaging all Students in Daily Literary Assessment and Instruction by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  I am excited to think about how to adapt a system like this for my 8th grade classroom and the CCSS.  I definitely need a more organized approach and I love the two sisters' ideas for keeping track of things. 

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba.  I read this book on the site We Give Books.  I did not realize they had such quality there.  I will definitely go back and read more there as well as using these ebooks on my SMARTboard this year. 

Smile by Raina Telgemeier.  I enjoyed reading this book and was transported back to middle school by this story.  I know that my middle school students will be able to relate to Raina's story and I can't wait to bring this book to them. 

Jumping off Swings by Jo Knowles.  I am so glad that I am participating in Teachers Write.  I can't believe that I had not heard of this author before.  I love all of her books that I have read so far.  She has a great way of dealing with tough issues and I just know that my students will love these books. 

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore.  It finally came in at the library!  I devoured this thick book in two days.  I love the characters that Cashore creates.  I was so glad to see Katsa and Po again.  Bitterblue is every bit the strong female character that Katsa and Fire are. 

Books I'm Reading:

The Dark Frigate by Charles Boardman Hawes, Dragons in the Water by Madeleine L'Engle, and Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles by Harvey Daniels and Nancy Steineke

Books to read this week:

   I have a huge stack from the library so I will make my way through those titles.  Boy 21 and Pearl are at the top of that stack.  I also will pick up at least one more professional book this week and I want to read about writer's notebooks with a couple Ralph Fletcher titles. 

Happy Reading!