Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/6

Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts host this weekly meme to write about the books we are reading each week, especially kidlit and YA.  Head on over to their blog to connect and find out about many great titles.

Books I finished this week:

Professional Books

Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook by Aimee Buckner is a book that I found out about last week and had to go out to find it right away.  I am working on trying to figure out what I will do with notebooks this year and this is another great resource with food for thought about the requirements I will have for my students.

Inspired by the Teachers Write group this summer, I had to read this book by Kate Messner.  I actually bought both an e-book and a paper copy of this book.  Since I will have a Smart board next year, I knew that I would be able to use the author pages with my class in an electronic way, but I also wanted to be able to have the book available for individual students for good revising advice.  I love the ideas in this book and it really made me think about how I will work to help middle school students understand that the revision is where the good writing comes from.  It is a resource that ALL writing teachers should have.

I bought Clock Watchers: Six Steps to Motivating and Engaging Disengaged Students Across Content Areas by Stephanie Quate and John McDermott while sitting in the session that they were presenting at the Learning Forward conference I recently attended.  These authors are not writing about anything that I didn't already know about motivation and engagement, but I love the way they have of putting it all together in an easy to understand way.  I like the way the authors bring together these critical elements in one succinct model. The Six C's woven together can create that motivation and engagement that is so important for our students. Lots of food for thought here and some phenomenal ideas for collaborative activities to challenge young people's minds.

Printz Books

A Step From Heaven by An Na is a powerful story. I like the way the author really gives readers a glimpse of the Korean culture through the first person narration. Definitely a book I will recommend to my students.

My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr is a wonderful book about trying to find your identity in teenage years. It is a book about love and the perceptions of others. I like the way the author dealt with this subject in a straightforward way and left the reader with some feeling of hope. I will recommend this one to my students in 8th grade and up.

Other YA

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is amazing. I am impressed by how real the voice of the narrator felt for me. I have been fortunate in my life to not have to deal with an eating disorder, but this is what I would imagine might be happening in the mind of a girl who is suffering from this disorder. I have loved every book I read by this author. This is another book that I will recommend to students.

I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness "with my ears." The rediscovery of audiobooks has helped me to get back on track with workouts and I love that! I really liked the narrator's voice on this audiobook. The story of Conor and his monster tells the story of living through the struggle that so many people go through with Cancer. This is a sad, but uplifting story and I am so happy that it was available in the digital library. Time to look for a copy for the class library!

Mystery-- I have been so focused on YA this summer which has been nice, but I was starting to miss murder mysteries so I decided to spend some time with this genre this week. 

A Good Day to Pie was an easy read.  The protagonist was really immature and I was a little annoyed by her inability to think about things using common sense.  I will not look for more of this series. 

The Savage Altar by Asa Larsson is a murder mystery by a great Swedish crime writer.  I really like the character development in this series and will look forward to reading the rest of the series.  

Books I am Reading: 

Nonfiction Matters: Reading, Writing, and Research in Grades 3-8 by Stephanie Harvey
The Blood Spilt by Asa Larsson
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Books I will read this week:

I am planning to read Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos and Postcards from No Man's Land by Aidan Chambers.  I will also read Opening Minds by Peter Johnston and 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Jeff Anderson.  


  1. Wow! You have so many great books!
    I loved Notebook Know-How. I want to get the reader's notebook one (can't remember the name). I'm almost done with Ten Things, and I loved it...just like all of Anderson's other books!
    I want to get Real Revision. Is the ebook worth it? I have a SmartBoard, too.
    A Monster Calls is great; read it this summer.

    1. The e-book is worth it because the author pages are in the print version they just aren't as snazzy. I am excited to share some of the author tips with students in mini-lessons.

  2. I love your mix of fiction with professional books. I have just started Real Revision and it's already wonderful. Kate Messner is so great. I can totally hear her voice in the pages.

    A Monster Calls is one of my all-time favorite books. It's just absolutely amazing. I haven't cried like that in a long time.

    1. I definitely loved Real Revision and will share her examples of how the process works for published authors. I love the way she takes the reader through her entire process so that we can see how many revisions it really took to publish.

      I was toward the end of my workout when I got to the end of The Monster was difficult to sob and breathe right on the spin bike. Luckily, I was at home alone so nobody else heard the weird noises!