Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading? Memorial Day Edition

It's Monday! What are you reading? --From Picture Books to YA--is a weekly meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  Head over to their blog for links to many great blogs and a plethora of good book suggestions.

This was another busy week as we start getting ready for the end of the year.  With my 8th graders we also are in charge of planning a completion ceremony and 8th grade fun trip so things are hopping in my neck of the woods lately.  I finished most of my report cards today so I will have much more time for reading this week.

Books I Finished This Week:

Aprilynne Pike was one of the authors I heard speak two weeks ago.  She was really witty and fun and I found her book to be that way as well.  Wings was a fun read about a girl who one day wakes up and finds a flower growing out of her back.  Needless to say, it turns out to be a story about faeries but it is definitely a fun one!  I will be looking for the other books in the series to read soon.

Books I am Currently Reading:

I am currently listening (still) to Days of Blood and Starlight.  I thought I was almost done a couple weeks ago but actually I was almost done with the first part on the audiobook.  This book is so beautiful.  I love the narrator, but I will also need to look for a hard copy of the book.  I listen to the book while working out and find myself dwelling on the beauty of the language.  I wish I could be writing things down while listening.  (and I am pretty sure my heart is going to be breaking with the storyline also)

I am also reading In Darkness, which is heartbreaking and fascinating.  I am learning so much about Haiti through this book.  I can see why this one won the Printz award this week.  I also started Rot and Ruin and am finding this one quite entertaining too.  There is a little bit so far about the morality of killing zombies which is somewhat unique.  I will be interested to see how the rest of the book goes.

What's up next?

I have SOOOO many books on my pile!  I want to get to Aristotle and Dante this week and I have Pepper which is a book about this spice from the library which seems quite intriguing.  I also would like to get to the new Eoin Colfer book which I have in e-galley form.  I will probably also start Notice and Note so that I can participate with the Twitter chat next week.

What are you reading?  Have a great reading week!

Monday, May 20, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/20

It's Monday! What are you reading? --From Picture Books to YA--is a weekly meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  Head over to their blog for links to many great blogs and a plethora of good book suggestions.

Another very busy week so I really didn't read a lot.  The highlight of the week was meeting Amy Timberlake and having her visit my school.  The students and teachers at school all loved the experience.  If you haven't read One Came Home yet, I would highly recommend it!

Another fun thing this week was FINALLY opening my bookswap package.  Lisa Oetting was my swap buddy and she sent me a great book.  Thank you Lisa!

I have heard of this book from multiple sources.  I think almost every book I have read about writing workshop talks about this picture book as a great one for a mentor text.  I was so excited to finally read it!

This is definitely a book which lives up to its recommendations.  I will use it for talking about voice and perspective in writing.

Books Finished This Week:

I really liked Splintered by A.G. Howard.  This is a great twist on a classic story.  In this book, Alice's great-great-great granddaughter is battling a curse that has been in her family since Alice came back from Wonderland.  Every woman in the family goes insane.  Alyssa is no different, she has been hearing the conversations of insects and plants and hiding the fact that she is starting to fall under the family curse.  The imagined Wonderland in this book is dark and twisted and very interesting.

Books I am Currently Reading:

I am more than halfway through Gone by Michael Grant.  This is going quickly for me but it is a long book.  I also am still listening to Days of Blood and Starlight.

What's Next:

I have In Darkness and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe from the library.  I also have been meaning to read Rot and Ruin so I will probably get to that soon.  I can't believe how few books I have been getting through lately.  I hope I will have more time to do more reading this week.  (With report cards due soon this will probably not happen though)

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/12

It's Monday! What are you reading? --From Picture Books to YA--is a weekly meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  Head over to their blog for links to many great blogs and a plethora of good book suggestions.

May just keeps getting busier and busier!  I feel lucky that I am not suffocating under the pile of papers on my desk!  Testing and more testing and grading and end of year stuff and I am SOOO overwhelmed.  On top of everything, we now have a book study going at school which we are trying to squeeze in before the end of the school year and a LOT of my reading time is spent on that.  

I am super excited for this week's author visit from Amy Timberlake.  I have never experienced an author visit in my school and I am ecstatic that I was able to arrange this awesome experience for my students.  

This week I attended the Pitch Dark Days tour at the local library and heard four lovely lady authors speak about their books.  I was so excited to meet Kiera Cass!  I am looking forward to reading the other books I bought and learning more about the other three authors I met: Aprilynne Pike, Elizabeth Norris, and Amy Tintera.  

The other big event of the week was EdCampMke.  I have to admit, I thought about skipping it and going into my classroom instead, but I am so glad I did not skip it!  What an amazing experience!  I am now armed with a whole bunch of amazing and invigorating ideas.  I also actually pitched a session about reading and writing workshop and was able to share info about NerdyBookClub and TeachersWrite.  

All of this extra busy stuff meant that my reading week was a little bit slow, but I definitely think it was worth it.  

Books Finished This Week:

I really enjoyed Madhattan Mystery by John Bonk.  It was a fun mystery and definitely appropriate and fun for middle grades kids.  I love mysteries and am so excited that there are so many being written for younger audiences.  When I was younger, I would have loved that!  

This was such a cute book and I was glad I could read it at the library while waiting for the author event.  It would be a good addition to any elementary school class library.  I can definitely see using this book with middle schoolers as well in order to help them get away from using exclamation marks at the end of every sentence.  This would be a great way to review conventions at the beginning of the year.

I loved this book.  I grew up in Wisconsin and lived in a small town while I went to high school. There were many kids that came from farms and I really appreciate how this book really acknowledges the fact that farming is such a difficult thing to do.  The rivalry between the two high schools is very realistic as well.  I thought the author did a great job with character development and I am really interested in reading her other books now also.  I highly recommend it to students in middle school and up. 

Books I am Currently Reading:

I am still listening to Days of Blood and Starlight.  It is turning out to be quite a dark and heartbreaking story.  I finally was able to start working out again yesterday so I hope to finish this book this week during workouts.  I am also reading the professional book about math instruction that we are using for the book study at school.  

What's Next:

I checked out some books at the library last week that I am really looking forward to.  I will probably read some of those this week.  I also have been wanting to read Rot and Ruin lately so I might pick that up.  I have the books that I bought at the author event as well.  There are so many books on my TBR shelf that I just have to play it by ear or I drive myself insane.  

What are you reading?  Have a great reading week!

Monday, May 6, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/6

It's Monday! What are you reading? --From Picture Books to YA--is a weekly meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts.  Head over to their blog for links to many great blogs and a plethora of good book suggestions.

I had a really great reading week!  There was a lot of variety in the books I read and I enjoyed my reading time.

Books Finished This Week:

Amy Timberlake will be visiting my school next week.  I am so excited to meet her and to have my students experience an author visit.  In preparation for her visit, I read One Came Home.  I absolutely loved this historical fiction book.  The mystery was intriguing and the characters were likable and fun to spend time with.  I would recommend this one to grade 4 and up.

This one is another fun one from Amy Timberlake.  The Dirty Cowboy is a funny picture book and I think students will enjoy the read aloud.

I loved Mind Games by Kiersten White.  It was such an unusual premise and the book really surprised me.  I really liked the way the story was woven through flashbacks and with the voices of the two sisters.  I am absolutely more interested in reading other books by this author now.  I would highly recommend this one to teens and adults alike.

I am super excited to meet Kiera Cass this Wednesday at the Dark Days tour in Milwaukee.  I listened to The Selection on audiobook and it took me forever to get through the book, because I only listen during workouts.  I knew I couldn't do that with this one.  In fact, I requested it from the library before it came out so I could be one of the first to get it.  Then I proceeded to read it in one sitting.  I have to say that I was pretty mad about the love triangle in this series.  However, after reading The Elite I may be able to forgive the author for this.  I cannot wait to read the third book and find out once and for all how things are resolved for America.  This world is such an interesting place and the selection is so similar to the reality shows like The Bachelor that I can't help but be sucked into the whole scene.  I absolutely recommend this series to grade 8 and up.

I finished reading this one this weekend so that I could listen in to the last meeting of my literature groups today.  I absolutely loved this book and am looking forward to continuing to offer it as one of the selections for literature groups.  I thought the author did a great job of playing with style in this book and it was a great introduction to footnotes for the group.  It is another great book that deals with the issue of an autistic child in a family and the stresses that having a special needs child can have on a family.  I love the way this is highlighted without making the book have a depressing tone.  Tink has a hilarious writing voice and I found myself laughing out loud in multiple spots.  I highly recommend this one to grades 8 and up.

I enjoyed No More Dead Dogs and I know that my students who read this one for literature circles did too.  It is a funny book that deals with middle school issues in a real way.  I liked the alternate narrators because it gave almost opposite points of view and really made me think about all of the kids and the reactions they had to the ridiculous situations.  I also liked that towards the end of the book the teacher has a few chapters and we get to see him as more human.  I am not sure middle school students really ever see their teachers as humans and I appreciated that the author brought in the teacher perspective here.

What I am Currently Reading:

I am reading Madhattan Mystery by John Bonk.  I am reading The Pull of Gravity to my class right now and really loving the re-read of this one.  I am still listening to Days of Blood and Starlight.  The last thing I am reading right now is a math PD book for a book study at school.

What's Next:

I think I will play it by ear this week.  I have a lot of work to get done and I don't think it will let up anytime soon with the end of the year looming on the horizon.  I am going to the author event on Wednesday and will probably  absolutely come home with more new books (even though I should not be buying any more).  We'll see what happens.

Happy Reading!