Reading, Teaching, Learning

Monday, April 1, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.



Here are the books I read this week:
 
Going Vintage
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This is a really wonderful book about a girl, Mallory, whose boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with a cyber girlfriend. Mallory has put her whole self into Jeremy and is devastated when she realizes he hasn't felt the same way about her. When he says some mean things about her on a social networking space, she vows off all modern technology.  As she is sifting through her grandmother's things after she moves to a retirement community, she finds a list her grandmother made in 1962 that inspires her. 
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
Mallory is convinced her grandmother lived in simpler times and didn't go through the same teenage angst she is going through, so she "goes vintage" and decides to accomplish everything on the list. What follows is a discovery of herself, a new boy, Oliver, who is the real deal, truths about her grandmother, and a secret life her mother is living. Throughout the story, Mallory's younger sister, Ginnie, is a true friend who helps her stay strong and true to herself. This is a book almost everyone can relate to: teenager, mom, teacher, etc. I loved it - laugh-out-loud funny, intelligent, poignant, and endearing. You can see yourself AND your teenage students and daughters in this one. Read it!

Gone Fishing
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thoroughly enjoyed this little book of poems that tell a story about a fishing trip from three points of view: Sam, the brother, Lucy, his annoying little sister, and their dad. Sam is so excited the night before his fishing trip with his dad. "Not Mom, not Grandpa, not Lucy...Just Dad and me." Lucy, however, has different ideas and talks her dad into letting her go, too. Matthew Cordell's illustrations show every dismayed and disappointed feelings in the expressions on Sam's face as he helps pack the car. They have to wait forever as Lucy gleefully gathers her fishing essentials: snacks, puzzles, games, toy guitar, art supplies, Play-Doh, etc. Poems are told from each character's point of view, and even some in two or three parts. Each poem is labeled with the narrator and the type of poem - everything from a Tercet Variation to a Lyric Poem. I love the story - Sam goes from bitter to appreciative when he realizes Lucy is his biggest fan (there was one part that even made me tear up a bit!), and he celebrates her eight fish as she celebrates his big catfish, with a family feast at the end. Wissinger defines poetry techniques and poetic forms in "The Poet's Tackle Box" at the end. Cordell's illustrations capture each character's emotions and personality perfectly. Loved all of it - it's a must for the classroom during April's celebration of poetry!
Links for National Poetry Month:
 MARILYN SINGER TALKING ABOUT POETRY

 
Trouble Gum
 
 
 
Ruben is bored on a rainy day, so his mom and Grammy suggest he play with his little brother, Julius. Ruben is much more rambunctious than serious and quiet Julius, so their mom asks Ruben to be quieter. Finally, after more requests for Ruben to settle down, Grammy has an idea to give them gum, and that's when the real trouble begins! Such cute little characters, and Cordell captures the funniest expressions in such seemingly simple drawings. Kids will have great fun with the onomatopeoia throughout the book.

A Monster Calls
  

 
 
 
Wow! Strange. Sad. Disturbing. Beautiful. Masterpiece. Devastating. Profound. These are the words that came to mind immediately after finishing this young adult novel about a boy, Conor, whose mother is dying of cancer, and he is visited by a monster who wants the truth.  I want a book club about this book so I can talk about it.  This is the first Patrick Ness book I've read even though I've had the Chaos Walking series on my Kindle for awhile.  I've heard so much about his books, but I never seemed to find the right time to read them.  I don't know what I was waiting for.  What a stunning novel.  I finished it while I was in the plane flying back from Florida on spring break.  Tears were streaming down my face.  Fellow passengers must have thought I was lamenting leaving the warm weather.  Well, I WAS, but that wasn't why I was crying.  This book is so unique - from the content of the story to the gorgeous illustrations and design.  Amazing and not to be missed!
 
CURRENTLY READING:
 
The Storyteller
 
 
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.
 
CURRENTLY LISTENING TO:
 
Reached (Matched, #3)
 
The Painted Girls
 
ON DECK:
 
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

I know I said this was on deck last week, but other books seemed to squeeze their way into my reading instead.  This week I really am going to get to this one!  Come back Wednesday to see my nonfiction reading for the week.

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20 comments:

  1. LOVED The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z!! It involved Cross Country. Looks like you've had a lot of good books come your way.

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    1. I'm really enjoying it. I'm a big fan of Kate Messner!

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  2. You have read a lot! I just saw A Monster Calls in our town library - I'll have to scoop it up when I'm next there.

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    1. You must! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

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  3. Hi Holly,

    A Monster Calls is such a powerhouse. I bought it, read it, sobbed through it, thought about it, and then brought it to school and put it on my "teacher" bookshelf because I don't want to share it with my young students. The bummer is that when you read a book like this alone you battle this urge to talk about it with someone else as equally moved by it. Are you planning on putting it in your classroom library? How do you think students will react to it?

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    1. I teach 4th graders, so no, I'm not going to put it in my classroom library. I think 6th grade and above would be appropriate. It's one of those "Here - you need this" books for kids who are going through something similar to Conor.

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  4. A Monster Calls sounds intriguing! Have a great week! :)

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    1. It is definitely a unique book! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  5. Lots of great looking books coming up! Most of them I haven't read, but need to. Enjoy!

    The Monster Report

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  6. I read A Monster Calls as well. Made me cry a lot. It was a great book though.

    Take a look at what I'm reading this week.

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    1. Yes - one of those memorable, emotional books! I'll definitely visit your blog this evening! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  7. I really enjoyed Henrietta Lacks. I rarely pick up nonfiction, but this audio was so riveting! Here is my week http://wp.me/pzUn5-1t0

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    1. Maybe I'll listen to it instead. Thanks for the rec! I will visit your blog this evening. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  8. Looks like you have many interesting titles coming up. I am curious about Reached - I keep seeing it on lists - maybe a sign I need to read this trilogy!

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    1. It's a great series - you should definitely check it out!

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  9. Thanks for all the poetry links! Trouble Gum and Gone Fishing look really interesting. Poetry is a book gap for me. I need to read more of it. Have a great week!

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    1. Poetry is a challenge for me also. I'm going to have my students read novels in verse this month. I'm excited about it!

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  10. Hi there Holly, A Monster Calls is one of my absolute favorite novels of all time. I know what you mean about how powerful and devastating it can be. One of my greatest reads last year, the illustrations are breathtaking as well. Many thanks for the Poetry links - will check those out too. :)

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    1. Yes, the illustrations are so unique. Everything about it is an experience! Thanks for stopping by!

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