Screen-Free Week is over, and I'm very happy to be blogging again! 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 over the last two weeks. I didn't post last Monday since that was the first day of Screen-Free Week. I read a lot of novels in verse because my students were reading them in April and finishing this week.
NOVELS IN VERSE
2012-book, character-who-writes, characters-with-disabilities, civil-rights, historical-fiction, intermediate-kids-book, multicultural, novel-in-verse, poetry, setting, social-studies-connections, war, writing-connections
This is a fictional account of the author's grandmother's life, reconstructed from the stories she told her. Fefa has dyslexia and feels stupid, always trying to read and write, but struggling. Her mother gives her a blank book and encourages her to "Think of this little book/as a garden,/Throw Wildflower seeds/all over each page, she advises./Let the words sprout/like seedlings,/then relax and watch as your wild diary grows." Words are compared to all sorts of things throughout the book, which I enjoyed. Fefa is also dealing with difficulties with her siblings, Cuba's period of lawlessness, a terrible accident, and an attempted kidnapping. Her diary plays a part in resolving all these trials and tribulations. This little book is rich in imagery and word play, so it would make a great mentor writing text. Students who read this would also enjoy May B. by Caroline Starr Rose, another one of our novels in verse choices in April since it also deals with the challenges of dyslexia.
cats, character-who-reads, character-who-writes, figurative-language, intermediate-kids-book, novel-in-verse, onomatopoeia, poetry
We got to discuss Love That Dog and Tweet with Sharon Creech during the April #SharpSchu Twitter book club. What a treat that was! My students were excited to read Hate That Cat right after Love That Dog. It's been fun listening to their debates about which one they liked better. My students got a kick out of Jack's commentaries about various poetic devices and poets, and they were annoyed by Uncle Bill's elitist view of what "real" poetry is. Jack seems a little more grown up, and this book explores his emotional readiness for a new pet. It's also interesting that we learn about his mother and her deafness in this story - I love the last of Jack's poems "This Is Just To Say" about how he will listen for his mother. The continuation of his relationship with Mrs. Stretchberry and how he fully realizes his and his family's affection for her is heartwarming.
award-winner, character-traits, death, historical-fiction, intermediate-kids-book, music, novel-in-verse, setting
The difficulties 14-yr.-old Billie Jo had to go through are unbelievable! The setting is in the panhandle of Oklahoma in 1934-1935. Billie Jo is anticipating a little brother or sister, and her parents are trying to make a go of a wheat farm during the Depression and a terrible drought. The descriptions of the dust storms that would come suddenly across the plains are incredible. I can't imagine what it must have been like. Billie Jo also had to endure a terrible tragedy in which not only did she lose loved ones, but because of an injury, she almost lost her ability to play her beloved piano. Told in verse, this book reminds me of the hardships Caroline Starr Rose's May B. and Kirby Larson's Hattie had to go through (only worse!) to survive in a harsh, unforgiving, and unrelenting setting.
I can't believe I've never read this before, but at least I didn't miss out on it altogether. Since I gathered all my Newbery winners together from my classroom library for a recemt Newbery unit, I decided this was one I've wanted to get around to reading for a long time. I got the audio in order to leave my hard copy available for students. What a gem! The audio was so well done. This story is about Sal who is driving out West with her grandparents to find her mother, and she is not excited abo...moreMy sMy My second Sharon Creech review this week! I can't believe I've never read this before, but at least I didn't miss out on it altogether. Since I gathered all my Newbery winners together from my classroom library for a recent Newbery unit, I decided this was one I've wanted to get around to reading for a long time. I got the audio in order to leave my hard copy available for students. What a gem! The audio was so well done. This story is about Sal who is driving out West with her grandparents to find her mother, and she is not excited about being trapped in a car with them for 6 days. She is determined to make it to their destination by her mother's birthday, but they are so gol-darn slow! While traveling, Sal entertains her grandparents (who are the very epitome of perfectly created characters) by telling them the story of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom. Be prepared for a tear-jerker! You'll also have some good laughs along the way.