Reading, Teaching, Learning

Monday, October 28, 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.
 
 
These are the books I read this week:
 
PICTURE BOOK
 
Tea Party Rules
 
 
  
 
This book is laugh-out-loud funny and adorable. K.G. Campbell's illustrations complement Ame Dyckman's text perfectly. The expressions, body language, and subtle jokes within the pictures are priceless.  Love the cat.  I see this paired with Tea Rex by Molly Idle!
 
YOUNG ADULT
 
 
 
 
 
"Never forget who you are." 
A student lent this to me and wanted me to listen to it, so of course, I did. Creepy and violent! There were a couple of times I cringed when I thought about my fifth grader listening to it. It's a vampire story. The main character, Gene, is one of the few humans left and has to stay alive by disguising himself as a vampire - no smiling, no sweating, no coughing, no shivering, no body hair, no body odor, and of course, no falling in love, etc., in order to blend in to this post-apocalyptic vampire-ruled society. Unfortunately, he gets chosen as a hunter in a macabre hunt (shades of Hunger Games and "The Most Dangerous Game") of hepers - humans who have been trained to be the victims. In a cruel twist, Gene eventually becomes the hunted. Lots of goriness and tense action will appeal to zombie fans!  The ending will make you want to read the sequels.  The Trap will be released November 5th.
     
 
 
 
 Far Far Away
 
 
 
 
 
It took me a little while to get into this story, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. It's a National Book Award finalist this year. McNeal's writing is excellent. I loved his adult novel, To Be Sung Underwater, and now I want to read everything he's written! This was a perfect time for me to read this book - right after our unit on fairy tales, but this one is definitely for young adults and not intermediate children. Jeremy, the main character, has a ghost looking out for him - Jacob Grimm himself, who happens to also be the narrator. Jacob must protect Jeremy from A Finder of Occasions, an unknown menace trying to bring Jeremy to harm. Ginger, flirty and rebellious, befriends Jeremy and becomes entwined in a real-life scary fairy tale with him. Jacob must help save them both in the end. "In the tales, horrific evils are routinely perpetrated against innocents - maidens are butchered before our eyes, children are devoured - yet in the end, justice is meted out, and bodies are reassembled and restored to life. Innocence is rewarded; cruelty is punished." This quote and book reminds me of Adam Gidwitz's (author of The Tale Dark and Grimm and its companions, favorites of my 5th and 6th graders) article: http://www.reading.org/general/Public... I'll be curious to see if this book wins the National Book Award and maybe a Printz.
 
PROFESSIONAL BOOK
 
Taming of the Team: How Great Teams Work Together
 
Taming of the Team by Jack Berckemeyer



I read this book in preparation for Jack Berckemeyer's visit to our school this week and my role on the leadership team working with him. He did our keynote speech last year for our in-service day before school started, and he was hilarious. This book has a lot of great ideas for teaming in middle school. I remember when I was teaching in the 90s, teaming was big, and I loved working that way - our school was committed to it. I'd love to see the concept come back. I'm sure it never went away in some schools, but I haven't worked in a true team setting for a long time. The unfortunate thing is to get the extra team time, it requires money, and I think that extra time is what makes teams work the most effectively. Even without that time, though, we can do things to make our teaching less isolated and more collaborative, which is best for everyone. My favorite ideas in the book are the index card activity and the 3-5-3 Action Plan. I also love the idea of creating a team name and identity. I look forward to working with the author this Wednesday, and I'm excited that my school is committed to learning from him.

CURRENTLY READING

   Sisterland  A Sense of Wonder: On Reading and Writing Books for Children

      CURRENTLY LISTENING TO

   Half Brother

WHAT MY FAMILY IS READING

My mom:

Sisterland
We're reading this together!

My dad:

Pecos Crossing

My 20-year-old:

The Turn of the Screw

My 17-year-old:

Just finished

The Sun Also Rises

for AP Lit.  I want her to read The Paris Wife - it would be a fun follow-up!  Unfortunately, because of AP classes, there isn't much time for independent fun reading.

My husband is working on this series:



What are YOU reading this week?

 

22 comments:

  1. I always like that you list what your family reads. The family that reads together....my mom just finished re-reading The Lumby series by Gail Frasier. It sounds wonderful and I intended to read it one day.

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    1. I don't know The Lumby series! I'll have to check into it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Tea Party Rules has such a cute cover!

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  3. I'm embarrassed to admit I finally finished THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Having started it when it won the Newbery (and returned it to the library because it was due!), it had dropped off my radar. Picked it up last week and loved it, of course. Just finished Sisterland and am about to begin Donna Tartt's new book.( I, too, love your posts about what your entire family's reading!)

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    1. Ooooh - The Graveyard Book! So good! I read in the kids' version of Foster's How To Read Lit Like a Professor (which wasn't so kid-friendly, I thought) that it was an allusion to The Jungle Book - I hadn't thought of that at all. Interesting. Did you like Sisterland? I just started it this week. I hope you like Tartt's new book. I need to put that on my TBR list! Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you like the family reads. :-)

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  4. Great books, I will need to work on some of these!

    Have a great week!
    My Monday’s post!

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  5. The Hunt is creepy and violent? That sounds like a classroom winner. I will need to check it out!

    I love how your husband is reading the Graceling series. It is a pretty kick-butt series, and I love to reminisce about it!

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    1. Ha, yes - creepy and violent = classroom winner. :-) That's exactly what my husband says about Graceling!

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  6. The teaming book and The Sense of Wonder have just made their way to my list...and thanks for that video - Jack Berckemeyer knows the deal, doesn't he?!

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    1. He's so funny - I enjoyed my day with him yesterday talking about teaming.

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  7. Holly - always enjoy seeing what books are on your list and always appreciate the bonus video clips you include! A Sense of Wonder is one of my treasured and most inspiring books - along with Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. Far Far Away looks very interesting and I know my 13 yr. old son will love Prey and Hunt! Thanks for a wonderful list! Have a great week!

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    1. I'm looking forward to reading A Sense of Wonder! Speaking of Anne Lamott, I'm reading Help Thanks Wow by her right now.

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  8. Boy + Bot was one of my favorite new picture books last year, so I'm looking forward to reading Tea Party Rules. Taming of the Team sounds like a book my colleagues and I need to read. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Boy + Bot was adorable, wasn't it?! So is this new one! :-)

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  9. Love you picture book, Tea Party Rules, think I'll pass on the vampire series, just bought Far, Far Away & looking forward to it, Holly. You have quite an amazing array of books going on in the family! Nice to see!

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    1. I look forward to hearing what you think about Far, Far Away!

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  10. Oh Graceling! What a series! Love to hear your husband's perspective. My children are being read Half Brother (partner classes) at school so we are talking about it often at home. I loved that title. Different than Oppel's other books but possibly my favourite.

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    1. I look forward to hearing the audio of Half Brother every time I get in my car. It's REALLY good, and I can imagine sparks lots of talk with kids! How old are your kids? I'm trying to figure out if I want to have my sixth graders read it. There are some young adult issues in it.

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  11. It's the first time I've heard of Fukuda and Far Far Away - they both sound fascinating. :) How are you finding Paterson's A Sense of Wonder? I've read mixed reviews about it. Looks like your daughter is reading a lot for AP Lit, did she enjoy Hemingway? Have a great reading week! :)

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    1. You'll need to put Far, Far Away on your TBR list, especially! My daughter talked a lot about TSAR, but unfortunately, it was overanalyzed at school, and by the time she was done, she was sick of it. Ha. Also, she had some different views than the teacher, and I guess they weren't well received. :-(

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