Monday, May 26, 2014

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. 

It's the end of the school year, and I have a graduating senior, so reading is getting pushed aside.  I did finish two wonderful middle grade/young adult books this week, though.

The Boy on the Wooden Box 
This is a phenomenal audio book. I had to get the hard copy, too, so I could see the pictures. I plan on reading it again in hard copy form. Leon Leyson's story of being one of the boys on Schindler's list is horrifying, inspiring, and hopeful. Every student should read it. It will definitely be part of my 6th grade curriculum from now on. I'm planning a global awareness literacy contract for the fall, and this will be one of the nonfiction choices.
Dash - Life Between the Numbers
Greg is a recent Twitter friend, and he sent me his book to circulate around my room to gather student input. I had to read it first, of course, and I am so glad I did. This is a poignant book about thirteen-year-old Dash, a boy who loves running more than anything, and his journey with cancer. A lot is going on in this young adult story. Dash's relationship with his sister, father, grandfather, best friend, school friends, and absent mother are strained. He puts his ambitions of being the best as top priority, and it is difficult for him to see that his mother isn't the only one who has hurt people. When he finds out he has cancer, he must reconcile his competitive nature, find forgiveness, and learn to put love as his top priority instead of winning. I was amazed to see The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane as a catalyst to get Dash to that place. It's one of my all-time favorite children's book, and I loved seeing it play a central role. Another connection I had was the importance of Theodore Roosevelt's speech, "The Man in the Arena." It's my husband's favorite, and we have it framed in our office. It has so many profound messages. I also thought the device of starting each chapter with a definition of dash was clever. Thank you, Greg, for writing and sharing this beautiful story.

The Aviator's Wife
The Living
My family loves to read, too!
Libby (21):
The Birth of Venus
Katie (18):
The Longest Ride
The Wives of Los Alamos
I, Tom Horn



  1. I am ALWAYS looking for books about running, so will have to find a copy of Dash. Have to see how widely available it it, though. I see also Palacio's Julian chapter on your side bar-- I had a student who really wanted to read it, but she didn't have any kind of e reader, didn't want to spend $1.99 on her own for it, and as far as I could tell, there wasn't a physical copy I could get for my library. E Books are a completely different animal when it comes to school library use!

  2. I just recently purchased The Boy on the Wooden Box and it is in my summer pile. I have seen lots of talk about Dash on Twitter and #titletalk last night. That one sounds great too. Since I may be moving to 6th, I have been looking for more books that would appeal to this age group. Both of these sound like great choices.

  3. I think it's amazing you want to introduce books such as 'The Boy on the Wooden Box' to your students! More teachers should take initiative like that! The cover for 'The Living' looks amazing, if slightly frightening! Thanks for sharing :) I hope you enjoy all of them!
    My Monday posts
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  4. Thank you for your kind words. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story, and I'm honored to have you as a colleague and friend.

  5. I think I must put Dash on my list. The Man in the Arena is one of my husband's favorites, too. He quoted it in a eulogy for a close friend. Also Edward Tulane is at the top of my list, vying for first along with Despereaux. I started my school year with it a few years ago and it influenced our talk all year long. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. How fun to see what EVERYONE in your family is reading!

  7. I can't wait to get to Dash this summer! It will be interesting reading this novel after "talking" with Greg so many times on Twitter! Congrats on your daughter's graduation. Such a fun and memorable time!

  8. I love books where other beloved children's books inspire the characters. When You Reach Me certainly comes to mind in that regard.

  9. I've added to Dash to my TBR list. Loved The Boy on the Wooden Box. I read it aloud to my 83 year old mother-in-law who loves anything set during that time period. Such a powerful memoir. I also love that you include what everyone in the family is to see all the different reading interests.

    Happy Reading!

  10. The Boy on the Wooden Box was such a powerful read. Sigh. I read it and then immediately started lending it out. Maybe I will get my children to try reading it this summer. Pretty emotional but so important. Don't get too freaked out with The Living! I found this so compelling and freaky! Happy Reading!

  11. I have both of these books noted Holly, & both sound very good. Thanks for sharing about them, and congrats again to your daughter!

  12. It is cool to see your family's book reads too. And I am interested in what you think of the Aviator's Wife.

  13. Hello there Holly, we'd be having a War and Poetry theme very soon, and thanks for sharing The Boy on the Wooden Box. I just checked our online library database, and we have it! Will soon be borrowing a lot of books for our theme, so I'd definitely add this one to my list. Thanks again, dear Holly!