Monday, November 2, 2015

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.
Goodbye Stranger
While the audio was excellently narrated, I wish I had read the print version instead because of the complexity of the various points of view. With that being said, I think this is a very important book - perfect for the summer before or the beginning of 7th grade. I don't think I've read any books about the problems with social media and sexting, and this story captures how innocently it can start and how quickly it can escalate. It also addresses the way girls bully each other, changing friendships, young romance, and how difficult adolescence is. I wouldn't put it in my 5th/6th grade classroom library, but I will be recommending it to my students who have moved on to the junior high. Now I'd like to go back and reread the story that's told from the second point of view. It was hard to follow on audio.
The Marvels



I started this book, put it down, came back to it, and the second time around, read it straight through. I was swept away when I read it like that. Selznik's magical storytelling enraptured me. I love the way his wordless story comes together with the text, the mood he creates, and the worlds he invents. I'm not sure what my students will think. I've got some fans of Selznik looking forward to getting their hands on this book now that I finished it. They're captivated by its cover, gold-tipped pages, and sheer heft, and they've loved Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, but I'm not sure if it will ultimately appeal to the intermediate reader. The mention of AIDS is interesting - I don't think many of my middle graders will know much about that. The LGBT element is part of the story without didacticism - again, I'll be interested in the response of the kids to that. The house the uncle created reminded me a little of the garage in The Seven Important Things.
The Warrior Heir (The Heir Chronicles, #1)
The Hired Girl


  1. I loved Goodbye Stranger when I read it. I have the audio version but haven't listened to it yet. I also have the Marvels and The Hired on my TBR pile and hope to read them sound. Thanks for sharing your books today.

  2. I have most of Chima's books autographed because I went to a signing. I haven't read any of them yet. The commitment of a whole series is keeping me from starting. I feel like I need a block of time to devote to them and I just don't have it. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  3. I really need to read The Marvels, will find it at the library I imagine. The work he does is fascinating to me. I enjoyed Goodbye Stranger very much. You've read two books that have complex POVs, haven't you? FYI, I know you have 5th & 6th grade. Last year had, & that's usual a mixed group of 6th, 7th, 8th. I was told by one student that he had about 22 social media accounts, his name, made-up names, etc. It certainly is an issue to be concerned about, or at least for parents to "know", if they can. Yikes, they get pulled in just as Stead described. Thanks, Holly.

  4. It's such a different world to be growing up in, isn't it? I can hardly imagine what it must be like to be a tween/teen these days. Of course, there were still issues of bullying and mean girls when I was in school, but fortunately you could escape from the mean kids when you went home. Now, with social media, you can't really ever get away from it all, it just follows you everywhere. Sexting/cyber bullying and related topics used to just be issues for teenagers, but it seems to really be spilling out into the younger grades now too, crazy stuff!

  5. I also loved Goodbye Stranger when I read it last spring. But then, I have adored everything Stead has written. I just put The Marvels out for kids to read. Eventually I hope to get a chance to read it myself.

  6. I was so excited to receive Goodbye Stranger--and then promptly lost it in one of the many, many piles of books all over my house. I seriously haven't laid eyes on the book since the day it was published! If I can only find it again, I'm moving it right up the pile to the top. I didn't realize that was part of the plot--now I'm even more eager to read!

  7. Oooooh you have some great books in this post. I so loved Goodbye Stranger, Marvels, and Hired Girl. How is the audio version?

  8. We really enjoyed the YA novel The Hired Girl. Can't wait to hear what you think about it.