Monday, October 21, 2013

It's Monday! What are YOU reading?

Well, it's a little late, but better than never, right?

I'm participating in a meme created by Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts.  I'll be reviewing both children's literature and adult literature.  


This was the tale of a pair of scout raccoons, a boy of 12 years of age, a swamp man (related to the Yeti) and a rich, young swamp owner.  Young Chap (the boy) is learning to deal with the loss of his grandfather, swamp lover Audie.  Chap and his mom can't afford to keep their pie business and house upon his grandfather's death and they know Sunny-Boy Beaucoup will take over the swamp unless they can show him proof of the Sugar Man, the local legend who has lived in the swamp since the beginning of time.  The two raccoons, Bingo and J'Miah are involved in keeping the Sugar Man safe, especially from the pack of feral pigs that are after the sugar in the swamp.  All of the tales come together in a moving climax that not only demonstrates coming-of-age, but also has undercurrents of ecological soundness.


"You don't have to ignore a lesser suffering because there's a great one out there--that's a sure route to paralysis," so says author Eliot Schrefer. Endangered is the story of Sophie, the daughter of a Congolese woman and American man, and her bonobo Otto. Sophie travels to Congo one summer from America (her parents are now separated) to visit her mother at the Bonobo Sanctuary she runs. On her way to the sanctuary, Sophie encounters an infant bonobo being paraded on a Congo street. She pays the "owner" American money and takes the bonobo to her mother. Shortly thereafter her mother leaves to release bonobos in a remote part of Congo. Sophie is left to care for Otto (the young bonobo she saved from the streets) while her mother is gone. However, war strikes and Sophie must choose between being rescued by the UN or keeping the young bonobo safe. This is a story of love, hope, and perseverance. Sophie is a character of strong-will, wittiness, and courage. She takes on the roll of parent, when her own parent is gone. You'll root for her and Otto throughout the book! This is a great story to introduce the topics of empathy and human and animal rights, and whose rights are more important.


"Knowing you still have possibilities is a luxury." Will Traynor, financial-whiz, risk-taker, traveler, was injured in an accident in which he was hit by a motorcycle. His spinal injuries resulted in paralysis from the neck down, with limited use of one arm. He became a quadriplegic. Louisa Clark, a 27 year old woman, lost her job at a local bakery and went through the unemployment agency, only to find a job taking care of someone that was unable to assist himself. So begins the six month journey of Lou and Will. They change each others' lives immeasurably. They experience anger, frustration, cattiness, fondness, and love. Lou and Will are perfect for each other, but are they enough for each other? A startling look at what it means to live life to the fullest, this book is a reminder to do something you love each day. 4.5 stars!

Hope you've read something good this week, too!  Here's what I'm currently reading and what's on deck:

The Illuminated Adventures of Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

A Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian


The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner

Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I finally started a class blog tonight for my fifth graders.  Check it out!  I know the kids are going to be so excited and I can't wait to get them started on the meme "It's Monday!  What are you reading?"  I would love to tackle the "Nonfiction Wednesdays" meme, too.  We'll see how anxious they are to stretch their reading muscles and type up a few reviews.  We may even throw in a "Slice of Life" piece and some Wonderopolis stuff.  They sky's the limit, right?

My books are calling me so that I, too, can fulfill the "It's Monday! What are you reading?" weekly requirement.  Check out the new blog.  The kids would be so excited you did so!

Monday, October 7, 2013

It's Monday! What are YOU Reading?

I'm participating in a meme created by Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts.  I'm reviewing what I've read over the last several weeks in an attempt to catch up!

I've been negligent recently in posting on my blog.  Life has been a little overwhelming!  But, it's returning to a normal routine.  We're settling in nicely to a new home, figuring out new commute schedules, I'm writing a series of articles with Holly Mueller for Choice Literacy, my daughter is enjoying her first few weeks of preschool, and I'm up to my eyeballs in teaching reading to my 5th graders.  It's a great place to be!  I'm ready to hop back into blogging.  Let's get started with what I've been reading over the last few weeks.


The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

Oh, wow! This was such a little book with so much to say! A childless couple finds a young boy on their porch. They have no idea where he came from or who he belongs to. There is a note with the boy that states someone will be back to get him someday. John and Marta (the couple) aren't sure if they should seek out the parents of the boy or not. The boy (Jacob) is mute and loves to paint and play music. John and Marta grow to love the boy and face a hard choice when the boy's father shows up. This book is full of meaning: the meaning of one's name, the meaning of family and love, and the meaning of taking care of those that are left uncared for. I can't wait to get it in the hands of my fifth graders to see what they think!

I don't know how I haven't before read this book all the way through, but I'm sure glad I listened to the audio! I have a book group reading this at school, as I thought it fitting for our empathy unit. I know they'll love the tales about Joey trying (and often failing) to control himself both in and out of school. The audio version was read by Jack Gantos, which was great. Fun read!

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

I don't know how I haven't read this book until now. It's a wonderful coming-of-age story of Esperanza, a priveledged Mexican girl whose circumstances are changed dramatically upon the death of her father. She and her mother are forced to move to the United States and become migrant workers. Her mother falls sick and it's up to Esperanza to make money for the family. She comes to realize just how important staying together as a family is, even without the luxuries she is used to.


The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs

I listened to this novel.  It's the story of a young professional woman who discovers she has a family she was unaware of in Sonoma County, CA.  Through her discovery of her "new" family, she finds a different lifestyle and a realization there is more to life than work.


Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

The Illuminated Adventures of Flora and Ulysses

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt

Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner