Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's Monday...

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Visit Unleashing Readerswith Ricki and Kelle, and Teach Mentor Texts, with Jen to read about the books on everyone's lists!
                 I didn't get to read as much as I thought I could last week at the beach (too much fun in the water and shelling), but it's been 2 weeks since I posted, and I managed to finish several longer books, all I enjoyed, some I loved. 

chapter books
Gabriel Finley & the Raven’s Riddle – written by George Hagen

          Coming at the end of October, you won’t want to miss reading this fantasy adventure, with a thoughtful main character, 12 year old Gabriel, who carries on his family legacy in the quest to find his father who disappeared when he was nine.  The book holds ravens and riddles, which Gabriel and ravens love, good friends who leave, unexpected friends who appear just as the action begins. George Hagen craftily adds hints of what’s coming, although one doesn’t always realize it for a while. The opening about ravens is important, and I found myself needing to return to re-read it, to begin to understand the rules of the magic in this book. There are some characters and descriptions who appear that makes one want to shout to Gabriel, “watch out, this does not sound good!” And there are the wonderful raven characters, both loving and terrifying. It’s an adventure that takes Gabriel down numerous paths, and they all provide a clear vision of the good and evil in the world. I enjoyed the book very much. 


The Boy on the Wooden Box – a memoir by Leon Leyson, with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson
      Every time I read a book about the Holocaust, I am both appalled and angry, yet glad to be enlightened and inspired. How could this have happened? How did they survive? Leon Leyson’s story is one of many, but so poignant in the loss of his childhood and of many family members through the cruelties of the Nazis, and so inspiring that he did not allow that awful time to define his life. I wonder if this would be a good read aloud? Could it, for older students, be something that enriches their lives, to see how others have survived in the worst of circumstances?  The surprise to me was the connection to Oskar Schlindler and the fact that being on Schlindler’s list meant life for Leon and his immediate family.  To read and learn about one story from the “list” is wonderful. The story seems to speak directly to young adolescents, chronicles the years Leon was 12 to 15. He is a straightforward storyteller and I wish I could have seen him speak in person. Here is another story from that time worth knowing.
The Second Life of Abigail Walker – written by Frances O’Roark Dowell

        A friend at the All-Write conference recommended this to me, and wow, I'm happy she did. Eleven year old Abigail discovers herself in this story of the bullies she must defend against, the kids who really are her friends, and a young boy met in her wandering in nearby woods whose father is struggling with PTSD and who needs her help. A fox enters the story too, adding a bit of magical realism, and Dowell puts it all together beautifully.  What a strong main character Dowell gives us in this story, one to offer those middle graders who are struggling to find a place in their worlds that feels right. I couldn’t put it down.
Legend – written by Marie Lu
           I’m late to this series’ party, but enjoyed reading this adventure of two young teens living in a future that pairs two warring groups, the elite Republic and the rebels of the Colonies. June, born into a wealthy and accomplished family, and Day, a legend among the rebel group, cross paths in a fast-paced story of their quest to discover truth.  There’s adventure and a bit of romance, a good dystopian book for middle school.
The Fourteenth Goldfish – written by Jennifer Holm

          I was interested in this book because of Jennifer Holm’s Squish books, helping kids to see how science can be fun.  But, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about eleven year old Ellie, whose scientist grandfather has discovered a secret to becoming young again, thus becoming Ellie’s teenager/distant cousin who is now living with her and her mother.  Sounds a little farfetched? Yes, but it is a wonderful family story that includes words to ponder from wise scientists, words that will lead to all kinds of discussions in class. Jennifer Holm offers some wise words herself in this story, one I know will make a great read aloud. Thanks to Net Galley, I was able to read it a little ahead. It’s out Aug. 26th.
picture book
Inside My Imagination – written by Marta Arteaga and illustrated by Zuzanna Celej
           I don’t remember who recommended this book, but I’m happy they did! How could one pass up a description of how imagination works in writing, “like a sea of thoughts that float and glide over each other”? My own favorite is the line “The letters all fit perfectly into place.” And I imagine using this with a variety of students who are writing with me, from their own imaginations!
poetry
Doodle Soup – written by John Ciardi and illustrated by Merle Nacht

            Want an older book filled with poetry that will make you laugh along with your children? This is it. There is something for everyone, fun outside and in, turning words into different words, discovering animals are not always what they seem. I enjoyed the kinship with more recent humorous writers like Shel Silverstein. Find a copy if you can and get ready to laugh!

Next: Still working to read my #MustReadIn2014 list (see above & to the right), and for Gathering Books CORL challenge (see the button on the right), so starting The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I've had it since it came out, but now with the next one coming, I need to catch up on the story. And I have some picture books from the library. Summer leisure times are going away, aren't they? I'll be in school this week doing some work! 


29 comments:

  1. Inside My Imagination caught my eye. I love books that tackle creativity.

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    1. It's worth knowing about, Earl. Hope you enjoy it!

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  2. Thank you for adding to my TBR pile! I have picked up The Boy on the Wooden Box several times at the bookstore and now I will purchase a copy. I can't wait for The Fourteenth Goldfish. Doodle Soup is a new title for me but I will start a search immediately!

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    1. Hope you find & enjoy all three, Beth. They are for different audiences, but all good. Thanks!

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  3. Starting 14th Goldfish soon, cannot wait! Frances O’Roark Dowell- missed that there was that book out, sounds intriguing, read many other books by her and loved them... Happy reading to you!

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    1. The O'Roark Dowell was excellent, Debbie. I loved winding through the story. And The 14th Goldfish was a pleasant and sweet surprise!

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  4. Sounds like the time at the beach was wonderful. I've been avoiding the Boy on the Wooden Box as I read Prisoner B-3087 one day this summer and was SO upset. I did just order The Second Life...I'm working on a book and it sounds like this one could really help me. Thank you!

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    1. Oh, terrific, I hope that The Second Life... is helpful. How exciting for you to connect a book that will help with your writing! I need to read Prisoner B-3087-have heard good things about it, too. Thanks, Melanie.

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  5. I think I need to get the Fourteenth Goldfish. It keeps popping up for me. I love stuff like that. I just started to really think about my next year's work. I aim to give myself all of July for vacation but I never really stop thinking about good books and writing lessons.

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    1. I understand about those thoughts in the back of your mind. They don't leave really, do they? I read an e-copy of Fourteenth Goldfish, but will definitely purchase it when it arrives! Thanks, Kimberley!

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  6. Glad you enjoyed The Fourteenth Goldfish. It's such a quick read, but there is a lot of wisdom in those few pages too.

    I MUST seek out Inside My Imagination. It looks wonderful.

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    1. Yes, The Fourteenth Goldfish was terrific! Hope you like Inside My Imagination-so good, will be useful in a variety of ways! Thanks, Beth!

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  7. Hi Linda, Gabriel Finley looks great. Is it for middle grades do you think? The a Second Life of Abigail Walker looks great! I have the audio of a The Boy in the Wooden Box waiting for me at my library right now. Tut is on our state award list this year.

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    1. Definitely Gabriel Finley would be good for strong middle readers, Gigi. It was quite an adventure, & the riddles are much fun! I hope you'll enjoy The Boy On The Wooden Box. Thanks!

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  8. Intrigued by the raven riddle - put that on my "to watch" list, and also requested that our library purchase "Inside My Imagination" - sounds like a great one for student writers. I'm heading in to school this week too - amazing how fast August sneaks up!

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    1. Yes, school is on its way! "Inside My Imagination" will be good for multiple ages, FYI. Hope you'll find & enjoy the Raven book! Thanks, Katie.

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  9. Linda - I have missed your Monday posts! Was so pleased to sit and read about what you are reading. Isn't Inside Your Imagination stunning. I plan to use it as a writing prompt - it has so many beautiful phrases. I just picked up The Second Life . . . for my daughter at the library and she loved it. I wanted to read it too but too many due dates looming with other books! I have lent my copy of The Boy on the Wooden Box out to many people - it is really such an important story! Glad that you thought so too.

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    1. So excited to hear that your daughter loved The Second Life of Abigail Walker. It was a special read for me, too. I'm sure I read The Boy because of you, Carrie. It was an important story to know. Thanks as always!

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  10. I can't believe we're looking at the end of summer coming relatively soon! I'm going to miss my reading time! Inside my Imagination looks wonderful but it's not at my library. I'll keep checking for it. I really enjoyed The Fourteenth Goldfish. I think that one is going to be fun to pass along and talk about!

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    1. Thanks, Michele. Hope you can find Inside My Imagination soon. Glad to hear you liked The Fourteenth Goldfish, too! Yes, reading time is going...

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  11. I haven't read Legend either although it is LOVED by my students. I do have to get to it at some point.
    I have the 14th Goldfish which I hope to get to soon.

    Happy reading this week! :)

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    1. Thanks Kellee-I hope your day went well today! And I imagine you'll love The Fourteenth Goldfish!

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    2. I have really loved everything Jenni Holms writes, so I imagine I will as well :) You can't lose with one of her books.

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  12. I haven't read as much on my last couple of vacations as I intended to either. Too occupied by sitting and staring! Very hard to find time to sit and stare when I'm at home, and it's very peaceful to just let the mind wander. I have read a couple of O'Dowell's other books and really loved them, so I will have to get The Secret Life at the library this week. Love your description--sounds like just the kind of book I enjoy! Also looking forward to 14th Goldfish--I really like that cover for some reason.

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    1. I'm embarrassed that I don't know any of Dowell's books, & now I need to look for more! I hope you enjoy The Fourteenth Goldfish, Elisabeth. Thanks!

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  13. Linda,
    Legend is one of my favorite series. Prodigy (the sequel) was even better than the first book, in my opinion (and I loved the first!).
    I am listening to The Boy on the Wooden Box in my car right now, and it is quite beautiful.
    I hope you have a great week!

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    1. Thanks, Ricki. I almost downloaded Prodigy, was so excited that I liked Legend, but have a few others to read first. Happy you're liking The Boy On The Wooden Box.

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  14. I just finished THE GLASS SENTENCE, which took quite a bit of my summer reading time. A long fantasy-type novel. I say "type" because it was also a mystery and a caper! A bit of a slog for me, but I know some voracious kid readers will love it.
    Now I'm excitedly reading an arc of RAIN, REIGN which I love so much (Ann Martin's new book, coming in October). I love hearing what others are reading. Thanks for this post.

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    1. I'll look for The Glass Sentence, Augusta. Thanks for telling me about it. I too have Rain, Reign-looking forward to it!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!