So how many have I read? How many can I read between now and then?
“The Dream of a Common Language,” by Adrienne Rich
“Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” by Tom Robbins
“The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway -I started this book for a class in graduate school but never finished. Maybe this time I will.
“The Secret History,” by Donna Tartt
“Anna Karenina,” by Leo Tolstoy
“A Collection of Essays,” by George Orwell
“Hamlet,” by William Shakespeare- Read and taught!
“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” by Michael Chabon
“Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage,” by Alice Munro
“Native Son,” by Richard Wright
“Demon-Haunted World,” by Carl Sagan
“Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace
“The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” by Milan Kundera
“Song of Solomon,” by Toni Morrison- Read in college. Really like Morrison and she’s also an Ohio native from a nearby town!
“Critique of Pure Reason,” by Immanuel Kant
“Siddhartha,” by Hermann Hesse- Read in high school, I’m thinking 10th grade. Loved it. Have it on my kindle.
“The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” by Junot Díaz
“You Shall Know Our Velocity,” by Dave Eggers
“How Should a Person Be?” by Sheila Heti
“Leaves of Grass,” by Walt Whitman
“Enormous Changes at the Last Minute,” by Grace Paley
“Portrait of a Lady,” by Henry James
“Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” by Joan Didion
“Letters to a Young Contrarian,” by Christopher Hitchens
“A People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn
“The Golden Notebook,” by Doris Lessing
“Giovanni’s Room,” by James Baldwin
“Autobiography of Malcolm X,” as told to Alex Haley
“A Room of One’s Own,” by Virginia Woolf
“Birds of America,” by Lorrie Moore
3/30 already read… Not great. I’m going to start by picking three of the non-fiction choices on this list as I’d told myself I’d read three non-fiction books before thirty already. Then, we’ll see what I can get through.
I just realized that about a week and a half ago was the 5 year anniversary of this blog. In that time I’ve had over 25,000 hits and 225 comments. I know that my frequency has ebbed and flowed as time has gone on but I hope that some of you are still finding this blog useful.
As an anniversary present to myself, by the end of this month I will have restarted posting with some regularity. I miss it! I hope you’ll stay with me and continue on this wonderful adventure through YA Literature and Teaching!
Full disclosure- this is shameless self promotion.
That being said- I’ve created a packet of vocabulary activities, spelling/vocab tests, and questions to assist teachers with a 4 week long unit on Tears of A Tiger by Sharon Draper. I’ve used all of the provided information in my own classroom and was met with success. You can buy just the vocabulary packet, just the comprehension packet, or them all together as a bundle.
I recently discovered the youtube videos of “Thug Notes” where a black man gives a summary and literary analysis of classic literature using current slang popular in the urban population- and to an extent suburbia as well. I am pretty impressed with the content and analysis but am disappointed that there is some swearing and images that may be questioned in a school context. Another issue that some students have brought up- I teach primarily in urban settings- is the idea that people seem to think their students will only pay attention if we find a “rap” to teach a concept or other pointedly black forms of expression. Some of my students felt this was demeaning. I in no way think that is the idea behind these techniques- rather, we, as teachers, are struggling to keep content relevant. So what are your thoughts- do Thug Notes hit the right notes or are they in poor taste?
I received this book as an ARC almost 2 years ago at the conference I attended but never got to read it. I’m glad I eventually made it to it! The premise of this book is that each year, in the fall, a list is produced at the high school that names the hottest and the ugliest girl in each grade. The book then goes on to follow each of the girls named to see how being on the list, either as the hottest or the ugliest, affects their lives in the weeks leading up to homecoming. I enjoyed the book but thought it barely scratched the surface. The characters were widely varied which I appreciated, but because it followed so many girls I found I didn’t get as invested in any one of them as I’d have liked.
I wouldn’t teach this book as a whole class novel, however, The Common Core explains that students aren’t reading enough text that is complex in the way it was written. This isn’t an overly complicated book but because of the chapters focusing on different girls the reader has to think a little bit more and focus a little bit more than in other books. I think this book is appropriate for 7th-12th grade. This is definitely a book aimed at girls and I don’t see many males being interested in it at all. I would feel comfortable having this book on my shelf for students to read.
The Lowdown (Via Scholastic)
Interest Level: Grade 8-12
Grade Level Equivalent: N/A via Scholastic- Approximately 4th grade based on ATOS score of 4.8
The third book in Draper’s Jericho trilogy, Just Another Hero didn’t quite grab me nearly as much as The Battle of Jericho, and November Blues. The back of the book immediately tells you that there is going to be an incident involving a gun in the story and for the better part of the book I was waiting for that. On one hand that was good as it built some sense of suspense. I kept wanting to turn the page to find the action. However, after the incident occurs I wish Draper had spent more time examining the aftermath. How did everyone change due to the experience? It wasn’t a bad book at all, but I just thought it could have gone a little further. I’d definitely include this in my classroom with the rest of the trilogy but I would not teach it as a whole class novel.
As with most of Draper’s books this will appeal to girls and guys alike, urban students, and those in likely 7th grade and up.
The Lowdown (Via Scholastic)
Interest Level : Grades 9 – 12 (I would include 7-8)
I feel terrible about my lack of posting, but it’s all been worth it as I have finally turned in my final essay for my MA. My coursework is done, my comprehensive exam was passed with a 90% or higher, and my essay is complete. As of August 31st I can add MA behind my name! And, now that all of that is done, I’ve gotten back to reading the stuff I really love, my YA lit. So stay with me, keep posted, and watch as I have reviews of Just Another Hero- Sharon Draper, The List- Siobhan Vivian, The Maze Runner- James Dashner, and Beauty Queens- Libba Bray! See you around!