Acquired today at the library…

Today at the library I took out:

Uglies- by Scott Westerfield

The Chocolate War- by Robert Cormier

and I still have a lot of “classics” out from a few weeks ago that i’ve made little to no progress on.

I also made some reserves:

how i live now- by Meg Rosoff

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party – by M.T. Anderson


Have you gotten anything interesting lately?


Kit’s Wilderness- David Almond

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Kit’s Wilderness is a novel that is very realistic but includes fantastical elements.  Kit is a 13 year old boy whose family has recently moved back to the town in which is grandfather grew up.  Part of the story revolves around Kit’s grandfather’s declining health and mental state.  I identified with this aspect of the story the most having gone through it with my grandmother for the last 3-5 years.  I think that a lot of students can identify with that as well.  The other big part of the story is the relationship between Kit and another boy, and their connection to the history of the town.  This is where ghosts and fantasy come into play in the story.  I liked the book, but generally prefer stories that have little to know fantasy in them- if they are supposed to be realistic stories.  I think this novel could be used in a classroom setting.  Teen boys may be inclined to enjoy this book as it is very male centered.  There is also a female character that plays a somewhat central role, so girls in class won’t feel completely left out. I’d say this book is good for a 7-8th grade classroom.


A Michael L. Printz Award Winner
An ALA Notable Book 
A “Publishers Weekly ” Best Book
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Editor’s Choice
A Publisher’s Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year

Poll #5: Who is your favorite YA author?

Obviously I could not list every YA author, but I am interested to know who your favorite is.  If he or she is not listed PLEASE let me know who they are- I’m always looking for new and different authors to explore.

Edit: I just realized it’s hard to read some of the names, so here is the list of authors in order in case you can’t tell.  

Laurie Halse Anderson 
John Green
Robert Cormier
Sharon Draper 
Walter Dean Myers 
Meg Cabot
Chris Crutcher

Results from Poll #4

Last week I asked: Does YA lit have a place in high school classrooms?  And, here are the results- keep in mind, being a blog about YA literature, my sample might be a bit skewed in one direction.
1.  Yes, it is a valuable tool for teachers. 68% (27 votes)
2.  Depends on the book. 28% (11 votes)
3.  Other: 5% (2 votes)
4.  Only in non-honors classes. 0% (0 votes)
4.  No, only the classics should be taught. 0% (0 votes)
I think using YA lit in the classroom can be very useful.  YA lit can grab the attention of students in ways that a lot of “classic” literature cannot.  I do not think I’d advocate for only using YA lit, but I do think it could be used more- especially with struggling students and reluctant learners.  It is hard to identify with a character from Pride and Prejudice or The Great Gatsby because our students lives are so drastically different from those characters.  But bring out a book written specifically for and about teens and suddenly they can relate.  And, ideally if they like YA lit, they may be inspired to branch out and read other things as well.
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A Step From Heaven- An Na

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This book reminded me of Kira Kira, as they both tell stories of Asian immigrants in America.  I found this book a little hard to get into, perhaps because it doesn’t focus on one time in her life but rather goes from Kindergarten through beginning college.  The story follows a Korean girl from Korea to America and the struggles that her family has adapting to a new culture.  I think that some immigrants will be able to identify to a lot of the story.  It is well written, but just didn’t keep my attention as well as other books do.  I was bothered by the lack of quotation marks- I know that seems silly but it did irk me for some reason.  I think this book could be used in a classroom- middle school most likely.  I would more likely suggest it as an independent reading book.

Awards: (For a full listing go here)


2001 National Book Award Finalist

2002 Children’s Book Award in YA Fiction – International Reading Association

2005 California Collections Selection

2005 Asian American Booklist, Grades 9 and Up, Read Across America, National Education Association

2002 Notable Children’s Book – American Library Association

2002 Best Book for Young Adults – American Library Association

2002 Children’s Books of Distinction Award – Riverbank Review

2002 Fanfare Book – The Horn Book Honor List

2002 Amelia Bloomer Project List

2002 White Ravens – International Youth Library of Munich

2002 Notable Books for the Language Arts – NCTE

2001 Editor’s Choice – Booklist

2001 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

2001 Best Books – School Library Journal

2001 Kiriyama Prize Notable Book Shortlist

2001 Best Children’s Books – Publishers Weekly

2001 Best Book –

2001 Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children

2001 Top 10 Youth First Novels – Booklist

Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi

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This was my second foray into graphic novels, and I think I’m becoming a fan.  While completely different than American Born Chinese, this graphic novel still held my attention.  I feel like “recent” history isn’t taught or talked about enough, so reading about the revolution in Iran was extremely interesting and informative.  I liked that though the book deals with serious issues there was still a bit of humor intertwined in the story.  I think this could be used easily in a high school English class, or in a world history course.  I’d be interested in hearing how teachers have used it, as I know many have.  



 2004 ALA Alex Award
 YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
Booklist Editor’s Choice for Young Adults
New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
 School Library Journal Adult Books for Young Adults
A New York Times Notable Book
A Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year”
A San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times Best-seller 


The Battle of Jericho- Sharon M. Draper

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I am a fan of Sharon Draper.  I love that her books are urban, but have subtle and not so subtle morals.  When I’ve used some of her other novels in class the students really identify with the characters.  She does it again with this book.  The characters are all easy to identify with.  This book looks at the initiation rites of an elite group of boys.  Think a non-school sanctioned high school fraternity.  The novel deals with issues surrounding fitting in and bullying.  I think that both boys and girls could identify with this book.  It could be used in a classroom, but I think I’d use Tears of a Tiger or Forged by Fire (both by Draper) before I used this one.  All in all it was a good read, and took me about 2 hours to finish it.  

One of the things I love about Draper is that, as an English teacher herself she always has resources on her website for teachers to use in class with her books.  Here’s the link for her discussion questions and other resources for The Battle of Jericho.


Arizona Young Reader Book Award Nominee 
Charlotte Award Suggested Reading List (NY) 
Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book 
IRA Young Adults’ Choices 
Rosie Award Nominee (IN) 
South Carolina Book Award Nominee 
YARP Award Master List (SD) 
Young Hoosier Book Award Master List (IN)