May Recap

May wasn’t my greatest month for reading.  But, I did get some good books read. So in case you missed it- here’s what I read:(Numbers correspond to their placement on my list of books read so far for the entire year.)

24. Being Nikki– Meg Cabot 
25. The Chocolate War– Robert Cormier 
26. Dead is the New Black– Marlene Perez
27. Jellicoe Road– Melina Marchetta
28. Tears of A Tiger– Sharon Draper
29. The House on Mango Street-Sandra Cisneros 

Total YA Books in May: 5

Total Adult Books in May: 1

Total Books in May: 6

Total Books for Year: 29

Oh and I still haven’t finished 1984… I just need to sit down and power through the rest of it I think.  I am over half way through!

 

Reading The House on Mango Street officially started my summer reading.  You can see my ever growing “to be read” summer list here.

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Tears of A Tiger- Sharon Draper


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Written in 1994 Tears of A Tiger will still resonate with students now, 15 years later.  This story deals with the aftermath of a drunk driving accident that kills a high school student.  The relationships between friends, children and parents, teachers, and counselors are all discussed through transcripts of discussions, newspaper articles, diary entries, and letters.  This is the first book in the Hazelwood High trilogy, but each book stands completely on its own.  I have taught this book to 10th graders before and they ATE IT UP.  Many went on to read the next book in the series, Forged By Fire.  I highly recommend this book for use in a classroom (9-10th grade) and for individual students to read.  

 

Here is a link to Sharon Draper’s Teacher Resources for this book.  As a National Board Certified English teacher, she knows her stuff:  Sharon Draper’s Site

 

Awards:

Winner–1995 American Library Association/Coretta Scott King Genesis Award for an outstanding new book
ALA Best Book for Young Adults

Outstanding book by

-The Children’s Book Council
-The New York City Library
-Bank Street College
-National Council for Social Studies

Best of the Best by YALSA as one of the top 100 books for Young Adults

 

Jellicoe Road- Melina Marchetta


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This Printz winner took me a while to get into. I’d say I was a third, to half of the way into it before I really became intrigued, but then I didn’t put it down.  There are numerous interesting characters whom I loved, but at the same time had some difficulty keeping everything straight.  There is mystery involved in the story- and I reached the end I felt like I needed to go back and re-read because I had to have missed some things along the way.  The main character, Taylor, is finishing up her Junior year and attends a boarding school in rural Australia.  There are two mentions of sexual activity within the book but they are not overly explicit.  There is a bit of violence at times in the novel as well.  I think this book could be used potentially in a classroom.  I would recommend it to teen girls and boys as there are strong characters from each gender.   I think this book is appropriate for high school students.

 

Awards:

ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Michael L. Printz Award
Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book 

 
 

Summer Reading List

This summer I hope to get a bit of reading done- especially on the 12 hr each way road trip I’m going on.

So I’m going to start a list of books that I want to read- this list will have both YA and non-YA lit on it. I might even through in some non-fiction… we shall see. So keep checking back to see how this list evolves. Also, feel free to leave suggestions!

In no particular order my list is:

1. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves – M.T. Anderson
2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks -E. Lockhart
3. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party -M.T. Anderson
4. The Book Thief -Markus Zusak
5. John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth, a Photographic Biography -Elizabeth Partridge
6. How I Live Now -Meg Rosoff
7. Postcards From No Man’s Land -Aidan Chambers Postcards from No Man’s Land Winner
8. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging -Louise Rennison
9. Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson
10. Twilight- Stephenie Meyer
11. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale -Art Spiegelman
12. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books- Azar Nafisi (Non-YA)
13. Fallen Angels- Walter Dean Meyers
14. The House on Mango Street – Sandra Cisneros (Not specifically YA)
15. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrne- Chris Crutcher
16. My Sister’s Keeper- Jodi Picoult
17. Ghostgirl- Tonya Hurley
18. Ghostgirl: Homecoming- Tonya Hurley
19. The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins
20. Max- James Patterson 

From the Library

Today I went to pick up The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party at the library and lo and beholdJellicoe Road was also waiting for me. I’m going to try to read them both relatively quickly because I have a feeling there are waiting lists for both and therefore I will not be able to renew them. I am very excited for both of these books, so stay tuned for my reactions!

What have you gotten out of the library recently?

Dead is the New Black- Marlene Perez


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I do not usually pick up books about vampires, but this one jumped out at me from the shelf in the library and I figured I’d give it a try. It is the first in a newer series, and is relatively light with some dark moments, and looks at a different type of vampire that does not suck blood.  I found the main character, Daisy, who is in high school to be a likeable character.  Her family is unique, and her interactions with her crush are realistic and common to most teens I would think.  Overall this was an enjoyable read.  It is not a book that was written to be used in a classroom, but would be an appropriate book to recommend to readers grades 7-12, though reading level is probably more middle grades oriented.

Awards:

Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers: 2009


Results: Poll 7- Content in YA Lit

Here are the results of this week’s poll:

Should sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence be portrayed in YA Lit?

1. Yes. Kids experience it so it should be included. 56% (10 votes)

2. Yes, but only if the potential consequences of participating in those activities is shown. 17% (3 votes)

3. Other: 11% (2 votes)

4. No, stories can be told without including those. 6% (1 votes)

4. Yes to some of the things listed, no to others. 6% (1 votes)

4.Depends on if the book is being used in a classroom setting. 6% (1 votes)

 

I find these results interesting.  My personal vote, not included in the totals above, is that they can be included but consequences should be discussed.  I don’t mean that they must be preachy novels, or hammered into teens skulls- but I don’t think any of the above should be made to seen as the norm, or glamorous.  If a character is having sex in the novel then they should either explicitly use protection, or some discussion of the potential consequences of unprotected sex should be mentioned.  I think that YA’s get enough of the sex drugs etc etc in television, movies, and in real life.  

 

I am not posting any new polls for awhile because i’m out of ideas… Do you have any?!