Around the Web- Summer Reading Flowchart: What Should You Read On Your Break?

On Facebook I saw someone post this awesome info graphic from teach.com  What do you think?

Summer Reading Flowchart: What Should You Read On Your Break? | Teach.com

Follow this link to see the accompanying post!  Summer Reading Flowchart: What Should You Read On Your Break? | Teach.com.

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NCTE 2011- Chicago, IL

I attended the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention in Chicago from last Thrusday through this Sunday and I had the time of my life! I had no idea what to expect when attending but I ended up geeking out like an awkward fangirl for the majority of the conference. Why was I geeking out? I got to hear/meet/see so many awesome authors!

On Thursday at the Secondary Section kick off I heard Chris Crutcher (Whale Talk) speak!

I stood in line for 20 minutes to get a copy of Paper Towns by John Green signed! He was just as quirky and funny in person as I’ve seen on his YouTube videos and heard about! I also saw him speak about using Chicago as a backdrop for at least one of his books.

I saw David Levithan speak twice- once also about using Chicago in his books and once about censorship. I haven’t read anything by him, but my interest is definitely piqued now!

Walter Dean Myers (Monster) was signing books, but unfortunately I had a session to get to. I did see him though!

Katherine Paterson (author of Bridge to Teribethia) and Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak) were also on the panel discussion censorship and were extremely interesting!

Laurie Halse Anderson, Katherine Paterson, David Levithan

And here, is a picture of me meeting Angela Johnson (The First Part Last) and Sharon Draper (Battle of Jericho).  Both ladies were super nice and took at least a minute to listen to me tell them just a few things about my students. I had Draper sign a copy of Battle of Jericho to my students because we just finished reading it in our “book club.”  They thought it was pretty cool when I showed them!

Angela Johnson, Me, Sharon Draper

I came away with approximately 30 books- most of which I got for free and which are ARCs.  So keep your eye peeled here for upcoming reviews!   If anyone teaches English and is on the fence about attending the conference next year you should go!  I learned so much, got tons of free books, met lots of authors and generally enjoyed myself!  And, if those aren’t reason enough- it’s in Las Vegas next November!

An update

No excuses, just an update.

I am working with another teacher to start a school library.  Our school services students from age 5 to 22.  We are a school for emotionally disturbed and cognitively delayed students though some do read at grade level.  We’d like to create a levelled library so students can become independent readers.  This is branching out of my YA range so– what do you think?  Do you know of any MUST HAVE books for all age levels?  Any ideas for high interest books for my high school students that can’t read at all, or are at a 3rd grade or lower level?

Secondly I am going to be attending the NCTE conference in Chicago in a month!  I’m so excited.  Several YA authors, John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Chris Crutcher to name a few are going to be there and I’m hoping I can make it to their sessions.  Anyone else going?  I’ve never been to a conference before (other than the Key Club Conference I went to 10 years ago) and am not sure what to expect.  Advice?

Thirdly, I am using The Battle of Jericho by Sharon Draper as a read aloud book in my class right now.  We are using it to examine fitting in, bullying/hazing, and relationships.  The majority of my class gets visibly excited when I read it.  It really is making me feel good.  We should be able to finish the book by Thanksgiving, so I need to come up with another book to read that deals with mental health/social-emotional themes.  Suggestions?

That’s all.  I hope my absence hasn’t been too horrible.

Banned Books Week Part 1

Banned Books Week started on September 25th.  Due to this I decided to start looking at the most frequently challenged books from the past decade to see what I have read, what I haven’t read and if I agree or at least understand the challenging of any of them.  I’m thinking I might get some good titles for my “to-read” list as well!!

Here’s the list:

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 (from the ALA)

Bolded books I have read, links go to my reviews

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney

30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77 Crazy:  A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick

87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96 Grendel, by John Gardner
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99 Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

I should note that this is not a list of YA books specifically, though you may notice that MANY of the titles are YA books.

None of the books I read are what I would consider controversial.  I know why most of them were probably challenged, but all in all none of them offended me or gave me much pause! Take this last opportunity to vote in my Book Banning Poll.

A Year in Review: 2008-2009

Well, despite a slow last couple of months, my blog has reached it’s one year anniversary.  And I think the year has been rather successful.  I experimented with different styles of reviews, having polls, and the types of YA lit that I’ve read.  I have plenty more to do, and I am hoping to renew my efforts for year number 2.

 

For now, here’s a recap of all the books I’ve reviewed here on YA Lit, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly.

October 2008

Cut- Patricia McCormick

Out of the Dust– Karen Hess

Leaving Fischers- Margaret Haddix

A Hero Ain’t Nothing But A Sandwich– Alice Childress

Whale Talk– Chris Crutcher

Looking For Alaska- John Green

November 2008

Romiette and Julio– Sharon Draper

House of the Scorpion- Nancy Farmer

Seek- Paul Fleischman

Scorpions- Walter Dean Meyers

I am the Cheese- Robert Cormier

Twisted- Laurie Halse Anderson

Monster- Walter Dean Meyers

 

December 2008

Copper Sun– Sharon Draper

 

January 2009

I am the Messenger – Markus Zusak

Slam– Nick Hornby

 

February 2009

Maximum Ride– James Patterson

An Abundance of Katherines– John Green

 

March 2009

Boy Proof- Cecil Castellucci

Room in the Heart- Sonia Levitin

Confessions of an Not it Girl- Melissa Kantor

How Ya Like Me Now?– Brendan Halpin

Cuba 15- Nancy Osa

Bullyville- Francine Prose

Tangerine- Edward Bloor

Wintergirls- Laurie Halse Anderson

Beauty Shop For Rent- Laura Bowers

 

April 2009

The Battle of Jericho- Sharon Draper

Persepolis– Marjane Satrapi

A Step From Heaven– An Na

Kit’s Wilderness- David Almond

The White Darkness- Geraldine McCaughrean

American Born Chinese- Gene Luen Yang

Nation- Terry Pratchett

 

May 2009

The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier

Dead is the New Black- Marlene Perez

Jellicoe Road– Melina Marchetta

Tears of a Tiger– Sharon Draper

Being Nikki- Meg Cabot

 

June 2009

Ghostgirl– Tonya Hurley

Max- James Patterson

 

July 2009

The Hunger Games– Suzanne Collins

So Not The Drama- Paula Chase

Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes- Chris Crutcher

 

August 2009

Ghostgirl:Homecoming- Tonya Hurley

 

September-October 2009

No new book reviews- though I did re-read Tears of A Tiger and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes during these months.

 

I’ve made it through 45 reviews.  I hope to top that during my second year.  Stay tuned!

 


 


I’ve Returned

Sorry for my long hiatus.  Once I started teaching full time I seemed to lose any extra time to just read for pleasure.  And with it, the time to post about anything I’ve read.  But, I need to find more time for myself, and I am going to make a more concentrated effort to begin posting again.

In the meantime, let me catch you up on what I’ve done with YA Lit in my classroom thus far.

My 9/10 class read Tears of A Tiger by Sharon Draper.  I chose this book because I did not know what reading level the majority of my students were at, and felt it was a high interest book.  It was met with very mixed reactions.  I had a handful of students who read it almost straight through, and one girl who immediately went on to read Forged by Fire and Darkness Before Dawn; the two other books in the trilogy.  I was so happy to see some of the students so interested in the story.  There were several who hated it, they felt it was too low level for them.  I acknowledge that the reading level is low, but explained that the content is appropriate for high school students.  Some really did not like the multi-genre aspect of the story.  The rest of the kids either didn’t attempt to read it at all or read it and were rather indifferent.  I plan on allowing them to choose their own book from my YA lit collection to read for our next assignment.  Currently they are finishing up a research project where they had to choose between teen depression, suicide, underage drinking, and drinking and driving as their topics.  They seem to be enjoying finding out new interesting information for the most part, and I’m hoping that some of the information sticks with them outside of school.

My 11/12 classes “read” Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher.  I put read in quotes, because I am pretty sure that only about 10% of the kids actually read it, a few skimmed, and a few chose to not participate in the unit at all.  The older class has made it clear that they do not want to read young adult books.   They definitely prefer having more control over what they have to do, so I would like to try having them choose between a few classic novels for our next unit.  The few students who did complete the book ended up liking it but felt that it took too long to get to the good parts.  I am not sure if I will use this book again in my teaching.

Yesterday I stopped at Half Price Books and picked up 10 books for just under $25.  Lucky for me it ended up being teacher appreciation weekend and I got 20 percent off.  I found several YA book to purchase for my classroom library.  I’m hoping that I can continue to stock up and build an interesting and varied selection of books for my students to read.  Some of the books that I picked up I have not read yet, so hopefully I will be able to update again soon with new reviews.

July Recap

Sorry this is so late!

I managed to finish 4 books in July, and got most of the way through another so my August is off to a pretty good start as well.  

Books read in July:

33. So Not the Drama– Paula Chase
34. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes– Chris Crutcher
35. The Quickie- James Patterson 
36. Ghostgirl: Homecoming- Tonya Hurley (not reviewed yet)

 

Total YA books read in July- 3

Total adult books read in July- 1

Total books in July- 4

Total books for the year- 36