Posted on January 15, 2015 by agirlnamedsara
All the Bright Places
This recently published YA lit is also slated to be made into a movie! I wasn’t sure what to expect when cracking open All the Bright Places but I was happy with what I found. Niven uses the seemingly increasing in popularity, multiple point of view narrative technique, to put you inside the heads of two teens, Violet, and Finch.
Throughout the book you discover that both have demons they are wrestling. The issues dealt with in this book are numerous, and intense. Depression, suicide, death of loved ones, divorce, abuse, sexual contact are all touched on. I believe each is dealt with largely in a realistic way. The sexual contact could, in my opinion, focus a little attention on practicing safe sex however it is not overly explicit and I’d be comfortable with high school students reading it.
Though there is a male and a female protagonist I feel this book will appeal much more to female teens. I think it is appropriate for 11th and 12th graders. I would be reluctant to just leave it on my bookshelf in the classroom because of the potential to trigger students who have been touched by the above mentioned issues. In the past year suicide and attempted suicide has touched my family a lot and I know that for some members of my family reading about it would re-traumatize them.
Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Death, Car Crashes, Physical Abuse
There is currently no information available for reading level or interest level. This is definitely a high school book though the reading level is not particularly difficult.
Check out the author’s page for other ways to interact with the book: http://www.jenniferniven.com/books/allthebrightplaces/
Filed under: Abuse, Death, divorice, Individual Read, Realistic Fiction, Suicide, Teen Girls | Tagged: books, YA Literature | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 23, 2014 by agirlnamedsara
Getting our students or children to read is often challenging in this multi-media world. Yet, I’ve found, that even my reluctant readers are interested in a good story. The thing is- they’re lazy. Not all of them, but many of them, and the idea of having to sift through books to find one that interests them doesn’t sound like fun. Or, they don’t find what they want in the first 3-5 books and they give up. Many of us have AWESOME classroom or school libraries. We’ve taken time to collect books, buy books, and organize our books only to have our shelves sit there unused. This is a waste! Books are not for decoration, they are to be read!
If you’re like me you have a hard time passing up a good deal on a book or a new book so your library is ever growing. What I like to do when I get new books that I am adding to my shelves is do a brief Book Talk about them. I often use this as filler right at the end of class. I show the students the book and give a brief (no spoilers) synopsis. I tell them, much like I do on this blog, who I think will be most interested by the book. I relate it to other books or movies I think they may have read/seen and enjoyed. I let kids thumb through it. I answer questions. I am EXTREMELY excited and animated when I discuss the books. I GUSH about how much I loved it and why. And almost always the books are immediately checked out.
I also do something similar when a student asks me for a recommendation or when the class finishes a book that they overall enjoyed. I suggest several other options for their next read. I find out what they like and are interested in and make suggestions off of that. I don’t worry about reading level too much because I’ve found that if they really are interested they will find a way. I also suggest audio books for some of my lower level readers.
Your excitement can and will rub off on your students. Use it to your advantage. Get our children reading so they can become lifelong learners.
What about you? Do you do book talks? How do you let students know about new books on your shelves? Or ones that just aren’t getting the attention they deserve? What works for you and your students/children? Let me know in the comments.
Filed under: Individual Read, Teaching Methods, Uncategorized | Tagged: YA Literature, Young Adult | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 9, 2014 by agirlnamedsara
Counting to D
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Counting to D by Kate Scott. This book, which is set to be released on the 11th of February, was a fun read.
The main character, Sam, is a teenage girl with Dyslexia. She is also highly gifted in math and has far above average listening comprehension skills. While the focus of the book is on how Sam navigates through her school work with her learning difference the story also looks at many other difficulties that teenagers face. There is a bit of a love story, different friendships, and sub plots on mental illness as well. What I really liked most about this book is it makes you think about people you know and the challenges they might face that you don’t even know about it. It is not preachy but helps students realize that different isn’t necessarily bad, and special ed doesn’t mean stupid.
This book is a very easy read and isn’t demonstrative of many different literary techniques so I would be unlikely to use it as a whole class read. However, I would absolutely have it on bookshelf and encourage students to read it. It would be a great book to have students read and then conduct a research project based on it. I think the interest level of the book would be 8th grade and higher due to some frank discussion of sex- though I think that was done exceedingly well!
Added bonus: If you have Amazon Prime you can borrow this book from the Kindle Owners Library FOR FREE!! Check it out!
Filed under: First Love/Crushes, Fitting In, Individual Read, Learning Disability, Mental Illness, New Kid, Realistic Fiction, Teen Boys, Teen Girls | Tagged: Kate Scott, YA Literature, Young Adult | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 29, 2013 by agirlnamedsara
The Maze Runner (Book 1)
I read this on my Kindle over the summer because 1. it was a lendable title, and 2. several of my students were reading it last school year. This story was quite a bit different from the other stories I’ve read. This is a very male centered book which I think is good because I have a harder time getting my boys interested in reading than my girls. There is however a female character that enters part way through. There is a survivalist element, a dystopian element, and it has a science fiction element. It could be compared to Lord of the Flies.
I probably wouldn’t teach this as a classroom read due to the fact that I didn’t notice any major literary elements (though there are some). I would however, and did, have it in my classroom level. I think this book would be appropriate for grades 6 and up. It is probably a little young for upper high school but some might like it. This is also the first in a series, and I believe is being made into a movie, so getting a student hooked on this might lead them into reading more and more!
The Lowdown: (from Scholastic.com)
Interest Level: 7th Grade
Grade Level: 5th Grade
Teaching Resources: SRC, AR
2009 Kid’s Indie Next List “Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers”
2009 Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Books
ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers
Charlotte Zolotow Award
Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
Young Adult Services Division, School Library Journal Author Award
New Hampshire Great Stone Face Children’s Book Award
Florida Sunshine State Book Award
Texas Lone Star Reading List
Filed under: Adventure, ALA Awards, Dystopia, Individual Read, New Kid, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Teen Boys, Uncategorized, War | Tagged: ALA Awards, James Dashner, YA Literature, Young Adult | Leave a comment »