I’ve had this blog for six years. Wow. I don’t post nearly enough, but I refuse to give it up. I hope to have new content for you soon, but till then, I hope my archives can serve you well.
What should I put on my “to read” list?
Review: I’ll be honest, I wasn’t super excited about this book. It was one, like Twilight that I knew many teens were reading and had been made into a movie. I also had seen it on lists saying “If you liked The Hunger Games then you might like…” When I found it cheap at Marshall’s I figured I’d pick it up. Well, consider me a convert. I LOVED IT. I guess I really can’t get enough of the dystopian YA genre! I found the concept different, loved the Chicago references, and enjoyed the variety of characters.
If I used this in the classroom I’d probably use it in a 9th grade class and as a quick- not overly in depth novel study. I think there’s a lot to the book, but there are other books that I think make better class reads. I’ve seen middle school students reading it, and that’s probably fine, but there are some sexual undertones that may or may not be appropriate depending on their maturity. That said, I really really admire the way Roth handles intimacy between Tris and Four.
Have you seen the movie? I haven’t made it out there quite yet!
The Lowdown: (from Scholastic.com)
Interest Level: 8
Grade Level: 9 (What?! A YA book whose grade level is higher than the interest level! Praise be!)
Filed under: Dystopia, First Love/Crushes, Fitting In, New Kid, Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Sexual Assault, Teen Boys, Teen Girls, Uncategorized, YALSA Awards | Tagged: Veronica Roth, YA Literature, Young Adult | Leave a comment »
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.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! In honor of today I’m bringing you a very special Guest Blog Post from Kate Scott the author of the recently released Counting to D. Check out my review HERE after enjoying her insights!
A Love Letter for the Rest of Us
By Kate Scott
The first year we were married, my husband gave me the best Valentine’s gift ever: a bouquet of flours. He bought mini bags of all different kinds of flour (whole wheat, cornmeal, cake, barley, etc.) and arranged them in a very artistic display. Since I’m dyslexic, he figured I wouldn’t know the difference between flours and flowers, and the flours had the added bonus of being tasty later.
Yeah, I know. My husband is adorable. And I also know, sometimes, a bouquet of flours is actually better than a bouquet of flowers. Even if I can’t spell either one.
This year, I decided to give a Valentine’s gift of my own. Not just to my husband, but to all the people in the world who can’t distinguish a flour from a flower. That gift is my book, Counting to D, a young adult novel that has a sweet “floury” romance.
The main character, Sam, is dyslexic. She’s a brilliant young woman who can barely read. Her life is a mess, but it’s still her life. She experiences all the thoughts, fears, and emotions that teenagers face—including love.
The relationship between Sam and Nate was so much fun for me to write because they are the type of people I always want to be around. If I were a student at Kennedy High School, I’d want to be best friends with Sam and Nate, which is funny because they’re both outsiders. But even if neither of them knows exactly where they fit in, they still fit together.
Counting to D is not a cheesy romance about perfect, beautiful people finding their “happy ever after.” It’s a book about real teens with real issues, who depend on each other and are stronger as a result. That’s what love is. Not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.
So if you can’t tell the difference between a flour and a flower, Counting to D is my love letter to you. If you love to read, but tend to struggle with talking to real live people, Counting to D is for you, too. Counting to D is for all the real teens, and former teens, who fail to conform to stereotypes and aren’t quite sure where they belong as a result.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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 »