Who Am I?

While I work on a review or two for you all I thought I’d let my readers know a little more about me.  Here’s a little insight into who I am and how I got here.  There will be follow up posts coming in the next few weeks.  Also I updated the “About this Blog” page.  Enjoy!

In elementary school I went through two brief phases of wanting to be a movie star and the President of the United States, but after having one amazing teacher after another I decided, at a young age, that I wanted to be like them.  Starting with Mrs. Pine in Kindergarten and moving straight through to Mr. D (1st grade), Ms. Vivolo (2nd grade) and so on I was lucky enough to have a string of extremely talented teachers who I held the utmost respect for.  In fact, I still stay in contact with many of them today.

I credit Ms. Vivolo in second grade for inspiring my love of literature.  She had us record ourselves on tape reading aloud while we practiced using inflection to portray the meaning and feelings behind the words that we were saying.  And, perhaps more importantly, for me at least, she held a contest.  As a somewhat competitive person by nature this appealed greatly to me.  Over spring break in 1992 we were to read as many books as possible.  I took this challenge and ran with it, and while I’ve since forgotten how many books I read, I won and got to go to Taco Bell for lunch with a teacher.

That, is where it all started.  A love of my teachers and a love of reading set me on the path to where I am today.  I owe a lot to the teacher’s of Taft Elementary school in Lakewood, OH.  For, while I had great teachers throughout my schooling, they were the ones that planted the seed, and I am grateful for it.

Blogger Fail

Since this is my first post in the entire month of February I have not been holding to my post-a-week commitment.  Hopefully I can remedy that soon.

Here’s a brief update on my reading life-

I read The First Part Last– by Angela Johnson recently at work and hope to review it soon.

I am currently reading Going Bovine when I have small periods of down time at work.  (Which, let’s face it, is very rare.)

I am reading on my Kindle The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. This is not YA Lit, but I am enjoying the challenge of reading something that is a little less high paced.

Has anyone else been neglecting their blogging duties?

I’m a Winner!

A month ago today Heidi Ayarbe decided to host a “Lame Duck” writer contest to show her appreciation for authors who take risks with their writing.  I entered on a whim and, along with two other lucky people, was chosen as a winner.  I was very excited today when I returned to my apartment to find a copy of Going Bovine by Libba Bray waiting for me!  The book is one I haven’t read, sounds interesting, and will help me with my quest to win all the Printz winners!

So thanks, Heidi, for hosting the contest.  I am excited to read this book, and a few others that you mentioned in the post!

 

What’s next on your reading list?

Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins


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Review:

The final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy did a great job of tying ending the saga.  I felt like most of my questions were answers, though some new ones were brought to light.  I think leaving some things unanswered allows for healthy debate among readers.  With all that being said this was my least favorite of the books.  I can’t put my finger on why, but it is what it is.

Overall this is the best YA series I’ve read and I recommend it to anyone who will listen!  What was your overall impression?

 

The Lowdown: (from Scholastic.com)

Interest Level: 6-8  (As with Catching Fire I think this is a little off- I’d say more 7-10)
Grade Level: 5.4

Teaching Resources:

Book talk and Discussion Guide available from Scholastic.com

AWARDS:

#1 USA TODAY BESTSELLER

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING SERIES

#1 WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER

#1 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLING SERIES

NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE CHILDREN’S BOOK OF 2010

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’S BEST BOOKS OF 2010:
CHILDREN’S FICTION

A BOOKLIST EDITORS’ CHOICE, 2010

A KIRKUS BEST BOOK OF 2010

NPR BEST BOOKS OF 2010

A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS’ CHOICE

A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR’S BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2010

BARNES & NOBLE BEST TEEN BOOKS OF 2010

AMAZON BEST BOOKS OF 2010:
#3 ON CUSTOMER FAVORITES LIST

NY Times Article on Dystopian Themes

When I saw the name of this The New York Times “Room for Debate”, “The Dark Side of Young Adult Fiction” in my Google Reader I was instantly intrigued.  The New York Times has an online segment devoted to teaching and learning and that is where I found this article, “Dark Materials: Reflecting on Dystopian Themes in Young Adult Literature.” Take a look- what are your thoughts?  Have you explored these themes in your classroom?  If not maybe some of the lesson ideas will allow you to do so.  I’m definitely bookmarking this page for future reference.

Dystopian YA Novels for Teens:

The Giver- Lois Lowry
The Hunger Games (trilogy)- Suzanne Collins
Ugles (series)- Scott Westerfeld

Dystopian Novels:

1984- George Orwell
A Brave New World- Huxley

Postaweek2011

As it is the new year, it is time for a few resolutions.  Here are the things I’ve resolved to do with regards to this blog:

1. Post once a week for all 52 weeks in 2011

2. Post more than that whenever possible

3. Read 50 books (I realize I’ve resolved to do this every year for the past 3-4 years, and have failed- but this might be the year.)

4. Continue to work on my review style/format to make it the most helpful to all my readers

 

The above are things I have complete control over.  The following are some goals that I’m setting that I can work towards, but aren’t entirely in my control.

1. Average 20 hits a day

2. Average 150 hits a week (I realize this means getting more than 20 hits a day.)

3. Average 600 hits a month

4. Get more responses on polls and posts

5. Have hit 14,000 hits by June and 18,000 hits by next January

If I can hit the above goals I will be looking into hosting this site on its own unique domain.

 

What are your blogging/reading resolutions and goals for 2011?