Teaching Tools: Tears of a Tiger- Sharon Draper

Full disclosure- this is shameless self promotion.

That being said- I’ve created a packet of vocabulary activities, spelling/vocab tests, and questions to assist teachers with a 4 week long unit on Tears of A Tiger by Sharon Draper.  I’ve used all of the provided information in my own classroom and was met with success.  You can buy just the vocabulary packet, just the comprehension packet, or them all together as a bundle.


Vocabulary Packet $2.50 

Comprehension Packet $4.50

Vocabulary + Comprehension BUNDLE! $6.00  <— Your best value!


Want to see your own stuff on TPT?  Click HERE and sign up!


Check out my review of Tears of A Tiger!

MA Achieved

I feel terrible about my lack of posting, but it’s all been worth it as I have finally turned in my final essay for my MA.  My coursework is done, my comprehensive exam was passed with a 90% or higher, and my essay is complete.  As of August 31st I can add MA behind my name!  And, now that all of that is done, I’ve gotten back to reading the stuff I really love, my YA lit.  So stay with me, keep posted, and watch as I have reviews of Just Another Hero– Sharon Draper, The List– Siobhan Vivian, The Maze Runner– James Dashner, and Beauty Queens– Libba Bray!  See you around!

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!

Summer Reading Update: 8/4

This past weekend I traveled to Chicago and while I was there I read Double Dutch by Sharon Draper.  I am not even close to the number of books that I wanted to read this summer… AND I’m behind on my reviews.  Blogger FAIL. I will try to remedy both situations ASAP.  I am counting the end of August as the end of Summer, even though I got a new job (YAY!) and training starts August 11th.

Hope to see you soon with a review, or 3…

Summer Reading Update: 7/14

Just as a reminder here is the list of books I set out to read this summer.  It has been growing as I find more books to read.

  1. Breaking Dawn /Stephenie Meyer
  2. Maus/ Art Spiegelman
  3. Maus II/ Art Spiegelman
  4. Catching Fire/ Suzanne Collins
  5. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian / Sherman Alexie
 (Own but haven’t read yet!)
  6. Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson
  7. 13 Reasons Why/ Jay Asher
  8. Little Brother / Cory Doctorow
  9. Push / Sapphire
  10. Uglies / Scott Westerfeld
  11. Number the Stars/ Lois Lowry
  12. How I Live Now/ Meg Rosoff
  13. Double Dutch/ Sharon M. Draper
  14. Postcards From No Man’s Land/ Aidan Chambers
  15. Prom/Laurie Halse Anderson
  16. Daniel X/ James Patterson
  17. Lord of the Flies/ William Golding

I’m pretty happy with my progress.  As you can see I have read 6 books.  My goal was 25 but if I finish at least 15 I think I can consider myself successful.  Now I just need to catch up on my reviews.

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.