Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What to Read Wednesday

There's nothing quite like reading a book with a setting that feels familiar.  I thought today I'd share books in this library that are set in Illinois.  Some are classics, some are silly, but all are set right here in our very own state.

"10 (JMS) Books Set in Illinois"

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
The story of a young boy, his family, and his neighbors who live in a backwoods Illinois community during the period of the Civil War.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
When seemingly unrelated and strange events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal.

Deliver us From Normal by Kate Klise
With a mother who buys Christmas cards in August and a younger brother who describes the Trinity as a toasted marshmallow on a graham cracker, life for eleven-year-old Charles Harrisong is anything but normal in Normal, Illinois.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
A young girl living in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago ponders the advantages and disadvantages of her environment and evaluates her relationships with family and friends.

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Weighed down by guilt, Joel searches for the courage to tell the truth about the disappearance--and apparent drowning--of his best friend Tony while the boys are playing near the treacherous, and forbidden, Vermillion River.

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue ParkWhile working on a project for an after-school club, Julia, a Korean American girl, and her friend Patrick learn not just about silkworms, but also about tolerance, prejudice, friendship, patience, and more. Between the chapters are short dialogues between the author and main character about the writing of the book.

Ridiculous/Hilarious/Terrible/Cool: A Year in an American High School by Elisha Cooper
Emily has big goals. Like leading her soccer team to States. Maya is the best actor in school. She doesn't have a boyfriend ... yet. Diana has big worries. Things are happening at home. Daniel is class president. Naturally, he's applying to Harvard. Anais just wants to dance. Anthony is failing almost everything, and then there's The Girl. Aisha is the only new student in her class, and the only Muslim. Zef can't stay awake in class - all this and prom -- a year in the life of a high school.

Rissa Bartholomew's Declaration of Independence by Lynda Comerford
Having told off all of her old friends at her eleventh birthday party, Rissa starts middle school determined to make new friends while being herself, not simply being part of a "herd."

Rosa, Sola by Carmela Martino
Longing for a sibling in 1966 Chicago, fourth-grader Rosa is delighted with her mother's pregnancy, until tragedy strikes and her family struggles to deal with its grief.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

JKC (Jaguar Kindle Club)

I am just so excited to announce Jefferson's first Kindle Club.  I ordered our first batch of Kindles today and hope to have the club up and running by January 2012.  The club will be 10 students at first, but if it proves to be successful I will happily expand the group to 30 (10 per grade level).  Be sure to listen for announcements about how to become part of this club!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What to Read Wednesday

Sometimes, if you are really lucky, you finish a book with a sense of gratitude.  These are books that I cherish because the characters are so clearly written they feel like friends or the story itself shifts my thinking or simply because the writing moves me.  Here's my top 10 (but for the record, this list could have been much longer).

"10 Books I'm Thankful I Read"

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
I love the way the author weaves together Sal and Phoebie's stories.  I used to read this story aloud to my 7th grade students at Franklin and it always made me cry.  Every year.  

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Let's be honest. Bullying has always plagued children throughout history, but it seems like lately it's gone to a new level.  Everyone should read this.  Parents.  Teachers.  Students.  

A Child Called "It" by David Pelzer
I read this during one of my first years as a teacher.  Chilling.   I found myself peering at my students, fearing that I might be missing a silent cry for help.

Luna by Julie Ann Peters
Biggest surprise I ever read.  I was transformed by this powerful, perfectly written story.  My consciousness expanded with each moment.  

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I've read plenty of books about WWII and the Holocaust, but this one from the perspective of Death is by far my favorite.  I listened to the audio book and the memories of the story linger still.

Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
I knew about Japanese Internment.  I knew about Indian Reservations.  But the displacement of Indians to intern the Japanese?  Sigh.  

God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant
You have to read it to understand.  

Mockingbird (mok' ing-burd) by Kathryn Erskine
It's like taking off the top of the head and peering into the inner workings of a child with Asbergers.  Plus, the book is dedicated to the students killed at Virginia Tech.  Austin Cloyd, one of the victims, was one of my former students.  The end (and the epilogue) made me cry.

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
Even though I read this 25 years ago, this story of a brutally injured soldier has clung to me.   

Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza (adult novel)
I was left with such admiration for people who experience the worst horrors imaginable and maintain unwavering faith in a higher power.  In this book people are amazing and amazingly horrible.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (adult novel)
If I could say one book transformed me as a reader, this would be it.  Like Left to Tell, this book examines the wonders and horrors of man.  I was a better person when I finished this book.  

What books changed you?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What to Read Wednesday

So I thought I would start posting a list each Wednesday (I actually got the idea from a blog I follow called "I Swim for Oceans," so thanks!) on something related to reading.    This week's list is "10 Books I Can't Wait to Read."  These titles are all brand new in the library and I can hardly to take them home (my summer list is certainly building rapidly).  Here are the titles and a brief reason why (in no particular order...).

"10 Books I Can't Wait to Read"

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness--I love the dark cover and striking artwork thought the book.  I'm also excited to read this because our school board just donated a hard copy and Kindle copy to the library.  Thanks Unit 4!

Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah--I just got a list of Notable Social Studies books from my good friend Ms. Adrian and this was one of the titles on the list and new to our collection.

Withering Tights by Louise Rennison--Well, I loved Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and the Georgia Nicholson diaries (also by Rennison) so I can hardly wait to crack this title open.  Perfect for a reading holiday!

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly--I loved Donnelly's writing in Northern Lights, so I'm already looking forward to this read.  I'm also interested in the fact that the cover art has already changed...

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien--I'm still a sucker for dystopian novels.

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt--Curious about all the great press.  My friend, Ms. Parmer, just finished it and can't stop raving about it.

Between Shades of Grayby Ruta Sepetys--I want to read this because it is getting great reviews and is a bit outside my comfort zone.

Small Person with Wings (they hate to be called fairies) by Ellen Booraem--I feel like a kid when I look at this book.  It's cute and sparkly and begs (me) to read it.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor--Just died my hair pink and Karou (the main character) has blue hair.  Maybe a kindred spirit?  Plus, I love the cover.  Just being real.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente--Honestly?  This title just rocks.

And 8 remain after talking to an 8th grade class about writing this post.   I love my job.