My Must Read in 2014 List - #mustreadin2014

This evening I was scrolling through Twitter and noticed that my Twitter and Nonfiction Picture Book buddies, Carrie Gelson and Maria Selke had started a challenge called Must Read in 2014

To read Carrie's post about the challenge click here.  The challenge is being hosted by Maria Selke of Maria's Mélange, Linda Baie of Teacher Dance, and Carrie Gelson of There's a Book for That.

I decided to use this challenge to target some of the audiobooks (children and adult fiction) that I have been meaning to read with my ears.  I am going to start with 12 titles. One a month seems doable. 

Here's my list:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

by L.A. Meyer

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

Will Sparrow's Road by Karen Cushman

I will provide an update at the end of each month as part of my What are Your Reading Posts on Mondays.

What are you reading? Non-fiction Picture Book Reviews

As part of the Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 (Twitter: #nfpb2012), I am going to attempt to read and review as many of the new non-fiction picture books that are released this year.  Wednesdays will be my primary day to post the reviews.  If you are participating in the challenge and would like to link your recent reviews, please add your link to the Mr. Linky below.  

Here Comes the Girl Scouts: The Amazing All-True Story of Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure
Author: Shana Corey
Illustrator: Hadley Hooper
Publisher: Scholastic Press (January 1, 2012)

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, there were likely be a number of books coming out for all age readers.  However, I feel like I have already stumbled upon the best one and there is still another 3 months to go until the official anniversary date of March 12th.  Corey tells the delightful story of Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low who lived at the end of the 19th Century and into the early 20th century.  Low was way ahead of her time in how she viewed life, especially the role women could play in it.  During her travels, Daisy discovered a group called the Boy Scouts and their sister group called Girl Guides in England.  Daisy came back to the United States and on March 12, 1912 began the first Girl Scout meeting.  Corey's narrative text is punctuated with highlighted words and side comments.  Hooper captures the spirit of this adventurous woman and the era she lived in through her illustrations.

I had to pick this book up immediately upon seeing it.  I am already schedule to read it to the two Daisy Troops we have at the school.  Can't wait to see what they think of the book.  

We March
Author/Illustrator: Shane W. Evans
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (January 3, 2012)
Audience:Ages 5 and up

I first discovered Shane W. Evans' work about a year ago when his book Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom came out.  I was struck by the powerful simplicity of both his text and illustrations.  We March is done in a similar manner.  The focus of the story - the march from the Washington Monument to Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963 delivered his "I have a Dream" speech.  The book provides readers with a sense of the emotions experienced particularly by the youngest participants of the event.  A great book to share with young children when talking about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jazz Age Josephine: Dancer, Singer--Who's that, who? Why that's Miss Josephine, to you!
Author: Jonah Winter
Illustrator: Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (January 3, 2012)

From the cover, I knew this would be a fun read.  The team of Winter and Priceman match rhythmic text with sassy illustrations for a story that honors the uniqueness of entertainer, Josephine Baker.  After finishing Jazz Age Josephine, I kept thinking that I wanted to hear an audio recording of this book.  The illustrations that accompany the text are fun, quirky, and energetic. The text consequently reads like it should be read with a particular rhythm or voice, a jazzy/scat voice.  An enjoyable biographical picture book to add to a library collection.

PoC Reading Challenge 2011

Though I try to read a lot of books, it is hard to participate in too many challenges.  I have limited myself to 3 challenges this year.  I posted about the Debut Author Challenge on November 21st.  You can click here to read about it.  I was going to stop there, but some friends pointed out the Books I Should Have Read Challenge.  You can read about this challenge here.  Now I was up to 2 challenges, but when I heard about the People of Color Reading Challenge and decided this would be my 3rd and final challenge for the year.  To read more about the challenge and to sign up, you can click here.

The People of Color (PoC) Reading Challenge is actually very near and dear to my heart.  I have worked in an urban setting for many years and 64% of the students at my school are Latino and another 16% are African American and another 10% are Caucasian and the final 10% are made up of a variety of racially diverse students.  It is important for me to find books that feature children of color as the main character and books that appropriately portray People of Color.  If I count picture books, I read over 40 books with People of Color represented in the pages of these books. 

This year, I intend to read at least 12 Middle Grade or YA books featuring PoC.  And I will continue to read a variety of picture books that represent the diversity that fills the halls of my school.  My students are diverse and so should the books that they read reflect them. 

Can I count on you to join in as well? - Aly

Books I Should Have Read In School But Didn't Challenge

With the arrival of the New Year comes new resolutions.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I intend to read more books that I somehow missed when I was a child or just overlooked for whatever reason or I read but don't remember anything about them.  Then of course today, a few of us started talking about Dana's Books I Should Have Read In School But...Didn't Challenge (you can read her post here).  Dana is an English Teacher and a blogger over at Much Madness is Divinest Sense.  She is challenging people to read anywhere from 2 to 12 or more of books that they never read in school and should have.

I am a little embarrassed to actually list these books and admit that I have never read them.  I hate admitting that I ignored some great books when I was a child.  However, as a child I read what I liked and ignored everything else which meant I read a ton of mysteries, fantasy fiction, and historical fiction, but not necessarily anything else.  And when I first started teaching, I focused primarily on picture books due to the grade levels that I was working with, which meant that there were even more wonderful books that I failed to read.  Glad I now have a way of encouraging myself to get back to these titles.

Here are the books that I hope to read as part of this challenge (listed in no particular order):

by E.L. Koningsburg

by Norton Juster

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

by Louise Fitzhugh

by Wilson Rawls

by E. B. White

by Frank Gipson

by Scott O'Dell

by Jean Craighead George

by Sid Fleischman

by Avi

by Virginia Hamilton

Is there a book in elementary or secondary or even college that you now wish you read?  Why don't you consider joining in on the challenge? - Aly

Book-A-Day Challenge Week 11

The Book-A-Day Challenge was started by Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) at the beginning of the summer. Most of the teachers and librarians who have been participating in Book-A-Day have wrapped up their Book-A-Day posts since they have already returned to school.  This is my last "official" book a day post, but I will continue to post weekly "what I am reading".

Here are some things that I learned from Book-A-Day...

* I read a lot of books that start with the letter "S" and followed by "B", "R", and "C".

* Graphic novels I have learned to enjoy.  Manga still confuses me.

* Most books for 2nd & 3rd graders seem to contain a lot of humor.

* Picture books are a great fall back when you aren't going to reach your weekly goal. :-)

* Yes, it is possible to read this many books and still have a life in the summer.  (You won't watch much TV but that wasn't an issue for me anyway.)

* There are some inspirational teachers and librarians doing amazing things to get kids to read.  I have come to really appreciate all of my fellow #bookaday tweeps.

Here is the breakdown of books by general categories:

Picture books: 51 (fiction, non-fiction)
Middle Grade: 20 (mostly fiction, early chapter books, graphic novels included)
YA: 19 (includes graphic novels, and manga)
Other: 5 (includes adult books, and 3 full length unpublished manuscripts which I read in order to provide feedback)

Total number of pages: It is unclear but from a general count well over 9000 and that doesn't even consider the pages in picture books. 

To look back on last week's reading:

Picture Books

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts - A wonderfully touching story about friendship and giving.

My Best Friend is As Sharp As A Pencil by Hanoch Piven - A young girl uses unusual descriptions to tell her grandmother about her friends.  Illustrations are multi-media and very interesting.

Our Children Can Soar by Michelle Cook - Simple text, beautiful illustrations, powerful book with a universal theme.  Excellent for Black History Month.

How To Heal A Broken Wing by Bob Graham - Feel good story about a child who helps a pigeon heal from an injury.

Redwoods by Jason Chin - As a non-fiction book author friend of mine said "This is creative non-fiction."  Lots of great facts about Redwoods told in story fashion with very complimentary illustrations that make the text come alive.

Middle Grade:
Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo - A favorite find of the summer.  A graphic novel for MG that is fun and touching.  Can't wait to share this one.

A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith - A recommendation from a 7 year old friend.  The story is about a Mouse named after Mozart and who may have more in common with his namesake than you would imagine.  A nice early chapter book.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (debut author 2010) - A good debut offering from Lauren Oliver.  This twist on GROUNDHOGS DAY (the movie) portrays high school in a very realistic manner.  The main character re-lives her last day of life 7 times.  Can she make just the right changes in the day to influence the final outcome?

Where will I go from here?  Well I won't stop reading books but as I mentioned earlier with the school year returning my reading will likely turn into 1 or 2 books realistically per week.  I will keep you posted with reviews and features.  And I encourage everyone to set a goal of reading at least 1 book a week.  If you were to do that you would read 52 books in the year.