Jen & Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts host a meme every Monday that invites people to share the children's and young adult books they have been reading over the past week and what they plan on reading the following week.
You may find more complete information about what I am reading at Goodreads or by clicking on the Goodreads widget along the side of my blog.
Printz Challenge - This year I am planning on trying to finish up all of the Printz winners and honor books that I have never read. The Printz awards go to books that exemplify excellence in young adult literature. There are fewer than 70 books since it is a relatively new award. I had already read 28 of them and this week I finished two more. :)
Both of these were powerful. Strangely enough, both were set up to flip from the past to the future with different characters. Jellicoe Road (Winner 2009) was extremely difficult to understand at first because I was listening to it. Once I had a hard copy and could flip back to other passages, everything was easier. The storyline is quite complex, but after about 120 pages, things start to pull together. I loved the strong friendships in this story. In Darkness (Winner 2013) was almost painful to read. The extreme poverty and violence present were shocking and heartbreaking. I had heard of the slave revolt in Haiti, but I realized I knew little about the country's history. I fully understand why both of these books won awards. The writing in both drew me in and made me care about the characters and their lives.
So now I know what F&Gs (folded and gathered) are like. It is kind of cool to look at an unbound picture book. I will have to show my students. The storyline on Who Needs Love was disjointed to me, but I appreciated the message of love. I enjoyed revisiting the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Since we have a shrine to her in our area, it would be great to have a copy of this book in our library. I don't think I have ever read a book by Pat Mora that I didn't like and The Beautiful Lady was certainly a winner. It was fun to visit Pat Mora's website to see the images of the lady that may be found in and around Mora's home.
For my second grade team who needed to compare two folktales, I tracked down Petite Rouge. I am so glad that someone mentioned this title. It is a hilarious take on Little Red Riding Hood with Cajun dialect. I laughed my way through as my teen daughter and I took turns reading. So if you need to compare and contrast folktale versions for Common Core, I would recommend this one.
I was excited to see Hide and Seek on Netgalley. I liked this mystery even more that Kate's first one. The mystery was fast paced and action packed, but what really got me was the setting. It takes place in the rain forest and we get to meet critters such as snot frogs, bullet ants, and three step snakes along with watching characters attempt to cross the swinging bridge of death. Too fun. I will write a more in-depth review later, but just know, this is one mystery series that keeps my attention.
By the way, the e-book format is growing on me, but I have to say, I still prefer paper copies. If it wasn't for Netgalley, I don't know how often I would read books on a device. With time, I may be completely won over, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Still get frustrated when page turning freezes up & I am stalled out.
My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer is a peek into the family life of a young girl named June. When the story begins we learn quickly that her Mom is in a serious relationship with another woman and is even talking marriage. June is really not sure what to think about this since not everyone in the community is receptive to such relationships. In fact, some of the people that June trusted react negatively and she hears hateful things said about her mother. The ending resolved a little too easily, but the book handles a sensitive topic well for this age level.
One more realistic fiction book was Postcards from Pismo. I am reading all of Michael Scotto's books in preparation for his visit next week. Students have enjoyed the trailer for this book and we have had some good discussion about families serving in the military. We have a few students with siblings and/or parents in the military and they have had a chance to share some of their experiences as a result of talking about this book.
I enjoyed reading about the lives of some of my favorite Native American authors in Native Writers - or Indian authors. In the first section about Sherman Alexie, he is quoted as saying "Indians call each other Indians. Native American is a guilty white liberal thing." So, I guess I will go with Indian for now. I had been familiar with Alexie, Bruchac, Erdrich, Nicola Campbell and Tim Tingle, but was happy to learn about several more authors. This added a few books to my TBR pile.
The Coming Week:
I am currently reading all of these. Yikes. So hopefully I finish one or two. Happy reading!