At the last minute, I am sharing the books I was able to finish and make progress on last week as part of the kidlit meme hosted by unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com Check out the other blogs for great reading suggestions.
I had a light reading week unless I count my re-reading, which was active, in preparation for my class’s Literature Circle units. It was all good reading though. First the books that were new to me this week.
Just a Walk by Jordan Wheeler with illustrations by Christopher Auchter had really engaging pictures and a great sort of cause and effect plot featuring a young Aboriginal boy walking through the woods getting in adventures with the animals around him. I read this just after I had read one of Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse books and it had the same impact on kids. Very funny, and they were wondering what would happen next to Chuck (just like the mouse). One hilarious misstep seemed to lead to another and things got progressively more dangerous and funny for something that started out as Just a Walk.
Beautiful colour illustrations enhance this story that explains how the first mosquito came to be. Caroll Simpson seems to have used traditional stories of coastal BC First Nations, and many supernatural creatures make appearances. There is additional material after the story that gives more information on the creatures that appeared in the story and that is a welcome addition. I wanted to re-read the story after that once I knew some of the mythology. I haven’t read this to students yet, but I wonder if they will get very much from the plot without some of this background. I know many that will be highly attracted to the artwork here though.
Similar to the first book in this set in that there are very short tales that teach lessons in the style of many fables I would have read growing up. Usually a really clear and easy to find moral for kids. The humour is welcome to make the message easier to handle. One moral in particular was an anti-moral and made me laugh. I wouldn’t race to read the third one, but I think these could make good social-emotional learning lessons with the right discussion following a class read.
Re-read: I finshed The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart as well. I love this book. I knew I wanted to use it for my lit circles because I have so many readers who really like to get immersed with a character, into their lives, and the decisions that they have to make. The class across from me is using the same books and they were hooked immediately on the plot. This is a book where some uncomfortable things happen, so it is best to be discussed with others, and the group across the hall relishes that type of discussion.
Currently Reading: I am also re-reading Masterminds by Gordon Korman, partly for my lit circle groups, and also to set me up to read the sequel and the third which arrives next month. I have been through six chapters and am really enjoying it the second time, seeing hints of things to come that I did not catch the first time. This series is a real cliff-hanger so starting it right now is perfect because you will not really have to wait for sequels. My students will appreciate that.
I am also reading The War that Saved my Life for my lit circles (just started today). It was one of my favourite reads last year and I really can’t wait to share this with students. The first few pages are so powerful and yanked me right into the story.
The only downside of these re-reads is that I did not get time to finish The Inquisitor’s Tale. I am really enjoying it. A couple people told me to enjoy it as it is a unique read. That is a great word to describe it. Medieval for middle grade was ambitious but Adam Gidwitz is up to the challenge. I have many Tale Dark and Grimm fans that will give this book a chance based on his past books, and they would probably never choose Medieval history. Some adults are sure to give it a chance with the Newbery label too, but it is a really good book so far. I will finish it this week.
Another great book I hope to finish this week is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I have been reading this with my six year old, who hollers for it before I drop my school bag on the floor. It is my first reading as well, and there are lot of questions to fill in the last fifty pages this week.
My family read aloud is 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson, this is a re-read for me. A slightly creepy, scary read for intermediate students, and the first in a three book series. After reading two Narnia books in the last few months, a book in which their are “cupboards” that appear to be doorways to other world is an easy sell for both my children. We are just getting to the interesting part after a little bit of a slow build that tested their patience just a bit.
Upcoming: Why do I even bother? I read none of the books I intended to this week. Well, at least I can mention them all again. Scar Island, because I have been enjoying all Dan Gemeinhart’s stuff. Perhaps Amulet or The Bad Guys as an early chapter/graphic selection. If we finish Harry Potter early in the week, we will be moving onto The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation. I will continue to re-read Masterminds and The War that Saved my Life. I may try to squeeze in Wolf Hollow.