Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Here's a little something different this week. My earlier post listed the books my 8th graders chose as the best of the year. Now here is a list of the books they are looking forward to reading as soon as they can get their hands on them!
NEW OR UPCOMING RELEASES -
WOLF ISLAND by Darren Shan
CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins
TRICKS by Ellen Hopkins
MIDNIGHT SUN by Stephenie Meyer
THE 11TH GRADE VLADIMIR TOD by Heather Brewer
THE 4TH ERAGON book by Christopher Paolini
AVAILABLE BUT IN GREAT DEMAND AND ALWAYS CHECKED OUT -
NEW MOON and ECLIPSE by Stephenie Meyer
TENTH GRADE BLEEDS by Heather Brewer
CRANK by Ellen Hopkins
BURNED by Ellen Hopkins
MASQUERADE: A BLUE BLOODS NOVEL by Melissa de la Cruz
Monday, April 27, 2009
After recently reading Marlene Carvell's CAUGHT BETWEEN THE PAGES, I went in search of her other books. WHO WILL TELL MY BROTHER? is her first book and winner of the IRA Children's Book Award.
This novel in verse tells the story of Evan Hill. His family heritage connects him directly to the American Indian and drives him to protest his school's mascot, the face of an Indian. Evan is not the first to lodge a complaint. His older brother attempted to bring about a change in the school's policy but had no luck.
Evan finds his battle with the school board a one-sided fight. Although he has the support of his family, no one else in the school is willing to add their voice to his objections. As a result, he becomes a victim of taunts and bullying directed at his Indian heritage.
Carvell states in the Afterword that the character of Evan Hill is based on her own son and his struggle to change his school's mascot. She mentions that the change did not occur until after her son graduated. A wolf is now their mascot
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Last year Jon Scieszka was appointed the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. His goal was to "reach the reluctant reader." Since his first book THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS! he has created books that speak to not only reluctant readers, but to readers of all ages. KNUCKLEHEAD is no exception.
Subtitled "Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories About Growing Up Scieszka", this book tells what it was like growing up in Flint, Michigan, in a Catholic family with six boys. Scieszka's young fans will be able to relate to the zany stories of sibling adventure, and older readers, even adults, will find great humor in the colorful tales of Jon and his gang.
Complete with illustrations and family photos, KNUCKLEHEAD is an entertaining read. I'm planning to use it as an end-of-the-year read aloud for my 8th grade students. Hopefully, it won't give them too many "ideas" about how to keep busy over the summer.
Friday, April 24, 2009
A SEASON OF EDEN is not your typical student/teacher romance. J.M. Warwick has crafted a story that offers both the temptation of forbidden romance and a life lesson to benefit all readers.
Eden lives a privileged life. Although she lost her mother to cancer years ago, Eden has always gotten whatever she's wanted. Her father remarried less than two years after her mother's death, and the younger woman who has occupied the place of stepmother to Eden has been anything but loving and kind. Despite the circumstances, Eden lives the life of one of the most popular and sought after students in her exclusive high school.
When she enters the music room on her first day in the concert choir, Eden has thoughts of nothing other than filling her last semester as a senior with easy classes. She heads toward the back row intent on staying away from the lower classmen and as far from the teacher as possible. Imagine her surprise when Mr. Christian enters the room. He is fresh out of college and dressed in a nerdy, yet strangely appealing jacket. She has never seen anyone like him, and she quickly transports herself to a seat at the front of the room.
The more Eden sees and learns about Mr. Christian, the more she wants to become not just another one of his students. Surprising everyone, she breaks up with her boyfriend Matt and begins arriving at school earlier and offering to do menial tasks like taking attendance and handing out sheet music. She is the first to admit her amazement at how much she enjoys the classical music the new teacher plays with such talent.
Could it be possible that Mr. Christian (James) has similar feelings for her? Or is she dreaming the impossible?
J.M. Warwick treads on the edge of some dangerous territory as she develops the relationship between student and teacher. Many readers might shy away from this topic, but hopefully, they will give A SEASON OF EDEN a chance. Eden may be headed toward trouble, but through her experience she learns a lot about herself and the often unpleasant person she has become over the years. Teachers and librarians should consider Warwick's book as a worthwhile pick for YA collections.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I'm always anxious to see what E. Lockhart has to offer.
THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS due out 7/28/09 continues her story started in THE BOYFRIEND LIST and THE BOY BOOK, both popular books in my classroom. Gotta love the cover, too.
Summary courtesy of Barnes & Noble:
Ruby is back at Tate Prep, and it’s her thirty-seventh week in the state of Noboyfriend. Her panic attacks are bad, her love life is even worse, and what’s more:
Noel is writing her notes, Jackson is giving her frogs, Gideon is helping her cook, and Finn is making her brownies. Rumors are flying, and Ruby’s already-sucky reputation is heading downhill.
Not only that, she’s also: running a bake sale, learning the secrets of heavymetal therapy, encountering some seriously smelly feet, defending the rights of pygmy goats, and bodyguarding Noel from unwanted advances.
In this companion novel to The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book, Ruby struggles to secure some sort of mental health, to understand what constitutes a real friendship, and to find true love—if such a thing exists.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
LUCKY BREAKS is the second book in Susan Patron's THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY trilogy. It continues the story of Lucky who lives in the middle of the desert in a tiny town called Hard Pan.
Lucky is about to turn eleven, and she can hardly wait. She is sure that being eleven will cause her life to be much more exciting than being ten. After all being eleven is at "the door of becoming a teenager."
Not a whole lot has changed in Lucky's life. She still lives with Brigitte, her French adopted mother. She helps run the Hard Pan Cafe which is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Business is good, and Lucky is proud that Brigitte has made it such a success. When she's not helping at the Cafe or busy at school, Lucky spends time with her two good friends, Lincoln and Miles. Lincoln, also eleven, is a world-class knot tyer determined to win a knot competition that could earn him a chance to live and study in Europe for a year. Miles is about to turn six. He has been tested at school and told he has a genius IQ. With the help of Lucky and Lincoln he is studying to be a brain surgeon. Together they make an interesting and unforgettable trio.
Not much changes in Hard Pan, but one day Lucky meets a new friend. One of the guests at the Cafe is another eleven year old named Paloma. She turns up with her uncle, a geologist, and becomes fast friends with Lucky. Lucky can't believe what she has been missing. Having a girl as a best friend is much more satisfying than hanging around with two boys.
Lucky continues to think of herself as self-sufiicient and independent, but being so enthusiastic and adventurous almost turns out to be Lucky's downfall. She and Paloma venture into the desert on a mission that almost ends in tragedy. Her experience teaches her lessons about respecting danger and preserving friendships.
Author Susan Patron won the 2007 John Newbery Medal for THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY, and this second book is surely medal quality as well. She keeps Lucky true to her original character and adds just the right combination of adventure and new intrigue to keep readers waiting anxiously for the final episode. I applaud Lucky's freshness and purity, and Patron's determination to include plot elements previously attacked by critics.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Many plot lines help draw readers into WINTERGIRLS. Lia is the product of divorce. She explains that her parents should never have been together, but pregnancy forced the issue. She has experimented with living with her mother, a work-a-holic heart surgeon, and as the book begins, she's been living fairly successfully with her father, his new wife, and a stepsister who adores and worships Lia. The character of Cassie provides yet another look at eating disorders as her method of choice is to binge and purge.
Lia's self-image and eating disorder are not new. She's already been in a treatment program twice, and everyone plays a role in monitoring her behavior in hopes of preventing a relapse. However, since Lia's habits have become her lifestyle, she is an expert at avoiding detection. Even though her friend Cassie is gone, Lia feels her influence and encouragement from the grave. Lia also finds support from an online network of young people just like herself. When family, therapists, or others threaten her need to control food, she resorts to cutting as a way to relieve the pressure. Voices constantly haunt her and hold her prisoner inside her wasting body.
It is difficult to summarize WINTERGIRLS as one would a typical novel filled with action and events. Lia's story is more of a mind game that readers will become part of and anxiously follow to its conclusion. WINTERGIRLS will cement Anderson's place as a fantastic YA author.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Oops, missed Wednesday, but better late than never. Here's a book I'm anxious to read.
DESTROY ALL CARS by Blake Nelson
Release date is scheduled for May 1, 2009.
Summary courtesy of Barnes & Noble:
James Hoff likes to rant against America's consumerist culture. He also likes to rant against his ex-girlfriend, Sadie, who he feels isn't doing enough to change the world. But just like he can't avoid buying things, he also can't avoid Sadie for long. This is a fantastic, funny, sexy, cool masterpiece from one of the best YA writers at work today, an anti-consumerist love story that's all about idealism, in both James's relationship with the world and his relationships with the people around him.