Once again I am happy to link my weekly reading recap with those of other book bloggers. Thanks again to Kellee and Ricki at unleashingreaders.com and Jen at teachmentortexts.com for hosting.
My first week back at school was nice and I got to check in with my readers about what they read over the holidays and in some cases which books they got as gifts. We have been able to talk about what books we are really looking forward to reading this year. Several of us cannot wait to get our pre-ordered copy of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, which came out Tuesday, but we are still waiting for our copy. I think Monday is the day!
Our district has a Battle of the Books that is geared for grades 4-8, and our books were unveiled to kids this week. This is our fourth year, and now we have enough momentum that there is always a lot of buzz about what the books will be, and for many of our students that list will form a good portion of their must read titles for the year. This year, we moved from our usual set of 6 novels (which form a book club/literature circle set for many classes) to 9 books:
Everyone’s Battle of the Books is a little different. In our case, it just means that all schools have lots of copies of these books, and most will use them for book clubs. They are discussed a lot by students. My class will have intense literature circle discussions after Spring Break and our culminating district wide event features at least two teams per school facing off in a competition answering questions about the book. These books will be regular fixtures on my Books I Enjoyed This Week list as I re-read all of them a few times before the end of the school year.
Books I Enjoyed This Week
This was a book I ordered into the library but it had a few young readers who called “Dibs”. I finally managed to get to it at the end of the Winter Break and finished it this week. It is really great. The blurb on the front by Kenneth Oppel really captures it for me, it has that classic feel to it. I really enjoy his Victorian world from previous novels such as The Night Gardener (we used that for our first Battle of the Books) and the Peter Nimble books. The characters in this book were his best ever, I believe. Nan, Charlie, Toby and Newt were all quite memorable for me. This is a story of chimney sweeps in the Victorian age and there are some historical details for sure, but there are far more parallels to made to themes of friendship, poverty, class, and religion.
I am a big fan of the Ranger’s Apprentice series, and I have read the first to a few classes over the years and there are always a handful that will go deep into the 12 books this series offers, and then move to the spin-off Brotherband Chronicles. A discussion with a student I read this to a couple of year’s ago prompted me to read this short novel that fills in some of the facts about the origin of the relationship between the series two main characters, Halt and Will. In just a few pages this story demonstrates the strength of those characters, the world building in the series, and a few sharp action scenes. This is certainly for fans only (Goodreads lists it as book 11.1 in the series).
I recently began re-reading The Rule of Three, an exciting MG/YA with a dystopian feel that tells the story of a neighbourhood coming to grips with surviving a virus that cripples all of the world’s computers. The chaos ratchets up exponentially as the days pass. My family is reading The Lost Hero, as both my daughters are huge Riordan fans, enjoying the mix of action and humour. In my grade 6 classroom, we are through seven of nine chapters in Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries. This week in chapter seven we had to decide which was the lie: a story of Ben Franklin proposing the need of a food additive to make flatulence more appealing to our sense of smell, a girl saving a beach full of people from a tsunami, or a teen whose electromagnetism crashed most of her personal electronics including cell phones and watches. There are many activities that can happen while reading from the writing of possible fact checking Google searches to ideas for our own writing (Two Truths and a Lie- The Winter Break edition was an assignment this week for my student writers). All three of these books have been fun to read.
On deck reading
As much as I enjoyed Rule of Three the first time I read it, I never got to the sequels. At the time, I was overrun with other books to read. I may correct that after my re-read. Also, my pre-order of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise might arrive tomorrow, and that will be hard to pass up. I would like to get through these and start another of my Battle of the Books re-reads.
Thanks for stopping in and checking out my reading for the week. I hope to see what you have been up to as well. Happy reading!