I had a really great week with a new class of grade 6/7 students and slowly getting more classes into our library. This week, I should have all of the groups in signing out books and sharing their reading. I am really looking forward to it. I have a lot of new books to share with them, but this week I focused my own reading on clearing out my small pile of remaining ARCs and public library books, before starting a few picture books that came late last year and over the summer.
As always, I am really happy to link this post up with others at teachmentortexts.com (thanks to Jen) and unleashingreaders.com (thanks to Kellee and Ricki).
Books I Enjoyed This Week
How does a young man that loves systems, and order and building, deal with the demolition of a friendship and of his own safety at school at the hands of a bully? Not always in the best of ways, and in Jake Burt’s third book, Bell, goes through many things to try and stop the principal’s son from picking on him. When nothing seems to work, things get even worse for a while, until Bell finally sees through his friends and new student Daelynn, a way to stand up for himself and others. I enjoyed this book, that was provided through my ARC sharing group Book Portage, because of some of the mistakes that were made by characters and how readers will be able to reflect along with characters on challenging decisions that were made.
This book was very different from The Thing About Jellyfish in a lot of ways. I guess that isn’t exactly shocking that a writer has books with a different tone, but it was the first thing that struck me about this book, having a much lighter feel. The new student at a tiny community school finds out that the rest of her small grade 7 cohort are lost without the recently departed class trickster, Paulie Fink. There are many flashbacks from the points of view of all of the members in the class as new girl Caitlyn attempts to make sense of her new surroundings and also help the class move forward. However, she also finds out that there are many different truths out there, and this realization also helps her to see alternative ways to view her past in her last school, and become a better person. There were parts of this book I really loved (multiple views and ways to tell it similar to Kate Messner’s Breakout to a lesser extent) even if a couple of times I really didn’t believe kids would act the way these ones did when thinking about a former classmate. It was funny though.
I really enjoyed these two stories of Joe and Cody and their family living on the land in Northern Manitoba. They part of the Songs of the North Wind series and although they have been out for a while, I found this new version of Dragonfly Kites with illustrations by Julie Flett. Both stories are dual language Cree/English. In Fox on the Ice, the fox throws an icefishing trip into a bit of chaos forcing the father to decide between saving his net and jigger, or pursuing a sled being pulled away by dogs who are chasing the unruffled fox. In Dragonfly Kites, the family is at their summer home and Julie Flett’s pictures of the kids making their own fun by constructing toys and making kites out of dragonflies work really well with Tomson Highway’s text.
The poor dog in this nearly wordless picture book. He is really torn. Does he help the baby to get OUT! Or is he a good dog. That is what I saw when I looked at the cover of this book. Everyone seems ready to settle in for a nice relaxing evening except for this child, who just wants OUT! and then has more ideas about how to have a great night. That is not relaxing for the parents! This one was pretty cute, and you could use it with kids to have them fill in what isn’t written in text.
Maybe my favourite book that I read this week was Tree of Wonder. We missed this one in my district and I found it in a book called The Ramped Up Read Aloud by Maria P. Walther, a book that district staff has purchased for many of the primary teachers in our schools. I have really enjoyed a lot of Kate Messner’s other books so I was interested in this fascinating view of just a portion of the different species that occupy a single tree in a rainforest in Costa Rica. It starts the tree itself and on each page there is a new animal and the number in the group doubles, a fun little math aside. The pictures and facts work well together. There is a short sentence or two featured on each page and a longer, smaller-print portion on the sidebar that gives you more information on the animal.
I am ready to start reading the e-ARC (thanks to Net Galley) of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, an upcoming addition to the Rick Riordan Presents imprint featuring West African mythology in an original story by Kwame Mbalia. I am reading We All Fall Down with my grade 6/7 class, this is a story I wrote about earlier in the summer, it’s about a boy who goes to work with his father on 9/11. My class voted to read this out of four choices of books by author Eric Walters, who visits our school in late October. My youngest, 9 years old, also wanted to read an Eric Walters book and she has heard so much about The Rule of Thre3. It has some fairly violent scenes in it, so we wanted to read it with her.
One book I really wanted to read this week was Shatter City, the second of the new titles by Scott Westerfeld that take place in the world he created with Uglies. There were four books published nearly 10 years ago now in that world, and then last year came Impostors, the start of a new series of four that takes place in the same world. I was too busy to read it this week, I got my copy through Scholastic, and it came VERY early. So my 12 year old swooped in, as I got her hooked on this series last year. She said it was must read for me.
Thanks for stopping in to read this, and I hope to check what others have been reading soon, and get some great new reads for me and my students.