Another busy week as we are trying to get everyone in our family back into the groove of a new school year, and we have been spending more time travelling to visit family now that forest fires are not a concern. My oldest also has a lot more activities now that the school system is trying to return to a more “normal” year here in BC. These are all really good problems to have, but they cut into my reading and blogging time. So, this post is very late in the day on Monday. Whoops! Thanks to our hosts for providing a link-up at Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts to read about the weeks other readers have had. I should be able to handle that, as it seems the latter half of our week has fewer extra-curricular activities and we have no trips planned for the weekend to get ready for.
Books I Enjoyed This Week
This is the newest novel in verse from Ellen Hopkins, and as is typical for this author, she deftly navigates her readers through some of the toughest moments in the lives of her characters. In this case, twelve year old Trace seems to have it all together. He pitches well on the baseball team, has good grades at a top school, and has a couple of close friends he trusts. But, what about his brother Will? He has had some trouble since a head injury in a football game, and now some of his choices are making things worse. With their single father working a lot, Will has some added responsibilities in helping out Trace, but he is not really up for the challenge with the things going on in his life. Trace is not sure how to deal with this, tell his Dad that Will about Will’s issues, or give him space? Eventually, things come to a head and we get to see how this family supports each other and gets support from others in a way. The healthy relationships between characters and the realistic way that problems are not shown as the result of someone being a bad person, but rather them needing support makes this a great pick for young readers. This one released on September 14th.
Lindsay Currie has started to routinely turn out entertaining thrillers that are a little on the creepy side, but certainly not too much for intermediate aged students to read. What Lives in the Woods is about a girl who had big plans for the summer, a writing course with her best friend in Chicago. However, her father’s plans to have the family relocate to a small resort town on Lake Michigan kills that plan. Even worse, the family is moving to a very large, mansion that may or may not be haunted. Ginny is a big Agatha Christie fan, and now she is living a mystery instead of reading one. This reminded me a little of Currie’s MG debut, The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street, with a family relocating and a big creepy house. Her characters seem to be able to bond with new people quickly over a mystery. If your readers like their mysteries a little creepy, but not gritty or gory, this one is nice and tidy.
This book is really designed to look and feel like an Elephant and Piggie book. I didn’t find it quite as funny, but I think younger kids might enjoy it. When Archie finds a “perfectly good pizza” just lying on the ground in its box, he decides to bury it in order to save it until dinner. Later his fox friend Reddie (they are actually both foxes but I totally didn’t pick that up for a while), is investigating this mysterious pile of dirt he has found. Archie tries to distract Reddie away from this mystery, but his friend will not be denied and has piled up a series of clues. It is only when Reddie reveals the third and final clue do we find out why he was so determined to figure out why the pile of dirt is there, and the reason is kind of sweet. This book was published on September 14.
If you are a cat lover then you pretty much have to love these early readers starring Flubby. If you enjoy laughing at cat lovers, you will also love this. I fall into the first category and I appreciate how J.E. Morris gets all the little details of an aloof cat just right. Flubby will not go to sleep and everything its owner tries fails to work, until the owner stops trying and Flubby falls asleep in the way that is the least convenient for the owner. This hilarious book comes out on September 21st and I need to have it in my library.
I just started reading The Great Bear, the second in the Misewa Saga that started with The Barren Grounds, billed as an Indigenous Narnia. My family is probably finishing Ship Breaker, a post-apocalyptic YA, this week. My reading of Building Thinking Classrooms has slowed somewhat but I hope to get back to it soon. It is a great math teaching resource, but I am at the point where I can use the ideas that I have from the first ten chapters as a starting point, and I find I am busy enough implementing them that I don’t have the time/motivation to keep going, for now.
Thanks for stopping here to read about my week, I look forward to getting to the other blogs late Tuesday or Wednesday. Have a great week, everyone!