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top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Top Ten Top Ten Book Characters Who Would Be Sitting At Our Lunch Table

We are back at school, and we can’t wait to dine with these characters!

Ricki

I decided to go the food route because I love to eat!

1. Strega Nona from Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

BRING ON THE PASTA!

2. Sal and his mother from Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Let’s enjoy blueberries together!

3. Lucy Knisley from Relish by Lucky Knisley

Hopefully, we can convince Lucy to bring some of her homemade treats for us.

4. The Caterpillar from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Just because it is famous and likes to eat as much as I do, I would love for the caterpillar to join us. We will have some tasty treats available!

5. The setting of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

An excellently depicted setting can be like a character. I would like to eat in the setting that exists in the first few pages of this book (before things got crazy, of course).

Kellee

I went a bit different with this than Ricki. I decided to think about what teachers I would like to eat lunch with now.

1. Miss Stretchberry from Love that Dog by Sharon Creech

Miss Stretchberry really knows how to reach students, had some amazing ideas, and is overall such a wonderful teacher.

2. Miss Cassidy from Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott

Miss Cassidy wouldn’t let Sam and Luis disappear. She obviously cares about all of her students, and that is a type of teacher I would want to hang out with.

3. Mr. McQueen from Bluefish by Pat Schmatz

Mr. McQueen helps Travis and other struggling readers realize that they aren’t stupid, and that reading isn’t an anomaly but something they can do. I would love to talk to him about his strategies.

4. Miss Movado from The Summer of May by Cecilia Galante

Miss Movado doesn’t give up on May when everyone, including May, has given up on her. She changes her life in one summer.

5. Mr. Browne from Wonder by RJ Palacio

I love Mr. Browne and his precepts, and really makes his students think (though makes it fun). I’d love to pick his brain.

Who would you invite to your lunch table?

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IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday Identity Just Call My Name coyote

Tuesday: Top Ten Books We’ve Owned for a Long Time but Haven’t Read

Wednesday: How Being a Mom Has Changed My Identity (Kellee)

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: School is taking up a bit more of my time than I anticipated (I was just told I was teaching a new class a week ago, so I am working on building a curriculum for the class in addition to my journalism class and being reading coach), so I am not having as much reading time as I’d like. During my week, though, I was able to read a phenomenal graphic novel El Deafo by Cece Bell. I loved it, and my students are going to love it. When reading it it automatically connected to Smile and Hurt Go Happy in my brain. I also read 3 picture books that I really liked: How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge, Manfish by Jennifer Berne, and The New Girl…and Me by Jacqui Robbins.

Trent and I read some awesome picture books this week. The most important one we read this week was a photo book that my mom made of Trent’s first visit to Chattanooga. It is in chronological order and chronicles his time there. I love how she put it together, and I love that Trent and I can revisit any time we want!

Our other favorites were:

  • Pardon Me by Daniel Miayres is a book that reminds me a bit of Hat Back, but not so much that it didn’t seem unique. Cracked me up!
  • Oliver by Brigitta Sif is a new empathy book for me. It was great and I LOVE Oliver.
  • The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett is a beautiful wordless picture book that I loved sharing with Trent. The ending was superb.
  • Big Bug by Henry Cole gives a great introduction to perspective.

We also read Gravity by Jason Chin and Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, which were both recommended, but I just didn’t love them as much as I wanted to. Jim really liked Summer, but I just didn’t connect with it.

Ricki: First of all, I want to publicly apologize for not visiting more blogs this week. Reading other educators’ blogs is one of the highlights of my week. I don’t always comment, but I am constantly perusing, and I love learning from you all. Last week, I started school, and I was overwhelmed by the massive amount of work on the syllabi I received. I am back on the wagon, and I am sorry!

I will be sneaking YAL into my coursework, but please expect to see a lot of PD texts. I will post reviews highlighting the best PD texts I find. Of course, you can expect to see the usual YAL in reviews, as well. This week, I read Judith A Hayn and Jeffrey S. Kaplan’s Teaching Young Adult Literature Today. I have a review scheduled for next Thursday, September 11th because there was no space in the blog this week. This text highlights the great things that are happening in the field. Some good friends for the ALAN Workshop are featured authors, and I learned much from them. This is a must-read for scholars and educators in the field.

Henry and I read two phenomenal picture books. I bet some of you have read them, too! We fell into Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles. My husband and I loved this book and plan to purchase it. This is the best picture book I have read that addresses racism and discrimination. It is also a tale of friendship. We also loved the duality that existed in The Letter Home by Timothy Decker. If you haven’t read either of these books, I can’t recommend them highly enough.

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: I am currently reading Be a Changemaker by Lauria Ann Thompson, and I am finding it very inspiring and well done. I will finish it this week. I also am reading Allie Gator and the Seven Stones by Sean Eckenrod on my phone, so it may take a while to finish it because it isn’t an every day book. Trent and I are going to continue working through the picture books I got from the library after reading IMWAYR posts.

Ricki: I was fortunate to receive a copy of Atlantia by Ally Condie. I am excited to read this one. I will also be reading qualitative research methods texts. I was thinking about trying Rosenblatt’s Literature as Exploration this week, too. It is very widely cited, and I want to learn more from this great text. Reader Response is awesome, no? :)

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday violin Critical Encounters in High School English

0-545-33152-8 wartime3 wartime2 wartime

Tuesday: Top Ten Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table

Friday: Laurie Calkhoven Guest Post

 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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coyote

Coyote Summer
Author: J.S. Kapchinske
Published March 17, 2013 by Moon Halo Books

Goodreads Summary: Heath always looked forward to summer visits at Grandpa’s—long days in the wild Rocky Mountains, fishing with Dad on the Piedra River, and nights sleeping on the screened-in porch. Plus this summer, Dad promised to finally tell him the secret about old Mrs. Baylis—a mysterious Native American woman living down the dusty dirt road… But now, after Dad’s accident, it can never happen that way. Heath and his mother go to Grandpa’s, but only to spread Dad’s ashes in the river. 

In the beginning, Heath feels like he’s been swallowed by the raging Piedra, held upside down in some dark and unforgiving eddy. But one day, wandering along the riverbank, he meets Annie, a wild-eyed tomboy who shows him a hidden cave with a litter of orphaned coyote pups. Together they discover the cave holds another secret—one that might help them figure out the mystery of old Mrs. Baylis. During that summer in the mountains, Heath comes to realize there is both beauty and ugliness in the world, sometimes all tangled together. By opening himself up to Annie and the coyotes, he rediscovers hope and joy in this big, beautiful, mixed-up world.

My Review: You have never heard of this book have you? That makes me so sad. How do such wonderful books fly under so many people’s radars? This is a special book that should be in the hands of middle schoolers everywhere! Heath is a character that so many kids will connect with, and his journey would definitely touch them like it did me.

Heath recently lost his father senselessly when he was hit by a drunk driver. The sudden loss of a man that Heath looked up to affects him tremendously, and he is struggling to find himself. Everything he does at his Grandpa’s house reminds him of his dad, and his mom and Grandpa are dealing with the death in a way that makes Heath feel alone.  But during this summer, his coyote summer, he finds his own identity, makes an everlasting friend, and begins to figure out how to deal without his dad. And there are other subplots that run throughout he book that just add to the depth of the narrative such as Annie’s story and the story of Mrs. Baylis.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book just needs to be shared. It could definitely be read as a read aloud, but it will probably find its home the best in the right students’ hands either through the classroom library or lit circles. Students who love nature, have suffered a loss, or enjoy identity books will find this one is perfect for them.

Discussion Questions: How does finding Annie and the coyotes change Heath’s summer?; Why is Grandpa acting the way he is?; Why was it important for Heath to spend the summer with the coyotes? How did it affect him?

We Flagged: “As we sat there, a heron swooped down on the far bank and began stalking the shallows for fish. He moved slowly and hardly made a ripple when he walked. Then he stretched his long neck over the water, cocked his head, and froze.

“He’s pretty,” the girl said under her breath, as if talking to herself.

Somehow, her saying that made me feel better. “Herons were my dad’s favorite. He told me we should all learn to be patient like one of them.”

“Your dad sounds nice.”

I looked down at my hands and felt that horrible lump in my throat.” (Location 196, Kindle book)

Read This If You Loved: Hoot, Flush, Chomp, or Scat by Carl Hiassen, Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Recommended For:

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**Thank you to the author for providing a copy for review**

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Just Call My Name

Just Call My Name
Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Published: August 5, 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary: The happily-ever-after of Holly Goldberg Sloan’s acclaimed debut, I’ll Be There, is turned on its head in this riveting, emotional sequel about friends, enemies, and how those roles can shift in a matter of moments.

Emily Bell has it all. She’s in love with a boy named Sam Border, and his little brother has become part of her family. This summer is destined to be the best time of their lives–until a charismatic new girl in town sets her sights on Sam. Now Emily finds herself questioning the loyalty of the person she thought she could trust most.

But the biggest threat to her happiness is someone she never saw coming. Sam’s criminally insane father, whom everyone thought they’d finally left behind, is planning a jailbreak. And he knows exactly where to find Emily and his sons when he escapes…and takes his revenge.

Review: Holly Goldberg Sloan is an incredible writer. I enjoyed the first book in the series, but I liked this one even more. I appreciate the great depth of her characters. Often, coincidences are categorized as poor writing, but Sloan uses them intentionally and in a clever way—defying literary assumptions about quality writing. The book is quite suspenseful, and readers will have the urge to race through it to learn how the plot unravels. The way Sloan builds the plot details is very thoughtful and meticulous, and I found myself constantly reflecting about how intelligent she is. This sequel is well worth the read. It is a difficult one to put down! It reads like a very literary mystery and would be a great text for teachers to have in their classrooms. One aspect that I love about this series is it turns our concept of family on its head; it will teach readers about the power of a strong family unit—traditional or not.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This would be a fantastic resource for teachers teaching plot, suspense, and foreshadowing. The way Sloan builds the events and details is admirable, and students would learn a lot from her design. While it is a sequel, I think this book could certainly stand alone. The ominous mood made my heart race! Check out more curricular connections here: Curricular Connections.

Discussion Questions: How does Sloan thoughtfully use coincidence to build her story?; What is Destiny’s role in the novel? How does Sam perceive her? Is he right? What does this tell us about Sam? Why does the author name her, “Destiny”?; How do the shifts in point-of-view add to your reading of the text?

We Flagged: “That happens to really happy people. They don’t notice the little things” (p.81).

Read This If You Loved: I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan, We Were Liars by e. lockhart, YA Suspense/Mystery

Recommended For:

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Identity

This post originally started with me wanting to write about reading time, but it has become so much more. By looking at how reading has changed in my life, it made me look at my life in general and how my identity is changing.

As a mom, I suddenly find my life turned upside down. Everyone warned me that when my little baby arrived, everything would change, but I thought, naively, that I was going to be that mom that could continue doing everything I did before AND be a fabulous mom. I pish-poshed everyone’s comments about how things would be different when I had the baby.  But BOY were they right. Well… mostly.

Before Trent, I put almost all of my energy (outside of time spent with Jim) into education and reading (or blogging). I worked on PD, planning, or grading for probably 20+ hours a week at home.  Any other free time I would read. My husband would go to bed, and I would read for hours. I was on Twitter all of the time talking to educators and authors. But it was all for me. I loved every minute of it because I love education and books so much. I prided myself in being knowledgeable–someone that other teachers could go to for help and guidance, and someone that could recommend books to ANYONE. I always had the newest books and knew about it what was popular with teens/middle schoolers at all times. Because I love my profession so much, I made sure to put as much energy into being the best teacher I could be.

Things started to shift a bit when I was pregnant. I had a very hard time reading and thinking during the whole pregnancy. I was also very tired! I physically and mentally couldn’t put the energy into anything that I had before pregnancy. But I kept saying it would all come back when I had Trent.

And then my amazing son arrived. I cannot really explain the way that my mind has switched. I still love education. I would never imagine not being a teacher, but my heart and soul were stolen by this sweet, little boy. All of a sudden, I don’t want to do anything but be with him.  All of the time. But there is a part of me that needs what I used to have. I need that identity next to being a mom. This is where the pull within me is happening. I am now a mom. But a mom that is an educator, professional, and reader. How do I balance all of this? Can I truly be all of them and put enough into each so that I am succeeding at all of them? As I get used to being back at work, I am seeing that the answer is YES, but it will be different than before.

It is going to be hard
I have to realize that it is going to take some time to figure this out and that it is going to be hard. Very hard. I may feel like I am not caught up with anything, but that it is okay. It will all work out. Eventually. I have to work really hard at not feeling guilty about these changes, and instead embrace the change.

Work is staying more at work
In the past, I could be reached at any time via email, but I have now taken my work email off of my phone. I also will not be able to stay at work until 5 or 6pm every day. That doesn’t mean I don’t care! It just means that I am needed at home, and when I am at home, I have to give time to my family. Now, if I do bring work home, it is going to have to happen after bedtime or on the weekends though this takes away from reading and blogging time.

Reading may have to be scheduled and may not happen
I have found myself going days without reading. On these days, I really missing reading. But I was finding days were just getting away from me. Because of this, I have talked to my husband about trying to make a schedule so that at least 4 days a week I will get time just to read. Although this isn’t daily like I had before motherhood, it is a positive start. This may mean that I don’t get to read as much as I used to, but at least it allows me to keep reading a priority in my life. But I have to realize that sometimes reading will have to be pushed to the side for family time or because of a sick kid or to do work. This is a hard realization, but it is the truth. As long as I consciously keep reading in my life, it will always be there.

Reading may look different
But I have to remember that I AM still reading every day, but my books of choice are now often picture books that I am reading to Trent. Before I used to look at books through the eyes of my students, but now I also look at books through the eyes of my son. I now not only want to keep up with books for YA and MG but for younger kids as well so that I know my son reads the best books. (Book shopping has just gotten a lot more expensive! Though, I have found a new love of the public library because of the price of picture books.)

It’s okay!!!
I just have to keep telling myself that I can still be a great mom and teacher and blogger and sister and daughter and…, but that it just might be different.  I need to stop apologizing for how my life has changed. It is an amazing life, and I will continue to be able to do everything I love. And that, like Tim Gunn says, I’ll “make it work!”

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top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Top Ten Books We Have Owned for a Long Time but Haven’t Read

Let us know which of these books are MUST reads, and we will be sure to get to them!

Ricki

1. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

A Million Little Pieces

I bought this book before the controversy. After the controversy about it being a lie, I had little desire to read it. If it was just labeled fiction in the first place, I would have enjoyed it more!

2. Tinkers by Paul Harding

Tinkers

I bought this book after it won the Pulitzer. A friend saw it on my shelf and said it was awful, and now I can’t get the energy to pick it up!

3. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

nineteen minutes

Like most of my Jodi Picoult books, this one is collecting dust. I love her writing, but I never seem to actually start reading the books.

4. A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind

A Hope in the Unseen

For some reason, it takes me a long time to pick up nonfiction texts. I have heard that this book is incredible.

5. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by Michael Braungart and William McDonough

Cradle to Cradle

This book just seemed really cool in concept. It is even made from unconventional materials. But it is so heavy!

Kellee

I think this list is very similar to my “Top Ten Classic I Want To Read” list as I’ve owned all of the classics I listed for many years, so for this one, I am going to choose MG/YA books that I bought my first year teaching for my classroom library, but I haven’t read yet.

1. Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett

bad

I actually have the entire Series of Unfortunate Events in a special box set still laminated here at home to read at some point (and the whole series at school as well).

2. Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

bear

This is a book that everyone is surprised that I haven’t read, and everyone says it is so good.

3. The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman

schwa

This was actually the first Shusterman book I ever bought, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet although I love everything else that I have read of his.

4. Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

copper

I am sure this book is brilliant, and I am not sure why I haven’t picked it up yet.

5. The Young Man and the Sea by Rodman Philbrick

young

I got this book because I loved Freak the Mighty and Old Man and the Sea, but it just never got pushed to the top of my TBR.

Which books are gathering dust on your bookshelf?

RickiSig and Signature

 
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IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday frank boys of blur 3-6monthbooks

Tuesday: Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Us We Must Read

Friday: Trent & Kellee’s Favorite Picture Books, 3-6 Months

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: As all teachers know, reading gets much harder once the school year starts, so my updates may be a bit less than they were during the summer. It is the way it is :) This week I was able to finish two very good graphic novels from Netgalley: In Real Life by Cory Doctrow and I Remember Beirut by Zeina Abira. They are very, very different but both worth reading if you have the chance. IRL is a look at poverty, economics, and gaming while I Remember is a memoir of a young girl’s memories during the conflicts in Beirut. I absolutely adored the style of both illustrators as well as the stories.  I also read Sam’s Pet Temper by Sangeeta Bhadra which is a great book to look at temper with kids as well as personification.

Trent and I read some really good books this week! I originally got The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo for the Sharp/Schu book club. I’m going to have to go back and check out the archive now because it is a super cute mystery book. I can’t wait to read this with Trent where he can guess what is happening. The Hueys in the New Sweater by Oliver Jeffers is another very good Huey book. I like the messages in each one, and Oliver Jeffers is always a bit quirky. We saw this quirkiness and brilliance again in The Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers which is fighting Lost and Found to be my favorite Oliver Jeffers book. We also read a beautiful and creative ABC book called Antics! by Cathi Hepworth which had some intense words like jubilant, pantiloons, and xanthophile (all words with “ant” in it).  Finally we read Wumbers by Amy Krouse Rosenthal which is so clever! A bunch of short stories (perfect jumping off points for creative writing!) with words that have numbers in them. What a 1derful idea! Though, I will admit, it was quite hard to read out loud.

Ricki: As I am gearing up for school, I made this week a nonfiction week. I finished Young Adult Literature in the 21st Century by Pam Cole. This text had a great overview of the origins of YAL and the genres within the field. I also read Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something that Matters by Laurie Ann Thompson. This is a wonderfully informative book that will help teens start businesses/organizations, run meetings, conduct speeches, and organize financial plans. It was extremely accessible and very well organized. Kellee and I are doing a full review of the book on September 10, and the author will be writing a guest post for us! Henry and I read I Face the Wind by Vicki Cobb. This nonfiction picture book helps kids explore science with interactive activities. We also enjoyed Jacqueline Woodson’s Coming on Home Soon. This would be a great book to read to children whose parent(s) are away.

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: Trent and I are still working through our pile of recommend picture books that we got from the library. As for me, I am not sure what I am going to read. I know I’ll read El Deafo by Cece Bell, as that is at the top of my TBR, but then I am not sure. We’ll see how this week goes! :)

Ricki: I picked up the audio book Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I wasn’t expecting the heavy British accents, so I am hoping I am able to understand more as it plays. It is a struggle so far (but the story is great!). Kellee sent me a list of her favorite books. I am going to start those, too. She has great taste, after all!

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday Identity Just Call My Name coyote

Tuesday: Top Ten Books We’ve Owned for a Long Time but Haven’t Read

Wednesday: How Being a Mom Has Changed My Identity (Kellee)

 So, what are you reading?

Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

 Signature andRickiSig