nfpb2017

Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!
Author: Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie Ann Thompson
Published June 27th, 2017 by Walden Pond Press

Summary: Two Truths and a Lie is the first book in a fascinating new series that presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true—and asks readers to separate facts from the fakes!

Did you know that there is a fungus that can control the mind of an ant and make it do its bidding? Would you believe there is such a thing as a corpse flower—a ten-foot-tall plant with a blossom that smells like a zombie? How about a species of octopus that doesn’t live in water but rather lurks in trees in the Pacific Northwest?

Every story in this book is strange and astounding. But not all of them are real. Just like the old game in this book’s title, two out of every three stories are completely true and one is an outright lie. Can you guess which? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable. And they’re all accompanied by dozens of photos, maps, and illustrations. Amaze yourself and trick your friends as you sort out the fakes from the facts!

Acclaimed authors Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson have teamed up to create a series of sneaky stories about the natural world designed to amaze, disgust, and occasionally bamboozle you.

About the Authors:

 

Ammi-Joan Paquette has traveled to twenty-four countries, has the ability to wake herself up at a given time without an alarm clock, and once climbed Mt. Everest. (Not all of these are true!) Joan is the author of the novels Rules for Ghosting, Paradox, and Nowhere Girl, as well as the picture books Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo, Ghost in the House, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids, and The Tiptoes Guide to Tracking Fairies. She lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, where she balances her own writing and her day job as a literary agent. You can visit her online at www.ajpaquette.com.

Laurie Ann Thompson has ridden a pig, gotten stuck in an elevator overnight, and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. (One of these facts is not true; can you guess which?) She is the author of Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters, My Dog Is the Best, and Emmanuel’s Dream, a picture book biography about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, which was the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award and was named an ALA Notable Book, a CCBC Choice, and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, among dozens of other accolades. She lives outside Seattle with her family. You can visit her online at www.lauriethompson.com.

Review: Walden Pond, as far as I know, hasn’t published a nonfiction text other than the Guys Read: True Stories, and I can definitely see why this is one they chose to add to their publication catalog. One of the greatest educational obstacles right now is that students have access to such a wide variety of information, some that is anything but reliable and valid, so it is up to parents and educators to show how to filter through all of the information and check the validity of what they find. Paquette and Thompson’s Two Truths and a Lie take that to a fun level giving the reader three stories, all the seem as crazy yet possible, but it gives kids the opportunity to use the internet to research each story to determine what is the truth and what is the lie. But the book doesn’t seem like it is for teaching, though it would work perfectly in the classroom, because the stories are just so crazy and fun to read from zombie-making fungi to an unlikely chicken, the stories are just all so unbelievable!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Like I shared above, these stories would be a perfect way to practice digital literacy and learn about reliable and valid sources.

Discussion Questions: Which is a lie? Why do you think so? Where could you check to find out? Which of the true stories do you want to learn more about?

Flagged Passages: “Part 1: Preposterous Plans and Fungi–Crazy, Creepy, Cool

Ah, nature. A green meadow. Wind rustling through the leaves.
Mushrooms growing on the side of a fallen log. What could be more peaceful, more predictable, more ordinary?
To that we say: ha! The plants and fungus we spotlight in this section are full of surprises. They completely defy those common stereotypes and misconceptions
Intrigued? We hope so! Because once you’ve read these, going green will never mean quite the same thing…

A. Underground Miracle Root
B. Pandomonium
C. The Secret Lives of Plants.” Chapter 1, Part 1

Read This If You Love: Learning interesting and new facts about nature

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

Follow the Blog Tour!

June 5th   Librarian’s Quest
June 7th   Flowering Minds
Pragmatic Mom
June 11th  Geo Librarian
June 13th Smack Dab in the Middle
June 14th Bluestocking Thinking
June 15th Novel Novice
Library Lions Roar
June 16th Archimedes Notebook
June 18th Nerdy Book Club
June 19th Cracking the Cover
June 20th Writers Rumpus
The Hiding Spot
June 21st  Maria’s Melange
June 23rd Unleashing Readers
June 24th This Kid Reviews Books

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I am very lucky. I have had the best students in the world. One of those students, Logan LeDuc, is particularly special to me. As a senior in high school, she approached me and asked if she could do an independent study in Advanced Young Adult Literature. I knew Logan very well at that point, and it was an easy yes. She published book reviews in the town newspaper and easily read over a hundred books that year. She continues to read with passion, and I assure you that I did not have a role in this. Logan devoured books long before she met me, and her reviews of literature and critical eye were extraordinary before our connection. I was simply happy to work with her and learn from her that year. Logan has gone on to establish The Book Elves, an Instagram account with over 30K followers. Obviously, I am one of many folks who admires her.

Logan is the curator of the young adult literature box for Once Upon a Book ClubAs many of you know, we have pretty strict advertising rules on this blog. We don’t advertise. We don’t accept money. We are here for teachers. Teachers, I think you will love this idea so much that I am sharing this very cool interactive reading experience. It’s a subscription service that allows users to receive a box every month (or in longer intervals, if that is preferred). Logan sent me this box for my own enjoyment. She didn’t know that I would be posting about it on the blog, but I just couldn’t stop myself.

Below is a picture of the May young adult book club box for Once Upon a Book Club. I also captured a side angle photo because it’s quite thick. I was pretty excited when it arrived at my doorstep.

The box included a reminder that I am not supposed to open any of my gifts yet.

And here is the box. The picture doesn’t capture how beautiful it is:

Each gift is neatly wrapped with a page number sticker. This sticker includes the page number of which I should open the gift. And in case I get lost in the book (Between Two Skies), the pages have sticky notes to remind me to stop to open my gifts. This allows me to read freely without thinking about whether I missed a gift!

Get ready, teachers. This next part will make you swoon. They include read along dates for unboxing/discussion. At the noted times, readers can log into Instagram or Facebook to discuss the book together! And there are discussion questions, too!


How fun would it be to unbox and unwrap the books as a class read-aloud? I know I would have been the kid who logged in to join the discussions on the set evenings.

I’ll report back after I’ve read the book and unwrapped the gifts. I also plan to go online for the live unboxing videos. Woot! I am off to read!

 

Seventy Favorite Books From Ten of Kellee’s 2016-17 Middle School Students


From Lucas B., 7th Grade

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver is one of the best books I have read because of the character Jonas and how he handles his problems. This book definitely tops my list.

2. Legend series by Marie Lu

The Legend series was one of my favorites series because of the action that takes place in the book

3. The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

The Compound is one not to forget! The mystery of what happened to the characters and what they had to experience being locked up for years and not being able to get out.

4. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

This book was one of my favorites though it was a sad book. But it was victorious in the end!

5. Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt

It shows that anybody can be anything. The main character has dyslexia, so she thinks she can’t do anything but a teacher influences her to do great things and she does!

6. The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

This is book is an exciting book that I will never forget. This book made me feel emotional because of the things that they were going through.

7. Trapped by Michael Northrop

This book is amazing with the pressure of just a few people turned them all upside down and they have to try to figure a way to get out of the mess they’re in.

8. Nine, Ten by Nora Raskin Baleigh

This book is a favorite because it put my heart in an emotional state, and it really hit home for me.

9. Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

This is one of my favorite books because the genre is mystery, and the book is just action-packed and filled with adventures.

10. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

I loved reading this book in class. It was very emotional and made me think a lot.

From Jayden R., 6th grade

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth

There is a weird society that has lots of action in this dystopian world.

2. Scorch Trials by James Dashner

There is a lot of action and a little bit of mystery.

3. The Lightning Thief by Percy Jackson

The first Riordan book I read that made me want to read all of his books.

4. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

A huge mystery is in this book and it has a cool ending.

5. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

This is a sad and emotional book.

6. Legend by Marie Lu

There is action, a mystery, and some sad parts.

7. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

This book is very sad and interesting.

8. Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

I like this book because it is different from Riordan’s other books because it is in the POV of a god.

9. Lost Heroes by Rick Riordan

Lots of action, and there are some plot twists.

10. The Hunger Game series by Suzanne Collins

So much action!

From Ethan F. (1-5) & Omar B. (6-10), 6th Grade

1. The Living by Matt de la Peña

This book is my all-time favorite with so many twists and turns! It’s great!

2. Framed by James Ponti

This is a great crime book. It leads you one way and takes you the other way.

3. Turn Left at the Cow by Lisa Bullard

I am a big crime fan, and this is another good one.

4. 23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde

This book is another crime book, and it messes with you.

5. Masterminds by Gordon Korman

This book is amazing, and it also messes with your mind.

6. The Terrible Two by Jory John & Mac Barnett

I like this book because it was funny, and it showed how anyone can be friends.

7. Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent

I like this book because it was really dramatic.

8. Wonder by RJ Palacio

I liked this book because it is about a kid working to to make friends.

9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

I like this book because it is funny how Greg does things.

10. Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier

I like this book because it was funny.

From Varun J. (1-5) & Yassine M. (6-10), 6th Grade

1. Legend by Marie Lu

It is an action-packed adventure.

2. Warcross by Marie Lu

This book reveals something really unexpected.

3. The Young Elites by Marie Lu 

This series messes with your mind.

4. Variant by Robison Wells

Very intense book.

5. Masterminds by Gordon Korman

This series is a shocking piece of mystery writing.

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

It is a humorous piece of writing.

7. Kimchi and Calamari by Rose Kent

A very intense story.

8. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

So funny and well-thought out.

9. Poptropica by Jack Chabert

This story is a really funny adventure.

10. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick 

A really intense book!

From Celina R., 6th Grade

1. Wonder by RJ Palacio

This is my favorite book because it touches on an important lesson about a boy in the world where looks do matter for people, so Augie, the boy, has to overcome the whispers when he enters for the first time into school.

2. Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer

This is one of my favorite books because it talks about a girl, Sara, who is an orphan and tries to go to Germany to find information about her father and mother, only to find out something devastating.

3. Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt

This talks about Ally, a girl who has a hard time in school who meets a new teacher that discovers her way of learning may just be different from other kids, and he helps her through the ups and downs of kids in her school.

4. Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby

This book is on my list since it is an encouraging book that teaches people to over come obstacles. Joey, the main character, meets a chimp and her owner, and together they try to be free of Joey’s mom’s strict rules.

5. Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

This book is one of my favorites since it talks about a girl going through poverty and a family, who along the way, teaches Serafina to have a heart of gold no matter what.

6. Augie and Me by RJ Palacio

This book is a sequel to Wonder, and it talks about the kids and their viewpoints on Augie. This book explains why and how they act the way they do towards Augie.

7. nine, ten by Nora Raleigh Baskin

This book talks about four kids and their story about the day before and right after 9/11. It talks about how the day looked and how their parents were close to a horrible tragedy.

8. Juniper Berry by MP Kozlowsky

This book talks about a girl and how her parents became instantly famous and how she finds a boy who she instantly becomes friends with, and they try to figure out the mystery on why her parents stop paying attention to them.

9. Death of a Kleptomaniac by Kristen Tracy

This book is about a girl who had everything but gave it up after she was caught stealing.

10. Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

This book talks about a girl who’s father won’t let her listen when the teacher talks about 9/11 because of a secret he is hiding from them.

From Bryson P., 8th Grade

1. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

Lots of action and Greek mythology.

2. Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman

Full of action and mysterious.

3. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Overall a well written and good book.

4. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper 

Very well written and addicting.

5. Wonder by RJ Palacio

A very good book! Similar to Out of My Mind.

6. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Interesting and is hard to put down.

7. Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi

Great graphic novel series that is well written and illustrated.

8. The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry

Fun to read and is funny.

9. Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Good overall series; well put together.

10. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer 

Great book about apes, and is hard to put down!

From Cristhel G. & Seif A., 8th Grade

1. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

It is a stunning and heartbreaking story.

2. The Sweet Evil series by Wendy Higgins

It is an amazing and eye-opening series.

3. The Breathing series by Rebecca Donovan

It will make you cry from page 1!

4. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

A wonderful series full of adventure.

5. The Fault in our Stars by John Green

A sad love story that will make you cry.

6. The Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick

A magical, beautiful story.

7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

A heart-wrenching story that will be guaranteed to make you cry.

8. Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper

An unexpected story about a girl just trying to be normal.

9. April Henry books

Amazing, suspenseful, and mysterious books.

10. All Fall Down series by Ally Carter

Adventurous yet sad and amazing with cliffhangers.

Thank you Lucas, Jayden, Ethan, Omar, Varun, Yassine, Celina, Bryson, Cristhel, and Seif! 

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The Explorers: The Door in the Alley
Author: Adrienne Kress
Published April 25th, 2017 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary: The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is filled with adventure and danger. There are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, famous explorers, a risk-averse boy, and a girl on a mission. Not to mention secrets not meant for the faint of heart. But if you are feeling bold, or maybe even a little italic, and if you enjoy derring-dos (and doing dares), this just might be the story for you.

Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a new series for fans of The Name of This Book Is a Secret and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Knock once if you can find it—but only members are allowed inside.

This is one of those stories that starts with a pig in a teeny hat. It’s not the one you’re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.)

This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and also a girl on a rescue mission.

About the Author: Adrienne Kress is a writer and an actress born and raised in Toronto. She is the daughter of two high school English teachers and credits them with her love of both writing and performing. She also has a cat named Atticus, who unfortunately despises teeny hats. Look for her online at AdrienneKress.com, and follow her on Twitter at @AdrienneKress.

Review: I love when narrators break the fourth wall if it is done well, and you’ll learn really early on that it is done well in The Explorers. This hilarious narrator takes us on this adventure with Sebastian, a character that very logical people will relate to, and Evie, a character that people who are bored unless they are on an adventure, will relate to that is filled with more action, adventure, and danger than I thought would come out of this little book. But don’t worry, the narrator keeps it light with funny chapter titles and footnotes. All of this combines to make a book that I loved quite a bit because it is just the perfect balance of adventure, humor, friendship, and mystery. Although, I must warn you about the cliffhanger–WHOA! I’m still recovering. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The Door in the Alley has many opportunities to be a mentor text including discussing footnotes and breaking the fourth wall. Not many books use either of these yet The Door in the Alley uses both quite well. Discussing these will also lead to a perfect conversation about voice. Normally voice is saved for first person books but because we have a narrator that although not a character in the story definitely has a voice, it would be interesting to talk to students about how that worked in this book.

Discussion Questions: What do you think is going to happen in the next book?; Why do you think the author chose to have the narrator break the fourth wall and speak with you, the reader?; Sebastian and Evie are quite opposites, and normally they would seem like an odd pairing; however, they seem to work perfectly together–what do you think each of them brings out in the other?; Evie is searching for her grandfather because he is in trouble, but what is she truly searching for?; What do you think Sebastian’s parents are thinking right about now?!

Flagged Passages: “In all the confusion, with the pig and the teeny hat and the zigzag man, he had completely forgotten about the thing he had been trying to forget about. In one way, it meant he had done an excellent job at avoiding it up until now; on the other, it meant hat his guard had been down. For, sure enough, the man had turned down an alley. The only alley that existed on the street. That connect to another street. And there was only one thing down that alley.

Sebastian approached it with caution, his expression slowly morphing into one the pig had been wearing all the time. Terror. He stood at the end of the dark passageway and peeked his head around the corner only to see the man standing right by the door. And right under the sign that read…

The Explorers Society.” (p. 18-19)

Read This If You Loved: The Wig in the Window by Kristen KittscherFRAMED by James PontiLoot by Jude Watson, Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford, and other mysteries where kids have to solve a problem because adults won’t listen to them

Recommended For:

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Visit the Other Stops on the Blog Tour: 

Date Blog URL
24-Apr Live To Read http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.com/
25-Apr Imagination Soup http://imaginationsoup.net
26-Apr Mom and More http://momandmore.com
27-Apr Pandora’s Books www.pandorasbooks.org
28-Apr Mommy Ramblings http://www.mommyramblings.org
1-May The Lovely Books http://thelovelybooksbookblog.blogspot.com
2-May Batch of Books http://www.batchofbooks.com
3-May Oh, for the Hook of a Book! www.hookofabook.wordpress.com
4-May To Read, or Not To Read http://www.toreadornottoread.net
5-May Grandma’s Cookie Jar http://www.grandmascookiejar.net/
8-May Good Reads with Ronna www.goodreadswithronna.com
9-May Geo Librarian http://geolibrarian.blogspot.ca/
10-May Life By Candlelight http://lifebycandlelight.blogspot.com/
11-May Jumpin Beans http://jumpin-beans.blogspot.com/
12-May Always in the Middle https://gpattridge.com/
15-May Librarians Quest www.librariansquest.blogspot.com
16-May The Book Wars http://thebookwars.ca/
17-May Middle Grade Mafioso http://middlegrademafioso.blogspot.com/
18-May Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile http://www.hopelessbibliophile.com
19-May Tween You & Me http://tweenlibrarian.blogspot.com/
22-May Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook http://mrsknottsbooknook.blogspot.com/
23-May Mundie Moms http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com 
24-May The Write Path http://www.dorinewhite.blogspot.com/
25-May foodiebibliophile.com www.foodiebibliophile.com
26-May Beach Bound Books http://www.beachboundbooks.com/
29-May Middle Grade Ninja http://www.middlegradeninja.com/
30-May Night Owl Reviews https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5
31-May Cracking the Cover http://www.crackingthecover.com 
1-Jun Jenni Enzor http://jennienzor.blogspot.com/
2-Jun Literary Hoots http://www.literaryhoots.com/
5-Jun From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/
6-Jun The Winged Pen http://thewingedpen.com/
7-Jun Operation Awesome https://operationawesome6.blogspot.com/
8-Jun Leeanna.me www.leeanna.me
9-Jun Bloggin’ ’bout Books http://www.blogginboutbooks.com
12-Jun YA Books Central http://www.yabookscentral.com/
13-Jun Ms. Yingling Reads http://msyinglingreads.blogspot.com
14-Jun MGMinded blog http://middlegrademinded.blogspot.com/
15-Jun Smack Dab in the Middle http://smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com/
16-Jun Swoony Boys Podcast www.swoonyboyspodcast.com
19-Jun Book Foolery http://bookfoolery.blogspot.com/
20-Jun Unleashing Readers http://www.unleashingreaders.com/
21-Jun Kit Lit Reviews https://kid-lit-reviews.com/
22-Jun The O.W.L. http://owlforya.blogspot.com

**Thank you to Josh at Random House Children’s Books for providing a copy for review and hosting the blog tour!**

 

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

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. 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!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, 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.

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Last Week’s Posts

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

Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Covers from Vanessa and Alexandra, 6th grade

Wednesday: Review and Giveaway! Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark
Giveaway open until Wednesday!

Thursday: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Friday: Top Checked Out Books by Kellee’s Middle School Readers 2016-17

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 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee

The end of the year is always a hard reading time for me because my brain is just so tired and it is hard for me to focus. This end of the year was no different. Does anyone else struggle with reading when the school year ends even though you have more free time? However, I am getting back into the swing of things! Since I last shared my reading with you on the 5th, I have finished 2 novels, 3 picture books, and a nonfiction book:

  

Ryan Graudin’s series is brilliant. If you have not read Wolf by Wolf (then Blood by Blood), pick it up now. Sci-fi historical revisioning.

Trent and I received our second Boox from Powell’s Books and it included Pandora by Victoria Turnbull and All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon. They are both so beautiful yet so very different. Pandora is about finding life in everything while All the World is about the life that is in everything. Both worth reading!

 

I reviewed or will be reviewing these 🙂

Ricki

I have seen a lot of books this week because I have been packing up all of my bookshelves. We are moving from Connecticut to Colorado, so the move is consuming our lives at the moment. 🙂 We are trying to get in some last minute time with the people we love, so life has been pretty crazy.

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This Week’s Expeditions
Kellee

I just started Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon. Not enough to be able to say how it is.

I also am so lucky to be able to introduce Neal Shusterman at the ALAN breakfast since he was the winner of the 2017 ALAN Award, so I think I will pick up one of his books after. I am thinking either rereading Unwind and finishing the dystology, picking up Scythe, or jumping into Challenger Deep. We’ll see!

But this could all change depending on my mood and if any of my holds at the library are available~

 Ricki

I’ve been listening to The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. It’s so, so good. I actually cleaned my kitchen tonight for an extra long time and did some more laundry, so I could just listen to it!

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Upcoming Week’s Posts

 

Tuesday:  Blog Tour with Review!: The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress

Wednesday:  Seventy Favorite Books From Ten of Kellee’s 2016-17 Middle School Students

Thursday: Once Upon a Book Club — Unboxing!

Friday: Blog Tour with Giveaway and Review!: Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie A. Thompson

Sunday: Author Guest Post by Pepper Springfield

 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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Yearly, starting with 2012-2013 (and excluding 2013-2014), I have shared the most popular books in my classroom library:
2012-2013
2014-2015
2015-2016

From 2011-2013, I taught an intensive reading class with students who had not been successful on the state reading test; however, since 2014, I switched to teaching advanced reading, an elective that students choose to be in (and I still get to work with my striving readers through being reading coach–a win/win!). In the past, I shared the top books from all students who checked out from my classroom library which included my class as well as students from the three intensive reading teachers; however, I really wanted to see what the top books my students checked out this year, so I pulled a report showing just that. I currently have 3,428 titles in my classroom library, and 623 of them were checked out this year. Today, I am happy to share with you…

The most checked out books of 2016-2017 from my 6th-8th grade classroom library
**My Mock Newbery/Lunch Book Club did not check out through the same system. To see what they read, check out their posts:
Mock Newbery | Lunch Book Club**
**My students also didn’t check out from my library for their  in-class book clubs at the end of the year. They books they chose to read were:
The Maze RunnerSave Me a Seat, Stormbreaker, Point Blank, Locomotion, Trino’s Choice, Dark Life, Wolf Hollow, Jeremy Fink an the Meaning of Life, Kimchi & Calamari, City of Ember, Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, Touching Spirit Bear, and Wig in the Window**

15. The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi

14. nine, ten by Nora Raleigh Baskins

13. The Tapper Twins go to War by Geoff Rodkey

12. The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi

11. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm

10. Old School by Jeff Kinney

9. HiLo: The Great Big Boom by Judd Winick

8. HiLo: Saving the Whole Wide World by Judd Winick

7. All Fall Down by Ally Carter

6. The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

5. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

4. HiLo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

3. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

2. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

1. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

I’d also like to share the #16-27 titles because they were all tied!

16-27.
Escape from Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi

Double Down by Jeff Kinney
Dream Jumper: Nightmare Escape by Greg Gunberg
Prince of Elves by Kazu Kibuishi
Teen Boat!: The Race for Boatlantis by Dave Roman
The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
Bot Wars by J.V. Kade
Legend by Marie Lu
See How They Run by Ally Carter
Wonder by R.J. Palacios
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

What an interesting mix this year! I always love pulling the stats because even though I do status of the class consistently, I can never guess all of the top checked out books. I knew the Amulet series, HiLo series, Dog Man, and The Honest Truth would be on here though–they were passed around! Numbers 13, 7, 5, and 1 were also on our state list (SSYRA), so it was not a surprise to see them.

I also love seeing graphic novels on the list. Graphic novels are very popular with ALL of my readers. I think it is a myth that only nonreaders or struggling readers read them. So many of my students adore reading them (as do I!). I think there are many reasons why graphic novels are favorites: helps students visualize, fun to read as many of these students have only found reading to be a horrible chore, and colorful! Graphic novels are something I truly believe will help students love reading more and become better readers, and if you look at how much these students are reading and increasing in their reading ability, I think they back me up. (To see more research about the importance of graphic novels, check out my graphic novel teaching guide with Abrams.)

What books/series do you find to be most popular with your middle school readers?
Have you found success with the books I listed above?
Have you read any of the books I’ve listed? Did you enjoy them?

I hope this list of books helps point you in the direction of some texts that your readers will truly love!

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The Hate U Give
Authors: Angie Thomas
Published: February 28, 2017 by Balzer + Bray

GoodReads Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Ricki’s Review: I don’t know where to begin with this very special book. To give proof of my love for it, I will share that this book is on my Adolescents’ Literature course syllabus for next year. It is the book that I am most excited to teach. My research concerns multicultural young adult literature, and I have read a lot of books that interrogate issues of race. When this book was hyped, I knew I had to read it, but I was nervous that it wouldn’t be as good as I wanted it to be. It was everything and more. The characters feel real, and the pacing is fantastic. The author beautifully captures dialogue and life in ways that will grab readers’ attention. It has a strong message without feeling didactic. Teachers will find much to talk about with this text.

You might notice that this book has a 4.66 average rating on GoodReads. I don’t know of any book with that high of an average rating. I am not one to buy into ratings, but I think this extremely high rating shows that this is a book that really resonates with people. If you plan to read one book this year, pick this one. 

Kellee’s Review: When I first heard about The Hate U Give at ALAN in November 2016, Jason Reynolds said it was going to be one of the most important books of our time. Then I started hearing about it being bid on by all of the major publishing houses. Reynolds’s recommendation mixed with the hype made me want to pick it up, but then I also was so worried that it wouldn’t live up to this hype. But it does. It lives up to it all. I have nothing negative to say about the book. It is poignant. It is thought-provoking. It pushes boundaries. It makes white people have to look at race a way that they may not have considered before. It is REAL. It is rough. It is truth. I think Thomas did a phenomenal job writing a narrative of truth that just lays out there the problems with race in our society in a way that no one can deny or argue; it just is. I think their story makes everyone more aware and more empathetic. I finished a month ago, and I still am thinking about Star and Khalil and Natasha and Kenya and Star’s family–I just didn’t want to stop being in their lives. I cannot say any more how phenomenal this book is. Pick it up if you haven’t. (And the audiobook is so brilliant if you want to listen to it.)

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might ask students to analyze the varied themes of this text and dive deeply into discussions of each (power, economics, race, etc.). Then, they might create a civic video essay—one that considers a social issue and provides steps for social action to raise awareness for the viewing audience.

Discussion Questions: How does the author craft dialogue? What might other writers learn from her work?; What messages does the text reveal? Which messages are less obvious but implicit in a reading of the text?; What connections does this text have with the world today?

Flagged Passage: “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

Read This If You Loved: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely; by Ilyassah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon; The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon; How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon; Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles; Audacity by Melanie Crowder; The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Recommended For:

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