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Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair
Author: Alice Kuipers
Illustrator: Diana Toledano
Published: May 7th, 2019 by Chronicle Books

Summary: Polly and her magic book, Spell, have all kinds of adventures together because whatever Polly writes in Spell comes true! But when Polly and Spell join forces to make the school fair super spectacular, they quickly discover that what you write and what you mean are not always the same. Filled with the familiar details of home and school, but with a sprinkling of magic, this book is just right for fans of Ivy + Bean, Judy Moody, and Dory Fantasmagory, as well for aspiring writers, who, just like Polly, know the magic of stories.

View my post about Polly Diamond and the Magic Book to learn about book one.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I created for the Polly Diamond series:

You can also access the teaching guide here.

You can learn more about Polly Diamond on Chronicle Book’s Polly Diamond Book 2 page.

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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

Top 3 Authors by Emma, 7th Grade

  • Chris Colfer: He is the author of a wonderful series, The Land of Stories. He created a fantasy world full of fairy tales. He also has more unknown books like Struck by Lightning and Stranger Than Fanfiction. He is also a character in Glee. Chris Colfer has opened my mind up to other genres.
  • Rick Riordan: Author of many books. He created a mythological region for readers. In his books, Percy Jackson and Magnus Chase and others, he takes Greek tales and turn them into something different.
  • Jennifer Nielsen: Jennifer Nielsen is the author of many amazing books. In her historical fiction books, like Resistance, she takes history and brings it to life. He allows readers to interact and connect to her books.

Top 5 Authors for Middle Schoolers by Maria & Lisa, 6th Grade

Jeff Kinney
Racel Renee Russell
Raina Telgemeier
Lincoln Peirce
Rick Riordan

Top 10 Favorite Authors by Isaias & Miguel, 6th Grade

  • Neal Shusterman: He is creative and very good at making books with themes and ideas that no one has ever come close to thinking about.
  • J.K. Rowling: She is very creative when she things about magic. Her books are one of the most interesting books we’ve read. The ways she writes the books are impressive.
  • Jonathan Auxier: His stories are so page turning. The way he makes his characters and explains everything are interesting.
  • Rick Riordan: He is very good at including Greek mythology which makes his books more interesting and unique. The way his books add up make a good experience which shoes he does more than Green mythology.
  • Kazu Kibuishi: His comics are probably the best we’ve read. He is creative with the creation of the story with magic and Emily and the bad people. It is interesting the way the book becomes a journey.
  • Jeff Kinney: He is probably the funniest author. The way he makes his characters are unbelievably funny.
  • Dav Pilkey: His books are funny and the concepts are so weird which makes it more enjoyable. He is another author whose books make us laugh.
  • Lincoln Peirce: His books are interesting because of the way he describes his characters and what he has the characters do. They’re relatable.
  • Lisa McMann: Her books are so creative, and the things she imagines we’ve never seen before. Such creativity. They are interesting and exciting.
  • Michael Buckley: His books are very funny and exciting. They have lots of plot twists which make his books exciting and fun to read.

Top 10 Favorite Authors by Ellian & Sujan, 6th Grade

  • Sujan
    • Jennifer A. Nielsen: I like this author because she writes lots of adventure books. I loved The False Prince series, Mark of the Thief series, and Resistance.
    • Jeff Kinney: I like this author because he writes my faovrite series for year, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
    • Dav Pilkey: I like this author because Dog Man is one of my favorites of all time.
    • Deron R. Hicks: I like this author because I love mystery books and Deron made one of my favorite mystery books.
  • Ellian
    • Dav Pilkey: Because of the Dog Man series
    • W.C. Mack: Because of Athlete vs. Mathlete
    • Lauren Tarshis: Because of the I Survived series
    • K.A. Holt: Because of House Arrest, Knockout, and Rhyme Schemer
    • Kazu Kibuishi: Because of the Amulet series
    • Jeff Kinney: Because of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Thank you everyone for your great lists!

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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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CONGRATULATIONS 
Dean
for winning the Max Attacks giveaway!

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Tuesday: Student Voices!: Recommended Titles by Jacque, Jacob, Cooper, Maria, Lisa, Jordan, Alexandra, Molly, Olivia, Damon, Nathan, Duda, Max, Kaley, & Elsa

Friday: Is 2 a Lot? by Annie Watson

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Understanding Race in a Country Divided” by Barbara Diggs, Author of Race Relations: The Struggle for Equality in America

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

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Kellee

At ALA Annual Conference! 🙂

Also, we are moving homes here in Orlando, so I am going to take off about 6 weeks to get my family moved and settled. I’ll be back early August.

Ricki

Sadly, I didn’t read any new books this week. My new baby is taking up a good amount of time. (I’m actually in my rocking chair with him right now.) I’m sorry that I’m not being a good blogger lately!

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Ricki

I’m still reading and loving Frankly in Love by David Yoon!

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Tuesday: Student Voices!: Favorite Authors by Emma, Maria, Lisa, Isaias, Miguel, Sujan, & Ellian

Friday: Teacher Guide for Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair by Alice Kuipers

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Suspension of Disbelief: Walking the Fine Line” by Tom Alan Brosz, Author of Roger Mantis

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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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“Understanding Race in a Country Divided”

Race and racism can be tricky topics to discuss in the classroom. With so many diverse experiences, perspectives, and opinions on these emotionally-charged issues, it can be tempting to avoid conversations about race to skirt potential conflict.

But if there’s any hope of creating greater harmony and understanding among people of all colors in our society, we have to face these issues head-on. Our kids must learn to discuss racial issues openly, with honesty, empathy–and historical perspective.

To my mind, no fruitful discussion of the United States’ racial issues can occur without having a comprehensive grasp of America’s history of race relations. This long and painful story is key to understanding today’s divisive racial climate and recognizing how America’s past continues to haunt and impact race relations today.

My book, Race Relations: The Struggle for Equality in America, helps put the complexity of contemporary U.S. race relations into historical context. It offers kids the chance to explore race and racism in ways that promote critical thinking about difficult societal problems.

The book begins, not with slavery, but with the creation of racial categories in the fifteenth century. Readers learn, in a fact-based way, how European colonizers embraced and honed these categories to create a racial hierarchy to justify the enslavement and persecution of races they believed to be inferior. Even as some people fought against it, this hierarchy would become codified in U.S. laws and woven into American social codes for the next 400 years, substantially affecting how people of different colors view and treat each other.

Race Relations guides tweens and teens through these four centuries of American race relations. It touches every major era, from colonization and slavery to Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights to the presidencies of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Links to online primary sources such as narratives, laws, articles, poems, songs, statistics, and even YouTube videos help them explore the nature of American race relations during each era and allow them to consider how relations have changed–or haven’t–over the years.

The book also fosters discussions of contemporary racial issues, such as voting rights, imprisonment rate disparities, and affirmative action, and asks students to reflect on concepts such as racial bias, prejudice, and privilege and how these impact their lives. It further highlights current social justice movements, including Black Lives Matters, and encourages students to consider actions they can take to help improve race relations.

I wrote Race Relations to provide young teens with the tools for recognizing racism and the historical context for talking about it.  Only by addressing these problems can we begin to bridge our differences, understand each other’s realities, and build a more peaceful and unified society.

Here are some activities to get healthy conversations started!

Check Yourself

History isn’t the only factor that can influence our perception of races different from our own. Naturally, having a personal relationship with people of a different race plays a huge role in your perceptions, as does the nature of that relationship with them. But we also receive input from a variety of other sources—our family, friends, neighborhood, community, images on television, magazines, newspapers, books, videos, and music. How do all these factors influence our perception of race?

Write down the different factors that influence your perceptions of these races as listed on the U.S. Census: White, Latino, African American, Native American, Asian American. You do not have to share this list with anyone—it is for you to gain insights into your perceptions of other races and where they come from.

  • Do you know anyone of each race?
  • How many people?
  • Have you ever participated in any social events with someone of each race?
  • What do you frequently hear about people of each race?
  • What three adjectives would you use to describe people of each race?
  • Where do your strongest impressions of each race come from?
  • Can you find any patterns in your thinking? Are your impressions about groups that include people you know personally more positive than those groups that don’t contain anyone you know? What other patterns can you spot?

To investigate more, give yourself an assignment of reading, watching, or listening to books, movies, and music produced by people from each of the different races. Does this change your perception? If so, how?

Mass Depopulation of Native Americans

Before Europeans arrived in 1492, an estimated 54 million Native Americans were living in what is now the United States. Within decades, millions died due to European diseases, war, and displacement. By 1890, the Native American population had dropped to 228,000. Although historians debate whether the devastation of the Native American population was an intentional genocide, they do not dispute that Europeans caused the dramatic depopulation, whether by acting purposefully, accidentally, or with reckless indifference.

Trace the history of one of the Native American tribes. Choose between the Cherokee, Iroquois, Mohawk, Seminole, Sioux, Comanche, Algonquin, or Cheyenne.

Make a timeline of significant events in the tribe’s history. These should include important relationships with colonists or Americans, treaties made with the U.S. government, wars, peacetimes, displacements, and current status.

Research the culture of your chosen tribe. How did the historical events affect that culture?

To investigate more, write a short play or scene about an event in your chosen tribe’s history that affected its lifestyle or population. Incorporate differing views tribe members may have had and how they may have felt looking to the future.

More classroom resources can be found at https://nomadpress.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Race-Relations-Classroom-Guide.pdf.

Race Relations: The Struggle for Equality in America
Author: Barbara Diggs
Illustrator: Richard Chapman
Published April 9th, 2019 by Nomad Press

About the Book: How could a country founded on the honorable ideals of freedom and equality have so willingly embraced the evils of enslavement and oppression?

America’s history of race relations is a difficult one, full of uncomfortable inconsistencies and unpleasant truths. Although the topic is sensitive, it is important to face this painful past unflinchingly—knowing this history is key to understanding today’s racial climate and working towards a more harmonious society.

In Race Relations: The Struggle for Equality in America, kids ages 12 to 15 follow the evolution of race relations in America from the country’s earliest beginnings until present day. The book examines how the concept of race was constructed in the seventeenth century and how American colonists used racial differences to justify slavery, discrimination and the persecution of people of color. Through links to online primary sources such as newspaper articles, letters, poems, and songs, young readers will explore how race relations changed—and didn’t—through the eras of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights, and under the presidencies of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

About the Author: Barbara Diggs is a non-fiction writer who has written a range of historical articles for children. Her work has been featured in Learning Through History MagazineHistory Magazine, and Renaissance, among others. A graduate of Stanford Law School, Barbara practiced law in New York for several years before becoming a professional writer. She and her family currently split their time between Paris, France, and Washington DC. Website: barbaradiggs.com

Thank you so much for this guest post looking at the history, present, and future of race relations in the United States!

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Is 2 A Lot? An Adventure with Numbers
Author: Annie Watson
Illustrator: Rebecca Evans
Published June 4th, 2019 by Tilbury House Publishers

Summary: Two is not a lot of pennies, but it is a lot of smelly skunks. Ten is not a lot of popcorn pieces, but it is a lot of chomping dinosaurs. One thousand is not a lot of grains of sand, but it is a lot of hot air balloons!

While Joey’s mom explains the context of numbers in vivid ways, Joey’s imagination transforms their ordinary car ride into a magical odyssey through a land of make-believe.

Is Two a Lot? is a wonderfully charming and authentic exchange between mother and child. Annie Watson’s story makes numbers tangible, and Rebecca Evans’s illustrations bring them to life.

About the Author: Annie Watson (Flagstaff, AZ) is proud of the meaningful work that she does as a high school English teacher, and she feels balanced whenever she can get outside and find time to write. She finds daily joy in reading bedtime stories, and she looks forward to her family’s next adventure to the bookstore, museum, or beach. She and her husband and two children enjoy the beautiful mountains, sunflowers, parks, community events, and pizza places in and around Flagstaff.

About the Illustrator: Rebecca Evans worked for nine years as an artist and designer before returning to her first love: children’s book illustration and writing. Her children’s books include Someday I’ll Fly; Friends in Fur Coats; The Good Things; The Shopkeeper’s Bear; Naughty Nana; Amhale in South Africa; Mei Ling in China; Tiffany in New York; Masterpiece Robot; and Finding the Speed of Light. She lives in Maryland with her husband and four young children, shares her love of literature and art regularly at elementary schools, teaches art at the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts, and works from her home studio whenever time permits. Rebecca’s own boundless imagination enjoys free reign at www.rebeccaevans.net

Praise: “A picture book that accurately depicts how children think about numbers and values in a fun and engaging way.

Readers will want to count the number of skunks, cowboys, and other imaginative creatures and objects Joey and his mother discuss throughout the book, and they will enjoy seeing various characters from the places they visit pile into the trunk of the station wagon.

Children who are learning the meaning of value and numbers will both learn from this book, with its whimsical examples of what “a lot” means, and find much to enjoy.” – Kirkus Reviews

Review: Trent loves books like I do, but he really is more of a science and math kid than I was (am!), so whenever we can combine the two in fun ways, the book is a favorite in my house. This also shows the engagement opportunities with a book in a classroom.

I love that the story is a conversation between a mom and her son. It reminds me so much of so many conversations I’ve had in my car with Trent. I really promotes the inquisitiveness of kids which is something I think we all need to keep promoting.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Trent actually had a hard time grasping the concept that is being discussed in the book, so it would be an amazing math activity to turn the conversations into manipulatives and bring the numbers to life!

Discussion Questions: 

  • When is ___ (#) a lot? When is it not?
  • How many pieces of sand are on a beach?
  • How many bones are in your body?
  • Why do skunks spray?
  • How many types of dinosaurs were there?
  • How many kids fit in a bus? A double-decker bus?
  • How do hot air balloons work?
  • What questions do you have that you would like answered?
  • Look at the illustrations and how all of the things mentioned throughout come together, and write your own narrative telling the story about what happened.

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Read This If You Love: Math, Inquiry

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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

Books That Made Me Realize I’m a Reader by Jacque S., 8th Grade

  • So B. It: While reading this book, it put me in an emotional level and game me a reminder of reality.
  • Dark Life: I loved reading this book. I really enjoyed reading it.
  • Percy Jackson series: While reading this book, it was so good that I needed to talk to someone about it, so I recommended it to a friend so we could talk about it.
  • Stung: This book blew my mind, and I just had to read the second one. I could reread this book and never get bored.
  • The Eleventh Plague: This was one of the first books I read and enjoyed, and it got me into reading more.
  • False Prince: While reading this book, there were many plot twists and it did surprise me.
  • Feedback: This book was amazing! I never expected anything that happened. It was very suspenseful.

Top Ten Books for a Book Club by Jacob & Cooper, 6th Grade

  • The Honest Truth: Lots of twists that create emotion and conversation.
  • Mark of the Thief: Lots of action and plot twists that lead to intensity and conversation.
  • The War That Saved My Life: Not predictable plot leads to mystery and entertainment.
  • Life on Mars: An emotional book that keeps the reader turning pages and conversations flowing.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: A bestseller that is very magical and has heart.
  • The False Prince: Lovely book about truth and doing the right thing.
  • Grenade: Lots of plot twists that keep the book exciting and readers talking.
  • Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life: Very fun look at school that middle schoolers can relate to.
  • Orphan Island: Very interesting book that leads to questions and mystery.
  • Ravenmaster’s Secret: Did this one in class, and it was very fun. Many great conversations and opinions.

Top 10 Fantasy Series We’ve Read (in no particular order) by Maria & Lisa, 6th Grade

  • Emily Windsnap series: It is a really exciting and colorful story, but there is also lots of adventures in it.
  • Dog Man series: It is a really fun story and is also super funny!
  • School for Good and Evil series: You won’t know what will happen next; it’s always a surprise! It’s so detailed and super adventurous. Lastly, you will find out something new each chapter.
  • Ever After High series: A great series! It’s all about team work which makes the dream work. It has many books in the series. You will never know what will happen next!
  • Phoebe and Her Unicorn series: Super funny and always puts our frown upside down. Lots of books in the series, and I hope there is more to come with Phoebe and her unicorn.
  • Hazardous Tales series: Such a good series. It mixes history, fun, and excitement in one story.
  • Warriors series: It has a lot of adventure and so many great characters. Such a great series!
  • Amulet series: The drawings are super creative just like the story. Each book connects to the next!
  • Captain Underpants series: It’s a great series! It is super funny and makes my day happy!
  • Percy Jackson series: It makes Greek mythology into a story and an action packed adventure that keeps you on your toes.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Super mysterious and adventurous.

Quick Book Talks for 10 Must Read Books by Jordan Klinkbeil, 7th Grade

  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan: Percy isn’t expecting to wake up in a magical camp full of Greek demigods, but he does and he has to try and save his mother as well… fun.
  • The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen: The prince of Carthya is dead… right?
  • Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter: There’s no spy training school! Are you sure about that?
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus: Wait…what?! A major gossip-spreader dies in detention. Was it the jock? The brains? The beauty? The criminal?
  • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick: What is up with the kid, Patch Cipriano? And why has Nora’s life spun out of control since he appeared?
  • Renegades by Marissa Meyer: Tale of good versus evil, but who is the good and who is the evil?
  • War Cross by Marie Lu: Hacking into a broad-casted video game? No problem. Get a call from the game’s creator? Problem.
  • The Fault in our Stars by John Green: Cancer brought them together but loves keeps them together. Boring? Not.
  • Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones: What will happen when an illness cure gives people superpowers?
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Mare Barrow is a Red. A normal. However, how come can she control electricity then?

Top 5 Anthropomorphic Books by Alexandra, 8th Grade

  • Lone Wolf (Wolves of the Beyond #1): Faolan, a wolf pup, was born with a splayed paw. The laws of the pack say that any pup born with a deformity is to be left to die. This book is a story about how Faolan defied his fate and survived, with help of a grizzly bear. This book is a good story about survival, feeling outcasted, and family.
  • The Escape (Horses of the Dawn #1): This book is about a herd of horses who were thrown out to sea. Estrella, a young foal, knows the way to land. Once they reach land, it’s up to her to lead the herd to safety, away from the dangers of humans, and the wilderness. This book is really exciting to read, especially all the adventures the herd goes on and reading about all their new experiences on land.
  • The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire #1): This book is told from the point of view of dragons, which is interesting to read about. The five dragonets are destined to fulfill a prophecy that will stop a war that has lasted 20 years. For now, they’re stuck living under a cave in order to stay hidden, but they want to see the world. Little do they know about the dangers that await them.
  • Mez’s Magic (Lost Rainforest #1): In the world of Caldera, animals are separated by who is awake at night and who is awake during the day. Mez, a nightwalker panther, finds herself still awake during the day. Mez begins to discover mysterious powers and learns a big secret when a strange snake appears outside her den. This book is a great story told from the point of view of Mez, and there is a lot of action and mysteries in this book.
  • Into the Wild (Warriors #1): Rusty, a housecat, has always been curious about the outside world. One night, he ventures out into the woods despite warning from his friend. There, he finds a few wild cats who invite him to join their clan. Rusty makes the choice to join them and finds it a challenge to fit in and live wild. This is an interesting book told from the point of view of Rusty, and it is a new concept of wild and stray cats forming clans and traditions.

Favorite Books Read this Year by Molly, 7th Grade

  • The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Nielsen
    • The False Prince is a fiction fantasy that puts 4 boys up to the test to be a prince. This book reveals the truth about Sage and everyone shows their true colors.
    • Runaway King shows how everyone betrays each other. Sage has to overcome pirates with a few other friends. This book is amazing because the plot twists are brilliant.
    • Shadow Throne shows how war is brewing throughout the kingdom.
  • The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu
    • The Young Elites is a dark fantasy fiction. Many people are affected by the blood fever which also comes with supernatural powers.
    • The Rose Society is an incredible book because it shows the inner thoughts and voices going through the main character, Adelina.
    • Midnight Star definitely is the book that made me love reading. Adelina and her friends show courage, strength, and bravery. This book teaches sacrifice, kindness, bravery, and courageness.
  • War Cross dulogy by Marie Lu
    • War Cross is a science fiction novel about a virtual reality game where teams play to win it all. There are hackers, team players, romances, and friendships.
    • Wild Card has Emika solving the mystery of who is actually the bad guy while she makes new friends along the way.
  • Hate List by Jennifer Brown: A traumatic event at school changes everything.

Ten Book Series for 6th Graders (in no order) by Olivia, 6th Grade

  • Jedi Academy by Jarrett J. Krosoczka & Jeffery Brown: The first 3 books of the series are about one group of kids and the next ones are about a different group of kids. I like that it is an illustrated novel, so it does have pictures but also a lot of words. It is a very joyful series.
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: I love this sereis because you go through all the books going through Harry’s and his friends’ lives. Also since the series is so long you can grow closer to the characters. Last, it is never boring and is always action-packed.
  • Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson: I love this series because I love Diseny, and it talks about Disney but is not kiddish–it has a lot to do with villains. Last, the kids are in middle school, and I can relate to them.
  • Smile series by Raina Telgemeier: I like this series because it is a graphic novel about the author’s life. It has one book about her and one about her and her sister.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels by Ann M. Martin, Raina Telgemeier, and Gale Galligan: I love this series because you can read it as a graphic novel or a standard book. Also, each book is from a point of view of a different character.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney: I like this series because there are so many books. Also, it is an illustrated novel which I like.
  • House Arrest series by K.A. Holt: I think this is a good series because it has action and drama. Also, it has an interesting storyline.
  • Who Is/Was series by Various: I like learning about famous people in very fun ways.
  • Track series by Jason Reynolds: I like that each book is about a different character. I also like that it is about track.
  • I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis: This series is great because it teaches you about important events in history but in very interesting ways by having kids go through the events.

Recommended Books for Middle Schoolers by Damon & Nathan, 6th Grade

Five Books/Series You Should Read by Duda, 7th Grade

  • Nyxia series by Scott Reintgen: Nyxia is about Emmett Atwater who is chosen by the Babel company to go to a planet called Eden and mine the strange substance known as nyxia. In return, he gets money to support his family forever; however, Emmett isn’t the only recruit, and they all need to earn their ticket to Eden. But the ship is full of secrets. Is the money worth losing his humanity? A super fun read with a complex, well-developed, and diverse cast. The plot is incredible with plenty of twists and turns.
  • Heist Society series by Ally Carter: Many families have family businesses, but Katarina Bishop’s is especially interesting: her family business is pulling heists. But Kat decides she wants out and scams her way into boarding school… that is until her best friend, Hale, shows up with her expulsion. Five paintings have been stolen and her dad is the prime suspect. Will she be able to steal them back and save her dad? An amazing read. You can’t help but fall in love with the characters. Super witty and funny with a well thought out plot.
  • War Cross duology by Marie Lu: Emika Chen is a bounty hunter tracking down players who illegally bet on the popular virtual reality game Warcross. She’s in a financial situation where she needs money, so she takes a risk and hacks into the International Warcross Championships and can be seen! She attracts the attention of the creator of the game, Hideo Tanaka. He wants her to spy from the inside to uncover a security issue. But when she discovers a plot that could topple the Warcross empire, what will she do? Not only are the characters wonderful and the plot has an amazing pace plus incredible twists, but the setting adds an amazing element. It’s fascinating how the book completely transports you into another world.
  • V is for Villain by Peter Moore: Brad Baron may be a genius but compared to his superhero brother, he’s pretty lame. Especially in a school full of people with superpowers. So when he meets the mysterious Layla, he decides to join her crew of like-minded individuals. He even hones his own power! But with wicked criminals, battles, and family secrets, what side will Brad choose? Complex characters and a completely different world will make you question who the good and bad guys are.
  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling: Moving to a new school and house is always hard, but it is a little harder when you don’t have arms. But Aven Green doesn’t let that stop her! She can do whatever she wants including making a new friend who knows what it is like to have a disability. He joins her in uncovering a mystery and from there, the sky is the limit. An amazing and sweet read! Aven is an incredible narrator who puts a fun twist on her life when others can’t.

Books I Hope Get a Sequel (and that you should read!) by Elsa, Max, & Kaley, 8th Grade

  • Maybe a Fox: Although the story had a great ending, I would have loved to see a story about Jules’s friend and how his brother came back from the war as well as his spirit animal.
  • Ghost Boys: I loved how Ghost Boy was made, but I would love to see another book about how one of the Ghost Boys help MLK keep going and eventually make an act that all men are equal.
  • Eliza and her Monsters: I loved the way that the plot of this book unfolds, I just wish it lasted longer! A sequel could include Eliza in college with her new-found confidence.
  • Everything, Everything: (SPOILERS!) The end of the book purposely left a lot of loose ends, and I’d love to see how Maddy and Olly’s relationship develops in the new setting.
  • The Darkest Hour: I’d love for a sequel to this book even though it may not need one. I would like to see how Lucie dealt with the after effects of the war and what job she would pick up after.
  • Heartless: Simply because after reading Heartless, I was left heartless and empty. I want more.

Thank you everyone for your great lists!

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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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Tuesday: Kellee’s End of Year Student Survey Results, Students’ Favorite Books, and Top Checked Out Books 2018-19

Thursday: Guest Review: Feral Youth: A Novel in 10 Points of View from Shaun David Hutchinson and Nine Other Powerhouse Authors

Friday: Blog Tour with Review: Moon! Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Feminism: Finding Our Way Forward” by Jill Dearman, Author of Feminism: The March Towards Equal Rights for Women

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

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Kellee

Although Trent still loves picture books, he is really loving early reader chapter books and series.

  • We finished the 2nd and 3rd Mercy Watson books, and he just loves that pig. After I read him the 3rd one, he went and retold it to his dad–it was a heart-filling moment.
  • I was looking for an audiobook to listen to one night, and saw that the Andy Shane series is available on Overdrive with my library, so we listened to the first one. He listened to it all in one sitting and seemed to really like it; he has asked to read the 2nd one.

  • A Tear in the Ocean by H.M. Bouwman: Two stories combine to answer the question a young boy is searching for while also helping his friend figure out where she belongs.
  • Far Away by Lisa Graff: CJ lives with her Aunt Nic who is a famous medium. CJ travels the nation with her and truly believes in what her Aunt does helps her audience.

Ricki

Hi! I’ve returned from maternity leave! My almost 8-week-old son is currently laying next to a toy. I might have 30 seconds to write this post, and I might have 30 minutes. It will be a surprise! Ha ha ha.

Over maternity leave, I read several dozen books from the library. My older sons and I checked out a total of 65 books.

I finished Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. It was excellent and worth the hype. It was very similar in many ways to Nowhere Girls (which I read while pregnant). Both had strong messages, and I loved reading each of them!

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Kellee

  • Currently Reading: We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler
  • Currently Listening: Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic by Michael McCreary
  • Reading next with Trent: Narwhal’s Otter Friend by Ben Clanton
  • Currently Listening to with Trent: Inspector Flytrap and the Goal Who Chewed Too Much by Tom Angleberger

Ricki

I am listening to Tradition by Brendan Kiely. I am trying to read more books related to #metoo, and this one fit into that topic. So far, it is very good.

I am reading (and really enjoying) Frankly in Love by David Yoon. Because I am trying to get enough sleep, I only read a chapter per night, and it is a real treat. The narrator’s voice is very powerful. This book is going to end up on my favorites list this year.

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Tuesday: Student Voices!: Recommended Titles by Jacque, Jacob, Cooper, Maria, Lisa, Jordan, Alexandra, Molly, Olivia, Damon, Nathan, Duda, Elsa

Friday: Is 2 a Lot? by Annie Watson

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Understanding Race in a Country Divided” by Barbara Diggs, Author of Race Relations: The Struggle for Equality in America

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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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