Guest Post: Classroom Uses for Stargazing by Jen Wang, The Party by Sergio Ruzzier, Twins by Varian Johnson, and When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

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One of the assignments during my Spring Children’s Literature course at UCF was creating a mini-teaching guide for the books we read for book clubs. We started with picture books for practice then students created them in their book clubs each week.

Today, I am happy to share the classroom uses and discussion questions found by my UCF Elementary Education students created for these graphic novels they read.

Stargazing
Author: Jen Wang
Published September 10th, 2019 by First Second

Summary: Christine is a young girl who plays the violin and is suggested by her parents to join the talent show. She then meets a girl, Moon, who is rumored to beat up other kids. Once she gets to know her, she finds out that she is actually a good person and they become great friends who decide on performing in the talent show together. The girls get closer but when Christine’s schedule gets busier, Moon finds a new friend in Madison, making Christine jealous to the point she leaves Moon’s journal open on the table for everyone to see. The girls start laughing at the drawings in the journal but when Moon encounters situations that upset her, she doesn’t know how to act and gets violent. After attacking a classmate, Moon passes out and it’s discovered she has a tumor in her brain that requires surgery. Christine avoids talking to Moon as she was the one that caused the fight and Moon gets surgery to remove her tumor. The girls make up afterwards and Christine bands together with their other classmates to perform at the talent show in tribute to Moon while the school hosts the night as a Fundraiser for Moon and her mother.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book would be useful in the classroom to help students learn the importance of accepting differences, treating others fairly and anger management. The book touches on topics such as stereotyping, homelessness, and bullying which can help students in the classroom.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How would you react if you were Christine and learned that your new friend has a brain tumor?
  • Have you ever had a vegetarian dish, if so what was it?
  • What are some other ways Moon could handle Angela reading her pictures to everyone at the birthday party?
  • In the book the characters participate in a talent show, if you were to participate one what would your talent be?
  • Why do you think Moon left during Chinese learning class, do you think she should’ve gone back to learn Chinese?
  • If one of your friends were feeling sad and alone like Moon was after her surgery, how would you comfort them?
  • Do you think that Moon was wrong in sharing her concert ticket with Madison after Christine said she didn’t want to go?
  • Do you believe it was right for Moon to attack Gabrielle for making fun of Vivian about her math puzzles.
  • Was Christine’s father right for getting mad at Christine for painting her nails and not telling her parents about it?

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Fox & Chick: The Party and other stories
Author: Sergio Ruzzier
Published April 17th, 2018 by Chronicle Books

Summary: Fox and Chick don’t always agree. But Fox and Chick are always friends.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: A great activity to do with this book would be “post-ful thinking” where students put sticky notes on pages where they have a connection to while reading and jot a quick comment. These connections are shared when the group meets to identify issues for discussion. The sticky notes can also be used to revisit the book around a particular issue by marking pages relevant to the issue as a way to prepare for the discussion.

This book touched on more of the social-emotional aspects of life which is important for the age that the book is for.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Do you believe Chick’s question was properly stated in The Party?
  • Did Chick do as he said he would in The Party?
  • How would you reword Chick’s question in The Party?
  • How would you react if someone did something they didn’t mention before?
  • What time of day do you think the story Good Soup is?
  • Have you ever found yourself not being able to sit still like Chick?
  • What did you do to help yourself sit still in this situation?
  • Do you think Fox was correct when they didn’t paint Chick? What would you have done if your friend would not sit still?
  • What lessons can you take away from this book?
  • Have you ever made assumed something before you got to know someone like Chick did?

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Twins
Author: Varian Johnson
Illustrator: Shannon Wright
Published October 6th, 2020 by Graphix

Summary:Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran — a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!

Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there’s nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book would be useful in classrooms when trying to teach students about the importance of self-confidence, friendships and personal identity.

After reading the book, students can make a quick graphic or symbolic drawing reflecting how the story Twins made them feel/what they thought about the story and discuss their drawings.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How did Maureen and Francine find self-confidence?
  • How do Maureen and Francine change throughout the story?
  • What parts of the story do you see these changes?
  • How are Maureen and Francine alike?
  • How are Maureen and Francine different?
  • Why do you think Maureen ran for President instead of another position, such as Vice President or Treasurer?
  • Why do you think Maureen and Francine’s parents asked the twins to keep the election civil?
  • How do you think the parents feel about Maureen and Francine feuding with each other?
  • How does Maureen and Francine’s story influence how you see yourself? Do you know yourself?
  • Has the story of Maureen and Francine influenced how you view the concept of self confidence?

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When Stars Are Scattered
Author: Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed
Illustrator: Victoria Jamieson
Published April 14th, 2020 by Dial Books

Summary: Heartbreak and hope exist together in this remarkable graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.

Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: When Stars are Scattered is an impactful graphic novel that tells the story of the authors hardships throughout his childhood.  It places us into his shoes as he navigates his new life in a Kenyan refugee camp.  It was interesting to see our country from another persons point of view.  Throughout this book Omar and his brother had to face challenges not familiar to most his age.  They often went hungry, not knowing when or where the next meal would be coming from.  It was really great to see and show children that what we might take for granted is not available to others across the world.  In the book Omar had to decide if school was worth leaving his brother by himself everyday.  School wasn’t accessible to everyone in the camp, especially middle and high school.  It was a great accomplishment that Omar was accepted into middle school.  Omar also had to battle taking care of his brother by himself with the help of a neighbor.  Omar and his brother got separated from their mother shortly after fleeing their home.  Overall this book is a great example of what children across the world go through on a daily basis. 

This book has a lot in it that can be unpacked and discussed within the classroom.  This book hits on war, disability representation, women’s rights, and perseverance.  Omar and his brother were faced with challenges they shouldn’t have been faced with at their age.  But they overcame them and eventually accomplished their goal.  You could open up a discussion within the classroom talking about the hard topics that might not get talked about anywhere else.  You could talk about war and how it happens around the world.  You could show how Omar’s brother had a disability but didn’t let it stop him from achieving his goals.  You could hit on how women are treated in other countries compared to our own.  Honestly I feel this book is a great book to just promote a safe space for open discussions.  Children might not have a safe space to discuss these types of things.

Social Studies tie-in: The students can use this graphic novels to study the region of this book, the conflicts that have taken place, and how others around the world live.

Math tie-in: The refugee camps that are mentioned in the graphic novel are very large have the students calculate how large these camps by adding together the size of the three. Have the students graph the number of refugees coming to the camp every year.

Art tie-in: Have students draw their own section of a graphic novel inspired by this book.

Economics tie-in: Throughout this book Omar and Jeri do their best to make money in order to buy new essentials such as clothing and food. Have the students analyze how the market in the refugee camp fluctuates and how Jeri and Omar made profits.

Astronomy/History tie-in: Students can learn about stars and how they have guided travelers of the past.

Social Emotional Learning tie-in: The book could teach students about responsibility, compassion and values. Students can relate to the message this story brings. Some kids can be going through a somewhat similar situation that you may not be aware of. It teaches students the importance of perseverance through difficult times. It allows for students to engage in discussions about social issues that are going on and how to be compassionate about them.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Who do you believe had the most influence on Omar’s life in the camp?
  • What is your first impression of Omar and Hassan?
  • Why do the boys think of Fatima as their foster mom? What is a foster parent?
  • Why was Omar hesitant to go to school?
  • Why was Maryam forced to quit school?
  • When Omar went to school why was there less girls then boys?  Was this normal?
  • Why was it so difficult for Omar to talk about his mom at the UN?
  • Why was Omar not going to school and when Salmen offered for him to go to school?
  • Write a diary entry from the perspective of Omar, describing thoughts and feelings about your day at school.
  • Omar realizes that he does have many people that love and support him, write about what you are grateful for, do you feel that love and support are things that mean the most in the world?
  • If you were Omar, would you have chosen the same path and attended school? Or stayed home to take care of Hassan? Explain
  • Throughout this graphic novel young girls and boys are treated differently within camp. Write about a time that you have seen someone be treated differently based on something they can’t control.
  • How were the schools within the refugee camp different from the schools in the United States?
  • Fatuma is considered a part of Omar and Hassan’s family despite not being related to them. Write about a person who is not related to you but who you love and consider a part of your family.
  • Which child in the story did you relate to and why?
  • Did this novel change your perspective of school? How so?
  • What is one lesson you learned from this book?
  • Have you ever read a story about a refugee before? Did it change your thoughts about what it means to be a refugee?
  • Who do you believe had the most influence on Omar’s life in the camp?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?  What makes you want to do that?
  • What is your first impression of Omar and Hassan?
  • Why do the boys think of Fatuma as their ‘foster mum’? What is a foster parent?
  • Why did the author choose “Hooyo” to be the last words said in the story?

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Guest Post: Classroom Uses for Astronuts by Jon Sciezska, El Deafo by Cece Bell, Jukebox by Nidhi Chanani, One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale, and Squish: Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. Holm

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One of the assignments during my Spring Children’s Literature course at UCF was creating a mini-teaching guide for the books we read for book clubs. We started with picture books for practice then students created them in their book clubs each week.

Today, I am happy to share the classroom uses and discussion questions found by my UCF Elementary Education students about these graphic novels.

AstroNuts Mission One: The Plant Planet
Author: Jon Scieszka
Illustrator: Steven Weinberg
Published September 10th, 2019 by Chronicle Books

Summary: AstroWolf, LaserShark, SmartHawk, and StinkBug are animal astronauts that were sent on a mission to find a sustainable planet for humans to live on once we’ve ruined Earth. So off they rocket to the Plant Planet in the nose rocket! They must perform experiments to gather all the information needed to know if the planet would be able to sustain humans, Or do Plant Planet’s inhabitants have a different plan in store. This book uses real life science with a fun twist.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book would be great for teaching all about planet Earth, how to recycle, and how to protect the planet. Also, this book does a great job on putting a fun, zany twist on its characters that make this educational, engaging, and entertaining. These are all great things that students can look forward to when reading this book and are introduced to it, in the classroom.

In terms of interdisciplinary elements, we have discussed that the best subject that the book AstroNuts can be connected to is science. This book can be seen from many different angles when connected to science, but can be more specifically geared towards the knowledge of climate change, protecting one’s planet, and cell information (ex: plant cells).

Discussion Questions: 

  • Why do you think AstroWolf thought that he knew it all?
  • Out of all the characters in AstroNuts (AstroWolf, LaserShark, etc.), which character do you think you could relate to the most? Explain.
  • What could the AstroNuts have done differently in order to not anger the plants, when they first arrived on the planet?
  • Which of the AstroNuts do you feel accomplished their goal for the mission? Why or why not?
  • What aspects of the story do you see in our society when it comes to protecting our planet?
  • How does this book inspire you when it talks about the environment and the ongoing topic of global warming?
  • Which AstroNut do you think contributed the most to their mission? Explain.
  • If you were an official for the NNASA how could you help prepare the AstroNuts for their next mission?
  • If you were to draw Plant Planet, how would it look different from Earth. What types of things would be shown in your illustration? Explain.

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El Deafo
Author: Cece Bell
Published September 2nd, 2014 by Abrams Books

Summary: Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school — in the hallway… in the teacher’s lounge… in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: El Deafo teaches students about inclusivity which is something kids sometimes struggle with, and its books like this, that may just do the trick! This novel could also be a great choice as a book club book because it is a real-life story and could very well be a kids favorite. You can challenge your students, and have them create a piece of writing or art work that is inspired by this story, to show understanding. It’s great to have different books about kids with certain challenges, so other students can read and understand them better and see that they are not so different from other students, which is why it is encouraged that you to add this to your classroom library if it isn’t there already!

Discussion Questions: 

  • Based off of the cover of the book, what predictions do you have for the book?
  • Why did Cece dislike the way Ginny spoke to her?
  • How did Martha treat Cece when they first met?
  • Do you think that Mike Miller was a good influence?
  • Do you think that Cece missed out on a new opportunity to learn something new because she went into sign language school with a negative attitude?
  • What would you have done if you were in Ceces’ shoes when the teacher slipped out of the classroom and your friends wanted you to listen for her?
  • Why do you think the illustrator chose bunnies to be the characters?
  • Based off of the cover of the book, what predictions do you have for the book?
  • In what ways can you relate to Cece?
  • Cece thought about herself as a superhero? What do you think makes a person a superhero?
  • Why did Cece dislike the way Ginny spoke to her?
  • How did Martha treat Cece when they first met?
  • Do you think that Mike Miller was a good influence?
  • Do you think that Cece missed out on a new opportunity to learn something new because she went into sign language school with a negative attitude?
  • What would you have done if you were in Ceces’ shoes when the teacher slipped out of the classroom and your friends wanted you to listen for her?
  • Why do you think the illustrator chose bunnies to be the characters?
  • How did the illustration help you understand what is going on in the story?

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Jukebox
Author: Nidhi Chanani
Published June 22nd, 2021 by First Second

Summary: When her dad goes missing, Shahi and her cousin Naz discover a magical time traveling Jukebox and are transported throughout history. Traveling through time, Shahi and Naz race to find Gio and uncover the truth behind the Jukebox.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book is educational because it goes over important social issues and it has an engaging story line that will catch the reader’s attention.

Literature logs would allow students to make connections and critically think while they read the novel. The students can then revisit their notes before coming together for class discussions. Free writes allow students to get their real impressions of the book out. They are asked to write freely about the novel for a given amount of time. The absence of a prompt gives the students the chance to explore the aspects of the novel that stood out to them the most.

This book’s interdisciplinary concepts contain history, music and sexuality. Each record that plays brings you back to an event in history without giving too much information, this may lead readers to want to learn more about what was happening at different points of musical history and history in general. Along with this, there was mention of sexuality and the acceptance of it in their family. This can show the reader that it is okay to have a sexuality that isn’t heterosexuality.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Describe the relationship Shahi has with her parents and with Naz.
  • What clues does the illustrator use to let the reader know what time period they are in?
  • Why do you think Gio and Earl prefer to listen to music on records?
  • Are you familiar with any of the music artists talked about in the book? If so, who and how did you learn about them? If not, who do you think would listen to and why?
  • Do you think the store owner (Earl) was a bit selfish, if so, why do you think that?
  • How does music influence your life?
  • Do you think music and history go hand in hand to shape our communities today?
  • Which historic time travel trip stood out to you the most and why?
  • Describe one event in the book that stood out to you the most. Give your reasoning.
  • Did you think that Shahi and Naz were ever going to find their father/ uncle? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think the Jukebox was so important to Gio and Earl?
  • Describe one time in history that was mentioned in the book that you would like to go back to.

Recommended For: 

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One Dead Spy
Author: Nathan Hale
Published August 1st, 2012 by Abrams Books

Summary: Nathan Hale is the first ever American spy during the Revolutionary War, who is to be hung by the British.  Before the approval of the hanging a giant history book picks him up to go through the past events through Nathans’ point of view which made him a spy during the Revolutionary War, and what the future of the war will be.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The book can be used with history and also when learning the time period the book is a good reference as far as word choice and vocabulary. It gives a good reference as far as seeing into the reality of the time period. It has great comedic relief and can be used to be an ice breaker when dealing with difficult things such as history, especially with our ELLs because it incorporates pictures and texts will allow them to make connections when reading and following along with pictures as well.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does this book compare to the textbook as far as history? Does this text provide more of a reference or as pleasant reading?
  • Knowing now that the main character is in reference to a real time activity, how does this change the pace and voice of the book?
  • What connections can we make from the graphic novel to the text as we are reading the text?
  • What can we infer from the textbook to foreshadow to happen in the graphic novel?
  • Why couldn’t the British soldier hang Nathan at the beginning of the graphic novel?
  • What were Nathan Hale’s famous last words?
  • What other history figures are present in the book?
  • How did Henry Knox get the cannons to General Wasington?
  • What was the first American victory of the war? And who won it?
  • How does the setting and the time period give more background knowledge as a reader? Does it help you for see the ending of the book?

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Squish: Super Amoeba
Author: Jennifer L. Holm
Illustrator: Matthew Holm
Published May 10th, 2011 by Random House

Summary: A student named Squish (who loves Science) encounters school life with his friends Peggy and Pod. In the midst of his everyday shenanigans, Squish discovers the meaning of right and wrong when faced with unexpected occurrences at his school. Looking up to his favorite role model, “Super Amoeba”, Squish is determined to become his own superhero, save his friend Peggy from the school bully, and fight against the difficulties that come his way!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: When it comes to interdisciplinary elements in this book, we have found that the closest subject that could be connected to Squish is science. Some ways in which you could connect the book to science is by conducting a couple of experiments where students can find amoebas, or other microorganisms,  under a microscope. Amoebas can be found in water puddles and lakes, and most of these places are nearby a school, which can be a great field day for students as well.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What event(s) in the book do you think shows poor/unfriendly behavior? Why?
  • What is a Planaria? Why did the authors make the principal of Squish’s school a Planaria?
  • If you were a friend of Squish, what advice would you give him when confronting the bully in the story? Would you not give him advice? Why or why not?
  • What types of connections could you make with Squish’s character, and his emotions at the end of the story? Explain.
  • Why do you think Mr. Rotifer didn’t ask more questions on why Squish helped Lynwood?
  • Is Pod a good friend in your opinion? Why or why not?
  • What animal would you want to eat the bully in the story? Explain.
  • Would you help the bully cheat to protect your friend?
  • What are some ways that Squish could have handled his bullying situation?Why or why not?

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Student Voices: Recommendations by Anna Liz R., Brielle P., Ava G., Chase S., and Silvia S.

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Recommendations

Books to Read for Each Season by Anna Liz R., 7th grade

Sometimes you just want to get in the vibe of each season, so here are some book recommendations you should read during winter, spring, summer, and autumn! 

~Winter~

The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – This book is so sweet and nice that it will just bring you a warm smile on a cozy winter afternoon. The fantasy and the use of personification is incredible, and it feels like the author is speaking only to you at times. I would really think that Despereaux would love snow and the winter holidays. 

~Spring~

Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #1)

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson – This book has a lot of forest scenes that will just remind you of the Spring season. Plenty of oranges, kingdom conflicts, and running and chasing. Just as exciting as the season itself!

~Summer~

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – This book literally takes place over summer where Percy goes to the Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp. Not only that, but all those water scenes make you want to go to the beach on a hot summer day. 

Undercurrents

Undercurrents by Willo Davis Roberts – This mysterious book takes place over summer where the family with a new stepmother spends their summer vacation in a beach house where only the truth about the stepmother gets revealed little by little. I love the summer setting in this book!

Framed! (Framed #1)

Framed! by James Ponti – If you have nothing to do on a hot summer day, you should really read Framed. Of course, this book starts with Florian’s and Margaret’s last days of summer. Where they spend most of their time at a museum using TOAST. However, they get involved with FBI cases, and it’s up to them to solve it. Definitely a quick read on a summer day!

~Autumn~

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, #1)

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – This awesome book gives you dark academia vibes with all the mansion and the lifestyle of the Hawthorne family. All the mysteries and strategies are incredible. A dark academia person loves autumn, so this book is perfect for that time of year.

A Danger to Herself and Others

A Danger To Herself And Others by Alyssa Sheinmel – This book gives you more of Halloween vibes that has many cliffhangers. And to see how the main characters turn out to be really gives you villain vibes as well.

Death Note: Another Note - The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases

Death Note Another Note: The BB Murder Cases by Nisio Isin – This book is more for the anime watchers that enjoy the anime Death Note. This is an alternative ending from the anime with some new characters. This book has reminds me of the spookiness of Halloween because of each murder case that they have to solve. And the plot twist at the end is incredibly insane.


Books to Read in the Springtime by Brielle P., 7th grade

Korgi series by Christian Slade & Ann Slade

Books and Original art - Korgi and Joker! - Mixed Age Threads and Misc -  CGC Comic Book Collectors Chat Boards

This series is yes, a wordless graphic novel series about reading the Korgi series and admiring the artwork, the details, and interpreting the book is so relaxing and calm to do. The first book in this series reminds me a lot of the springtime, the feelings, the “Korgipeople” everything in it is so sweet and feels like flowers in the springtime.♡

Lou! by Julien Neel

Journal infime (Lou!, #1)

First off, when I first saw this book I was in awe it definitely caught my eye just by the cover and the title(specifically the heart exclamation point in the title). Not only was the book itself catching my attention but when you read the story you really fall in love with the characters, the artwork, and the storyline, everything is a chef’s kiss. Well, now how does this relate to the springtime? Not only does this book have all these qualities it is in fact mostly in the springtime which means if you like flowers, sun, etc. This book is a perfect read. Plus, if you enjoy this book it is a series so there are more to love! ♡

Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper Series Volume 1-4 Books Set By Alice Oseman : Alice Oseman:  Amazon.com.au: Books

This book series is amazing, it has romance, and adventure everything you would want in a book is in this book. Not only is it a cute book but it has great animation/drawings I thought it was such a cute series.♡

Maybe a Mermaid by Josephine Cameron

Maybe a Mermaid

This book is so cute! I love the story so much and the mom and daughter relationship reminds me so much of Rory and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls. I love how this story begins as a cute kid story and then transforms into a mystery of the house and the mermaid. This book could also work for the summertime!♡

Pretend She’s Here by Luanne Rice

Pretend She's Here

This kinda horror book I thought was perfect for the springtime, think about it if you are on spring break and you’re bored your gonna want something interesting. Now let me tell you this book is FILED with an interesting plot. Basically what happened was the girl on the rights friend died and her mom comes out of nowhere and… well nothing good happens so that’s why you should read it!♡


Mystery Book Recommendations by Ava G., 7th grade

Framed! by James Ponti

Framed! (Framed #1)

After moving to Washington, 12 year old  Florian Bates uses his theory of all small things aka T.O.A.S.T, in which he lands himself a job as a FBI agent with his new friend Margaret. They go through a journey from lowkey spying on people on the subway to getting involved in a huge art crime that could be directed to an even bigger art syndicate.

Spy School By Stuart Gibbs

Spy School (Spy School, #1)

Even if he is only in middle school, Ben Rigby is already training to be in the CIA. But except for his insanally good math skills and being incredibly awkward, he really doesn’t have any good “spy” skills. Could the CIA really want him as a junior agent?

One Of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1)

Bayview High’s detention room contains 5 students. A beauty, brain, criminal, athlete, and an outcast. But when one of the students doesn’t make it out alive the other 4 are the top suspects. Which one could have killed him? They all have motives but which one actually killed him? 


Ten Recommended Graphic Novels by Chase S., 8th grade

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

This Was Our Pact

This Was Our Pact is an emotional graphic novel about a friend group or “pact” of kids who are Ben’s (the main character’s) classmates. There is a festival where the townspeople gather lanterns and float them down the rivers, the pacts goal was to find out where these lanterns end up, but the pact shatters due to a fallout and leaves Ben with one other unusual kid who isn’t really popular and doesn’t fit in, Nathaniel. The 2 embark on a journey filled with magic and friendship in which the likes of nobody else has ever gone on. This is a very great graphic novel with relationships and fantasy merged into one.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Adapted by P. Craig Russell, Illustrated by Various Illustrators

The Graveyard Book, Volume 1

Bod is a normal boy, but he doesn’t have the most normal life. Bod was and is raised by ghosts, and his solitary guardian is neither living nor dead. There are many easter eggs in Bod’s graveyard home, like a hidden entrance to the city of ghouls, but also a wide variety of peril. In the living world, a man named Jack is still out there and has already killed Bod’s whole family. It is up to Bod to find out answers about his life without putting it at risk. This is a very fantastical and suspenseful graphic novel that really puts you in a beautiful new world in a shade of grim.

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

Fake Blood

AJ is a regular schoolboy starting a new school year, but as he looks at his surroundings he notices everybody is changing except for him. He hasn’t grown or has had out of the ordinary or fun summers like his friends have. AJ also had a crush on a girl who ended up being obsessed with vampires, and during a school project AJ tries to win her over with vampire attire, but gets different than he expected when he finds out she herself is a slayer. Now, it’s up to AJ to preserve the school and keep all the students in it safe. This is a graphic novel tying real life experiences with drama and fantasy, having a mythical sense of danger into what seems like an ordinary environment.

Bloom by Kevin Panetta, Illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau

Bloom

Ari has just finished high school and is ready to move to the big city with his band. But Ari needs to convince his father to let him quit his job at their struggling family business. Ari has worked at their business since he can remember and he used to love it, but he can’t believe wasting his whole life over it. While interviewing for possible replacements, he finds someone who loves baking just as much as he wants to escape it, and the two form a close bond. It is up to Ari not to ruin everything and obtain the hopes of his dreams. This book has such a real life experience to it, the occupations, the situations, the romance. All of it has suspense and is an enticing graphic novel to read.

The Iliad by Gareth Hinds

The Iliad

Based on the Greek poem The Odyssey, over three thousand years ago, two armies faced off in what would be known as the famous Trojan War. This graphic novel places readers into the valleys of Troy. The men and women who struggled through the war, and the experiences of those who were caught in the crossfires. This graphic novel is very historical and informative, it gives you a better image and understanding of war and its pains and struggles, rather than romanticizing it and gaslighting the harsh circumstances of war.

Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond, Illustrated by Dave McKean

Mouse Bird Snake Wolf

The world is a relatively safe place, there are mountains, forests, oceans, animals, plants, everything you can imagine. There’s civilization, tea, cakes, and all sorts of imaginative features of the world. But this world provides gaps of features with nothing more but emptiness. Harry, Sue, and Ben are intrigued by this world and want to investigate it. With sticks and stones, twigs and dirt, what are conjured out of these through imagination consist of a mouse, a bird, a snake, and a wolf. But as their conjurations increase, so do their power, and slowly but surely, the question is put into place: how powerful is too powerful, and will it be out of their control? Can they unmake what’s already been made? This graphic novel is suspenseful, especially for such a calm environment to begin with. The problem isn’t pre-set, it slowly builds up over time and that’s what makes this book so enlightening and cautioned.

Last Dance by Hanna Schroy

Last Dance

Miriam has trained her whole life to be on stage with the ballerinas. Her hard work has finally paid off after she became the prima ballerina of the Lulli Dance Company, but she hasn’t been entirely transparent with them. Miriam has sustained a wide variety of bruises, scratches, and injuries that have taken a heavy toll on her. One disastrous ankle injury though means one thing, that she might have to give it all up forever. Miriam discovers a pair of slippers that, according to a spirit, will give her the strength to regenerate and heal her injuries. She just wanted one thing in return: to be on stage and perform with the rest of the ballerinas, just like Miriam. This graphic novel accurately portrays struggle and the urge to follow your dreams, it really is enlightening and puts things in perspective in regards to other fields.

City of Secrets by Victoria Ying

City of Secrets

There is an orphan named Ever Barnes who’s job is to guard a secret in a puzzle-box of a building. Many others who work at the building look away when Evers passes by, except a person named Lisa and the head of the Switchboard, Madame Alexander. It only clicks to Evers after he is beset by a gang of rogues to find out the secret for him to conspire with his friend Hannah to discover the secrets he was so guarding this whole time. This graphic novel escalates from a rough standstill to a coup and betrayal. I think it’s a very exciting change of events and to conclude a good graphic novel.

The Runaway Princess by Johan Troïanowski

The Runaway Princess: (A Graphic Novel)

Robin is a princess who starts to rebel against her strict and uptight parents. The princess loves adventure and is willing to go on all sorts of journeys in the outside world. But her parents aren’t too pleased with her sudden departure, and they set out into the world to go find her and bring her home. This graphic novel really is similar to the famous “Rapunzel” story but in a very different sense under very different circumstances. Nonetheless, I do think it has a good plot and it really is a transformation to the word graphic novel.

The Red Maze by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel, Illustrated by Various Illustrators

The Red Maze

The Red Maze is a part of a wide multiverse series of different worlds and the whole 5 Worlds series has never disappointed us. The main character is still determined to save the galaxy and in this graphic novel, she is headed towards the red maze, a nonstop maze of pipes in which the final destination leads to the red beacon. They must confront a ruthless businessman and a secret rebellious leader with their friend who returned from another source and light the red beacon. I like graphic novels that are widespread and involve travel, this book emphasizes that by highlighting the series of events to go succeed for the bigger picture. 


》Book series I’d recommend as a Middle Schooler ↴ by Silvia S., 7th grade

A series I highly recommend would be Dork Diaries by Rachel Renée Russell

Dork Diaries 11

You go through a journey with Nikki Maxwell through her new middle school. And someone find out her secret and is ready to use it against her at any moment. Find the truth about Mackenzie Hollister and what true friendship is. But make sure you read them in order or things will get confusing.

Summary: New school. New mean girl. New crush. New diary so I can spill about all of it…I put a lot of really personal stuff in this diary along with my sketches and doodles. But, mostly it’s about how TRAUMATIC it was transferring to my new private middle school, Westchester Country Day. And, how a lot of the CCP (Cool, Cute & Popular) kids were really SNOBBY and made my life TOTALLY miserable. People like, oh, I don’t know, maybe…MACKENZIE HOLLISTER!! And, it just so happened that I got stuck with a locker right next to hers. I could NOT believe I had such CRAPPY luck. I knew right then and there it was going to be a VERY, VERY long school year.

If you like Dork Diaries then I bet you’re gonna love the Misadventures of Max Crumbly by Rachel Renée Russell

Rachel Renee Russell Misadventures Of Max Crumbly 3... — Books2Door

Max crumbly is Nikki Maxwell’s love interest’s best friend that goes to a different school nearby. Max gets stuck in his locker by his bully on a Friday and no one realizes he is away. But he and someone get out after finding out there are bad guys out for them!︴

Summary: There’s a lot that’s great about his new school, but there’s also one big problem—Doug, the school bully whose hobby is stuffing Max in his locker. If only Max could be like the hero in his favorite comics. Unfortunately, Max’s uncanny, almost superhuman ability to smell pizza from a block away won’t exactly save any lives or foil bad guys.

The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels by Raina Telgeimier, Gale Galligan, and Gabriela Epstein

Kristy's Great Idea: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #1) (Revised  edition): Full-Color Edition (1) (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix):  Telgemeier, Raina, Martin, Ann M., Telgemeier, Raina: 0000545813875:  Amazon.com: Books

Throughout the books you learn the struggles of each girl like family, friends, and health issues they have. And even more severe matters like the loss of a loved one or divorce. It comes to show true friends don’t think any differently of you because of something you might be ashamed of.

Summary: Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn are The Baby-sitters Club! Whatever comes up — cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls — you can count on them to save the day.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Buy Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (Book 8) Book Online at Low Prices in  India | Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (Book 8) Reviews & Ratings -  Amazon.in

You’ll get a good laugh out of some pages of this book! Also, if you haven’t watched the movie, I suggest it, too

Summary: Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into a new year and a new school where undersize weaklings share the corridors with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving. Desperate to prove his new found maturity, which only going up a grade can bring, Greg is happy to have his not-quite-so-cool sidekick, Rowley, along for the ride.


Thank you so much to my student voices today and their list of recommendations!

Student Voices: Favorite Reads from Derrick T., Gavin Z., Kyan V., Leticia R., and Reed R.

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Favorite Reads

Ten Favorite Fantasy Series by Derrick T., 7th grade

The Fantasy Genre, defined by Britanica.com as “imaginative fiction dependent for effect on strangeness of setting (such as other worlds or times) and of characters (such as supernatural or unnatural beings)”, is my favorite genre of books. I enjoy when an author immerses you in a completely different world, sometimes literally, and these are some of my favorite series in this genre.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Olympians]: A Series Review – greenish bookshelf

Percy finds out he is the son of the ancient Greek god Poseidon! He and his fellow half-bloods (half mortal, half god) go on many quests to save the world from evil mythological creatures.

Curse Workers by Holly Black

Book Review: The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black - The Night Bookmobile

In a world where workers can “curse” someone with a touch, Cassel is the only person in his family without the gift. But something strange is happening, and Cassel must unravel the conspiracy around his life, and the life of someone whose death is his fault.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1) (Artemis Fowl, 1): Colfer, Eoin:  9781368036986: Amazon.com: Books

Artemis Fowl is not just a genius, he makes other geniuses seem inept by comparison. And he just discovered a whole world underneath our feet: one full of magic.

Magisterium by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Magisterium Series 5-Book Set: Holly Black, Cassandra Clare: Books:  Amazon.com

Everyone wants to be a magician. Except for Call. His dad has warned him about the danger of magic his whole life, and how he MUST not get into the mages school, the Magisterium. But Call fails at failing, and now must face the dangers of his new school.

Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan

The Ranger's Apprentice Series (Complete 12 Book Set) : John Flanagan:  0680474137794: Books - Amazon

Will is an orphan. At his choosing ceremony where he picks his profession, he is denied by all the craftmasters. Except one named Halt.  He is a mysterious ranger, a group of skilled archers who are rumored to dabble in sorcery, and will teach Will how to be a ranger. But being a ranger comes with many risks. Will Will survive?

The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo

Home - Leigh Bardugo | Author

Alina has never been special. But one day when her friend is in mortal danger, she discovers a new ability that might patch the literal tear in her country. But not everything is as it seems, she soon finds herself in the middle of an evil scheme that’s been in place for over 500 years.

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini Collection The Inheritance Cycle Series 4 Books Set  Eldest | eBay

When Eragon finds a blue stone in the forest, he thinks it might mean a little money for his family. He certainly doesn’t think it will be a dragon egg! But after Saphira hatches he is dragged into a plot to save the kingdom from the evil king.

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series 1 - 6 Books Collection  Set by Michael Scott (Alchemyst, Magician, Sorceress, Necromancer, Warlock  & Enchantress): Michael Scott, The Enchantress By Michael Scott  978-0552562577,

Sophie and Josh live normal lives until they discover that Nicholas Flamel is Josh’s boss. And now they are in danger, and Josh and Sophie are magicians! The three of them then go on to stop the Dark Elders from taking over the world.

Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson

Kingdom Keepers Book Review – R.E. KLINZING

When Finn falls asleep, he becomes a hologram at Disney World! He and the other kingdom keepers must protect the parks from the evil overtakers.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Why Harry Potter Books are Great for School-Aged Readers - Speech Therapy  Centres of Canada

Harry Potter lives with his mean aunt, uncle, and cousin. On his eleventh birthday, a literal giant tells him he is a wizard. Throughout the series he, along with new friends, has to fight his parents murderer, the evil wizard Lord Voldemort.

Top Six Sports Books for Kids by Kyan V., 7th grade

These days, there are many sportsbooks to choose from. It can be hard to choose because of a great deal of different genres and sports. This blog post lists my top 6 favorite sportsbooks, fiction, and nonfiction, for kids. Remember the list is not in order! I have read these books and highly recommend them, especially if you love sports!

Pele, The King of Soccer by Eddy Simon and illustrated by Vincent Brascglia

Pelé: The King of Soccer: Simon, Eddy, Brascaglia, Vincent: 9781626727557:  Amazon.com: Books

This book is a perfectly illustrated graphic novel that captures Pele’s crazy life from a young boy to a world champion. It dives into Pele’s childhood and how he became what he is today. I love this book because it proves to everyone that you can come from nothing and still be one of the best soccer players to ever live. I highly recommend this graphic novel.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Crossover (The Crossover Series): Alexander, Kwame, Anyabwile, Dawud:  9780544107717: Amazon.com: Books

This book is exceptionally unique because of how it is structured. It’s composed of lots of short stanzas. In a way, it’s almost like a 200-page poem. This book is amazing because it shows how one can change their life with their actions. This book is not only teaching you about basketball, but also life lessons for the future.

Year in Sports 2022 by James Buckley Jr.

Scholastic Year in Sports 2022: Buckley Jr., James: 9781338770254:  Amazon.com: Books

A new book in this series comes out every year. They are action packed, full with statistics and fun facts about every sport you can name. This is one of those books you can read for hours at a tie and read the whole thing 5 times and it would still be interesting.

The Football Fanbook by Gary Gramling

The Football Fanbook (A Sports Illustrated Kids Book): Everything You Need  to Become a Gridiron Know-It-All - Kindle edition by Gramling, Gary, The  Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids. Children Kindle eBooks @

This book is all about football. Everything you could think of about football. This book has fun facts, formations, playbooks, records, strategies, comparisons, and more. I love this book because you can discover so many new things about the amazing sport of football. By the way, there is also a Baseball Fanbook as well.

The United States of Sports by Bill Syken

The United States of Sports: An Atlas of Teams, Stats, Stars, and Facts for  Every State in America (A Sports Illustrated Kids Book): The Editors of  Sports Illustrated Kids, Syken, Bill: 9781547800001:

This book goes state by state and shows you where their sports teams are located, statistics, rivalries, fan favorites, mascots, and the state’s trophy shelf. It also includes college teams. This book goes through all 50 states. I love this book because you can learn about other states, and dive deep into your state’s sports programs.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost (1) (Track): Reynolds, Jason: 9781481450157: Amazon.com: Books

This book is good because everyone can relate to it in one way or another. Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw is trying to overcome some difficult challenges in his childhood. With the help of his mentor, Coach Brody he overcomes these difficulties through running track at an elite level.

Thank you for reading my top 6 sports books for kids. I highly recommend reading all of these books! Some of them are so underrated. See you next time — bye!

My Favorite Book Series by Gavin Z., 8th grade

Randoms by David Liss

Randoms (3 book series) Kindle Edition

Very interesting and unique. I haven’t read many books that include leveling systems and skill trees like a video game.

The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D’Lacey

Chris d'Lacey on Twitter: "Nice cover refresh for The Last Dragon  Chronicles. Hrrr! https://t.co/98t75vtRY2" / Twitter

These books focus on dragons but what’s most interesting is the clay dragons that come to life in this series.

Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland

Wings of Fire: The Complete Collection Series Set (Book 1-15) NEW Paperback  2022 | eBay

Takes place in a different world with 3 moons. They tell the story from the dragons perspective, and interestingly treat humans as “pets.”

The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer

The Land of Stories Complete Hardcover Gift Set: Colfer, Chris:  9780316556828: Amazon.com: Books

In this series, a pair of twins travel across the fairy tale world and meet many childhood favorites like Jack and the Beanstalk or Cinderella. 

A Tale of Magic series by Chris Colfer

A Tale of Magic... Collection by Christopher Colfer | Little, Brown Books  for Young Readers

Taking place in the same world as the Land of Stories, this series happens before that series. Kind of like a prequel but still has really interesting new characters that didn’t appear in the land of stories. 

Favorite Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels by Leticia R., 6th grade

Dawn and the Impossible Three

Dawn and the Impossible Three: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #5):  Full-Color Edition (5) (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix): Martin, Ann M.,  Galligan, Gale: 9781338067118: Amazon.com: Books

Summary: Dawn Schafer is the newest member of The Baby-sitters Club. While she’s still adjusting to life in Stoneybrook after moving from sunny California, she’s eager to accept her frst big job. But taking care of the three Barrett kids would be too much for any baby-sitter.

My opinion: I really enjoyed reading this book. I could really relate to the book! I have felt what Dawn has felt where she was new and was just trying to find a friend. It was really fun reading this book! And I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys graphic novels, and drama books.

Boy-Crazy Stacey

Boy-Crazy Stacey: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #7) (7) (The  Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels): Martin, Ann M., Galligan, Gale:  9781338304510: Amazon.com: Books

Summary: Stacey and Mary Anne are baby-sitting for the Pike family for two weeks at the New Jersey shore. Things are great in Sea City: There’s a gorgeous house right on the beach, a boardwalk, plenty of sun and sand… and the cutest boy Stacey has ever seen!

My opinion: I loved reading this book because I felt how Mary Anne felt, shes feels like she has so much things to do and so much responsibility and I have felt that way as well. Being stressed constantly could even ruin friendships and relationships.

Claudia and the New Girl

Claudia and the New Girl: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #9) (9)  (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix): Martin, Ann M., Epstein, Gabriela:  9781338304572: Amazon.com: Books

Summary: The Baby-sitters are sick of Ashley, and they think Claudia’s a traitor. Claudia’s got to decide: either the Baby-sitter’s Club or the new girl – one of them has got to go.

My opinion: I enjoyed this book because I could relate to it and learn from it. When I started reading this book, I liked it, but after I got to the middle, I realized that it was trying to show the reader a life lesson; it was that you can always have more than one friend.

Logan Likes Marry Anne

Logan Likes Mary Anne!: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #8) (8) (The  Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels): Martin, Ann M., Galligan, Gale:  9781338304541: Amazon.com: Books

Summary: It’s the first day of a new school year, and while Mary Anne doesn’t know what to expect from the eighth grade, she’s looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. One thing she definitely doesn’t expect is to meet Logan Bruno, who just moved to Stoneybrook.

My opinion: I thought that this book was so realistic because everyone goes through this when they go into a new school or any new place everyone feels scared and doesn’t know what to expect. And I think that is a very good book anyone could relate to.

Kristy’s Great Idea

Kristy's Great Idea: A Graphic Novel (The Baby-sitters Club #1) (Revised  edition): Full-Color Edition (1) (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix):  Telgemeier, Raina, Martin, Ann M., Telgemeier, Raina: 0000545813875:  Amazon.com: Books

Summary: Kristy thinks the Baby-sitters Club is a great idea. She and her friends Claudia, Stacey, and Mary Anne all love taking care of kids. A club will give them the chance to have lots of fun—and make tons of money.

My opinion: I thought this book was super fun because it was explaining how things started and showed the reader the very beginning of things. I think that everybody should read this book first not because its the first book but because it’s descriptive of how things started.

Ten Favorite History Books I’ve Read by Reed R., 7th grade

Today I will be talking about my top ten favorite history books I’ve read. I’m a big fan of history books, and I have read many. I’m into wars and past conflicts. My favorite types of historic books are biographies and expeditions.

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War by Thomas B. Allen

George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and  Won the Revolutionary War: Thomas B. Allen: 9781426300417 -  Christianbook.com

I love this book because it emphasizes the tough times within the Revolutionary War. I also like how this book talks about the spy work the United States did on Britain. That was one of the ways the United States won the war. I also like how this book talks about how a good leader George Washington was, like how courageous and brave he was. He was also very confident.

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story: Wallace, Sandra Neil,  Wallace, Rich: 9781629794280: Amazon.com: Books

The reason I chose this book is because I wanted to learn more about the North Pole expeditions. One of the main reasons I like this book is because it gives detail about the crew members’ lives aboard the expedition and how they chose to take the expedition. I like this book because it puts into perspective how we didn’t know what was at the top of our planet and this expedition helps the world learn more about the north pole. It’s amazing how brave these men were because the food they ate was disgusting. It was so cold that all the sled dogs died. When you think about it today the only ships that really go up to the north pole are those big icebreakers that have thick metal hulls and these guys were doing it in a wooden boat. 

Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

Lincoln's Grave Robbers: Sheinkin, Steve: 9780545405720: Amazon.com: Books

No one talks about how Lincoln’s grave was robbed, and I feel that there should be more known about it. I like how it shows the backstory to the grave robbers and why they’re robbing the grave. I like how they introduce the Secret Service because this was around the time that the Secret Service was first getting started and this was one of their big investigations. I like how this book makes the investigation intense like it’s coming down to the wire. 

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson

Amazon.com: Chasing Lincoln's Killer: 9780439903547: Swanson, James L.:  Books

I love the way the book keeps the chasing aspect through the whole book. I also like the way it feels the climax is going on the whole time in the book, like it never ends until the end. I find it so interesting how John Wilkes Booth was a famous actor and a “good guy” and was so friendly and everything, and how trusting society was back then, like how the president didn’t have very much security and how they just had a little dinky wood fence that would be in someone’s backyard but now there’s a huge metal fence.

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

Another event that I’m fascinated about is the Chicago fire. It amazes me how Chicago was one of the most developing cities in the midwest and then all of a sudden it just turns into smoldering ashes. I like how the author uses first hand accounts to tell the story and the people that were in the event’s experience. Most of the books that I’ve read about tragic events usually don’t talk about how the city came back but in this book it talks about the people of Chicago and how they powered through. This book really shows how coming together can cause things to get better. 

Ski Soldier: A World War II Biography by Louise Borden

Ski Soldier: A World War II Biography: Borden, Louise: 9781629796741:  Amazon.com: Books

This is probably one of the best biographies I’ve ever read. I’m kinda biased because I love to ski, and I love the snow in general. I have always been into special ops military books and the idea that not many people know about what’s going on. This book is all of that. I like how the book emphasizes the secret operations in the alps and how they were behind enemy lines. Around this time the invention of camouflage was just starting to be used in the military. They used the camouflage in the alps and within their platoon. 

Black and White Airmen: Their True History by John Fleischman

Black And White Airmen: Their True History: Fleischman, John:  9780618562978: Amazon.com: Books

I like how in some of the most racist times in our country’s history the airmen came together to fight in the war. I like how we came together as a country and fought in Europe, for people’s freedom. Its pretty amazing how brave the airmen were because they were practically flying a tin can at 15,000 ft. I like how this book follows both of the characters’ paths in their life and when they meet. 

All Quiet on the Western Front (All Quiet on the Western Front/The Road Back #1) by Erich Maria Remarque

Amazon.com: All Quiet on the Western Front: A Novel: 9780449213940: Erich  Maria Remarque, A W. Wheen: Books

There aren’t very many books I’ve seen that are about the German school boys POV. I think this book is eye opening for me but the things described in this book are unbelievable. These boys go into WWI and see all of the terrible things that are happening. I think if you want to see more of the gorey side of WWI this is the book for you. One of the reasons I chose this book is because I think WWI needs to be more talked about. 

True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson by Kostya Kennedy

True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson: Kennedy, Kostya: 9781250274045:  Amazon.com: Books

I am a baseball fan, and this book is a biography about Jackie Robinson and how he overcame the challenge of African American people not being allowed to play baseball. I like how this book emphasizes his legacy even after his death in 1972. I also like how this book included the death threats and letters written to him about how if he played baseball bad things would happen.

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy

This is one of my favorite books of all time. This book includes all the little details about the people that got its illness and the super disgusting practices they used at the time. I like how the author uses first hand accounts to portray the yellow fever. I wish we would talk more about the yellow fever in school and just in general as it is one of the most important events in our history that is just forgotten.


Thank you so much to my student voices today and for sharing their favorite reads!

Student Voices: Nathan Hale’s Visit to Kellee’s Middle School

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In February, after two years of waiting, Nathan Hale finally came to Hunter’s Creek Middle School!

For his visit, he did 5 large group presentations where he told two different stories (one about James Garfield and one about Lewis & Clark) then a lunch writing workshop (where students wrote their own comic). Students greatly enjoyed their time with Nathan Hale!

Here are some reflections from my students:

  • Nathan Hale’s visit was so fun and entertaining while also being educational. He talked about the corps of discovery but not just about Luis and Clark, he focused on their group rather on just them who other people wouldn’t have even mentioned. I love how he said that they ate every single animal they came across and that they got fat due to eating all that meat I especially liked that York still had his abs even after he got fat. I didn’t even know that they took mercury who sent them. Nathan Hale was so nice and funny I would have loved to say thank you, but I’m sad I didn’t get to. But thank you Mrs. Moye for presenting us with the opportunity to meet Nathan Hale, I enjoyed it.

  • Meeting Mr. Hale was an experience I will never forget. He was so fun and light-hearted and he made sure that learning history an unforgettable experience. He made everything easy to understand and kept me engaged the whole lesson. Overall, this was one of my favorite experiences meeting an author.

  • I loved Nathan Hale’s visit. I think he was super funny when he was tell us the story about the corps of discovery and his art style was amazing as well. I  I also loved that he had humor in the story but also got the information of the story across. 

  • Nathan Hale’s visit was awesome! I loved the different stories and how creative he was. I thought that the story about Garfield was really intriguing and unique. He educated me about a piece of history I had no idea about. I loved the way animated the characters as well, I thought it was brilliant. I really hope he can come visit again soon–it was an amazing time, I never got bored.

  • I loved the presentation! I liked how he animated his illustrations. I almost wish he would turn the Lewis and Clark explanation into a book. I would definitely read the book. I also loved the way he included some of the forgotten people in the expedition like York and Pomp.

  • Nathan Hale was an entertainer. He expresses and talks in a way that captivates the audience, and makes them want to laugh loud at his jokes. Nathan Hale is able to make a story interesting, with nothing more than paper and a pen. Personally, for me, I don’t enjoy history, because it’s usually all gloom and doom, but Nathan Hale made it fun, funny, and entertaining, all while drawing out the scenes at the same time. Nathan Hale is a great multitasker, considering he must draw very fast and well, and still incorporate it into the story, all in 45 minutes. I really enjoyed Nathan Hale’s visit to our middle school, and I loved the way he interacted with the crowd.

  • My reflection on the Nathan Hale visit was that it was absolutely amazing. Like, seriously, it was really good. I loved the whole presentation about Lewis and Clark and the core of discovery. Nathan Hale really made me believe that I was seeing the story unfold right as he was drawing it. Which in its own right, is so cool! His drawing was so fun and interesting and I loved all his characters. The story itself was really entertaining, and I enjoyed the whole story, though I think my favorite part has got to be when he did the voices and characters for the core of discovery tryouts. My favorite characters I think would be York or Sacagawea. All in all, I thought that the story was great, the characters were great, and Nathan Hale was amazing.

  • Nathan Hale is very funny, and it was really cool how he connected Garfield the cat and Garfield the president. It was cool to see how he basically created another short graphic on the spot during the presentation. I was there for the special book presentation, and it was so interesting to see how he interacted with everyone. In my opinion, he would make a great teacher. 

  • Nathen Hale was a very funny and I loved the story of the president Garfield.  He is very talented at expressing his thought and emotions with drawing and making them appealing and fun to others. I really like how he told us the way he works and how he can make everyone laugh with his illustration and way of telling the story. 

  • I found his presentation to be amazing. The speed at which he drew was incredible, and he was still able to draw accurately. I was also very impressed with how he was able to draw something and move on to a different section of the screen, but then use the drawing later, while being able to change it slightly to suit his purposes. And pertaining to the story itself, I was surprised how he found a very “happy” historical fact in the usually bloody stories.

As you can see, he was so engaging; I would highly recommend him (and my students would, too!) for any 4th-8th grade author visit!

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Trent’s Favorite Books He Read When He was 7

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I have my own Goodreads now, so we keep track of everything I read. When I was 7, I read 253 books. Here are my favorites.

Books I Read Independently

The Sewer Rat Stink (Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novel #1)
Geronimo Stilton: The Sewer Rat Stink
with Tom Angleberger, Story by Elisabetta Dami

It has exciting events, and I like the characters. My favorite character is Geronimo’s friend Hercule because he is funny.

Glitch: A Graphic Novel

Glitch by Sarah Graley

I like that it has gaming in it. It is very cool. My favorite thing that happened in Glitch was the surprise at the end. 

The Quest for Snacks (Cat & Cat Adventures #1)

Cat & Cat Adventures: The Quest for Snacks by Susie Yi

It is really funny. I like that the characters are cats and that they go to different worlds. 

Cat Kid Comic Club: Perspectives

Cat Kid: Comic Club series by Dav Pilkey

I like that it is a sequel to Dog Man but with Cat Kid. I really like the variety of the comics. 

Planetary-YUM (Waffles and Pancake, #1)CatStronauts: Mission MoonCatStronauts: Race to MarsCatStronauts: Robot RescueCatStronauts: Space Station SituationCatStronauts: Slapdash ScienceDigital Disaster

Catstronauts series by Drew Brockington

I like that it has cats. It is really scientific, so you can learn some stuff from it. 

Kat Kong

Cat Kong by Dav Pilkey

A good sequel to Dogzilla but with a cat. I like that it has collages. 

The Panda Problem

Panda Problem by Deborah Underwood

One of my favorite picture books ever. I like that it has a panda and is really funny–it also has aliens, food, and penguins! 

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson's JournalRowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky StoriesRowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure

Rowley series by Jeff Kinney

I like the pictures, and I like that it has characters from other series also. Rowley is my favorite character because he is funny. 

Mr. Wolf's Class (Mr. Wolf's Class, #1)Mystery Club (Mr. Wolf's Class, #2)Field Trip: A Graphic Novel (Mr. Wolf's Class #4)

Mr. Wolf’s Class series by Aron Nels Steinke

My librarian recommended this series to me. It is a really good series because it is adventurous. My favorite part is in book number 2 when they start a secret club. 

Monster Friends

Monster Friends by Kaeti Vandorn

When I finished this book, I even lent it to a friend who I knew would like it. I liked the characters. My favorite character is Reggie because he is lazy, cute, and playful (sometimes). It is also really long book, so I was proud of finishing it. 

The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers (Super Diaper Baby, #2)

Super Diaper Baby series by Dav Pilkey

It is a really fun book because there is a super hero that is a baby in a diaper who has a cape and fights crime. And it is by Dav Pilkey!

The Invasion: A Graphic Novel (Animorphs #1)The Visitor: A Graphic Novel (Animorphs #2)

Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate

I like when the characters change into real animals but it was epic for them to get to that point. It is very adventurous! And the alien apocalypse is cool.

The Boy Who Crashed to Earth (Hilo, #1)Saving the Whole Wide World (Hilo, #2)The Great Big Boom (Hilo, #3)Waking the Monsters (Hilo, #4)Then Everything Went Wrong (Hilo, #5)All the Pieces Fit (Hilo, #6)Gina: The Girl Who Broke the World (Hilo #7)

HiLo series by Judd Winick

My mom recommended this series to me! I like this series because it is adventurous and exciting. My favorite character is HiLo because he has super powers and awesome. My favorite book so far is #6, and I’m excited to read #8.

The Many Lives of Pusheen the Cat

The Many Lives of Pusheen the Cat by Claire Belton

I love Pusheen! I like knowing all the Pusheen kinds. 

Dog Man: Mothering Heights (Dog Man, #10)

Dog Man: Mothering Heights by Dav Pilkey

I like it because Petey became a good guy instead of bad. I liked seeing Petey change over time.

Books I Read With Mom and/or Dad

The Adventures of Captain Underpants (Captain Underpants, #1)Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets (Captain Underpants, #2)Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds (Captain Underpants, #3)Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants (Captain Underpants, #4)Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman (Captain Underpants, #5)Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets (Captain Underpants, #6)Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: Revenge of the Ridiculous Robo-Boogers (Captain Underpants, #7)

Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

We listened to the audiobooks of the first 10. I liked it because it was exciting and fun and funny. My favorite character is… well, I like the 3 main characters but my favorites are Crackers and Zulu because they are good pets. I like listening to the audiobooks because I can imagine what it looks like. 

Red Pandas (National Geographic Readers)

National Geographic Kids: Red Pandas by Laura Marsh

I love red pandas, and I loved learning about them. And I liked the pictures because they were so cute. 

I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 (I Survived, #4)I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888 (I Survived, #16)I Survived The Great Molasses Flood, 1919 (I Survived, #19)I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 (I Survived, #1)

I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis

We only read some, but I liked the ones we read. I liked learning about the events that happened. I am looking forward to reading more. 

Fussy Flamingo

Fussy Flamingo by Shelly Vaughan James

I liked it because it was silly and fun. 

Téo's Tutu

Téo’s Tutu by Maryann Jacob Macias

It was a good book because I liked that it was diverse, and I liked that it representing that boys can do what they want and girls can do what they want. What society says doesn’t matter. 

Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion (Knuffle Bunny, #3)Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity (Knuffle Bunny, #2)

Knuffle Bunny series by Mo Willems

It is a good series because they are silly, and I liked watching Trixie grow up. I also liked finding pigeon in the books, and I even have my own Knuffle Bunny. 

Looking for a Jumbie

Looking for a Jumbie by Tracey Baptiste

This book was adventurous and a little bit scary. 

The Snurtch

The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell

This book shows you that everyone has a snurtch, and it is annoying but we have to learn to deal with it and be kind to others. 

Past “Trent’s Favorite Books” Posts

Kellee and Trent’s Favorite Picture Books: First Three Months

Trent and Kellee’s Favorite Picture Books: Three to Six Months

Trent and Kellee’s Favorite Picture Books: Six to Nine Months

Trent and Kellee’s Favorite Books: Nine to Twelve Months

A First Year Full of Books: Trent’s Journey Through Books
**Check this one out if you haven’t–it is one of my favorite posts ever!**

Trent’s Favorite Books: One to Two Years Old

Ten of Trent’s Favorite Books as of His Third Birthday

Ten(ish) of Trent’s Favorite Books as of His Fourth Birthday

Trent’s Favorite Reads as of His Fifth Birthday

Trent’s Favorite Reads as of His 6th Birthday

Trent’s Favorite Reads as a 6 Year Old

Pixels of You by Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota, Illustrated by J.R. Doyle

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Pixels of You
Author: Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota
Illustrator: J.R. Doyle
Published February 8, 2022

Summary: A human and human-presenting AI slowly become friends—and maybe more—in this moving YA graphic novel.

In a near future, augmentation and AI changed everything and nothing. Indira is a human girl who has been cybernetically augmented after a tragic accident, and Fawn is one of the first human-presenting AI. They have the same internship at a gallery, but neither thinks much of the other’s photography. But after a huge public blowout, their mentor gives them an ultimatum: work together on a project or leave her gallery forever. Grudgingly, the two begin to collaborate, and what comes out of it is astounding and revealing for both of them. Pixels of You is about the slow transformation of a rivalry to a friendship to something more as Indira and Fawn navigate each other, the world around them—and what it means to be an artist and a person.

Praise: 

“Ultimately a short but sweet story about two girls slowly falling in love. . .The art, however, is striking, with bold, stark colors; plays on light and dark; and disrupted frames depicting photos and extending emotional moments.”

Kirkus Reviews

“The robot/human relationship serves as a reflection on managing cultural alienation, and the girls’ chemistry is well developed, building to a surprising, sweet conclusion. Hirsh and Ota’s story is a combination of broad narrative strokes and intimate moments, and Doyle’s manga-inspired, deliciously purple and pink illustrations float with ease through a near-future New York.”

School Library Journal

About the Creators: Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota are the Ignus Award winning team behind Lucky Penny, which won a Cybil Award, was a JLG selection, and received a starred review from PW. They live in Brooklyn. J.R. Doyle is an up-and-coming artist, creator of Knights-Errant, a successful web comic and Kickstarter project. They live in Brooklyn.

Review: This short but impactful graphic novel hits on so much! It is an interesting look at where our world may be going when it comes to AI and humans living side by side. It can be taken on the surface for what it is: a human dealing with the rise of AI and her own inclusion of an eye transplant and a human-presenting AI who is dealing with not fitting in anywhere. But it can also be discussed within the context of identity in general. There is one point where Fawn is trying to prove herself to Indira when two robot-presenting AI tell her that she isn’t better than them. This can definitely tie into so many trying to find their place when they are in between worlds.

I will say, my one criticism is actually what also may be one of its strengths: its length. I felt like there was so much unanswered in the story, specifically in the world building, but maybe we’ll have more in the future!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: In addition to finding love from your sci-fi graphic novel fans, I’d love to see the premise for this world to be used as a creative writing prompt or even an exploratory essay about how the students would take the world or the commentary throughout that discusses bias could be used as a short research project or expository essay. Additionally, there are great aspects throughout that talk about photography, such as lighting, exposure, and setting.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Why is Indira haunted by AI in her dreams?
  • What did Indira originally think about Fawn?
  • How does Fawn not fit in anywhere? How does that make her feel?
  • In the future, do you think AI and humans will be seen as equals?
  • How does photography bring Fawn and Indira together?
  • What did Indira realize after meeting Fawn’s parents?
  • Why does Fawn call her parents her parents even though AI wouldn’t have parents?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Science fiction, graphic novels, Isaac Asimov’s robot short stories

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Media Masters Publicity for providing a copy for review!**