Voices of the Sea by Bethany Masone Harar

Share

21845621

Voices of the Sea
Author: Bethany Masone Harar
Expected Publication: July 22, 2014 by WiDo Publishing

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Loralei is the future Guardian of her Siren clan. To outsiders, she appears to live the average life of a teenager, but like her ancestors, her voice has the power to entrance men. But the Sons of Orpheus are determined to destroy all Sirens, and when members from her clan are savagely murdered, Loralei feels a responsibility to protect her people. When Lora meets Ryan, a new student in her school, she can’t help but be drawn to him in a way that feels both exhilarating and unsettling. The sea’s dark whispers urge Lora to find the Sons of Orpheus, and she quickly learns that no one can be trusted.

Review: I was drawn to the mystery of this novel. I found myself turning the pages quickly, eager to uncover the mystery of Half-Moon Bay. This is a book that would be very appealing to my students as it is very engaging. The romance is passionate and fiery, and it is a text that would be easily passed amongst peers. Loralei is a strong, independent woman who works fearlessly to lead her clan. She faces danger with her eyes wide open, and teens can learn much from her strength. The book is cleverly crafted with the perfect amount of detail to leave readers guessing.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: My heart swelled at the many references to mythology. This text is unlike others that may be defined as paranormal romance in that the author includes a rich history of Sirens. Teachers can capitalize on this by asking students to explore Sirens further or research other mythological creatures.

Discussion Questions: How does the author develop the plot to keep readers engaged? Which details does she withhold? Which does she provide? Can you see any foreshadowing?; Can Loralei trust the people in her life? Which characters feel nefarious to you? Which can be trusted?

We Flagged: “She could no more ignore the ocean than she could her own soul” (Chapter Two).

Please note: This quotation was taken from an advanced reader copy. It may change in the final publication.

Read This If You Loved:  Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Recommended For:

  classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

RickiSig

The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut: Bowling Alley Bandit by Laurie Keller

Share

arnie

Bowling Alley Bandit
Author and Illustrator: Laurie Keller
Published June 4th, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.

Goodreads Summary: As Mr. Bing’s new pet “doughnut dog,” Arnie couldn’t be happier. When Mr. Bing joins a bowling league, Arnie gets to go along to practices and competitions. But then Mr. Bing starts rolling gutter balls. Someone or something is behind the madness. Arnie, together with his team of goofball friends, must sort through the shenanigans and solve the mystery. Get ready for some sleuthing and even some magic.

Full of Laurie Keller’s winning charm and silly humor, this chapter book—the first in the series—is sure to please her many fans.

My Review and Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: This book is going to be loved by kids. It is hilarious and is one rung below Big Nate on the humor, illustrated novel ladder. It is a great book to help readers get from early readers to middle grade illustrated novels. In the classroom, it would be a great book to use to practice prediction as the reader is given clues throughout the book to figure out who the bowling alley bandit is. Also, as a teacher, I personally loved all of the wit, puns, and funny similes in the book! These would be great to read with kids.

Discussion Questions: What other doughnut songs could Arnie sing at karaoke? Think of famous songs and tweak their title or lyrics to make them about doughnuts.

We Flagged: “But of all the great things about the bowling alley, my favorite is that there’s a restaurant inside called the Bowl-o’-Chow and they have a KARAOKE MACHINE! I usually watch Mr. Bing bowl for a while, and then I wander over to the Bowl-o’-Chow to sing a few songs. I was scared to try it at first, but now I’m a regular.

Here are a few of my old standbys:
Living’ la vi-DOUGH loca!
You ain’t nothin’ but a DOUGHNUT-DOG cryin’ all the time.
Fried in the U.S.A.!

And I always end with my signature song:
DOUGHNUT make my brown eyes blue.”

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Loved: Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce, Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, Frankie Pickle series by Eric Wight

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall

Signature

Period 8 by Chris Crutcher

Share

period

Period 8
Author: Chris Crutcher
Published March 26th, 2013 by Harper Collins

Goodreads Summary: In this full-length novel from Chris Crutcher, his first since the best-selling Deadline, the ultimate bully and the ultimate good guy tangle during Period 8.

Paul “the Bomb” Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was something he learned at Sunday School. But telling the truth can cause problems, and not minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately) and his other classmates don’t know is that the ultimate bully, the ultimate liar, is in their midst.

Terrifying, thought-provoking, and original, this novel combines all the qualities of a great thriller with the controversy, ethics, and raw emotion of a classic Crutcher story.

My ReviewNow, this is not a “normal” Chris Crutcher book, but like all of his books, it is raw, true, and sports plays a role of some sort. And this one is SO full of suspense for the last 25%. It is a hold your breath, read as quickly as you can kind of book there at the end. (I do wish that this suspense had been spread out to 50% of the book. This would have helped the pacing a bit and I think it would have given Crutcher more time to give information into the crime. Although the quick pacing at the end adds to the suspense, I think spreading it out a bit would have kept the suspense and given more time to delve further into the bad guys and the mystery.)

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: I, personally, really loved how he chose to tell the story in 3rd person. Although it doesn’t give as much insight into one character, it gives you a little bit of insight into each one, and as you are trying to figure out what is going one, it is really fun to hear from all the different characters. (Some readers and reviewers have stated that having the multiple 3rd person point of views made it so the reader didn’t really know anyone, but I think it actually helped me get to know everyone a little bit. It also allows for the reader to get snippets of not just the mystery but of the characters allowing you to build the complete character in your head.)

Another brilliant think Crutcher did was include foreshadowing scenes right at the beginning of the novel that did not make sense until the end and then I had to go back and read it. Well done!

Also, if you ever need a mentor text on complex sentence structure or descriptive language–Crutcher is for you!

Mostly, though, this book will find its home in teens’ hands. It will be as loved as other Crutcher books.

Discussion Questions: How does swimming help Paulie deal with his problems?; At what point did you figure out who the “bad guy” in the group was?

We Flagged: “He hits the water, involuntarily sucking air as the cold leaks in. The colder the better. He deserves this. Even so, he pees in self-defense, his only means to counter the ice-watery fingers creeping around his ribcage and into his crotch. He swims away from shore for about a hundred yards as his body heat warms the water inside the suit. He turns parallel to the shore and strokes, finding a candence he can hold over the next two hours. He knows how to play games to allay the monotony; fifty stroke hard, fifty strokes easy; a hundred strokes hard, fifty easy; a hundred-fifty hard, fifty easy, and on and on. An hour up and an hour back. He has taught himself to breathe on either side in order to keep the shore in sight and swim a relatively straight line. On this morning, working on zero sleep, he holds an even pace; no intervals. Just his sweet Hannah wedged in his frontal lobe. His gone Hannah.” (p. 3-4)

Read This If You Loved: Any other Chris Crutcher book, Shine by Lauren Myracle, Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall

Signature

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

Share

killing woods

The Killing Woods
Author: Lucy Christopher
Published: January 7th, 2014 by Chicken House (Scholastic)

GoodReads Summary: Fatal attraction, primal fear, survival in the forest: From the author of the Printz Honor Book Stolen, the highly anticipated thriller about deadly games played in the dark.

Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd’s dad is accused of the crime. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl’s broken body. “Gone,” he says, then retreats into silence.

What really happened that wild night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent — isn’t he? Before he’s convicted, she’s got to find out the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee’s charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her — the kinds of games that can kill?

Review: I absolutely loved Stolen, so I was thrilled to read another book by Lucy Christopher. This book reads more like a thriller. I was sucked into the mystery and very curious about how the plot would unravel. I think this book is most notable for the intricate descriptive details about the setting. I felt the dark coldness of the killing woods. The setting was spooky, which set the tone for the dark story. There are richly realized themes of friendship, family, and loyalty.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: Emily’s father suffers from PTSD. I think Lucy Christopher is delivering a message about PTSD, and it would be important for readers to think more about this. Students might find value in learning more about PTSD before, during, and after reading this book.

Discussion Questions: Why is everyone quick to blame Emily’s father? Do you think he is guilty?; What is The Game? What are the different roles that everyone plays in The Game? What does it teach us about this group of kids? Is it realistic and does it reflect people in general?

We Flagged: “I guess whoever built and buried that IED out there in the desert will never know how far that blast traveled. But all things ripple out, cause shrapnel.”

Read This If You Loved: Stolen by Lucy Christopher, The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, What Happened to Cass McBride by Gail Giles, The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Recommended For:

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

RickiSig

**Thank you to NetGalley and Scholastic Chicken House for providing the Advanced Reader Copy for review!**

Strange Mysteries From Around the World by Seymour Simon

Share

NF PB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

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

strange

Strange Mysteries From Around the World
Author: Seymour Simon
Published May 1st, 1997 by HarperTrophy

Goodreads Summary: Describes ten strange natural phenomena and possible explanations for them, including the day it rained frogs, an atomic explosion that occurred forty years before the atom bomb, and an eerie crystal skull.

My Review and Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: These mysteries are so fascinating to read about and they are real! Although this book is a bit older, because the topic is strange mysteries it mostly doesn’t matter. It wold be interesting to read this aloud and then do research and see if anything has changed about the mysteries. I can also see this book being used as an opening of the day/class just to get kids focused. The mysteries intrigued me, so I really think kids would find them interesting as well.

Discussion Questions: What do you think happened at _____?; Which theory do you believe?

We Flagged: “When it’s raining heavily, some people say it’s ‘pouring cats and dogs.’ Of course, that only an expression. Cats and dogs really don’t rain down from the sky. (Although there may be poodles in the street.) But don’t be too sure that it never rains animals. Here is a quote from July 12, 1873, issue of the magazine Scientific American: ‘A shower of frogs, which darkened the air and covered the ground for a long distance, is the reported result of a recent rainstorm at Kansas City, Mo.'” (It’s Raining Frogs and Fish p. 1)

Read This If You Loved: Jane Yolen’s Unsolved Mysteries in HistoryEncyclopedia Horrifica by Joshua Gee, Alien Investigation by Kelly Milner Hall

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall

Signature

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Share

Halloween

dollbones

Doll Bones
Author: Holly Black
Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler
Published May 7th, 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Goodreads Summary: Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity…

My Review: Wow. I am very reluctant to read “scary” books because I too often find that they rely too much on the scary and not enough on the writing. However, with Doll Bones, Holly Black was able to write a well-written middle grade novel with a good plot arc and characterization mixed with a lot of creepy. Within her “scary” book, Holly Black is able to capture a very awkward time in one’s life– middle school! –in a very realistic way. Her characters are believable, completely filled with the internal debate of growing up or staying a child a bit longer. Then, on top of her great middle grade story, she has included a completely creepy aspect of the story that I even had to put down a couple of times because I knew I was reading some creepy stuff too close to bedtime.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This one will be a phenomenal read aloud and will find a ton of readers when put into classroom libraries. I also know that some of my teacher friends are planning to use it in a book club setting as well.

Discussion Questions: Have you ever been in a situation like Zach where you feel like you are supposed to grow up, but you’d rather play like you used to?; Do you think Poppy was telling the truth the whole time?; What do you think happened to The Queen?

We Flagged: “It wasn’t like a regular dream,” Poppy said, her fingers smoothing back the Queen’s curls and her voice changing, going soft and chill as the night air. It reminded Zach of the way Poppy talked when she played villains or even the Queen herself. “It wasn’t like dreaming at all. She was sitting on the end of my bed. Her hair was blond, like the doll’s, but it was tangled and dirty. She was wearing a nightdress smeared with mud. She told me I had to bury her. She said she couldn’t rest until her bones were in her own grave, and if I didn’t help her, she would make me sorry.” (p. 62-63)

Read This If You Loved: Mary Downing Hahn books, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon Scieszka

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall

Signature

**Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy!**

The Scary Places Map Book by B.G. Hennessy

Share

Over the next 2 weeks, many of my reviews are going to be in honor of Halloween.
Halloween

I am so happy to begin my two weeks of scary with: 

scaryplaces

The Scary Places Map Book: Seven Terrifying Tours
Author: B.G. Hennessy
Illustrator: Erwin Madrid
Published July 10th, 2012 by Candlewick

Goodreads Summary: Grab a flashlight for an after-dark exploration of seven very scary places. Giggles and goose bumps are in store!

Take a tour of seven spooky places, among them the Wicked Woods, a Ghostly Galleon, and the Western Terror-tories. Along the way, avoid booby traps, search for hidden objects, and learn basic map reading skills! A map key, items to look for, and points of interest, such as Dracula’s Castle and Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory, are included for each eerie region. Tips for touring (never take the Transylvania tour during a full moon) add to the fun. Kids who love to mix the ghoulish with the humorous will pore over the atmospheric pictures time and again, transported to strange, mysterious, very scary places.

My Review: This book tells you seven stories through an interactive tour of a map. Each map has a different theme and starts with an introductory story. I loved  thinking of all of the fun ways this could be used in the classroom!

Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: While reading, I thought of so many different ways that this book could be utilized in a classroom:

First, the book teaches map skills because it has a key and directs the reader to different sections of the map by using the grid system and the scale.

Second, the setting of each map would be a great jumping off point to writing a story.

Third, many of the settings are based off of books or history and would be easy to connect to novels. For example, the first map is “The Ghostly Galleon Cruise of the Seven Seas” which could be connected with the Young Jack Sparrow books. “Land of Mythical Monsters” is set in Greece so could connect to mythology and any book like The Lightning Thief. “Roundup of the Western Terror-tories” to The Case of the Deadly Desperados, “Tour of the Wicked Woods and Witchfield Village” to Tales of Dark and Grimm, “Trip Through Transylvania” to Dracula Doesn’t Drink Lemonade, “Sleepwalking Tour of Nightmare House” to All the Lovely Bad Ones, and “Museum of Haunted Objects” to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.

I have been very lucky that over the last year or so to be in touch with B.G. Hennessy about this book. I’m honored that based on my original review, B.G. has begun to make a comprehensive list of books to go with each book. This list is so awesome! She includes picture books, beginning readers, chapter books, nonfiction books, and activity books for EACH MAP.

I am sure there are even more ways I am going to keep thinking about it. I, personally, cannot wait to use this in my classroom. (I also found out there is a facebook page for the book where teachers and the author can share their ideas- https://www.facebook.com/ScaryPlacesMapBook) B.G. Hennessy has also put together a teacher’s guide for the book which includes standards, vocabulary, activities, and more (which is written for elementary, but it can definitely by used for middle school as well!). Check it out on her website: http://bghennessy.com/ What a wonderful resource for teachers!

Discussion Questions: For each map, what are some books that you can connect the map to? How do the map and book connect?; [Writing Prompt] Using one of the maps in the Scary Places Map Book to be the setting of a narrative that you write. Challenge yourself and try to include at least 5 of the events or characters mentioned in the map.

We Flagged: “Land of Mythical Monsters: Who better to lead a tour through the birthplace of the foulest, ugliest, and fiercest monsters of all time than Hercules, a legend himself. This tour is for experts only. Pack your best hiking shoes and sunscreen. Mighty Hercules will meet you at Athena’s Temple. You will trek through snowcapped mountains, sail to the sunny island of Crete, and hike back to the dark door to the Underworld. Test your skills and see if you can make it through the Minotaur’s famous labyrinth.” (p. 7)

Read This If You Loved: Lightning Thief (series) by Rick Riordan, Dracula Doesn’t Drink Lemonade by Debbie Dadey, All the Lovely Bad Ones (and others) by Marry Downing Hahn, The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence, A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, The Coming Storm (series) by Rob Kidd, The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Recommended For: 

closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

Signature