Showing posts from February, 2012

It's Monday Feb 27

At first I thought I didn’t read much this week… but I guess I did better than I thought! Still a bit of a slow down from last week, though.     Be sure to check out the other posts in this meme at Teach Mentor Texts. Of course, that might lead to an out of control wish list… but worse things have happened. Finally wrote up my thoughts on Wonder: Newbery Challenge – Nerdbery Update The Cat Who Went to Heaven (1931)  It was cute, and sweet, and short. An artist is commissioned to paint Buddha for a local temple. It will make his career, and keep him from starving to death. As the story of Buddha goes, all the animals except for cats came to receive his blessing on his death bed. The cat wasn’t welcome, because of her self-righteous attitude. Yet the artist’s cat seems to be intent on making her way into his painting. The story is set as a series of vignettes of the life of Buddha, interspersed into the story of the artist creating his work. As I d

Wonder - by R.J. Palacio (A Review)

My twitter feed has been filled for weeks with my #nerdybookclub friends proclaiming #thewonderofwonder – so I just had to check it out for myself. With that much buzz, I was honestly concerned that it wouldn’t meet my expectations. I was joyfully surprised that I loved it as much as the hype said I would. Wonder is the story of a fifth grade boy named Auggie (August) with a genetic disorder. He can’t hide his differences from the world because they are stamped on his face for all to see. He spends his elementary years being homeschooled, due to the intense schedule of surgeries required to help him even be able to eat and breathe properly. In fifth grade, his parents decide it is time for him to start to interact more with kids his own age, though they know it will be incredibly stressful.  Kids can be mean, though, right? What follows is Auggie’s story of that year, but it is also a tale of other children struggling to fit in.   What made this book so Wonderful? (

It's Monday Feb 20

     Be sure to check out the other posts in this meme. Of course, that might lead to an out of control wish list… but worse things have happened.   Teach Mentor Texts     This was a really busy week of reading. I don't fully realize how much I read until I write it all down. Sheesh, no wonder I didn't get much else done!  Nerdbery Project – I completed the 20s by finishing Trumpeter of Krakow . This was probably the first book from the Newbery Challenge that felt like it was approaching a modern tale. There was an actual plot, with some almost science fiction like elements. I loved the alchemy parts, and I can see kids enjoying it. It wouldn’t make any top ten (or fifty) lists today, but I didn’t feel like I needed several extra cups of coffee (or toothpicks under my eyelids) to make it through this one. Number the Stars I needed a little break from the early Newbery books, so I chose an old favorite that I haven’t read in a few years. Simple text with

Of Trumpets and Stars..

Newbery Update!  Nerdbery Challenge My “It’s Monday” posts have included some details on my Newbery Challenge progress, but it seems like it’s time to give a bit more detail on the last few books I’ve finished. The two books I’m including here celebrate both courage and the tendency of people to expand their definition of family to include the friends and neighbors that surround them. The Trumpeter of Krakow: by Eric P. Kelly (1929) I celebrated finishing the end of the 1920s with this one.  My school librarian was able to hook me up with this title. Several of the other books weren’t available in our building. I have to say this was an enjoyable read. Up until this point, I had trouble understanding why the book was selected for the award. While it’s not nearly the style of book that would win today, I actually felt some connection to the characters in this tale. The children in the story show courage and strength, and look out for one another. I didn’t need to

It's Monday Feb 13

This is my first venture into the "It's Monday" scene... I hope I'm doing it right! Visit the hosts of the meme at Teach Mentor Texts .  It was a relatively slow reading week for me. I think I got out of the gate quickly in January (I completed 9 Newbery books, including 4 from the 20s and some more recent ones) and slowed down a bit recently.  Graphic Novels / Comics I did try to start up a specific pin board on Pinterest devoted to graphic novels and comics for kids. I'll try to indicate what age band the books there are best for, as not all of them will be appropriate for the under 5th (or 6th) grade crew. Check out my board and let me know (via comments here, there, or Twitter @mselke01) what else I should add. Working on that board got me reading some graphic novels this past week: Amulet 2  and  Amulet 3  - These are fabulous graphic novels! I had to wrestle them out of my students' hands so I could have a shot at them. Highly recommended

Tessering Back to A Wrinkle in Time

(This post was a guest "Retro Review" on The Nerdy Book Club ) A Wrinkle in Time – by Madeleine L’Engle “It was a dark and stormy night”. Stick with me now, friends. It may be a cliché, but it’s the start of one of the books that have lingered in my soul since elementary school. Judging by the posts that I have read here on Nerdy Book Club, and by the many references to L’Engle’s tale in recent novels, I’m not the only one. As we celebrate the 50 th anniversary of the 1963 Newbery winner, I’d like to take a moment to encourage you to join Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin on their first adventure. Meg is a typical teenager who is struggling to learn how to live in her own skin. Her life is made more difficult, however, by all the ways in which she’s considerably less than typical. Her father, a world renowned scientist, has disappeared. Her beloved little brother, Charles Wallace, is five and won’t even speak in public, which makes everyone think he’s

Horses and Pigeons and Cows... oh *yawn*

It's that time again - time for my weekly, fascinating, Newbery Challenge update! Smoky the CowHorse by Will James (Newbery 1927) I started this book with high hopes. I mean, who could mess up a horse book, right? I have very fond memories of my third grade teacher (hello, Miss Sink) reading Misty of Chincoteague to us each day after recess while I ate sunflower seeds.  It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure I loved Black Stallion too. I’ll be honest; I couldn’t get into the dialect. I don’t mind reading books that are written in dialect, or books that ignore a few conventions along the way. Jennifer Holm does a great job in her May Amelia books, even though she never uses quotation marks and uses unconventional capitalization. In her books, it helps me hear the breathless style of a child speaking. In this book, I just found it distracting. Another complaint was that I never really connected to the “main character”. Smoky is supposed to be the main character, but