Monday, March 2, 2015

It's Monday March 2nd What are YOU reading?

I wasn't going to be able to get a post in today, but we got a surprise day off thanks to the 1/4" of ice coating the ground around us. 

Welcome to my little corner of book heaven. Here's what I read the last two weeks. Don't forget to visit the lovely hosts of this meme - Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. There are links to a LOT of posts there!

Quick post today, since I'm also joining the March Slice of Life Challenge! 

Young Adult
For the first third of this book, I wasn't sure I was going to get into it. I mean, I totally get how teens dropped into a deadly world could fall madly in love with someone there. I'm not a COMPLETE "insta-love" denier. Still, books like that usually don't make it to the top of my recommendation pile. 
As the story progressed, though, I got more and more fascinated with the world of NIL. You are dropped in this world, and have 365 days to make it off or die. The teens created their own small society to help and support one another (that's pretty cool, no?). I was hooked by some little teasers about what this world could really be. You don't know who will make it through (well, some are obvious... but it's okay). Now I'm glad I have the second book on hand to hopefully answer some of my lingering questions. 

Middle Grade
I run a hero's journey unit every year with my fifth graders. Usually, we read The Hobbit. This year, I decided to mix it up a bit and try to build more diverse choices into our unit. Thankfully, I have many friends in my PLN who gave me ideas for books to build in. This one is based around Hindu folklore, and the book trailer hooked my students completely. I have three reading this one now, and they all want to read the rest of the series.

Picture Books
This is a cute insight into how astronauts train, but with the focus on diversity in literature I've had with my fifth graders I couldn't help but be slightly annoyed that there's only one woman in the group. Couldn't we mix it up more?
Lovely illustrations and a beautifully inspiring look at ballet. 

Comic Books (these are listed as "M" for mature - and contain definitely mature content!)

Live Long and Prosper SOL 2

For those of you who know me from Twitter - it will come as no surprise that our most recent celebrity loss hit me hard.

I often scroll through Twitter while I'm eating lunch. It helps break up the day and gives me a ton of great ideas and articles I can use with my students. On Friday of last week, I was flipping through and chuckling over the continued #WhiteAndGold and #LlamaDrama silliness when a single hashtag jumped out of the noise.


Now, I knew he was getting older. I knew he'd been rushed to the hospital for heart problems just a few days before this.

Even so, my heart dropped and my eyes filled with tears. The original Star Trek series was probably my first introduction into science fiction. My parents are huge fans, and we watched the episodes very consistently throughout my childhood. I loved to watch them explore, and I absolutely adored Spock (though, as I get older, I identify more strongly with Dr. McCoy).

The more I read through the outpouring of love and memories for this amazing man, the more choked up I got. Leonard Nimoy inspired scientists and explorers. He stood up for his coworkers. He found beauty in the world wherever he went. While sharing quotes from Star Trek, we think about the good that could be found in the human race.... even though he portrayed a half-human on the show.

Goodbye, Nimoy. Your legacy lives on in those you inspired. May we continue to explore our world and the stars and planets just beyond the horizon. May we find ways to come together as humans as we push beyond the known into the places no one has gone before.


Come join the writing community at Two Writing Teachers. March is the official DAILY Slice of Life challenge. Someone is there Slicing (writing personal memoirs and reflections) every Tuesday. Let's Write! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Dress Dilemma

And so it begins....

UntitledI wasn't sure if I should sign up for the Slice Challenge this year. I've been pretty awful about getting my ideas onto my blog over the past (coughs) six months or so. Still, having a specific audience and a daily challenge may be just what the doctor ordered. I've done it three years running, so I'm sure that just getting my B.I.C. ("butt in chair") will help the spice flow. I have been posting a daily photo a day on Instagram and Facebook, so I'm going to try to use those daily snapshots of my life to help keep me inspired to write.

If you've been online at all in the past few days, I'm sure you've heard of the Great Dress Debate. For the record, I'm team #WhiteandGold. Go ahead, tell me that the dress is actually Black and Blue. It won't change what I see.

What really struck me about this whole silliness, though, was the way the division in perception actually united people online. Yes, we were all tweeting and Tumblring and Facebooking about how "I am right and you are wrong". Yes, we separated into teams and hunted for evidence to prove that the other side was completely mistaken.

Still, there was a sense of humor and camaraderie about it all. There were silly memes and team picking and even people writing post-apocalyptic stories about the world "after the dress". (Don't believe me? Check it out! ) The fact that it happened right after the internet was guffawing over a pair of escaped llamas made it feel like we were all coming down from a preschool birthday party where we'd eaten too much ice cream and cake.

Sometimes we need the silly. The world is an awfully serious place so much of the time.

Come join the writing community at Two Writing Teachers. March is the official DAILY Slice of Life challenge. Someone is there Slicing (writing personal memoirs and reflections) every Tuesday. Let's Write! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

It's Monday February 23rd

Welcome to my little corner of book heaven. Here's what I read the last two weeks. Don't forget to visit the lovely hosts of this meme - Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. There are links to a LOT of posts there!

Graphic Novels:

Amazing illustrations and a fabulous story of a summer of changes and tiptoeing into adulthood. I can see why this one got a Caldecott Honor (keep in mind it is for middle school and up!)

Not my favorite of the gods, so not my favorite of this series. Still, it was an interesting way to showcase many parts of the Trojan War.

Picture Books

Some amazing entries in this one - and the illustrations are all great. I wish the writing had been more consistently amazing, though. Still worth buying, especially for the Marian Anderson poem.

I'm so glad someone mentioned this title a few weeks back. I'll be adding it to the stack of books I'm asking my 5th graders to blurb for our We Need Diverse Books campaign.

Middle Grade

A lovely story about a girl with dyslexia and a caring teacher who helps her discover her strengths. I loved the older brother and the real world problems her family faces while her father is deployed.

Super silly and fun. I can't wait to get this one to my students.

A fun start to a new historical fiction series! I love Ranger and his time traveling, rescue dog ways.

Young Adult

I wanted to love this science fiction tale of revolution and alien civilizations, but it ended up only being okay. Still, I've read both books in the series so far and I plan to read the rest. I just didn't connect with the characters as much as I'd hoped.

Pop Sugar - author with my initials.
If you haven't read this series yet, you want to start now! I adore all the characters and I love the storyline with the ley lines and hidden, sleeping kings. Having an ambitious and odd tale where I still completely love the characters and enjoy all of their interactions makes this series a "must always acquire quickly" one for me.

I wrote a quick post yesterday compiling some feminist literature suggestions from my twitter pals, if you are into that kind of thing..

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Feminist Lit Suggestions From My Twitter Pals

I decided to toss a quick question out there to my Nerdy Book Club and Feminist friends on Twitter. I wanted to make my "should have read in school" book for the Pop Sugar Challenge be something feminist... maybe something that I just can't believe I missed along the way.

Just in case you want to use some of these, I've also indicated other categories in which they could fit. 

Never fear - my amazingly literate colleagues on Twitter gave me so many from which to choose!

Lee Ann says this is a science fiction choice - that sounds right up my alley! 

** I can add this in and count it for the "title has a color" category!**  

** Second Sex was originally in French, so this one can also count in that category ** 

If you'd like some of MY feminist recommendations...

Post-apocalyptic and brings in traditional Greek drama.

The Suffrage movement and the start of unions with the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.

Nonfiction history of female heroes in pop culture.

Monday, February 9, 2015

It's Monday February 9th

Welcome to my little corner of book heaven. Here's what I read the last two weeks. Don't forget to visit the lovely hosts of this meme - Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. There are links to a LOT of posts there!

Picture Books

Jane Yolen - I am on a mailing list that Jane maintains. She puts out a poem every day and just asks that those who read take the time to read one of her books each month. Some months I forget, so this month I snagged three picture books from my library.

Lovely illustrations and very simple text.

Book love is evident throughout this one. Baby Bear insists that there are books over the entire day.

Odd and slightly creepy, but beautiful. Would be fun near Halloween!

Award - Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book
I'm adding this to use with my students this week as we discuss and write blurbs for books with diverse creators and characters.

Award - Schneider
I loved that this is a true story! I'm also using this one with my students this week.

Interesting - but there's something about the illustrations that didn't do it for me.

Young Adult

PopSugar - banned book.

Painful and beautiful. I'm so glad I made the time to put this one at the top of my list.

Comic - issue 4. This is a great series! I need to reread all of them in order. Creepy boarding school in Gotham - what's not to love?

PopSugar - author under 30 years old.
Audio book. I wasn't keen on the narrator, but the story of "EOs" (extra ordinary) people being created by near death experiences was chilling. What is the line between hero and villain?

Middle Grade

Comes out Feb 24th. What do you do when you find out the REAL reason your mother left is that your family is under a curse and you may be next? Lovely tale of family and forgiveness.

What can I say about this one? All caught up on Nerdbery again... and enjoyed every minute. I'm not a sports person, but I loved these characters and the novel in verse style packed a huge punch.

Monday, February 2, 2015

It's Monday February 2nd - What Are You Reading?

Welcome to my little corner of book heaven. Here's what I read the last two weeks. Don't forget to visit the lovely hosts of this meme - Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. There are links to a LOT of posts there!

Cybils Short List - I completed these titles in the past two weeks.

Young Adult:

I LOVED this book! I need to read the rest of the series, although I am sad that my favorite character is gone.

Zombies and journalism... oh, yeah.

PopSugar - over 500 pages

Intriguing look at Levana's early life and what made her the woman she is today. Short, but will make the wait for Winter easier.
PopSugar - 2015 release

We need a LOT more historical fiction set around the Suffrage movement. This was a great one.
PopSugar - Cover Love

Intriguing premise for science fiction - we have aliens we are desperately hoping will make an alliance with us, so we set up an "exchange" program.
I liked the romance aspect at first, and then it got to be too much for me.
PopSugar - set in the future

So VERY strange, but I adored it. I wish I had it in paper instead of an ebook, because I kept wanting to flip back to previous sections to trace the names through time.
PopSugar - one word title

Middle Grade:
A girl travels into the world where authors create their stories... to save her famous writer mom. I really loved this one (and it's in my trio of reviews linked below)
PopSugar - new to me author

For the PopSugar "book written by a woman" - instead I am going for at least 50% by women. At the moment I have 6 by men, 10 by women, and 1 that is a man/woman partnership (a GN)

Comic Books:
This is a trade (includes 4 comics). Believe it or not, I wasn't super excited by this one. The narration style didn't do it for me. I did like the final comic more than the others, as it tied the story together well.

AWESOME! I will be reading this series and the Leia series that begins in March.

Recent Reviews: I recommend a trio of amazing new middle grade novels!
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