This week, I finished (and loved) Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate. I've seen novels in verse done well, and I've seen them done poorly, and this one is done well. I was amazed at how Applegate was able to capture Kek's emotional journey in so few words.
I also read these chapter books last week:
The Lemonade War was a fun read; I really enjoyed the brother/sister relationship between Ethan and Jesse, and I love that they solve their problems on their own, without adult interference.
Roxie and the Hooligans was recommended to me by some fourth graders who read it aloud in their classroom. Roxie reminded me of Pennypacker's Clementine and Dahl's Matilda; she's resourceful, brave, and smart--what else can you ask for in a heroine?
Patricia MacLachlan has a knack for writing kids with real problems without turning a story sappy, and that knack doesn't fail her in The Truth of Me. It was a quick read, but it packed a powerful punch.
I'm still ruminating over Margi Preus' West of the Moon. I like the skillful integration of folktales and realistic fiction, but I didn't really feel the impact of the story until I read the author's note about what inspired her story. I almost wished I had read it first, as it cast a different perspective on the story.
I also got a chance to make a trip to the local bookstore in Austin, and was able to take a peek at these picture books:
This week, I'm two chapters into The Boys of Blur, and I'm already loving how the long, rambling, repetitive sentences imitate the boys' running. I'm also enjoying the combination of football, mystery, and magical elements.
After finishing a very looooong adult book yesterday, I picked up something that's been on my "to read" list for quite a while. I've read The One and Only Ivan a few times now, and love it dearly, so I've been meaning to read this one for some time.
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate tells the story of Kek, a Sudanese refugee who arrives in Minnesota having lost his parents and brother. I'm only 30 pages in, but I'm already enamored with the way Kek's innate joy leaks out of him, despite the difficulties he's been through.
Each Friday, starting today, I'll be posting an "If You Like..." poster of book suggestions. Typically, I take a book that students have read together in class, or another popular title, and make recommendations that are similar. Our third graders read Freckle Juice at the beginning of this school year, so our first #IYL of the school year is "If You Like Freckle Juice!" Enjoy!
September 15th is International Dot Day--a day to celebrate creativity, courage, and collaboration. Inspired by Peter H. Reynolds's The Dot, SES students will be thinking about how they'll make their mark this year!
This week, students will be learning about the Bluebonnet program. Every year, the Texas Library Association chooses 20 books for the Bluebonnet reading list. Any student who reads at least five of these can vote for their favorite on Bluebonnet voting day in January!
I'll be sharing these read alouds with the classes visiting the library this week:
Third Grade will be reading The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt.
Fourth Grade will be reading Lester's Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell
Fifth Grade will be reading excerpts from Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Don't forget, these are just a few of this year's excellent Bluebonnet nominees!
You can find out more about this year's Bluebonnet Books by clicking here.