Friday, July 31, 2009

Packing my bags

We're heading up to the mountains for a glorious week without the computer. Time to relax, play in the sun, and have some extra time to read! What shall I bring, what shall I bring?

My reading: I'm almost finished with Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me. It's a mystery that's definitely got me hooked. Miranda keeps receiving these mysterious notes that seem to predict the future. Who could they be from? I'm especially enjoying the friendship aspects and the reader love - lots of references to Wrinkle In Time. By the way, Amazon has listed this as Best Children's Book of July 2009. Great reading for a 5th or 6th grader.

I'm packing some good summer reading: Shug, by Jenny Han has been highly recommended by reading friends Jen Robinson as the perfect middle school book. It's all about friendship, first love and discovering who you really are.

I really want to read Purple Heart, by Patricia McCormick. It's about a young man, Private Matt Duffy, who wakes up in an army hospital in Iraq, honored with a Purple Heart. But he doesn't feel like he's a hero. I think middle schoolers might find this very interesting. I know when I taught 8th grade that Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers, fascinated kids. I think it's important to help students understand Iraqi war, and a novel like this interests me.

Nonfiction: I've also packed some professional reading: The Book Whisperer, a wonderful reflection of a reading teacher Donalyn Miller (half-way through and really enjoying it); Why Don't Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom by Daniel Willingham; and Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement by Stephanie Harvey.

My daughters: My middle daughter has just gotten hooked by Diary of a Fairy Godmother, by Esme Raji Codell. This little witch sneaks in with her aunt to where the FGs are (Fairy Godmothers). It's funny and exciting - a perfect combination. It's full of references to fairy tales; I think it will appeal to lovers of The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives, another one of her favorites this year.

My ten-year-old loves drawing and just finished the Ottoline books by Chris Riddell. She's now started on the Far Flung Adventures, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. She's reading Fergus Crane and will also bring up Corby Flood. Riddell's drawings are quirky and funny. If you have a child who likes graphic novels, check out his books.

I'll be offline for a week, so enjoy. I'll have lots to report back on when we return!


  1. I enjoyed When You Reach Me, it was different it a good way. I am also want to read Purple Heart. Enjoy your computer free time.

  2. Oh man, that second sentences makes it look like English is my second langauge. Oh well, though I do wish I spoke another language.