Friday, December 25, 2009

Packing my bags - what to bring?

It's vacation time, so the blog will be quiet from now until after New Years.  Time to rejuvinate, play with my family (a trip to the snow!) and having some nice time curling up with a book!  So what to bring?

Teen reading:

I'm working with middle school students this year, so I've been trying to do more reading of books that will hook teens.  I'm almost finished with The Rock and The River, by Kekla Magoon.  It's fantastic, and drew me right in.  Sam is a young African American teen whose father is a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago, 1968.  His older brother is becoming frustrated with police brutality in their neighborhood, and the slow pace of change.  Sam is torn between these two major figures in his life - his father, with his nonviolent protests, and his brother who has just become a Black Panther.

I want to read a fantasy next.  I'm torn between a new fantasy, The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge, and a classic fantasy highly recommended by a student, Alanna: The First Adventure, by Tamora Pierce.  The Lost Conspiracy has been highly recommended by the listserve Adbooks, which I've enjoyed following.  It seems like it would appeal to our 5th graders who like fantasy and adventure mixed together.  But it's very long!  I think I might try to go with Alanna.  I've been wanting to read Tamora Pierce's books for a long time, and it means so much to students when someone else takes their suggestions about what to read.

For my kids' reading, we'll bring some new holiday books:

- Harry Potter #5 on audio, a Christmas present for my 8 year old
- Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko, for my 10 year old
- Panda Kindergarten, by by Joanne Ryder and Katherine Feng, for my 5 year old
- several Henry and Mudge, and Mr. Putter and Tabby early chapter books by Cynthia Rylant, for my 5 year old

As always, we'll have a bit of debate about what audiobooks to listen to in the car.  We're finishing up Boy, by Roald Dahl.  And we have Tell Me a Story, a collection of folktalkes by Amy Friedman - we've started listening to them and are really enjoying them.  I'd like to try either The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe or Betsy-Tacy.  But I rarely get to choose - usually, I'm outvoted by the kids.

Thank you for all your support with my blog this year.  It's been a wonderful growing experience for me.  All the best, until the New Year.


  1. Have a great trip, Mary Ann! And Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year! The Rock and the River was one of my favorite reads this summer. Also Alligator Bayou.

  3. Thanks for the reading recommendations. We span the gamut of ages and interests here, and if my kids get one more gift book that blinks, rings, or flaps (all in bad rhyme)... well, let's just say I am a mother and a writer who will be visiting your site often now that I've found it. Thank you!