Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Love This Trend: Publishers Weekly Reports… April 23, 2009

Filed under: book reviews,books,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 11:53 am
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I wanted to share this article from Publishers Weekly. Three of these titles are ones I have been recommending to adults over and over. Without fail, they have all DEVOURED the books. Now to try to get them to stick to looking in the Young Adult section not just when they are stuck for something to read, but as one more avenue for great literature!

Adult Readers in the Kids’ Section 
April 22, 2009

There’s a really good trend happening in our store right now. Adults are reading kids’ books. Not picture books, but novels written for young adults.  Slowly the awkwardness, the need to almost apologize for buying a kids’ book for themselves is dissipating.  Instead, it’s something the adults seem to be reveling in.  And really, isn’t it about time that adults realized the young adult section was chock full of riches, new and old, to read and enjoy?

There are several books this past year that seem to have spurred this trend. The first is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak — while not a new title, it continues to be an excellent seller for us to adults. At last count, five adult book groups have read The Book Thief. Several women have called me immediately upon finishing to say how much they just loved the book. There is still an occasional adult reader who resists even holding a kids’ book in their hands, as if something horrible will happen if they read the back cover.  I’ve actually had to place it in a customer’s hand with a declaration. “You will love this book. Just read it. Trust me.”

Elizabeth had the best handselling moment I’ve seen, ever.  Two women had overheard me talking about The Book Thief and they were resistant to buy the copy I placed before them. They looked to Elizabeth for a second opinion, and all she did was arch her eyebrows with eyes bright and alert and that said it all. They bought two.  

Grown women are marching straight up the counter and asking for “that book.” Admittedly, they are a little sheepish about buying the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer. But I don’t think it’s because it’s written for young adults. It’s because they love it so much. They can’t wait to read more about Edward and Jacob, who they are more than happy to talk about, at great length with other women in the store. One thing I particularly enjoy about these Twilightwomen is they tend to buy the whole series at one time. Sure, they tell daughters to wait, space out their purchases, save some money, and maybe even borrow from a friend. There’s none of that with the adults. No borrowing, no waiting for the book at the library, no, they need it, they need it now and they’re going to pay for their immediate gratification. And I love them for it.

Another book that has adults happily clutching it is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  A real page-turner of a dystopian adventure set in a future society that deals with larger themes that adults are really sinking their teeth into.  This is a challenging book to book talk, as on the surface it deals with kids killing kids at the behest of the government. Adults look askance when I say that, but then I put the book in their hands and say, “Read it. It’s so much more than that.” Again, adults are proving to be less patient than kids. I had a woman who was actually whining about the release date of the sequel. “I’ve got to wait until September?!”

Lastly, there is an anecdote I must share. One of my favorite customers comes in every Monday to get her books for the week. Jill is the most vital, active, and vibrant 78-year-old I’ve ever met. She is a well-rounded reader with eclectic tastes. Last week she was struggling to choose a book when she went to the young adult section. There she saw I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. She had read the book when she was 19 and remembered loving it. Well, she took it with her last weekend and was still beaming when she came in Monday to tell me about reading it again. She sat in the sun in an Adirondack chair with Beethoven on in the background and a glass of Merlot nearby. She read the book she first loved 60 years ago. “It was just marvelous. Marvelous.”
Posted by Josie Leavitt on April 22, 2009


The Best Ideas are Often Those Borrowed

Filed under: book clubs — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:11 am
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My sixth grade colleagues saw Bill’s (Literate Lives) Grand Conversation signs and information on display at the Dublin Literacy Conference. Travis had already been intrigued by the idea of starting a parent child book club, and Bill’s format helped them launch their own. They had their first Grand Coversation over The Lottery Rose and it was quite the success. There were so many positive comments from parents and the students loved being the “experts” on school. The group started with parents and children together, then split into an adult group with one teacher and a student group with the other teacher. The teachers do a book


 introduction for each group, and the parents had an opportunity to experience being a “sixth grader”, while learning about reading strategies. About a month later, the group reconvened for a book conversation. During part of the second evening, parents were randomly mixed with other students. The parents were

 overwhelming amazed by how much their child was able to take away from the book, as well as how much deeper their child’s comprehension was through conversation.   

Their next club event is The Mysterious Benedict Society in May! I know I’m looking forward to reading it, as I haven’t had a chance to do so yet and book 3 (The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma) in the series comes out in October! I’m thinking this one might be a good audiobook for the car.


Teacher Hero

Filed under: Calkins,TCRWP — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:54 am

 img_1917Kristine (Bestbook), Lucy Calkins, Maren Koepf (author of Synchronizing Success and new friend from Coaching Institute) 


Oh boy! PA boy wants to “Play School” and orders state tests!

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:13 am

Play Teaching to the Test A 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy who wanted to play school managed to order a batch of the state’s standardized assessment tests, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. State education officials were apparently in disbelief. “Only the school district’s test coordinator can order tests,” said the State Education Department’s spokesperson. “It’s a very secure system.” Well, maybe not: By reports, the boy simply faxed an order to the test-production company from his house, using two special codes he got from the education department’s Web site. The tests, however, were mailed to his school district’s warehouse rather than to the boy’s home—a measure that officials say validates the system’s safeguards. Officials in the boy’s district are confident that he was simply exercising his imagination and not attempting to cheat. “He purposely requested the tests to come on the last day [of testing] because he didn’t want to see the test before he took it,” said Rebecca Costello, director of pupil services for the Hempfield School District. “He wants to be a teacher. He wanted to play school.” In any case, Costello added, the education department has indicated “they will look at [their] Web site because they may have an issue.” Meanwhile, we are left to wonder: Does it say something about schools today that a kid who wants to play teacher thinks he needs to have authentic standardized tests on hand?