Best Book I Have Not Read

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

Mortal Instrument series: City of Bones, City of ASHES, City of Glass January 6, 2010

Filed under: book reviews,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:23 pm
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The Mortal Instruments series

by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones

City of Ashes

City of Glass

Margaret McElderry Books, 2007, 2008, 2009

541 pages

I first had City of Bones recommended to me at Teachers College this summer by TC staff developer Mary Ehrenworth. I had seen it on the bookstore shelf before that, but had passed over it due to the heavily inked male torso that makes up much of the cover (not a fan of tattoos).

Even though I was initially put off by the cover, I picked it up when I was in New York this summer. The other book she had been recommending was Hunger Games and I certainly loved that book, so I figure we had to have a similar taste in books.

I immediately started reading City of Bones while I was there, which was not good thing when it came to finishing my assigned reading each evening. Adding to the happy reading experience for me was the New York City setting. I was able to recognize parts of the book in the city. I still would have enjoyed the book without having had a New York City experience, but it would have impacted my reading some.  It made the setting feel more like an old friend, rather than some of the settings in books where I have never been (say LA or London).

The Mortal Instruments will find fans among those who enjoy Percy Jackson books as well as those who enjoy Twilight books. Main character Clary witnesses teenagers Jace, Isabella, and Alex kill another teen, but no one can see the body, or killers, besides her. Clary goes on to find out that the teens are Shadowhunters, humans with powers to track and kill demons. Soon enough, her own mother is kidnapped by demons, and it is the Shadowhunters who come to her aid.

The “human” characters of Clary, her best friend Simon, and surrogate father, Luke are compelling characters, as are Jace, Isabella, and Alec, the “Shadowhunter” characters. A great fantasy story set in “modern-day” New York City, you’ll be happy that all three in the trilogy are already out for your reading pleasure!




 

New Ambassador: Katherine Patterson January 5, 2010

Katherine Patterson was named as the second National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature! Having just had the opportunity to hear her speak in October at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Saturday Reunion, I couldn’t be more thrilled. She is more than cut out to fill Sciesczka’s big shoes.  Patteron’s platform will be “read for your life!”

Check out the nice article over at New York Times or Publisher’s Weekly. If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit the NCBLA site, where Patterson is a vice president, they have some great resources for teachers, parents, and mentors.

 

First Kindle thoughts

Filed under: 21st Century Technologies,Kindle — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:55 am
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My parents gave my husband and I a Kindle as a joint birthday present on Thanksgiving. I hadn’t really come to a conclusion ahead of time about whether I thought the Kindle was a great idea or kind of unnecessary for a book addict like myself. I had seen a couple friends use theirs, but the jury was still out. Earlier this fall I decided to read a book on my iPhone to see what it was like and I actually liked it. It took me forever to get through the book, but I loved that I always had something with me to read anytime I had an extra five minutes here or there. I started a second one, but there are some style/typos that are annoying so I haven’t made as much progress.

I have only read a little on the Kindle so far, but one thing that has me absolutely sold on it is the motivation it has created in my children to read even more. My daughter (ten) was quite bent out of shape that the library was closed early on New Year’s Eve and she couldn’t get the next book in Lauren Myracle’s series. I had gotten her Eleven, Twelve, and the ARC of Thirteen Plus One at NCTE and she has raced through them this holiday break. Problem solved last night-downloaded onto the Kindle and now she sits wrapped up in her Snuggie, Kindle in hand, reading away.

My son (seven) has enjoyed reading one of the new Flat Stanley Adventure books (complete with the illustrations) and thinks he is hot stuff while sitting waiting at one of my many school meetings, reading on the Kindle. They both put one on their Santa list, but Santa had other thoughts.

I’ve added Time Magazine as a subscription. It’s reasonably priced and I enjoy having the magazine with me wherever I go so I can actually attempt to stay up-to-date with what is going on in the world. I also like that you can find books for free everything now and then. One of the new YA books I got at ALAN was free this week, so why not just add it to my Kindle and pass the book onto one of the teachers for their classroom library?

 

2010 Reading Challenges January 4, 2010

Filed under: Reading Challenges — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:11 am
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The first challenge I signed up for is the original TBR (To Be Read) Challenge. Here’s the Challenge in a nutshell

** Pick 12 books – one for each month of the year – that you’ve been wanting to read (that have been on your “TBRead” list) for 6 months or longer, but haven’t gotten around to.

I’m still working on my list. I’ll post it soon.

Cybils
Hosted by Michelle at Galleysmith
December 1, 2009 thru December 31, 2010

Participating in the Pick a Number Category (5 books) for

  • Fiction: Young Adult
  • Fiction: Middle School
  • Non-fiction: Picture book
  • Graphic Novel: MG
  • Fiction: Picture book

Possible reads for YA Fiction

  1. Forest Born – Shannon Hale
  2. Ice – Sarah Beth Durst
  3. Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
  4. The Maze Runner – James Dashner
  5. Rampant – Diane Peterfreund
  6. Ruined – Paula Morris
  7. A Wish After Midnight – Zetta Elliot
  8. Candor – Pam Bachorz
  9. Flygirl– Sherrie L. Smith
  10. Going Bovine – Libba Bray
  11. Gringolandia – Lynn Miller-Lachman
  12. Hate List – Jennifer Brown

Graphic novel: MG possible reads

  1. BabyMouse #10 and 11 – Jennifer L. Holm (re-read)
  2. Dork Diaries – Rachel Renee Russell
  3. Dragonbreath – Ursula Vernon
  4. Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom – Eric Wright
  5. Little Mouse Gets Ready – Jeff Smith
  6. Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute – Jarrett Krosocka
  7. Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians – Jarrett Krosocka
  8. The Storm in the Barn – Matt Phelan

Possible reads for MG fiction:

  1. Faith, Hope, and Ivy June – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  2. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters – Lenore Look
  3. Anything but Typical – Nora Releigh Baskin
  4. The Brooklyn Nine – Alan M. Gratz
  5. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate – Jacqueline Kelly (re-read)
  6. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. – Kate Messner
  7. Heart of a Shepherd – Rosanne Parry
  8. Love, Aubrey – Suzanne LaFleur

Possible reads for non-fiction: Picture Book

  1. 14 Cows for America – Carmen Agra Deedy
  2. Coretta Scott – Ntzake Shange
  3. If America were a Village – David J. Smith
  4. Mermaid Queen – Shana Corey
  5. Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 – Bran Floca
  6. Nic Bishop Butterflies and Moths
  7. The Day-Glo Brothers – Chris Barton

Possible reads for fiction: picture book

  1. 1000 Times No – Tom Warbuton
  2. Blueberry Girl – Neil Gaiman
  3. The Book that Eats People – John Perry
  4. Boo Hoo Bird – Jeremy Tankard
  5. Crazy Hair – Neil Gaiman
  6. Crow Call – Lois Lowry
  7. Finn Throws a Fit – David Elliot
  8. The Lion and the Mouse – Jerry Pinkney

The 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge

(I’m realistic and know that the Mini Challenge will work for me but the Just My Size is too ambitious).

–The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.

–Just My Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 25 Young Adult novels.

–Stepping It Up YA Reading Challenge – Read 50 Young Adult novels.

–Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge – Read 75 Young Adult novels.

100+ Reading Challenge

I met it last year. I felt good about having accomplished something. I’m up for the challenge again.

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge
1. Anyone can join. You don’t need a blog to participate.

Four levels:

–The Mini – Check out and read 25 library books.

–Just My Size – Check out and read 50 library books.

–Stepping It Up – Check out and read 75 library books.

–Super Size Me – Check out and read 100 library books.

(Aim high. As long as you read 25 by the end of 2010, you are a winner.)

3. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – any book as long as it is checked out from the library count. Checked out like with a library card, not purchased at a library sale.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

 

I Should Have Known… January 3, 2010

Filed under: Calkins,TCRWP — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:00 am
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I should have known my husband was teasing me. When my 6’7″ inch husband skipped up the driveway (sign one), waving something from the mailbox (sign two), saying, “Oh my gosh! It’s the best mail ever!” (sign three)

“What, what,” I demand to know, trying to imagine a source of so much delight from my husband.

“Oh my gosh! It’s a letter from…” waving it out of reach above my head.

“Who, who?? Tell me!” I demand.

“Your best friend! Lucy Calkins!”

Ha ha. Funny guy. It wasn’t really a letter to me, but a mass mailing from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

Here’s the 2010 Course Schedule

February 16-19, 2010 Coaching Institute on Whole School Reform

February 16-19, 2010 February Institute on Content Area Literacy

Saturday Reunions! Mark your calendar!
Saturday, March 20, 2010 Keynote Speaker: Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee). Also featuring Lucy Calkins, Carl Anderson, Jim Trelease (author of The Read-Aloud Handbook), Kathy Collins, Katherine Bomer and Alfred Tatum. More than 140 workshops and keynotes!

I’m plotting with a friend how to take a group of teachers and pre-service teachers to the event. How bad could an overnight bus trip really be?

Saturday, October 23, 2010: Keynote Speaker Kate DiCamillo  (Tale of Despereaux)

So exciting! The best PD opportunity for FREE. If you can get there, it’s worth the effort!

 

Weeding in Winter? January 2, 2010

Filed under: books — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:30 am
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Franki over at a Year of Reading posted about book weeding (the process of removing books from a collection) and it is pain I relate to! As we prepare to move to a new home, the realization that I probably won’t be going back to a classroom anytime soon, and the sheer number of new books I’ve accumulated since mid November of 2009, has had me weeding as well! I have found it can be a very painful process. Like Franki, I also had my classroom library at home in the basement. Last year I donated half of it to a new teacher in our district. As our home has been on the market this fall (and in preparation for a move), I have taken a box or two a week from my basement to the different buildings (elementary, intermediate, and middle) for teachers to take to add to their own classroom libraries. Even though I have come to a good place in my head about getting those books back into kids’ hands (and not just gathering dust in my basement), some days when I walk by the pile in the teacher workroom and see a personal favorite languishing and not having been already snapped up, my heart does sink a little. Don’t they realize what a gem they just passed up?

To counteract that feeling, I’ve also taken to selecting books from the boxes to deliver to teachers who I know have certain interests in let’s say historical fiction or fantasy, etc. To see their face light up (and their students) when I walk in with a armload of books does my heart good. My daughter has dubbed me the book fairy, which I have to say I like better than when the school secretary nicknamed me the book slut last year!

I come to book hoarding naturally. My father has floor to ceiling bookshelves in his office that have books sitting two deep. While being surrounded by books is something I associate with good feelings, I realized that there is no way that I will probably reread even 1% of the books I own. Books are to be loved and shared. The best way to do that, is to pass the book on, not keep it on a shelf.


 

Once Upon a School January 1, 2010

Filed under: authors,reading-writing connection,school,writing — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:05 am
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My husband came home talking about the Pirate Supply Store and their tutoring center sometime in the past year. He is a big fan of TED “Ideas Worth Spreading” tv and had seen the video of author Dave Eggers’ 2008 TED award acceptance speech. In addition, one of the guys who works for him has a friend who is affiliated with the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company. I’m surprised I haven’t posted about it already.

“Founded in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia is dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about the writing. Our work is based on the understanding that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success and that great leaps in learning can be made when skilled tutors work one-on-one with students.”

I love his dream!