Best Book I Have Not Read

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

#BookaDay #3 & #4 Choker, Delirium December 30, 2010

Filed under: #bookaday,book reviews,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:17 pm
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Choker by Elizabeth Emma Woods

e-galley Simon & Schuster

release date January 4, 2011

I wasn’t too sure about reading an e-galley or any e-book on my laptop, but I thought I’d give it a try. A couple pages into Choker, and I was hooked. My puppies who are used to being able to sit in my lap while I read, were not happy that my lap was full of my computer. I would describe Choker a thriller/horror YA novel that I think will be a hit with readers who enjoy books such as Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser (see review), Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman, or the Gone novels (see review). Cara’s childhood friend Zoe shows up just when she needs her most. The other girls are cruel and having great fun humiliating Cara with her newest nickname “Choker” based on an ill-fated carrot episode in the lunchroom. Their friendship was obviously flawed and gives off many warning signs. Like watching an accident, I read on, even though I was inwardly wincing every time Cara’s parents didn’t realize Zoe had moved in. Cara’s crush on popular boy Ethan, wouldn’t amount to anything in many YA novels, yet Choker has Ethan and Cara moving closer together even as the end comes rushing up in a manner I never saw coming. Mark your calendar, buy Choker next week.

#4 Delirium by Lauren Oliver (actual cover below left)

release date February 1, 2011

ARC cover- HarperCollins

I LOVED Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver’s first novel (review here). It was one of those books that I just could not stop reading or thinking about. I’ve given it as gifts several times to other YA lovers. My good friend Travis brought home an ARC of Delirium from NCTE for me and I savored having it on the bookshelf until winter break started. Set in the future, love is considered a disease. All citizens have a procedure upon turning eighteen to prevent them from “catching” the disease and experiencing the terrible side effects.  Lena makes the unfortunate mistake of falling in love with Alex. Terrified of being caught, Lena and Alex have to hide their feelings from everyone.

Stated to be the first in a trilogy, I look forward to everyone of the books! Lauren Oliver is on my watch list for any future books.


#BookaDay #2 Ruby Lu Star of the Show December 29, 2010

Filed under: #bookaday — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:18 am

I LOVE Lenore Look! The Alvin Ho books are among some of all time favorites to recommend to middle grade readers the past couple years. I haven’t known anyone who has been able to not enjoy Alvin Ho, his troubles, and fears.

I am always on the look-out for new middle grade fiction series and I would classify Ruby Lu in that category. First there was Ruby Lu, Brave and True, followed by Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything (starred review, School Library Journal). Ruby Lu’s father has lost his job, her extended family from China is living with them, and Rudy desperately wants to be able to help.

Due out February 8, 2011, add this to your winter reading list!


#bookaday #1 Grace by Elizabeth Scott December 28, 2010

Filed under: #bookaday — bestbookihavenotread @ 1:12 pm
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Having read Love You, Hate You, Miss You, as well as Living Dead Girl, I was prepared for an edgy subject matter. Once again, Elizabeth Scott did not disappoint. I sat down to take a look at the first chapter and didn’t stop until the book was finished.

After I finished reading Grace, I told my husband that I would like him to read it as well because I need to talk about the book with someone to  fully understand it.

The inside flap’s first paragraph gives you a good glimpse into the book. “Grace was brought up to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom.”

Is it the near future, as the flap alludes? Is it the present? Is it statement about politics in any certain country, past or present?

I think that young adult readers will be intrigued by Grace’s story, as it is so different from what they live daily. The idea of being “given” to a cause, the idea of being so trained to be a suicide bomber that you consider it an honor, is just not a reality to us.

As you get to know Grace, you also get to know Kerr, the young man who is posing as her brother as they both attempt to escape over the border. Having both endured so much, at such young ages, they are both very similar and different at the same time. Being a survivor is what ultimately brings them to an understanding.

I do believe that there are some people whose psyche’s are such that they are survivors, leading them to not just survive unthinkable horrors, but even be able to move on to having a life after those events are over. Others are not. Put two people in the same horrific situation, and there is no telling which one might end up the survivor. I think of Schindler’s List, of other Holocaust stories, of people who escaped over the Berlin Wall in a hot air balloon, of people over the centuries who have survived dictators, death marches, massacres of their people, and lived to tell the story.

Both Grace and Kerr are those type of survivors. Brought together through no desire of their own, with only their strong sense of survival to keep them going, the book leaves the reader on a hopeful note. That perhaps not only will Grace and Kerr survive, but that they might even find comfort in each other and go on to have a relatively normal adulthood, where the horrors they have survived eventually fade into nightmares of the past.

A quick, gripping read, Elizabeth Scott’s Grace is a must-read.


Brownie & Pearl Step Out December 23, 2010

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:16 am

I LOVE Cynthia Rylant! I was so excited to see a new picture book series by her during my last trip to Cover to Cover. Brownie and Pearl Step Out is a 2009 Simon & Schuster release for 3-5 year olds. The little girl is Brownie and her cat friend is Pearl. In this episode, Brownie and Pearl are headed to a birthday party. They feel a little shy when they arrive at the house where the party is.

I’m happy to see that there are other Brownie and Pearl books planned. Look for Brownie & Pearl Get Dolled Up, Brownie & Pearl See the Sights, and Brownie & Pearl Take a Dip (April 2011). I think these books will be big hits with those just learning to read youngsters. I hope they come out in paperback soon so they will be affordable for classroom teachers to have in their classroom libraries for their students.


What are your holiday reading plans? #bookaday December 22, 2010

Filed under: #bookaday — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:37 am

I was reading Tweets between DonalynBooks and PaulWHankins last week and it reminded me that it is time for ME to make some reading plans for the holidays. If I don’t I know the time will get away from me. I also know that I do better with a reading goal-somehow I feel less guilty spending the time reading if it’s part of a goal. I know it makes no sense, but if it helps me relax, so be it!

Besides the obvious trying to read as much as I can:

I also plan on

trying to blog about a different picture book each day–

read and blog about–

The Defense of Thaddeus Ledbetter by John Gosselink

Sappique by Catherine Fisher

Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

Necromancer by Michael Scott

Keeper by Kathi Appelt

Big Nate by Lincoln Pierce

Now I need a snazzy picture of my TBR pile for #bookaday


New Teachers College Reading and Writing Project website December 13, 2010

Filed under: TCRWP — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:38 am
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Check out the new Teachers College Reading and Writing Project website. I’m very excited about TC’s focus on the new Common Core ELA standards.

“Content Area Literacy and the Common Core Standards: Using Performance Assessments and Studies of Student Work to Reach Ambitious New Standards”

This brand new institute will help educators, at all levels, develop the curriculum and methods necessary to ensure that students reach the rigorous new standards for content area literacy embedded in the Common Core Standards. Participants will begin by learning a repertoire of skills for teaching young readers to think analytically about nonfiction texts; such as interpreting, synthesizing, and comparing and contrasting. Participants will draft action plans aimed at revising curriculum in social studies, science and language arts that best prepare students to read critically, wrestle with authors’ points of view, and talk in depth about authorial choices. The institute will focus not only on reading nonfiction critically, but also nonfiction writing, with an emphasis on informational and opinion writing. Participants will learn ways to help students write fluently across the curriculum, using writing as a tool for analytical thinking.

The entire institute will be angled to help participants develop and utilize performance assessments effectively—many that the TCRWP has already developed to track students’ progress in higher-level comprehension and composition skills inherent in the Common Core. Participants will delve into the implications on school leadership and classroom instruction; learning ways in which studying student work has helped teachers determine how this initiative relates to everything they are already doing. This institute will equip participants with classroom-tested, practical, powerful methods to ramp up the level of comprehension work that students do, while, still, instructing with concreteness and clarity to help students progress from what they can already do towards new, robust goals.

Throughout the week, participants will spend half of their time in a large group section and the other half of the day in small, interactive groups learning practical methods that will strengthen their teaching. Both small and large group sections will be organized by grade level.




In My Mailbox 6 December 12, 2010

Filed under: In My Mailbox — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:49 am

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Ruby Lu Star of the Show by Lenore Look

Flutter by Erin E. Moulton

Many thanks to my friend Travis and his fabulous wife Amanda!


Books bought with my son:

Geronimo Stilton A Very Merry Christmas

Geronimo Stilton graphic novel-The Coliseum Con

Judy Moody & Stink-The Holly Jolliday by Megan McDonald


With my daughter

Lauren Myracle- Luv Ya Bunches



I Didn’t Sit Down to Write a Blog Post… December 7, 2010

Filed under: educational philosophy — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:12 pm

I actually sat down to finish a job application. I’ve gotten through the easy parts of references, colleges attended, etc. and am down to the “Please give a candid description of yourself, stressing those assets and liabilities, which you feel characterize your work” part and  “Statement of Educational Philosophy” part. You know, THOSE doozies! I’ve been looking at the questions off and on for a week now and running things through my mind. Trying to come up with a succinct statement that fits on a form and answers those two questions has not been as easy as I thought it would be. Then I realized that they were even LESS easy to write when I wasn’t actually putting pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard in this instance).

I had one of those “ah-ha” moments when I realized I needed to start looking over what I’ve written in the past couple years for this blog, look over my favorite professional books, and reflect back on what has made me the educator I am now, not the educator I was when I first entered education 18 years ago.



In My Mailbox 5 December 5, 2010

Filed under: In My Mailbox — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:11 pm
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It’s been a big week!
I attended a SSCO Book Review event and came home with a great bag of books! I even have handed off ones that I have already read some to teacher friends for their classrooms.

Superintendent candidates are being interviewed for a January start (wait-didn’t we just get one in August. Oh yeah, she’s an interim!)

I’m working on my resume for a different educational position.

Handed off the following books:

I loved all three of these so was happy to get a chance to review them AND pass them on all in one evening.

A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Keeper by Kathy Appelt

Trance by Linda Gerber (author from Central Ohio)

I came home with:

Matched by Ally Condi

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway

Hollow by Jessica Verday

Wolves, Boys, & Other Things that might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

Fathful by Janet Fox

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw

Freefall by Mindi Scott

Virals by Kathy Reichs

The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook

Dear Anjali by Melissa Haber

Blank Confession by Pete Hautman

Wildwing by Emily Whitman

Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Grace by Elizabeth Scott

Spirits in the Park by Scott Mebus


I think I now have a great supply for Winter Break.