Best Book I Have Not Read

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

the dead & the gone: a “sequel” to Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It October 20, 2008

Filed under: books,kidlithosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 12:37 pm
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the dead & the gone is a great read! I put sequel in quotation marks, because it is not necessary to have read Life As We Knew It first. You could read each book independently or in either order. I found dead & the gone to be very gripping and liked the pace of the book. The book is set in New York City and the main character is a teenage boy by the name of Alex. Alex’s mother is at work and his father has returned to Puerto Rico for a funeral when the moon is pushed out of orbit by an asteroid.  Suddenly he is in charge of two younger sisters and having to worry about where they will get their next meal. The lengths he must go to keep his remaining family safe are great.

I do feel Life As We Knew It Was a slightly stronger book overall, but the dead & the gone is definitely worth reading and sharing with YA students.


Central Ohio KidLit Bloggers September 27, 2008

Filed under: books,kidlithosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:40 pm
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Teacher Swap 2008

Filed under: blogs,kidlithosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:52 pm
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 We made it before the deadline! As part of the swap, the participants were supposed to mail each other’s “swap items” by September 30th. Normally this would mean I’d be mailing it on that date a few minutes before the post office closed. But due to the generosity of some fellow bloggers and a sprinkle of good mojo/karma, I got to do my teacher swap in person.  Megan from Read, Read, Read and I were randomly assigned each other at The Teacher Swap on The Reading Zone.  Several other bloggers had decided to have a get-together for books and breakfast (since Kidlit Conference in  Portland, Oregon was just too far away) and both Megan and I were fortunate enough to be invited to join them. So Megan from Dayton and me from Licking County, met up with the group this morning. I just got home from a get-together with the Central Ohio Kidlitosphere Book Bloggers.Despite going to the wrong restaurant for the breakfast part, things were great (I didn’t know there were two Northstar Cafe on High Street.


Wow-Megan is creative and crafty! 6 items plus a homemade card and bookmark!

S-Something fun to write on during long meetings!

C-colorful tools to keep you busy…(Sharpies)

H-a Hairy Distrcation (a set of hairstyle playing cards-my favorite is the mullet!)

O-One more Professional Book-Becoming a Literacy Leader by Jennifer Allen (expect a review soon!)

O-A teacher always organizes (even her pasttimes and hobbies!)

L-Lazy Day Treats-chocolates and Hot Tamales (my favorite-I don’t know if you can tell, but the box is open since I ate a few on the way home!)


Thanks Megan, Cover to Cover, and other Ohio kidlit bloggers!


Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes September 23, 2008


Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Notes by Peggy Gifford is the second book starring Moxy Maxwell. The first is titled Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stewart Little-that title grabbed me right away because I knew so many students over the many years Stewart Little have been required to read it. It also hits the topic of assigned summer reading that was such a buzz on blogs earlier this summer (see summer reading rant, The Reading Zone, Jen Robinson’s Book Page, and  the Reading Tub blog

There are a lot of things Moxy does not love, but I do love her and I think a lot of kids will as well! I think the chapter titles are fabulous and I love how some chapters are as short as a sentence or as long as several pages. I also really like the photograph illustrations “taken” by Moxy’s brother Mark.  
Moxy has been given the task of finishing her holiday thank you notes by the day after Christmas, based on a promise she made to her mother the previous Easter (which is when she finished the previous year’s thank you notes!). Moxy desperately wants to not write the thank you notes and is very creative in her attempts to escape doing them. Moxy is not only desperate, but also very creative in the attempts. She wants to be able to go exchange her dress for an upcoming visit to her father in California (who has not seen her in 3 years while he has been busy becoming a “Big Mover and Shaker Out in Hollywood”). The issue of divorce and step-parents is adeptly addressed in a way that doesn’t minimize, but also allows readers to stay focused on the current issue facing Moxy-Not Writing Thank-You Notes.

Of course Moxy does learn the errors of her ways, but you sympathizes with her every step of the way. 

This would be a great read-aloud or also a great hook for a reluctant intermediate aged reader.


Beautiful New Picture Book for reading aloud:The Little Yellow Leaf September 22, 2008

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger is a beautiful book! This picture book not only explores why leaves fall from trees with wonderful poetic words. I love all the illustrations, but I especially love the one of the trees from the overhead view. I think I will use this book to illustrate Units of Study personal narrative lesson on true and exact details lesson. It would be a great mentor text for not just that lesson, but many others. It would have been so fast for the author to say something boring and short like, “The leaves all fell except one,” but then we wouldn’t have gotten this great new picture book. 

A must for adding to your 2008 school year collection.


Life As We Knew It September 20, 2008

Filed under: books,kidlithosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:36 pm
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The past week of no electricity and school cancellations brought to mind the book Life As We Knew Itby Susan Beth Pfeffer. If you haven’t read it, you really should. The main event that impacts (ha-ha) the rest of the book is an asteroid hitting the moon. The main character Miranda is in high school and the upcoming collision of asteroid and moon is really no big deal in her day-to-day life. It is forecasted to be a small impact, interesting to watch, kind of like a falling star or a visible comet, but nothing life changing. When the asteroid hits the moon, its obvious immediately that the impact has much larger than expected-the power goes out immediately and the importance of the moon in relation to Earth unfolds. The tides change-tsunamis, earthquakesand volcanoes. People start hoarding and diseases flourish.

As I was driving home during the wind storm and I had already seen several large trees down and the power outage, I was very surprised to see that the grocery store in town had immediately closed. No ability to obtain ice or water locally became a problem very quickly for many in this area.

When I first saw a review for this book I was first struck by, “Is that the same author I read in junior high?”. The answer is yes it is. I think this was her seventy-fifth book to be published, and no, I haven’t read them all.  I remember liking her in my youth, but it’s nothing compared to how this particular book has left an impression on me. I dont’ really like thinking about “what-if” scenarios when it comes to emergency preparedness, but this past week (and the book) has shown me that I was extremely lacking. Yeah I still kept lots of D batteries on hand (a remnant of my inability to get them during the Ice Storm of 2003) and had some large jugs of water in the basement “just in case”, but that really did not get my family very far.

With this book as well as Animal, Vegetable, Miracle fresh on my mind during planting season this past spring, I did add some additional items to our small family garden plot, but still…I think I need to take some time to think what would have been essential to have at home if we had been unable to get out of the neighborhood. Hmmm…


Fun Read Aloud: Into the Wild

Filed under: books,kidlithosphere,read alouds,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:08 pm
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Thanks to Ike’s power outage in central Ohio (we got power back last night), I just finished the Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst. What a great read and I can just imagine the fun reading it aloud to intermediate aged students. It does have the same title as a very different book (and movie about the book), but that is the only similarity (although I could come up with others if pressed). The other Into the Wildis by John Krakauer and was made into a movie directed by Sean Penn. It is a “true life” adventure type book that Jon Krakauer writes so well.

The reason I mention the other book with the same title is because you will probably run into, as I have, incredulous looks by people who are familiar with the first adventure book when you mention that you are reading Into the Wild aloud to your class.  Just be prepared with your explanation of the plot and the other author’s name.

Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst has been in my must-read pile for awhile after reading reviews of it on other blogs such as Jen Robinson’s Book Page, The Reading Zone, and A Year of Reading. The main character is a girl by the name of Julie. She just happens to be the daughter of Zel (short for Rapunzel), her brother is Puss-in-Boots, and they are frequently visited by Cindy, the seven dwarfs (didn’t there used to be more?), Goldie, and a wicked witch. Zel and the others had managed to outwit and escape the Wild (an malevolent all-knowing presence that can take many forms, but mainly is in the form of an out-of -control forest) many hundred years ago. Zel, Julie, and grandma are the guardians of the Wishing Well and the Wild, a task that Julie underestimates its importance.

The Wild gets loose and everyone is swept back into their old roles which they have to play over and over again, at the expense of their memories of anything else they have known. There is no free will in the Wild. The Wild is a kind of evil master puppeteer that forces and tricks people into fairy tale stories.

I know as I read I really wanted to get out some of the fairy tales in their many forms and compare what I remember to the actual stories. You could really use this book as a springboard into studying fairy tales or even just introducing some not quite so familiar fairy tales to your students. 

Out of the Wild is the sequel that came out in June 2008. The first chapter is included in my paperback copy of Into the Wild and it pulled me in right away. I wonder if the public library has it yet?

What’s up next in my must-read pile:

Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison

The Primary Comprehension Toolkitby Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis (I like what I’ve seen so far!)

Breaking Dawn  by Stephanie Meyer (I want to read it, but really don’t want the series to be over! She has an interesting website, complete with playlists that inspired/reminded her of her novels-I’ve enjoyed listening to them!)

The Hunger Gamesby Suzanne Collins (I’ve been WAITING for this to come out after several blogs reviewed it from ARCs). BTW-Stephanie Myer also loved this book)