Best Book I Have Not Read

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

You know it’s been too long August 9, 2014

Filed under: book clubs,reluctant readers,school,Teachers,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 11:51 am
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when you can’t figure out how to post on your blog

you can’t remember the title of the last children or YA book you’ve read

you’ve only been to your favorite children’s bookstore once in 6 months


Somehow I find a reference

to a couple of women

who were written about in Reading Today

and summarized on Marshall Memo

who have a blog

and the most awesome ideas ever!
and now I want to be just like them

which means…

I need to come out of the world of district administration for at least a little while each week

and read more books

and talk to more kids

and get them as excited about reading as I am reading about their brilliant ideas.

Check out Crazy Reading Ladies at their blog or on Twitter!



Scat by Carl Hiassen April 14, 2009


I feel a little strange admitting this, but I have never read a Carl Hiaasen book before. Hoot did come out the year my son was born (the first of three years of getting up with him a minimum of three times a night), so that probably has something to do with it. It’s not that I didn’t think his books looked or sounded interesting, but there was always something else that kept coming up that would bump Hoot further down in the stack. That of course, was until Scat.  

I commited to reading Scat when it was the title my daughter selected for the first meeting of The Mother-Daughter Book Club.  This book has guaranteed I will read both of Hoot and Flush, and think I’ll try some of his adult fiction as well!

Scat is a book that pulled me on one level and then kept me thinking on different levels all the way through.  

The characters of Nick, Marta, Duane Jr. are well developed and feel like people you can relate to. Many of the other characters, are just as well-developed. Mrs. Starch, the mean, missing teacher; Mr. Wendall Waxmo the sub who wore tuxedos and always taught page 160 on Tuesday, no matter the day or subject; Twilly; the detective; Duane’s grandmother.

The environmental theme is woven throughout the story and arrives in surprising packages. Part mystery, part comedy, this book kept me thinking long after I closed the cover. The timely, yet unfortunate, issue of soldiers coming home wounded from Iraq is also handled in way that makes the issue very accessible to younger/middle aged readers. Nick’s determination to become a lefty like his dad really struck a nerve in my heart. 

Interestingly, when we went to get it from the library, it was in the YA section, which I found initially surprising. There are a couple “dumb ass” comments, and the danger/mystery might be too much for some intermediate readers. Nonetheless, it kept my daughter and her friends turning page after page through all 384 pages!

A must-read that would also make a terrific read-aloud. Maybe some science teachers might be brave enough to try it as a read-aloud in their content area!


Sometimes It’s Hard to Figure Out What is Good for Ourselves April 2, 2009

Filed under: book clubs — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:59 pm
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This week I made my daughter do something that I knew she would not want to do if she was given the choice. Her lack of choice resulted in a great experience for her and she described it as “great fun”.  That thing was a book club with some other kids her age that my friend Robin put together.  It wasn’t that she doesn’t love books (FINALLY!!), it was based on being uncomfortable with the idea of not knowing the other kids. I, on the other hand, wanted her to participate for several reasons. 1-Robin is a children’s librarian who currently is not working in a library. She loves books as much as I do (we’d probably argue over who loved them more). 2-I want my daughter to learn that reading or books are a great way to meet new people or have conversations that you might get to experience otherwise. 3-I believed she would have a great time and that it would giver her a needed boost to her self-esteem to be in a book club with someone she considers “really smart”.  

One possible moral of the story-sometimes kids don’t know what is good for them (but then neither do I sometimes 🙂

The kids have selected Calder Games for next month by Blue Balliet. My daughter picked Carl Hiassen for “her” hosting month.


Best Book I Have Not Read August 10, 2008

Filed under: books,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:27 pm
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Why the title of the blog?? You know that big stack of books you keep next to your bed, in the family room, in your classroom, scattered throughout the house? That next book you can hardly wait to read? Well I am one of the queens of having a stack that I can hardly wait to read. Then the school year starts, my children’s schedules become fuller and it is hard to spend as much time reading as I would like. The stack keeps growing until I decide I am being selfish and that the students will be able to read them and tell us about them much more quickly than I will get to.

The most recent additons to my stacks: Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi (I love The Spiderwick series), The Host and Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer (I hate vampire books-go figure!), The Complete Four for Literacy by Pam Allyn (this got good recommendations and I try to read everything that comes out from anyone who works/has worked at Columbia Teachers College), Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest by Matt Haig, Into the Wild by Sarah Durst (if it’s good enough for a sequel, I’d better get busy!), Getting Started: Recalculating Schools to Become Professional Learning Communities by Robert Eaker and Richard DuFour (preparation for the new job), what have you lost? poems selected by Naomi Nye (I love all her work, so if she picked it out, I’ll probably like it as well), About the Authors: Writing Workshop with Our Youngest Writers by Katie Wood Ray (I love Katie Wood Ray and got to see her present for the second time this past summer. Also my speciality has always been intermediate aged students, so I want to be on my best game for primary students. Who better to help me brush up?), and The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (So many wonderful reviews by people whose taste in books I admire).

When I look at the list in writing, it probably seems pretty random to someone else but the books tend to fall into four categories: children’s books for my fourth grade classroom, professional development books that focus on education and specifically any area of reading, writing, literacy, or language arts, and adult reads for the book club I belong to.

I’m sure the next best book is in that stack!