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It’s Monday, [January 28]! What are you reading?

Every Monday, I send out a #booksaroundtheroom via Twitter, so my students can share what they’re reading with the world. “It’s Monday! What are you Reading?” is a meme co-hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts. Just like #booksaroundtheroom, it is a way to share books you’ve been reading, reviewing, and loving during the last week. I read a lot, both on my own and with my two kids, Corbchops (4.5) and The Iza (2.5). I’m excited to hear what you’ve been reading.

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I did not read very much this week. I’m not sure why. January has been really busy, so maybe I’m just a bit tired. Usually, I get a lot of reading done on the weekend, but I spent most of Saturday and all of Sunday at ALA Midwinter in Seattle, hanging out with some authors and meeting #nerdybookclub friends for the first time. So, I guess I have a good excuse.

Here’s what I’ve enjoyed during these last seven days:

Middle Grade:

I finished one middle grade novel and one informational book last week.

  • The Runaway King, by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I loved the sequel to The False Prince. More wit, lies, twists, and bruising. It will be tough waiting for the third book.
  • Frogs, by Nic Bishop. I am in love with Nic Bishop’s animal books. They are informative and accessible and the photos are amazing. Great author’s notes at the end, too.

Picture Books:

I read 7 picture books last week. My favorite was:

Reviewed:

On the TMC Guys Read blog, I reviewed Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow, by Nathan Bransford.

AND

Right now, I’m reading:

I have three huge stacks of ARCs from ALA, which is a new and bewildering experience for me. I don’t know what to do with them! Before I explore them, I will finish The Dead Boys, by Royce Buckingham, and How They Croaked, by Georgia Bragg, which I’m rereading for Guys Read this week.

SO

What are you reading?

It’s Monday, [January 21, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day]! What are you reading?

Every Monday, I send out a #booksaroundtheroom via Twitter, so my students can share what they’re reading with the world. “It’s Monday! What are you Reading?” is a meme co-hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts. Just like #booksaroundtheroom, it is a way to share books you’ve been reading, reviewing, and loving during the last week. I read a lot, both on my own and with my two kids, Corbchops (4.5) and The Iza (2.5). I’m excited to hear what you’ve been reading.

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

I think I’ll be very glad when January is over. The meetings have been non-stop. Though, I am very excited about next weekend, when I’ll be shmoozing in the exhibit hall at ALA Mid-winter. When IMWAYR comes around again, I’ll have met some of the #nerdybookclub members who have been such a huge influence in my teaching and reading life. It’s kind of like a dream. I hope I find Mr. Schu!

Of course, meetings and duties may take up my days, but reading still has a place in my evenings and weekends. Here’s what I’ve enjoyed during these last seven days:

Middle Grade:

I finished one middle grade novel and one informational book last week.

  • Hokey Pokey, by Jerry Spinelli. This book was really strange, but I still liked it. As I got a better sense of what was going on, I liked it more. I’m not sure how much it will appeal to kids.
  • Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers, by Tanya Lee Stone. Maybe I have a bad memory, or maybe I don’t read enough grown-up nonfiction, but I learned a ton from children’s nonfiction this year. I love the meticulous and dedicated research. Tanya Lee Stone’s story was no exception.

Graphic Novels:

I read two graphic novels last week. I love graphic novels.

  • Barefoot Gen, Volume One: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima, by Keiji Nakazawa. I read this because Raina Telgemeier names it as one of her biggest influences. I found the story and perspective interesting, but I had a really hard time with the pervasive domestic violence in the story. Everyone was hitting everyone–kids, parents, neighbors, teachers. It almost got to be too much. I don’t know if it was a reflection of the times, or what.
  • Flight, Vol. 5, edited by Kazu Kibuishi. I’ve been moseying my way through Kazu’s Flight anthologies. They are wonderful collections of short stories, graphic novel-style. It’s been interesting to see a shift in the last two volumes–the stories have moved from a more adult/young adult target audience to a much more young adult/middle grade level. I think Vol. 5 is the first one that I would consider having in my classroom.

Picture Books:

I read 9 picture books last week. My favorite three were:

  • Knuffle Bunny Too and Knuffle Bunny Free, by Mo Willems. We are huge Mo Willems fans in our house, and I was glad to finally read the rest of the Knuffle Bunny trilogy. I totally got choked up reading Knuffle Bunny Free, thinking about my kids and their “Blu-Blues.” Mo Willems is a genius.
  • Hide and Seek Fog, by Alvin Tresselt and Roger Duvoisin. I used this book in class this week to teach about using fresh language in our writing. Then we gave it double duty and used it to practice summarizing. I thought the illustrations were wonderful, though one of my students said, “Mr. S, I think the illustrator made it foggy because they were lazy and didn’t want to draw in the faces.” Heh.

Reviewed:

I didn’t review any books this week, but I will be back with another next week.

AND

Right now, I’m reading:

Well, I’m trying to decide. I think I have to look at some library due dates. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m going to read The Runaway King!

SO

What are you reading?

It’s Monday, [January 14]! What are you reading?

Every Monday, I send out a #booksaroundtheroom via Twitter, so my students can share what they’re reading with the world. “It’s Monday! What are you Reading?” is a meme co-hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts. Just like #booksaroundtheroom, it is a way to share books you’ve been reading, reviewing, and loving during the last week. I read a lot, both on my own and with my two kids, Corbchops (4.5) and The Iza (2.5). I’m excited to hear what you’ve been reading.

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

We are getting back into the swing of things at school, and at home, as well. Our routines have been re-established, our brains have been re-programed, and our sleep schedules have been re-aligned. Mostly.

Actually, it was an extra busy week, with school stuff scheduled before or after school on Monday through Thursday. This week is not much different, with similar stuff going on Monday through Wednesday. But then we have a three-day weekend!

Here’s what I’ve enjoyed during my first full week back at school:

Middle Grade:

I finished one middle grade novel, two novels-in-verse, and two informational books last week.

  • Goblin Secrets, by William Alexander. I think this might be my first steampunk novel. Unless Peter Nimble counts as steampunk.
  • 42 Miles, by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. My school librarian recommended this to me when I shared my poetry #bookgap with her.
  • Diamond Willow, by Helen Frost. I loved the shaped prose poetry and the magical mix in this novel-in-verse.
  • We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, by Cynthia Levinson. I never knew the role children played in the quest for civil rights in Birmingham. This seemed like a perfect book to pair with The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963Glory Be, and The Lions of Little Rock.
  • Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust, by Doreen Rappaport. I read several informational books about World War II this year (BombHitler Youth) and, while very good, most of them were incredibly scary. This one was scary, too, but the hope, courage, and perseverance of its subjects was incredible.

Picture Books:

I read 8 picture books last week. My favorite three were:

  • The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis. I read this to my class while we were working on endings for our narrative stories. We found it very interesting.
  • Spiders, by Nic Bishop. After reading Snakes, Nic Bishop’s Nerdy nominee, I put every single book of his on hold at my public library.
  • Robot Zombie Frankenstein!, by Annette Simon. This book is wild and crazy fun.

Reviewed:

On the TMC Guys Read Blog, I reviewed Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, by Steve Sheinkin.

AND

Right now, I’m reading:

Flight, Vol. 5, edited by Kazu Kibuishi.

SO

What are you reading?

Looking back and looking ahead to World Read Aloud Day

 

litworldwrad13badge

I got an email this morning from Litworld.org, announcing World Read Aloud Day 2013. Then, Colby put up a post sharing how excited he is about WRAD this year. I didn’t have this blog last year, so I’ve never really reflected, in writing, on my WRAD experience. I felt a sudden need to write a post of my own, as I look ahead to March 6, and look back at last year’s WRAD activities.

Last year, I participated in World Read Aloud Day for the first time. It was, without question, my favorite day of the year. Actually, it might have been my favorite day teaching in my ten years in the classroom. By the end of the day I was exhausted, but exhilarated as well.

We scheduled read aloud time with four other classes: A kindergarten, two first grades, and a fourth grade. We read to them, and the only expectation was that they would also read to us. On Skype, we heard from Sarah Prineas and Alan Silberberg, and read with a fifth grade class in California. And, of course, I read aloud to my students, as I do every day.

All these things were fun, and amazing, and valuable experiences, but they weren’t the highlight of the day. Not even close.

As a class, we decided that we would donate each of the books we read to our primary school library. To raise money to purchase the books, we had a little mini-readathon fundraiser in February. I figured we would need about $50 for our four books. We raised $250! Holy moly! What to do with the extra?

A few students mentioned a party, or books for our room. Those sounded fun. But then we thought back to what WRAD is all about: Promoting global literacy. After a bit of searching around, we came to a decision. We would make a donation to the Whatcom Literacy Council, promoting literacy in our own community.

It was amazing how my students took over the project, took ownership of what they were doing, saw the value in it, and embraced it. Just having a day of reading is fun. Just spreading reading love to other students is wonderful. But leaving a positive impact across our community was amazing and unforgettable.

I kind of wonder if my WRAD experience may have peaked in the first year. Everything felt so organic and spontaneous–I feel like things might be too teacher-driven if I “make” my class do the same thing. Of course, if I tell them all about it, I’m sure they would want to do the same. I just hope we can do something similar this year, and that the students can make it their own. Some of my current students were read to by last year’s class. I want them all to feel the joy of reading, sharing, and giving.

 

Please consider participating in World Read Aloud Day on March 6. You don’t have to go crazy, like I did (do). It is enough just taking the time to share the power of words with another human being. You won’t regret it, and you’ll change lives.

It’s Monday, [January 7]! What are you reading?

It’s time for me to get on this tram. Every Monday, I send out a #booksaroundtheroom via Twitter, so my students can share what they’re reading with the world. And I’ve known about the “It’s Monday! What are you reading?” meme for a while. And now, here I go.

Mon Reading Button PB to YA

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme co-hosted by Jen and Kellee at Teach Mentor Texts. Just like #booksaroundtheroom, it is a way to share books you’ve been reading, reviewing, and loving during the last week. I read a lot, both on my own and with my two kids, Corbchops (4.5) and The Iza (2.5). I’m excited to hear what you’ve been reading.

This was my first week back at school after winter #bookaday. Actually, a half-week–we went back on Wednesday. I read 47 books during #bookaday, but significantly less this week. I crammed in a few on Monday and Tuesday, but then school sucked about 20 hours of previously unscheduled time. Of course, I got to spend those 20 hours with my students, so that was nice. Mostly.

Here’s what I’ve enjoyed during this half-#bookaday/half-workaday week:

Middle Grade:

I finished three middle grade novels last week.

  • Demonkeeper, by local Bellingham author Royce Buckingham. I read this because Mr. Buckingham is the featured author at the Young Authors Conference in March, which I will attend along with about 30 4th and 5th grade writers. It seemed a little above middle grade, but monster-lovers would like it.
  • Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow, by Nathan Bransford. This book was ridiculous and hilarious.
  • The Ancient Realm, by Sarah Leith Bahn. This is the debut novel from a friend of my wife’s family. It was the first book I read in 2013.

Picture Books:

I read 8 picture books last week. My favorite three were:

  • Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show, by Michael Buckley and Dan Santat. I won a copy from Mr. Schu! It’s autographed!
  • Not a Box, by Antoinette Portis. I love the simple, effective art in this book.
  • An Orange for Frankie, by Patricia Polacco. The last holiday book we had left to read before returning them all to the public library. A sweet, sweet story.

Reviewed:

On the TMC Guys Read Blog, I reviewed Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, by Mike Jung.

AND

Right now, I’m reading:

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust, by Doreen Rappaport

SO

What are you reading?

My bookest year

What a year. This past year is part of why I felt the need to start this blog. Time to look backward, with my teacher-has-eyes-in-the-back-of-his-head eyes.

I read a lot of books. More than I’ve ever read before. But I also kept track of what I’ve read more than any other year. Using Goodreads, I tracked books I read this year. I don’t count rereads on Goodreads, except for novels. My kids “request” that I read some books again and again, but those aren’t reflected in these totals. Further, next year will be the real challenge. I’ve set my Goodreads goal at 888 books, but this year I’ve entered pretty much all of the books we own. I will have to make significant use of the library in order to meet my goal.

We’ll see.

Here are some numbers for 2012, my bookest year.

857 books

115 Novels (1 of them for grownups)

111 Graphic Novels (all age levels)

472 Picture Books (nearly all of them read to my kids)

2 Pop-up Books

70 Board Books

There was some talk on Twitter over Winter Break about book gaps. Checking out my numbers of read Nerdy nominees helped me identify these pretty quickly. Not that I didn’t know already. But it’s poetry. I like poetry, but I almost never read it. With that in mind, here’s what I’m thinking about for 2013.

Goals for 2013:

888 books

More professional development books

More poetry

An immense thank you to #nerdybookclub, for changing my life this year. Finally (I didn’t even know I was searching), I found colleagues who shared my interests and passions. Having such a wonderful virtual learning community continues to be motivating, inspiring, and validating.

I wrote a review of Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, by Mike Jung, on the TMC Guys Read Blog. Check it out!

TMC Guys Read Book Club

OK, guys. I feel like I’ve been neglecting you. I do so much reading, and I’m lucky enough to be able to interact with authors and read some books before they’re available to the public, and sometimes I have to remind myself to share all that with you. So. Here’s my first review in a while. Hopefully, I’ll start getting these out more often. Shall I put a goal in words? Yes? OK. I aim to do three a month. There, I said it. Now all you have to do is read while you wait.

I read Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities, by Mike Jung a couple of months ago. I was excited to see it in the Scholastic Book Order, in paperback. That makes picking it up so much easier for me, and you! I really had no idea what it was about, but it has a big…

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