Tag Archives: historical fiction

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR List

20 Mar

I chose to focus just on middle grade titles, because if I looked at everything being published this spring, I’d get a little stressed out! It’s enough just thinking about middle grade titles. If you want to know when titles are coming out you can easily check Amazon or GoodReads, but my favorite resources are Mr. Schu’s Book Release Calendar and the MG Book Village Book Release Calendar. Both of these sources list books and what day they’re coming out (which is always a Tuesday), so that way you won’t miss these hot new titles!

spring tbr 2018

  1. The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson (March 27, 2018)
  2. Rebound by Kwame Alexander (April 2, 2018)
  3. Sunny by Jason Reynolds (April 10, 2018)
  4. You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly (April 10, 2018)
  5. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (April 17,2018)
  6. Running Through Sprinklers by Michelle Kim (April 17, 2018)
  7. Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol (April 24, 2018)
  8. Power Forward by Hena Khan (May 8, 2018)
  9. Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (May 8, 2018)
  10. Front Desk by Kelly Yang (May 29. 2018)

Bringing Middle Grade Books Into Every Classroom

28 Feb

mg books.pngA few weeks ago, I got the distinct pleasure of presenting to future teachers at St. Joseph’s University outside of Philadelphia. The young lady who invited me to speak is a junior at St. Joe’s this year and we just realized that I’ve known her for ten years already! She was in my middle school program at the library where I work when I first moved to the area.

Before Christmas she asked if I’d be willing to come to the school and speak for an “after-hours” event for the education department and I quickly jumped at the chance to talk about middle grade books with future educators! We came up with a quick outline of what she was looking for and I spent a month or so creating a slide show mainly of books to book talk to the group, but also some valuable information as to why literature is so important in every classroom, not just in English.

I book talked new titles, specifically because I know that these kids are familiar with the classics you’ll find on most syllabi in the middle grade classroom, what I figured was that they’d be unfamiliar with amazing new titles by authors that I gush about all the time and I was right! During the hour I presented, I book talked ten middle grade fiction titles that I felt could work not only in an English classroom, but that also had connections to science, math, technology, social studies, history and more. I also talked about five nonfiction titles that are easily accessible to elementary and middle grade students, showing them how much more exciting nonfiction is these days. I ended with talking about the importance of reading picture books (every day if possible) and highlighted just a couple that I love and felt would work well with a middle grade audience.

I had a really enjoyable time and was excited to see over 25 people in the audience on a Tuesday evening! Plus, the students had some great questions about how to use graphic novels and audiobooks in the classroom, which I was excited to answer.

If you’re interested in seeing what titles I talked about or would like to see the format of my presentation, I’ve included the links to both the slides as well as the handout that I printed for the students.

Bringing Books Into Every Classroom (Google slides in .pdf format)

Bringing Books Into Every Classroom (handout)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Could Re-read Forever

27 Feb

When I was a kid, I was a big re-reader – I loved The Babysitter’s ClubThe American Girl books and a ton of other titles that I checked out probably more times than anyone else at the library. As an adult, I’m trying so hard to stay up-to-date with new titles, that I often don’t take time to re-read a title again. But, these are some of the tried and true titles that ended up on my personal bookshelf (meaning they must be good!).

Books I Could Re-read Forever.png

  1. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
  2. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
  3. Where the Mountain Meets the Moonby Grace Lin
  4. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  6. Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  8. Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
  9. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  10. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl.

#blogbookaday: Flowers for Sarajevo

5 Feb

32898524.jpgSummary:  “The moving story of a young boy who discovers the power of beauty and kindness during a time of war. Drasko helps his father sell flowers in Sarajevo, but when war threatens and his father is called to the battlefront, Drasko must take over the flower stall. One morning the boys familiar routine is shattered when a mortar shell hits the bakery, killing twenty-two people. The next day, a cellist from the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra goes to the crater and plays the most beautiful music that Drasko can imagine. Inspired, he looks for ways to ease the sorrow of those around him. ” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: This is a beautiful story of kindness in the face of constant danger. This would be a great story to share with elementary school age children about how small acts of kindness can truly change your community, even in the worst of times. I really liked that the stress was put on how different the residents of Sarajevo were and yet could still come together in the same market to buy and sell their wares. In today’s world where differences are being noticed, but not in the best way – this book is an important one to share.

Personal Reaction: I found this story, touching and moving and a great reminder of how even the most basic things can improve your community in the most trying times. I found the back matter to this story most interesting as it’s based on a true story about a cellist who played in Sarajevo for 22 days after a mortar shell explosion and the author wrote a song titled, “The Streets of Sarajevo” and was able to get the cellist to play the music for the song. If you get a chance to borrow this story from the library or purchase it, make sure you get the accompanying CD.

Title: Flowers for Sarajevo
Author: John McCutcheon
Illustrator: Kristy Caldwell
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Publication Date: April 1, 2017

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About

23 Jan

This theme is so perfect for me because I can never remember what books are about – I barely remember titles and authors, but I can usually remember covers and remember if I read it, as for details – once I finish a title, those details leave my brain to make room for new books. This is the worst when you read the first book in a series only to realize that the rest of the series hasn’t been published yet. I rarely read sequels because I’ve forgotten so much of the first book, I’d have to re-read book one and then read book two and I don’t usually have that much extra time!

can't remember

  1. Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
  2. One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams
  3. Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
  4. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  5. The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
  6. The Iron Trial by Holly Black
  7. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
  8. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
  9. The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White
  10. Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

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