I feel like crunch time begins - August is here! Three weeks left until school, yikes! Get that reading in :)
Last Week's Posts Last week I wrote about Jess Keating's Ana series. If you missed it, read it here.
Need some new poetry books? Read about some great ones here.
Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram
Rufus decides to set up a story stand. For a small trade, Rufus will write you a story. Readers will take away a lesson about being a writer - think about your audience, what kind of story do they want? What type of writing will you use? Write about what you know!
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
Great book to use with theme/central message. I really liked the Little Gardener and how hard he works, and what he worked for. The illustrations are gorgeous, beautiful earthy palette was used. I also liked that the prized flower in the book was the zinnia, which was an unusual and different choice.
Wild Ideas by Elin Kelsey
I absolutely loved this book. You can use it in so many ways.
If taken literally, study it to learn about animal adaptations. Animals have had to be very clever with solutions to their problems. In poetic verse, Kelsey spotlights some of these adaptations.
I loved the theme behind the book of creatively solving your problems.
I think there is much to talk about with this book - what it can teach us, writing mentor text. Highly recommend this book for your classroom or library!
Your Alien by Tammi Sauer
Such a sweet story, perfect for the younger grades!
Check out my full recommendation and some teaching ideas here.
The Skunk by Mac Barnett
This one was tricky for me. I will review it on Thursday. Come back and check it out!
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
I remember when Mr. Schu did a cover reveal of this book a long time ago and this was one where the cover grabbed me. I've always been intrigued with ghost stories - they either are too creepy for me to read or they pull me right in. This one was different. It really was a ghost story of the in-between. The main character, Pram, can go in between worlds, but the story doesn't take place there. It's here and there, but mostly it's a story of the living. The main action of the story doesn't take place until the story is about half way over. That's when I was more interested and the story started to grab me. I liked the interactions between Pram and her ghostly friends. The introduction of Clarence, Pram's first human story, was touching.
When I think about ghost stories, my mind goes to The Night Gardener. It too, took a little bit to set up, but I think it got to the action faster. And when it did, I had a hard time putting it down.
I'm interested in seeing the reactions of kids after reading this book. I wonder if they'll be able to get through the beginning of the story, where so much is being set up, to get to the more gripping part.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
Definitely a different type of novel for Mr. Sachar, which goes to show you his talent.
This story reminded me a lot of Gordon Korman's Masterminds. It's a book that has non-stop action and suspense.
Fuzzy Mud also has a bit of science in it as there are chapters that detail a "testimony" from a United States Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment hearing. In it, we learn more about "Biolene", a single-celled living creature that can be used in automobiles. However, as we learn, something has gone wrong.
Fuzzy Mud focuses on three main characters - Tamaya, Chad and Marshall. All three are involved in an unfortunate bullying situation that leaves them fighting for their lives due to a bio-hazard mistake.
Middle grade themes of bullying, knowing when is the right time to tell the truth, and doing the right thing are woven throughout the story, with parallels to the science story line - maybe the adults need to learn some of these lessons too...
Be sure to include this book in your classroom or library this fall! Fuzzy Mud celebrates its book birthday tomorrow, August 4th!
Zack Delacruz Me and My Big Mouth by Jeff Anderson
I think this is a good first start to a promising series. Read my full recommendation tomorrow!
Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko
Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith
What is the one book you want to read before school starts? I still have many!