#IMWAYR November 16, 2015

Hello it's #IMWAYR time again! Check in with Jen at Mentor Text and Kellee and Rickie from Unleasing Readers to find links to bloggers who will introduce you to new books to read. 

Book Club News
I'm a bit overwhelmed by the number of students who want to join book club. We are now at 60 members (grades 2 to 7) with more students planning on joining this coming week. I just can't manage all of them! To start, I'm sure I don't have enough books. How I am going to organize them is another challenge. I have two other teachers offering to help out, but I don't want to lose the quality of last year's group (we ended up with around 30 students) I loved the mentoring that took place with older students supporting younger ones and modeling what powerful conversations about books looks like. On the other hand, my grade 7's have asked for some time separate from the rest to have conversations about books that are not appropriate for the younger readers. If I am honest, I have to admit that I am having a hard time contemplating missing out on the lovely discussions and enthusiasm for reading that this club generates by splitting the group up and having other teachers lead part of it. Sigh...

On Monday at lunch I hope to meet with book club members to see what the students want to do about this mob of readers. 

PICTURE BOOKS


4 stars
Maple and Willow by Lori Nichols

I love the authenticity of Lori Nichols picture books. I've got two sisters and a couple of brothers. This book reminded me of my life with them. I love that these two girls are close, but they also squabble. Now I have to get a copy of Maple and Willow Apart


5 stars


I Love Slop by Mo Willems

It's Mo Willems. It's Elephant and Piggie. I'm not sure a person needs to say much more than this. However, some of what I liked most about this book are the illustrations where Piggie and Elephant try the slop. I adore how colorful they become as a result of tasting it. I also love that even though Elephant wants nothing to do with slop (he really reminds me of my partner who is a VERY fussy eater) he still tries it because he really likes Piggie.

To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful by Shane Koyczan

5 stars
Just about everyone has seen Shane Koyczan's video except me. 
I'm so thankful that this book is one of our book club books for older readers, or I might never have watched it. 
Wow! I am gobsmacked by the beauty of the poetry and the illustrations. 
I appreciate the forward in this book where he talks about how writing saved him. This line just pummelled me. 
"Remember that the world will never hear you if you choose to say nothing."

And then there is the poem itself with each page illustrated by a different artist. These lines had me in tears.  

"and if a kid breaks in a school and no one around chooses to hear do they make a sound?
are they just the background noise of a soundtrack stuck on repeat when people say things like
kids can be cruel?"

I also appreciated the end section that talks about how this book came to be. The words in the talk bubbles are powerful comments from listeners reflecting on how bullying, either as a victim or perpetrator, affected them.
  





INFORMATION BOOKS


4 stars
Where Do Babies Come From?: Our First Talk about Birth by Jillian Roberts & Cindy Revell

I'm happy this is also one of our book club books. 
This simple book introduces young children to how babies are created. I liked that the images are straight forward and multicultural, showing many different kinds of families.
There is minimal text on the pages. I also liked how questions flowed from previous statements.
For example,
A baby comes from the mother's womb, which is just below the stomach. It provides a safe place for the baby to grow.
is followed by,
How does the baby start growing in the first place?

NOVELS


4 stars
Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #1) by Patricia C. Wrede

I enjoyed this fantasy of a young princess, Cimorene, who doesn't fit the usual princess stereotype. When her parents decide to marry her off to a prince, she chooses instead to run away. Cimorene then ends up volunteering to be a dragon's princess. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean her troubles are over. She is plagued with enthusiastic princes who think she needs to be rescued and nefarious wizards who are up to no good. 
While I enjoyed this book, I have to acknowledge, that while Cimorene gives up her stereotypical girly life as a princess, she does end up trading it in for a glorified life of looking after someone (ok so it's a dragon, but it is still a pretty traditional role for a woman)


Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers

3 stars
One day, while Ruth Quayle is looking at the internet expecting to see images of herself, she discovers she has an identical twin. She manages to discover this person's name and email address. As the story progresses we learn how it was that these two were separated at birth, and if they can forgive those individuals responsible for it. 
This story is told in emails back and forth between the two girls and between the two girls and their friends and family. 
I wanted to like this more than I did, because I adored The Encyclopedia Of Me, where Ruth Quayle was first introduced. However, I ended up agreeing with Carrie Gelson's daughter, it was ok, but not as compelling as Tink Aaron-Martin's story was. 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews


4 stars
I just finished listening to this book Sunday afternoon while doing work around the house. I'm impressed as heck by this debut novel. I've never been so compelled to continue a story with a character who I'm not sure I care about. It just kept growing on me. For those of you who don't know about this book, it's the story of Greg Gaines, a student in his final year of highschool who is coerced, by his mother, into spending time with Rachel, a girl hasn't had anything to do with since Hebrew school back when they were 12. Rachel has cancer and is dying. 
If you are a fan of dark humour (as am I) you will probably appreciate this book. I laughed out loud many times. I cried near the end. I'm certain Greg would have been disgusted by this confession. 

CURRENTLY

I've just started listening to Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham. I left some book club books on my desk at school, but thankfully, found some ebooks at our local library I could download. I'm just starting The Cat at the Wall by Deborah Ellis. 

UP NEXT

I sure wish these book club books were available as audiobooks from our public library, but alas, they are not. I may or may not get to Mr Penumbra's 24 hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan as it just became available. Other than that, I will probably read don't even think about it by Sarah Mlynowski, another book club book I downloaded.

26 comments:

  1. Having so many students interested in book clubs sounds like a logistical problem, but also sounds like a good problem to have, too! I'm wondering how I could get some book clubs started at my school. I love Mo Willems book - so funny! To This Day sounds powerful.

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    1. I agree that we could have worse problems! It says much about the culture of reading in our school I think. It will be very hard when the last Elephant and Piggie are finished!

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  2. Wow-60 students wanting to do your book club is amazing. Even in my own classes it was hard when most chose to do one book instead of spreading it out. Good luck with that. and thanks for all the reviews, but especially To This Day which is new to me.

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    1. You are welcome Linda. To This Day is a powerful read.

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  3. Quite a few new to me book here! Ruby Starling looks fun.
    Loved the ending of this Elephant and Piggie.
    What a celebration for you - you've obviously done a wonderful job with your book club in the past to see it grow like that! Revel in that as you figure out the management part :)

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    1. Ruby Starling is fun! I think I might read more of Karen Rivers work when I have more time on my hands!

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  4. Interesting observation about Princess Cimorene. I really enjoyed the 1st Theodore Boone because it reminded me of Encyclopedia Brown but edgier.

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    1. I read the second Theodore Boone before this one. I agree with your opinion of it.

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  5. Cimorene ends up saving the kingdom, although she does have a prince with whom to work. It's been a long time since I read the series-- my daughter (who's 22) was given a paperback set in 6th grade! It still circulates well.

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    1. I suspected that might be where the story might go, but it is a relief to know this. I'll continue with the audiobooks then.

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  6. So excited to read I Really Like Slop this week. My son has promised to read it with me. He may be 13, but he still likes Elephant & Piggie! I really liked Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. The movie version is also quite good. It's so exciting to have so many students interested in a book group, but wow, that's a lot to manage!

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    1. Even the grade sevens at our school sneak in to read Elephant and Piggie! I think I might try the movie to see how it translates.

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  7. I laughed harder at Me and Earl than at any other book I've ever read (and I concur with Elizabeth, the movie is very enjoyable one of the better adaptions of a YA novel, I thought). The Maple and WIllow books are so sweet. I've really enjoyed reading them.

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    1. I know - I laughed and laughed, but Greg isn't really a very appealing character so I just can't figure out why I like him so much.

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  8. Nice assortment of books. I enjoyed the whole Dealing with Dragons series but haven't read them for years. I am also a huge fan of Elephant and Piggie and am sad that there will be no more books about them. Check out my week here. Happy reading!

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    1. I agree - it will be a very sad time when the last book comes out next spring.

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  9. I just finished Mr. Penumbra on audio (a friend let me borrow it). The reader is incredible. He may be my favorite audio reader that I've heard. It is a puzzle book (and I am not into puzzle books), and I found it to be quite engaging. I liked the first half the best, but the whole story was interesting and thought-provoking.

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    1. I can't decide if I should read your review before or after I read the book! Your comments here make me more eager to get to it though.

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  10. Congratulations! - 60 students in book clubs is unbelievable. It is so exciting to hear that so many students want to read and talk about books. Please let us know how you decide to manage all of it. We would love to learn more from your experience.

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    1. Thanks Tammy and Clare. At our meeting today we decided to split the group up into an older group and a younger group. Then once a month the whole group will meet and once a week the grade sevens will meet. I'm going to be book clubbed out if I don't let go of something.

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  11. I love To This Day - such a powerful illustrated book - I often us it with my higher-degree students and discuss how they can use it with their own students.
    You should write something about how you organize your book clubs! I am sure a lot of teachers would be keen to know how you do it - it sounds hugely successful indeed with 60 hopeful members! :)

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    1. Thanks Myra, I will think about it. Every year it changes somewhat. I think the key is cookies and lunch in the library as well as the opportunity to have conversations about books. Some of the kids get really excited about their blogs, but others want nothing to do with them.

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  12. This is when I so wished we worked together. I envision us hosting a myriad of book clubs in the library at the same time and floating amongst the groups. There is also chocolate in this vision.

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    1. oh Carrie - YES! How I wish this could happen. We indulge in Dad's cookies with chocolate chips in them in real life.

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  13. Congratulations about the book club!!
    I can completely understand what you said about EARL. I felt the same way :)
    Happy reading this week!

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    1. You too Kelle. Isn't that EARL some read!

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