Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hello April; Meet my March reads...

I had a great reading month because of Spring Break.  Think of what I could get read if every month had a week's vacation nestled right in the middle. Let me plan the school calendar for next year!

1. A place at the table by Susan Rebecca White (2013):  Interesting story that involves a unique cafe and 3 very separate characters who come together.  Some of it I liked (Bobby story made an impact with me) and some of it did not fit or felt forced.  Three stars on Goodreads.  Read for reading retreat

2. Dramarama by E. Lockhart (2007):Two outspoken Ohio teenagers bond at school and then head to summer drama camp at a nearby college.  They both have very different experiences while away from home and mixing with other campers.  I liked what this book had to say to young adults; it's okay to be out there, be you no matter what. Four stars on Goodreads.  Read for reading retreat.

3. Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner (2014):  Interesting story about grief as Circa and her mom learn to live without her dad, the glue that was holding the whole family together.  Circa's mom suffers from depression and isn't good in some social situations.  They are religious and have help in their church family + a neighborhood family steps up to really help out.  In the middle of their grief a young boy shows up and needs Circa's help as well.  Three stars on Goodreads.  Read with Groovy Girl.

4. Prodigy by Marie Lu (2013):  The second in the exciting series with Day, the rebel, and June, the once elite turned rebel, escape to the Rebels and then escape again away from the Rebels.  The twists and turns in this one were surprising and I liked hearing more about the collapse of the U.S.  Waiting to read Champions now.  Four stars on Goodreads.  I read this with my 6th grade book club at school and wanted to do something interactive socially with them. I included Lu in a tweet asking if we could visit with her via twitter or any other social media just to talk and ask a couple of questions. She never answered and my young readers are a little disappointed.  If anyone knows how to get this accomplished please let me know.

5. A hundred pieces of me by Lucy Dillon (2014): This is the one that I read all the way to Arkansas, through the afternoon bluegrass fest, and then on to Greers Ferry.  It was a great story and has all of us comtemplating what brings us joy.  What 100 pieces of your life do you hold dear?  Five stars, reading retreat.

6. If you find this by Matthew Baker (March, 2015): I received this in the mail right before we left for our trip and I, of course, stuffed in my already stuffed book bag.  I'm glad I did as I started this on the reading retreat.  The cover pulled me in and A. and V. were interested in the title for their boy's book club.  I preread it for them and for any of you with an adventursome child looking for a good book.  I'm going to write a proper review for it soon because someone at Little, Brown kindly sent the book my way.  It's totally worth it.  Five stars, gift from publisher

7. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson (2012):  This one has been haunting me for a few months.  I wrote a blog post about this book, you can read it here, and the road trip back from Little Rock gave me the perfect opportunity to finish it. I wasn't disappointed in this fantasy adventure and I plan to read the second one soon.  Four stars, for me

8.  El Deafo by Cece Bell (2014): I've read only a handful of graphic novels and this one was excellent.  Cece's life journey was tough and she is able to make light of in the pages of this book. I imagine it was cathartic thinking about her early years with this big box and ear plugs to help her hear.  Every child wants to fit in and have friends as part of life-Cece does a great job of bringing this message home.  I'm so happy to have read this.  It was an honorable mention for Newberry but it's truly V's daughter's recommendation that made me pull it from our book cart of new books and read it.  Extra bonus: I chatted with a few students about how much I liked it and it's been in constant rotation.  Five start, for me.

9. The Ghosts of Graylock by Dan Poblocki (2012): Up for Iowa Children's Choice Awards we showed a Prezi of all the nominees and this clip was pretty creepy.  I had to read the book to see for myself just how scary it was.  Don't read it right before bedtime is my suggestion.  I thought it had great connections.  The brother and sister work together to solve the problems they are having thanks to a visit to Graylock, the local closed down asylum.  I liked Poblocki's writing style and will look for more from him.  Now I know what to recommend to that rotating group of kids who ask the question "where are the scary books?"  Four stars, for investigative purposes.

10. Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur (2011): Also an Iowa Children's Choice nominee and the perfect book to clear my mind of swamps and ghosts.  Elise is struggling with the leap into middle school as well as the family she misses.  She's not interested in doing homework and there's a bully at school making her miserable.  She just wants to fit in and her old friend Franklin makes her feel more like a baby than a middle schooler.  This was a well-told tale with many layers.  Four stars, for school.

How much reading were you able to accomplish in March?

Our weather is cheering me up and the garden is calling my name so April might not be as readable as March was.  I've already started several good ones though and I got a package again from Little, Brown...treasures await!

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