YA is the Way to Go at the End of the School Year

Wednesday Wars  Okay for Now        I'll be there Just Call My Name       Red Kayak The journey Back

The fourth nine weeks reading list for our Seventh Graders is a YA Marathon. The students read Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, I’ll be There Holly Goldberg Sloan and Red Kayak by Pricilla Cummings.  Our students, overloaded with standardized tests and infected with Spring Fever devour these three action-packed novels at the time of year when kids and teachers alike are white knuckling it until June.

Inevitably students want to know what happens to each of the protagonists and I have the pleasure of sharing the good news.

Red Kayak has the sequel The Journey Back that follows up on Brady’s friend Digger. It is now available in paperback and eBook. Heartbreak and redemption- kind of.

 Wednesday Wars has the companion novel Okay for Now that picks up the story of a minor character and expands it. It is available in paperback and eBook. Funny stuff!

I’ll be There has a sequel coming out August 5th entitled Just Call My Name. It is available for preorder. Adventure, suspense and romance! Woo Hoo!

The YA Marathon has been a success for everyone. Students get about 700 pages of highly engaging reading under their belts with few complaints. In turn, teachers are rejuvenated by the students’ enthusiasm so late in the school year.  Kind of.:-)



The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

the beginning

Just a few weeks ago, a favorite former student recommended The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider.

“I got you a copy,” he said, reaching in to his backpack as we passed each other headed to homeroom.

 We’d exchanged books throughout his 7th grade year and titles as we passed in the halls this year.  I knew I had to read this book ASAP.

The Beginning of Everything has a strong voice and a great hook.  Well, two hooks that literally will make you gasp out loud.  You’ll love the narrator even when he can’t stand himself and you’ll never see the end coming.  I guarantee it.

High School can be a cruel place when you go from being star of the varsity tennis team to second string on the debate team.  Read about Ezra’s journey and how he bounces back. Kind of.

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything has romance, tragedy and, believe it or not, a generous dose of humor. You’ll love it.


Stying Librarian: Pull up a chair, it’s Saturday book share and bonus author interview: ChinAlive

Bob Jonas’s book ChinAlive reviewed. I’ve got my copy!

The Styling Librarian

Last week I began a new blog theme, “Pull up a chair, it’s a Saturday Book Share, any other book bloggers want to join me?

I decided to feature ChinAlive on this Saturday’s post since it was a book I enjoyed taking my time reading…. Please note, I know this author and received a review copy of this self-published book.
ChinAlive by Bob Jonas– For middle school/high school readers who love an excellent action thriller.

Bob Jonas’s Site: http://vagabondlibrarian.com/?p=328

I like how this book’s preface features a folk tale… and then begins officially with a kidnapping. I appreciate how you have a great glimpse at the life of an expat living in China. Bob Jonas knows how to keep up the pace through a book that has tricky twists and turns introducing his fictional account of three teenage boys who are drawn into a dark yet hopeful organization with a mission…

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (absolutely not) Reviewed by Donalyn Miller

You’ll need a Kleenex to read this Absolutely-not-a-review of the wonderful the One and Only Ivan.

Nerdy Book Club

On two occasions, Colby, Cindy, and I have declined contributors’ offers for book reviews even though we loved the book. We did not review Linda Urban’s Hound Dog True—the book that launched the idea for Nerdy Book Club—until almost a year after the blog began. And in spite of constant mention in tweets and Nerdy Book Club blog posts and book lists, we have never posted a review of The One and Only Ivan.

Are you surprised? I can wait while you google it. You won’t find one, but go ahead.

Although we championed Ivan from the very start, we turned down over twenty requests to review the book. When The One and Only Ivan won the 2013 Newbery Medal earlier this year, we stopped getting review queries. The Nerdy Book Club was such a vocal supporter of Katherine and Ivan’s story that most contributors assumed we had…

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New Classroom Rules

This blog post on classroom rules really gives me the giggles.

Little Miss Perfect

1. Enter the room and socialize at your leisure. The daily “warm-up” is just a suggestion that is not in any way intended to promote the acquisition of grammar skills over necessary social interactions.

2. Every time you enter the room, please be sure to ask me if we’re watching a movie. I may have neglected to plan a movie, and will quickly be reminded that a feature-length film, however loosely connected to the curriculum, will be both more entertaining and more instructive than whatever lesson I had originally planned.

3. Sit wherever you want. If you feel like sitting. Standing up is good, too, or sitting on top of the chair and rocking in it. It’s important for those of you who are kinesthetic learners to feel comfortable.

4. Please don’t put your name on any papers that you turn in, especially on multiple choice quizzes. I enjoy challenging…

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Top Ten Middle Grade Audio Books to Make the Long Car Ride Bearable for Everyone by Kathy Cowie

My kids love audiobooks in the car. Here are some great suggestions….

Nerdy Book Club

During the summer, my family spends a lot of time in the car. We have portable TVs for trips over six hours, but for everything else, we have audiobooks. We have downloaded some, but most we borrow from our local library. They have a large selection, and you can rent an individual device if you can’t agree on a book.

In the beginning, my husband and I imagined we were great parents — doing something just for the kids. But we found out quickly that the stories were fun for everyone. Some lasted over a couple of weekend trips, so we sometimes had to tell Grandma or other random guests, “Sorry, we’re in the middle of the story, here’s what you missed.”

If you are worried about the “reading” value for your children, a Forbes magazine article “Is Listening to Audio Books Really the Same as Reading?” referenced several studies…

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