Wednesday, May 29, 2013

oh boysenberries

Giants Beware by Jorge Aguirre and illustrated by Rafael Rosado is an awesome youth-graphic-novel-comic book.

It may just have one of the best endings ever.

Claudette embarks on a journey to slay a giant. Not just any giant, a baby-feet-eating giant! She takes along her best friend, Marie, and her little brother, Gaston.

I know what you're thinking, "A giant that eats babies' feet! That's awful." I know, but like I said... best ending ever.

This is a book that everyone will love.

Monday, May 27, 2013


My copy of BOMB by Steve Sheinkin is ready for our summer read! Grab a copy from the Library! and join in on the fun. This book does not disappoint.

If you're interested in World War II, be sure to watch one of my favorite authors, John Green, in his Crash Course World History video #38 ... It's possibly the best 13 minutes on World War II you'll ever watch.

Friday, May 24, 2013

more than meets the eye

Do you love the re-telling of fairy tales? Is one of your favorite TV shows Once Upon a Time on ABC? Then... have I got the book for you!
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

From GoodReads:
In a magical kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

"Lighthearted and inventive, Rump amusingly expands a classic tale." —Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Fablehaven.

Perfect for fans of Ella Enchanted or A Tale Dark and Grimm.

I especially liked Red's grandmother. She sees Rump in a way that no one else sees him. That is, she sees his potential, and knows that there is more to him than meets the eye. 

This book would be a great read aloud. It contains so many lessons (bullying, greed, friendship, loss, bad choices) without being preachy and pushy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

summer reads 2013

Read the books you love.

Summer Reading:

Whether or not you are reading along with the book BOMB by Steve Sheinkin this summer, here's a list of awesome books to help you beat the Summer Slide.

Light & Breezy Reads:

Platypus Police Squad by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis
Justin Case by Rachel Vail
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Stick Dog by Tom Watson

Great Reads:

Navigating Early by Claire Vanderpool
Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett
Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey
Rump by Liesl Shurliff
The Center of Everything by Linda Urban
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
Bystander by James Preller
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The Classroom: the epic documentary by Robin Mellom
May B by Caroline Starr Rose
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Dark Lord: The Early Years by Jamie Thomson
Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Kepler's Dream by Juliet Bell
Survivors: The Empty City by Erin Hunter
One For The Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

For a Challenge:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak 
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Every Day by David Levithan
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani


A Drop of Water by Walter Wick
We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson
BOMB by Steve Sheinkin
Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming
Wheels of Change by Sue Macy

A great book to read together with your teen is The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.
“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much." ~The Age of Miracles 

Summer is the perfect time to read the books you love.

Friday, May 17, 2013

let's read!

Reading is a skill like anything else. Students who continue to read continue to grow their skills. 
If not, like during the summer break, skills come to a standstill, or worse... begin to slide.
Evidence suggests three months of learning is lost for the average student who doesn't read during the summer. 
The bad news is that the summer slide is virtually inevitable unless steps are taken to prevent it. The good news is that your child doesn't have to read mountains of books to keep his or her skills sharp. Younger readers (third grade and below) should aim for 15 minutes of reading a day during the summer. Older students should read five or more books during summer vacation to keep from losing ground.
This summer, I have a great idea... 
Let's all read BOMB by Steve Sheinkin. It will help us all beat the Summer Slide and have fun in the process.  

We'll read a few chapters each week, discuss what we read in 'comments', watch a few cool videos (posted on the blog), learn some new vocabulary, and read some related articles on spies, the Manhattan Project, and atomic chemistry.

If you're game for this, enter your email address in the 'Follow by Email' box on this blog... this way you'll know what we're up to and you won't miss a thing. Then, read the Prologue and Part I by June 14th.

Good Luck! And, have a great - slide free - summer.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

to be read

My 'To Be Read' pile is so exciting... where do I begin?

Goblin Secrets by William Alexander is off to a great start.

Excerpt from GoodReads:
In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who has clockwork chicken legs and moves her house around—much like the fairy tale figure of Baba Yaga. Graba takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie’s only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared.

Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan—because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river.

This accessible, atmospheric fantasy takes a gentle look at love, loss, and family while delivering a fast-paced adventure that is sure to satisfy.

New Lands, the second book in The Chronicles of Egg series by Geoff Rodkey, has that highly anticipated "Lemony Snicket meets Pirates of the Caribbean" feel.
Excerpt from GoodReads:
After a narrow escape from Deadweather Island, Egg and his slightly deranged partner Guts head for the remote New Lands. They’re in search of the lost Okalu tribe, who hold the key to the mysterious treasure map that Egg can't decipher. 
But the ruthless Roger Pembroke is hard on Egg's trail, and the New Lands are full of new enemies — against which our heroes only weapons are their brains, their courage...and the two dozen swear words Guts just memorized in the local tongue. 
They're going to need help. 
But who can they trust? 
Is Kira, the beautiful and heavily armed Okalu refugee, their ally…or their enemy? Is Pembroke's daughter Millicent on Egg's side…or her father's? Why on earth is the notorious pirate Burn Healy being so nice to them? And the biggest question of all: what shocking secret is Egg about to discover in the shadow of an ancient Okalu temple?

And finally, Bomb by Steve Sheinkin. Bomb deserves every award and honor it has won. It is everything a good non-fiction book should be... enthralling, insightful, educational, suspenseful, and full of research. Bomb makes history come alive.
Excerpt from GoodReads:
In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.