The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: Recovery from Divergent and Hunger Games (or being a balanced reader)

In the evening on last day of school, one of my just graduated fifth graders wrote me an email (I gave students my “Moo” cards which have this blog page, my email and twitter account) and she asked this:

Mrs. Alvarez,

I need some good books for the summer and I would like to get away from dark stuff. I’m reading Dead End in Norvelt right now and I’m enjoying it. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks, —name protected

Here was my response to my reader who I already knew read the Hunger Games series, Insurgent and Divergent… Don’t get me wrong, I love those books! I’m all about being a balanced reader though, not just reading one specific genre all the time.  I have discussions throughout the year with all my students about selecting books from a variety of areas of the library- from grabbing a magazine to enjoying a new poetry book to picking up a graphic novel to enjoying a few picture books to picking a new non-fiction topic to learn more about– beyond just THE SERIES they are reading at the time or THE NOVEL they are reading for their class book report…

Hi –name protected,
I agree, I have to balance out reading- dark and light books… otherwise, I have a hard time picking up the book to read. Sometimes I get into a little reading rut until I realize I haven’t been a balanced reader… I’m presently reading a realistic fiction that I’m LOVING: Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea… I love the friendship issues, humor of a new teacher dealing with different students, and voices of seven kids.

Well, first off, I wasn’t kidding during our class time together, I think EVERYONE SHOULD READ: Wonder by R.J. Palacio and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate – they are fantastic and fabulous and I know you will really enjoy them…

Books that are fun and a little lighter than what you’ve been reading lately:

I loved Dead End in Norvelt– read other fabulous books by Jack Gantos as well!

Sprinkles and Secrets by Lisa Schroeder – loved this story, sequel to It’s Raining Cupcakes

How about Grace Lin!?! Can’t go wrong with her fabulous books… Dumpling Days was terrific with her own story of heading as a child back to Taiwan- warning- this book made me drool a little with the food descriptions!

You might love reading Patricia MacLachlan’s books- I loved Waiting for the Magic– about some animals who help a family recover from a big change…

The Lemonade War, The Lemonade Crime and The Bell Bandit by Jacqueline Davies – fabulous fun series!

The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine – I loved this book about a whole community meeting together.

Small Acts of Amazing Courage by Gloria Whelan – cool story about a girl living in India and jumping into huge responsibility of adopting a baby…

Sparrow Road by Sheila O’Connor – celebration of poetry and art- sometimes sad but awesome realistic fiction

Go back to The Mother Daughter Book Club!! I loved Home for the Holidays– Heather Vogel Frederick’s newest in the series. Pretty fun fantastic one!

I mentioned to you before about how brilliant Christopher Paul Curtis is with Historical Fiction- I loved The Mighty Miss Malone, that’s his newest book that is a partner book to Bud, Not Buddy and made me laugh… and cry too.


When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica S. Perl- we talked about this one in class – about the girl who really wants a dog and takes her grandfather’s advice to pull around a orange juice container as her practice dog…


I laughed my way through Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger – be ready for a crazy hilarious book about a friend’s magical device that almost helps him take over the world.

I also just read a really terrific book – Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris — it was wonderful. About a girl sticking up for the underdog and changing her life in the process (rescuing an elephant) – Also, I felt like I was thrown into life in Thailand which was really quite cool.

Ok, That’s enough for now… please keep up with me on what you chose/liked (if you want)

Hugs, Mrs. Alvarez

My student’s email response:  I’ll probably read The One and Only Ivan and Wonder and When Life Gives You O. J. But I’ll read most of the books you suggested this summer and probably next year too. Thanks so much!

**I can’t wait to hear from her over the summer about what she thought of these book treasures!  Hip Hooray to the treasures she’s reading first! I didn’t recommend any graphic novels to her, she’s read a bunch already… What would YOU have recommended to my lovely reader?

( I’m not doing my usual book review/summary for each title, I’ve mentioned over half of these books in past posts and am happy to go into detail if there are requests. The only regret I have is not mentioning simply reading everything by the author Laurel Snyder. BUT I KNOW that my student I wrote this letter to actually has read one of Laurel’s books already!)

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads:

Also, feel free to follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

One comment on “Styling Librarian: Recovery from Divergent and Hunger Games (or being a balanced reader)

  1. Pingback: Styling Librarian: Technology Resources Shared for June 2012 « The Styling Librarian

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