In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Ideas for future reading…
Even though my school’s summer break is a few weeks away, I’m at the anticipation stage, looking forward to reading a variety of books. I’m trying to select titles with a balanced approach including a variety of genres and levels. Haven’t decided which extra adult “brain candy” titles I’ll read in addition to the books I have waiting. (Usually I snuggle up with the latest book by Janet Evanovich, Faye Kellerman, or Diane Mott Davidson – love my mysteries! Shall see what is available at my library, that usually guides my decisions!) My main goal is to try to finish reading books that were in my TBR, to be read, pile for way too long. Especially an advanced reader copy of The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay The Pirate by Scott Nash that I received last year at Powells Books before I moved to Hong Kong. I am expecting a few library book orders in the next two weeks before school is done, so I have a feeling that my TBR pile will grow before I walk away for six weeks.
Here are a few books I can’t wait to read:
Book Love – Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers by Penny Kittle – looking forward to learning about this! Goodreads Summary: “”I believe each of my students must craft an individual reading life of challenge, whim, curiosity, and hunger, and I’ve discovered that it is not too late in high school to lead a non-reader to reading. It’s never too late.” -Penny Kittle Penny Kittle wants us to face the hard truths every English teacher fears: too many kids don’t read the assigned texts, and some even manage to slip by without having ever read a single book by the time they graduate. As middle and high school reading declines, college professors lament students’ inability to comprehend and analyze complex texts, while the rest of us wonder: what do we lose as a society when so many of our high school graduates have no interest in reading anything? In Book Love Penny takes student apathy head on, first by recognizing why students don’t read and then showing us that when we give kids books that are right for them, along with time to read and regular response to their thinking, we can create a pathway to satisfying reading that leads to more challenging literature and ultimately, a love of reading. With a clear eye on the reality of today’s classrooms, Penny provides practical strategies and advice on: increasing volume, capacity, and complexity over time creating a balance of independent reading, text study, and novel study helping students deepen their thinking through writing about reading building a classroom library with themes that matter to 21st century kids.
Book Love is a call to arms for putting every single kid, no exceptions allowed, on a personal reading journey. But much more than that, it’s a powerful reminder of why we became English teachers in the first place: our passion for books. Books matter. Stories heal. The right book in the hands of a kid can change a life forever. We can’t wait for anyone else to teach our students a love of books-it’s up to us and the time is now. If not you, who? Book love–pass it on.”
Reading Ladders – Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We’d Like Them to Be by Teri S. Lesesne – I know this is a book for middle school/high school teachers but I look forward to learning with this book. Goodreads Summary: “Many of us are searching continually for that just-right book for each and every one of our students. It is my hope to help you find those books. More importantly, I hope to help you guide students to the next great book and the one after that. That is the purpose of Reading Ladders. Because it is not sufficient to find just one book for each reader. -Teri Lesesne
“I finished the Twilight Series-now what?”
With Reading Ladders, the answer to a question like this can become the first rung on a student’s climb to greater engagement with books, to full independence, and beyond to a lifetime of passionate reading.
“The goal of reading ladders,” writes Teri Lesesne, “is to slowly move students from where they are to where we would like them to be.” With reading ladders you start with the authors, genres, or subjects your readers like then connect them to book after book-each a little more complex or challenging than the last. Teri not only shares ready-to-go ladders, but her suggestions will help you:
select books to create your own reading ladders build a classroom library that supports every student’s needs use reading ladders to bolster content-area knowledge and build independence assess where students are at and how far they’ve climbed.
“If we are about creating lifetime readers and not just readers who can utilize phonological awareness and context clues to bubble in answers on a state test,” writes Teri Lesesne, “then we need to help our students form lasting relationships with books and authors and genres and formats.” Use Reading Ladders, help your students start their climb, and guide them to new heights in reading.”
A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics by Scott Robins and Snow Wildsmith – so many graphic novels to read reviews about! Goodreads Summary: “Filled with beautifully illustrated reviews and a wealth of recommendations, “A Parent’s Guide to the Best Kids’ Comics” lovingly and thoughtfully reveals a world of graphic novels sure to capture the imagination and curiosity of your child.
Children’s literature experts and library professionals Scott Robins and Snow Wildsmith select and review 100 age-appropriate books, and recommend another 750 titles for children from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade in this full-color, first-of-its-kind guide. You’ll also find an educator’s bibliography, website recommendations, and a bounty of resources to make this magical journey informative as well as delightful.”
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – always meant to read this… shall see if I open this summer! Goodreads Summary: “The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.”
A Dance with Dragons, A Feast for Crows, A Storm of Swords, and A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin – shall see about this ambitious selection. I’ve been hesitant to begin these books again because I know I’ll be quite addicted, again! Goodreads Summary: “Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war…”
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe – had my eye on this book for a few years, hoping to squeeze it in! Goodreads Summary: “Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, she can’t refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest–to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge. As the pieces of Deliverance’s harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.”
The Angels Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – I absolutely adored reading The Shadow of the Wind by this author, looking forward to trying this book! Goodreads Summary: ““The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that, when I opened those windows, its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets I could capture on paper and narrate to whomever cared to listen . . .”
In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.
Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed—a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.”
Proust and the Squid – The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Marianne Wolf – curious to see if I have time to read this one, love these kind of books. Goodreads Summary: “The act of reading is a miracle. Every new reader’s brain possesses the extraordinary capacity to rearrange itself beyond its original abilities in order to understand written symbols. But how does the brain learn to read? As world-renowned cognitive neuroscientist and scholar of reading Maryanne Wolf explains in this impassioned book, we taught our brain to read only a few thousand years ago, and in the process changed the intellectual evolution of our species.
Wolf tells us that the brain that examined tiny clay tablets in the cuneiform script of the Sumerians is configured differently from the brain that reads alphabets or of one literate in today’s technology.
There are critical implications to such an evolving brain. Just as writing reduced the need for memory, the proliferation of information and the particular requirements of digital culture may short-circuit some of written language’s unique contributions—with potentially profound consequences for our future.
Turning her attention to the development of the individual reading brain, Wolf draws on her expertise in dyslexia to investigate what happens when the brain finds it difficult to read. Interweaving her vast knowledge of neuroscience, psychology, literature, and linguistics, Wolf takes the reader from the brains of a pre-literate Homer to a literacy-ambivalent Plato, from an infant listening to Goodnight Moon to an expert reader of Proust, and finally to an often misunderstood child with dyslexia whose gifts may be as real as the challenges he or she faces.”
The Happiness Project – or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin – already read this, looking forward to reading it through completely again. Goodreads Summary: “Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.
Rubin didn’t have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn’t.
Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that “treating” yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn’t relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.”
Perfect Spy – The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An by Larry Berman – Enjoyed reading a portion of this book. Shall see if I can complete it. Goodreads Summary: “During the Vietnam War, Time reporter Pham Xuan An befriended everyone who was anyone in Saigon, including American journalists such as David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan, the CIA’s William Colby, and the legendary Colonel Edward Lansdale—not to mention the most influential members of the South Vietnamese government and army. None of them ever guessed that he was also providing strategic intelligence to Hanoi, smuggling invisible ink messages into the jungle inside egg rolls. His early reports were so accurate that General Giap joked, “We are now in the U.S. war room.” For more than twenty years, An lived a dangerous lie—and no one knew it because he was a master of both his jobs.
After the war, An was named a Hero of the People’s Army and was promoted to general—one of only two intelligence officers to ever achieve that rank.
In Perfect Spy, Larry Berman, who An considered his official American biographer, chronicles the extraordinary life of one of the twentieth century’s most fascinating spies. In doing so, he offers a new perspective on a war that continues to haunt us.”
Unlikely Friendships – 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom by Jennifer S. Holland – special animal stories, some terrific videos online that can connect to these books. Goodreads Summary: “Real friendship knows no bounds, and it’s not only humans who need it.Unlikely Friendships tells one story after another of animals who, with nothing else in common, bond in the most unexpected ways and thrive on the warmth, closeness, and trust that come with being true friends.
Imagine a predator cuddling its prey. Or a bird befriending a mammal. Or a fish poking its nose out of the water to nuzzle a dog. Or a massive gorilla – the one named Koko, famous for her ability to communicate in sign language – embracing a tiny kitten…”
Children’s and YA Fiction:
Doll Bones by Holly Black – This book has popped up frequently with pretty fantastic reviews, looking forward to reading it. Goodreads Summary: “Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .”
The Apprentices by Maile Meloy – Can’t wait to begin reading this book! Goodreads Summary: “Two years have passed since Janie Scott last saw Benjamin Burrows, the mysterious apothecary’s defiant son who stole her heart. On the other side of the world, Benjamin and his father are treating the sick and wounded in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam. But Benjamin has also been experimenting with a magical new formula that allows him to communicate with Janie across the globe. When Benjamin discovers that she’s in trouble, he calls on their friend Pip for help. The three friends are thrown into a desperate chase around the world to find one another, while unraveling the mystery of what threatens them all.”
Your Friend in Fashion, Abby Shapiro by Amy Axelrod – This lovely title has been sitting on my shelf for way too long, can’t wait to read! Goodreads Summary: “Deeply affecting and laugh-out-loud funny, this coming-of-age novel captures the temper of the times and introduces readers to an unforgettable young heroine.”
I enjoyed interviewing Amy Axelrod a little while ago and this book was a gift waiting for me when I visited the US in Spring. I have saited way too long!!
The Fire Chronicles by John Stephenson – might listen to this book instead of reading it. Shall see. Goodreads Summary: “After the tumultuous events of last winter, Kate, Michael, and Emma long to continue the hunt for their missing parents. But they themselves are now in great danger, and so the wizard Stanislaus Pym hides the children at the Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans. There, he says, they will be safe. How wrong he is.
The children are soon discovered by their enemies, and a frantic chase sends Kate a hundred years into the past, to a perilous, enchanted New York City. Searching for a way back to her brother and sister, she meets a mysterious boy whose fate is intricately—and dangerously—tied to her own.
Meanwhile, Michael and Emma have set off to find the second of the Books of Beginning. A series of clues leads them into a hidden world where they must brave harsh polar storms, track down an ancient order of warriors, and confront terrible monsters. Will Michael and Emma find the legendary book of fire—and master its powers—before Kate is lost to them forever? ”
Pish Posh by Ellen Potter – it has been a year since I read an Ellen Potter book, that is way too long. Goodreads Summary: “Ultra-snobby Clara Frankofile has everything an eleven-year-old girl could want. She’s fabulously wealthy, she lives alone in a penthouse apartment with its own roller coaster, and all of New York City is afraid of her! Each night at the Pish Posh restaurant, she watches the glittery movie actresses and princesses, and decides who is important enough to stay and who she will kick to the sidewalk in disgrace. But Clara’s world is turned upside down when she discovers that a peculiar mystery is happening in the restaurant, right under her upturned nose.With the help of a whip-smart twelveyear- old jewel thief, Clara embarks on a wildly dangerous mission through the streets of New York to solve a 200-hundred-year-old secret.”
Hazel Green by Odo Hirsch – high recommendation has this book in my sights… Goodreads Summary: “Each year, on Frogg Day, a parade fills the streets and children are not allowed to take part, but it hasn’t always been that way and it certainly doesn’t seem fair to Hazel Green. So she decides to rally the children of the Moody Building to build a float for the parade. But things go awry when she is accused of stealing a recipe from her favorite baker and giving it to his rival. At the same time, the children ban her from participating in the parade because she tried to convince them that their float would topple. But with the help of her friend Yakov, a.k.a. “The Yak,” Hazel proves her innocence and leads the children to glory on Frogg Day. From Odo Hirsch, an internationally best-selling author, and in the spirit of Harriet the Spy and Anastasia Krupnik, comes this spunky, unforgettable, irresistible character: Hazel Green. “Sometimes you really are terrible, Hazel.” Good, thought Hazel Green. Everyone should be terrible sometimes.”
The High-Skies Adventures of Blue Jay The Pirate by Scott Nash – felt guilty for way too long for not reading this yet, shall tackle soon! Goodreads Summary: “Captain Blue Jay, notorious and feared pirate of the skies, has a fondness for collecting treasure, especially eggs. Unfortunately, sometimes his treasure hatches, and this time the hatchling is the strangest one the Grosbeak has ever seen. No sailor is certain whether the chick is a young god or just an oversized bird who needs too much food, but one thing is clear: the winds over Thrushland are shifting, and dramatic changes are in store for all. Whether outwitting a gang of thieving crows, outrunning murderous fishers and weasels, or rallying Briarloch’s beleaguered sparrows, this motley crew must do all they can to stay together and stay alive. And that’s just the tip of the bird’s feather! Offering a bounty of illustrations and a host of memorable characters — from an endearing star-nosed mole to an unlikely little warrior with a vendetta — here is a treasure for anyone who has ever wanted to take to the skies and see where fortune blows.”
Red Thread Sisters by Carol Antoinette Peacock – Selected because of cultural connections, looking forward to reading. Goodreads Summary: “Wen has spent the first eleven years of her life at an orphanage in rural China, and the only person she would call family is her best friend, Shu Ling. When Wen is adopted by an American couple, she struggles to adjust to every part of her new life: having access to all the food and clothes she could want, going to school, being someone’s daughter. But the hardest part of all is knowing that Shu Ling remains back at the orphanage, alone. Wen knows that her best friend deserves a family and a future, too. But finding a home for Shu Ling isn’t easy, and time is running out . . .”
James Potter and the Vault of Destinies by G. Norman Lippert – still enjoying these fan fiction titles. Goodreads Summary: “Follow James and Albus along with the Potter family and friends on their adventures in America.” I keep reading my way through these books, a few wonderful blog readers mentioned that it just doesn’t feel quite right to read fan fiction, but my attitude about this is: If I can jump back into the world of Hogwarts/Harry Potter with decent quality writing and a new storyline, I just cannot turn away from the opportunity!
Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls) by Maggie Stiefvater – excited to have time this summer to read this book, many friends have suggested I read this book through the years. Goodreads Summary: “For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.
Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.”
The Lost Stories by John Flanagan – Had an autographed copy of this book, time to catch up on this series. Goodreads Summary: “Unconfirmed accounts of a group of Araluen warriors – tales of adventure, battle, and triumph over evil – have spread for centuries throughout the known world. Most notable is a clan shrouded in mystery, phantom warriors known as the Rangers.
Two names pass the lips of every storyteller: Halt, and his apprentice, Will. They and their comrades in arms are said to have traveled throughout the kingdom and beyond its borders, protecting those who needed it most. If true, these rumors can be only part of the story…”
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – This audiobook is waiting for the read. Goodreads Summary: “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.
And its snap split the world in two.
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.
Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.
This was not that world.”
How They Croaked – The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg, illustrated by Kevin O’Malley – reading to laugh through this book. Goodreads Summary: “Over the course of history men and women have lived and died. In fact, getting sick and dying can be a big, ugly mess-especially before the modern medical care that we all enjoy today. How They Croaked relays all the gory details of how nineteen world figures gave up the ghost. For example: It is believed that Henry VIII’s remains exploded within his coffin while lying in state.
Doctors “treated” George Washington by draining almost 80 ounces of blood before he finally kicked the bucket.
Right before Beethoven wrote his last notes, doctors drilled a hole in his stomach without any pain medication.
Readers will be interested well past the final curtain, and feel lucky to live in a world with painkillers, X-rays, soap, and 911.”
Why am I posting about this? Because of some inspirational posts a bit ago:
Really enjoyed reading Regie Routman’s post on reading connecting with writing: http://www.regieroutman.org/blog/what-im-reading-may-2013/
Love #bookaday – can’t completely promise that I follow through, but appreciate that when I read three books in one day, I can take my time for a few… My school continues through June 28th, way past when some friends are finished with school… so #bookaday might start for me when school is over!
Librarian By Day: http://librarianbyday.net/books/2013-reading-list/