Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What I'm Loving RIGHT now

Three books I recently read that I 💗 right now.  Highly recommend for TBR, to share and/or to read over and over again:

Over the weekend I finished Front Desk by Kelly Yang.  I really didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.  Did you catch my very succinct tweet review on the book?  “Mia is MY HERO.” After immigrating from China to California, Mia’s family discovers the reality that living in America may not be the land of wonderfulness that they had dreamed about. "We're immigrants.  Our lives are never fair." Our heroine cannot accept that fate and perseveres in all areas of her life to make life fair--the motel she and her parents live and work at, school and her friendships.  The ending is as satisfying as diving into a crystal clear pool in the middle of July and then coming out and sharing pizza with good friends.

A couple of weeks ago I read a book that also takes place in Southern California, Operation Frog Effect by Sarah Scheerger.  I'm sorry to say that you will have to wait until February to read it but it will be well worth it. Mark your calendar now for a trip to your favorite indie book store and extra time to read.  Then take out your plan book because this is one you are going to want to share with your students.  Did you love Because of Mr. Terupt?  What about Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary School?   It's almost like Operation Frog Effect completes the trilogy (with Mrs. Bixby's Last Day as an add on). Diverse fifth graders each sharing their own point of view.  There's even a poet and screenwriter.  A classroom teacher we love who pushes the envelope. Kids standing up for what they believe in. But don't think that this has been done before.  Buyea gives his fifth graders one voice.  Shovan's book in verse has another and Scheerger's a third.  Like three kids from the same family.  Similar features but very different.  "The world feels too dark for my candle to make much of a difference." Yet, these ten year old superheroes, with Kermit by their side, figure out how to get their voices heard. With the simple power of the pen, inspired by Harold's purple crayon, you will be rooting for them all till the end. This book is "frogtastic", "frogerful" and "frog-alicious." One good thing about having to wait till February? Gives you enough time to collect journals for all your students.

Of course, I loved finding this in the book!

I really cannot get enough of The Day You Begin written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez.  I can't count how many classes I have read it to but yesterday was the ultimate feel good experience.  All 80 of our third graders joined me in the Common Area outside of the library.  Each had a clipboard, a pencil and paper folded in quarters.  Their task was to listen to the book once without seeing the illustrations and draw what they heard. Everyone was silent.  Then we read through it a second time and compared our illustrations with those of Rafael's.  I was nervous they might get restless hearing it again.  But like me, it appeared they could read it over and over. Their understanding of the theme went way beyond what I would have imagined, especially since we were discussing it in such a large group. It was for sure a #daymaker and #weekmaker.  Could this be another Caldecott-Newbery sticker year?  I wouldn't mind.

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