Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Reading

So, it's the day after Christmas and I'm already bored.  I was going to tackle taking down the Christmas decorations, but I thought that I maybe should wait a little longer than a day.  I wouldn't want people thinking that I'm a Scrooge!  (Allusion...)

I finished reading Keeper of the Night on Christmas Eve.  It is by Kimberly Willis Holt who also wrote When Zachary Beaver Came to Town which I liked.  I have to admit that I select books based upon the cover and/or the author.  I do read the back, but I tend to also put a lot of value on the quotes about the book made by other authors.  When I'm shopping for books on Amazon, I put a lot of value on the reviews.  (Amazon update...I have only purchased books from Amazon twice over break!)

Keeper of the Night is set in Guam.  While the acknowledgements at the beginning make reference to the people of Guam, I would have liked to have more background knowledge about the setting before diving into the book.  The story is told from Isabel's perspective and it revolves around how she copes with her mother's suicide.  Not a lot of action, but enough to keep my interest and want to keep reading.  I really enjoyed the author interview at the end of the book.  Would I recommend this book to my class?  Probably not to most of them. 

I'm currently reading The Watch That Ends The Night.  It is a book told in verse about the Titanic.  Each poem rotates from over 20 different characters' point of view.  Confusing?  Pretty much, but you begin to know the characters rather quickly.  I love reading anything about the Titanic, so I'm semi-interested.  There are only a few characters that I'm interested in following including Molly Brown.  There are some "facts" that I have googled to find out their validity.   The author, Allan Wolf, had to do an incredible amount of research for this novel.  Would I recommend this book to my class?  If somone is a Titanic freak, they would enjoy it.  I think that most would find it cumbersome and give up. 

I'm also working on a poetry unit to start the new year.  I have not ever done a poetry unit with 7th grade, so it is something completely new.  My goal is to make the unit interactive and fun while still covering some of the classics.  I have to admit that I do not know a large number of the "classics", so I am learning too!

If you are a student of mine and reading this, post a comment to my blog.  Extra credit for the third nine weeks will be yours!!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Stargirl/Outsider Feedback

We're finished reading The Outsiders and Stargirl, our first novels of the year.  While each book is different, there were many similarities.  Each book deals with teenagers who learn who they can count on in life.  Their answers to the question, "Whom can you count on?" were different though.  There were also literary similarities also.  Both books were written from first person point-of-view.  Both books also were written without chapter titles.  Important?  I'm not sure, but something that I noticed.  I want to know what you thought about the book that you read and the activities that we did in class with the books.  What was your opinion about the book?  Based on what you know of the other book, would you have rather read the other book?  What was your favorite part in the book that you did read?  Were your classroom discussions about the book helpful to your understanding of the book?  Let me know your answers to some of these questions.  Add anything else that you'd like to share.  If possible, comment about a classmate's thoughts.  Remember to add your name at the end of the post, so that you receive credit for the post.  Thanks for your input!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Assignment #1

Get ready for your first official blogging assignment for the year!  (I'm sure that some of you are just so excited that you can't contain your enthusiasm!) 

Read through my summer readings posts.  Which book that I read over the summer would you most enjoy reading?  Write which book and explain why you would be interested in reading this book.  Remember to post your name so that you receive credit for the assignment.  If you are unable to post, you may turn in a hard copy of this assignment. 

Have fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Welcome Back to School!

Welcome Back to School!  I will have to admit that I am dreading getting up early for school.  I'm looking forward to being back at school for lots of reasons though.  I enjoy getting to know all the 7th graders and helping many of you discover that you actually like to read.  (Some of you already like to read and some of you will probably never allow yourself to enjoy reading!)  I'm just like many of you and I want to go back to school to see my friends/co-workers.  It's hard to get much work done in my room when I have Mrs. Matzke next door and I just want to hang out and catch up on what has been going on in her life. 

One of my goals for this year is to use this blog more often to encourage conversation about reading.  (We used the blog last year, but only for our Stargirl unit.)  To start us off, I would like for you to post one of your goals for this year.  What would you like to accomplish this year in reading or any other aspect of school?  Be sure to post your name in your blog post, so that you can receive credit for it. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reading Update

Finished Insurgent on vacation.  Loved, loved, loved it!  Mrs. Matzke had said that she heard that it wasn't that good, but I disagree with whoever told her that.  It was confusing at first because it just picked up from where the first book left off.  Since I had finished Divergent at the beginning of summer, I had forgotten some of the details that seemed important to understanding this book.  I did a google search and did a quick read on the characters.  If you liked Divergent, I won't have to convince you to read the second book.  I did have a conversation with Shelby R. who read both books this summer and she completely agrees that the second book is just as good as the first.  We both can't wait for the third book.

I also finished If the Witness Lied, Where It Began, and Kiss Me, Kill Me while on vacation.  Where It Began was a great book.  I even took this book on the boat and tried to read while we were traveling to lunch.  It's a chick book that has an element of mystery involved.  Gabby wakes up in a hospital bed and can't remember exactly how she got there.  She learns from her mom that she left a party driving her boyfriend's BMW and crashed into a car.  Billy, her boyfriend, can only have limited contact with Gabby who is being questioned by the police about the wreck.  Things just don't seem to be adding up, but it's obvious that Gabby's memory loss about the event is a good thing for her boyfriend.

If the Witness Lied is by Caroline B. Cooney who is a fabulous mystery writer.  Tris is a three year old who the media has labeled the "kid who killed both his parents".  Before Tris was born, his mother was diagnosed with cancer and refused treatment because she didn't want to hurt the baby.  She died shortly after Tris was born.  Tris also killed his father.  His father was getting something from under the car and Tris released the parking brake which ran over his father.  Tris and his brother and sisters are being raised by their Aunt Cheryl who wants to capitalize on Tris' fame.  They are going to be on their own reality show.  Tris' brother, Jack, is the only sibling still at home and he is opposed to having his family on TV.  He is afraid of what it will do to Tris.  Jack begins to discover what actually happened on the day that his father died and it isn't what he has been told. 

Kiss Me, Kill Me is also a mystery book that has an element of mean-girl.  Scarlett has always wanted to be part of the "popular" group at school.  When she gets invited to a party given by one of the "popular" girls, she ditches her friends and goes.  While there, she kisses Dan who has an allergic reaction and dies.  Scarlett had no idea that he had a peanut allergy and she had just eaten chips made with peanut oil.  She quickly becomes labeled the girl that kissed and killed.  After changing schools, Scarlett receives an anonymous note that tells her she didn't do it.  This sets her on a path to discover what really happened. 

In between fairs, I also finished A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass.  Wendy is the author of 11 Birthdays which is a popular book.  I figured that this book would be an easy read and fairly entertaining.  It actually was educational too.  Mia sees colors for sounds, letters, and numbers.  It sounds really strange and I can't even imagine what this would be like.  It is a real disorder though and has a name, synesthesia.  This book chronicles her struggles with this disorder as a teenage girl.  In the beginning, her family doesn't really support her or believe that she has a disorder.  They just think that she's making this up for attention.  Mia meets another boy with synesthesia through a chat room and they become friends.  Through it all, Mia relies on her cat, Mango.  (Hence, the name of the book.)  Easy read, entertaining and educational to a point. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ozarks Reading Update

Day Four of Ozarks Vacation and I have only finished one book.  Pretty sad, huh?  I started reading When It Happens by Susane Colasanti on the way down.  I had read another book, Take Me There, and had really liked it.  Remember when I started making connections to the previous book that I had read?  Well, the connection for this book to the previous book that I read is that I didn't read it.  I abandoned this book.  It has a great plot and I enjoyed the characters.  I'm even okay with an occasional cuss word, but this book has the f-bomb littered throughout.  It actually seemed out of character for the characters to be cussing so much.  If I can't add the book to my shelf at school, I'm not going to read it myself.  I wish that Susane would have made this book more Jr. High friendly though because it really seemed like a good book. 

I just finished Wild Roses by Deb Caletti last night.  I was amazed at how much research this author had to do to write this book.  Cassie lives with her mother and step-father, Dino, who is a famous violin player and composer.  The main conflict in the story is that Dino is going nuts.  The author sprinkles facts about other famous composers and artists and their crazy lives throughout the book.  I didn't realize how many famous artists and composers were nuts.  I really enjoyed this author's style.  I plan to read another book by her before vacation is over.  (I also know what trombone playing 8th grader that I'm going to recommend this book to when school starts!)

Well, I'm taking Insurgent to the boat today!!! I've already started chapter 1 and I'm hoping that I can have an entire day to just read about Tris, Tobias, Amity headquarters, Abnegation, the Dauntless, and more!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why am I up this early?

I woke up at 6 AM this morning!  While there are many people either waking up around that time or already awake, I do not wake up this early during the summer.  I tried to fall back to sleep, but it just wasn't working.  Before I pick out a new book to read from my summer pile, I though that I should let you know about the books that I read this weekend. 

Secrets, Lies, and Algebra - This book looks like one of those books that is easy to read, doesn't involve too much thinking, and is fairly decent.  It is.  I would recommend this book to most 7th grade girls.  Tess seems to be a typical 7th grade girl that has to make decisions involving friendships and what is right.  I enjoyed the connections to math throughout this book.  It was a great view for some algebra that most people don't use after high school. 

Hugging the Rock- Another prose book that is packed with metaphors!  Absolutely fantastic book and very easy to read!  Rachel's mother who suffers from bipolar disorder essentially runs away from home.  You get to follow Rachel's journey as she builds a relationship with her father, deals with her mother's absence, and learns so much about herself. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Two More...

I finally abandoned a book!  Crazy that I'm excited for not finishing a book though.  I usually think that all books have enough value that as a reading teacher, I should probably finish them.  Like I said before though, I tell my students to not waste their time reading books that they don't like.  I got The White Darkness for $2 at Plato's Closet.  (Great place to buy used books!)  The cover is mysterious and the quotes on the back are good.  At the very beginning of the book, the author recommends that you read the postscript which is about a man named Titus that dies trying to reach the South Pole.  Strange, right?  Even stranger is that the main character is best friends with Titus who died over 100 years ago.  She "talks" to him.  I abandoned the book on page 149 which wasn't quite half-way.  At that point, Sym is on Antarctica which her Uncle Victor who isn't really her Uncle and a group of people that are trying to find Symme's Hole which is a hole in the Earth's crust that goes to another world/planet.  From what I can figure out, this Uncle Victor has kidnapped Sym from her mother.  Her mother thought that they were all going on a few day vacation to Spain, but somehow her mother had lost her passport.  (Sym found it later in Uncle Victor's pocket.)  Sym thinks frequently that she should try to tell her mother that they are in Antarctica, but she never does.  It's really strange and I don't really care to even know how the book ends up.  I didn't really connect with any of the characters and the plot was too strange.  As I read through some reviews on Amazon, many other readers agreed that Sym was just too strange to connect with. 
     I'll put the book on my shelf and see what someone else thinks.  I love to encourage kids to read books that I hated.  Last year, one student would love to read the books that I hated to see if he liked them or hated them.  We seemed to agree half of the time and disagree half of the time.  He was a great reader, but just loved having that purpose for reading.

After I abandoned that book, I picked up reaching for sun.  I'm not sure if I already shared this book, but I enjoyed it enough to read it a second time.  It's written in prose, so it's an easy read.  It is full of so many similes and metaphors that it would be an excellent book to discuss with others.  I'm sure that some would just like to read it though and not discuss the symbolism of the metaphors.  If you have a chance to read it, let me know what you think.

I'm getting ready to go on vacation.  The great thing about vacation is the opportunity to read lots of books while just relaxing!  I've started to pack some clothes, but I need to think more about what books to pack.  I'm definitely taking Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent.  I'm really hoping that it's as good as the first.  One of my fellow teachers posted to her facebook a comic about having a book hangover which is where you finish a book that you loved so much that you hate to read another book.  That's how I feel about this book.  I'm afraid to read this sequel because I'm afraid that I won't like it as much as the first book.  I hope to have a long list of books to share when I return home.  (I'm taking several education books too!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Only 39 Days Until School Starts?!?

We traveled to Iowa this weekend to watch Ashlyn show in the All American Jr. Sheep Show, so I had plenty of travel time to read some books. 

A Certain Slant of Light - This was one of those books that I started reading and really struggled through the first part of it.  Halfway through, I wanted to abandon it.  I encourage my students to abandon books that they are not interested in.  There are so many great books out there, don't waste your time reading something that you aren't interested in.  Granted, I have kids that seem to abandon every book that they start.  Why is that?  I understand that they don't get reading, but shouldn't there be something out there that they enjoy.  My guess is that they don't know how to enjoy get into reading.  It's that whole metacognition thing.  They need to be "thinking about their thinking" while they're reading. 

Wish You Were Dead - Great book by Todd Strasser who is a great author.  Easy read too!  There really isn't a main character but several main characters.  One of the characters (you do find out who by the end of the book) starts a blog.  This character is frustrated with the "popular" crowd at school and wishes on her blog that certain students were dead.  The mysterious thing is that those students start to disappear from thie upper class community.  It isn't what who you think either. 

Loser Queen - The back of this book does a great job of inviting you in to this book.  "Cammy Hall is used to being a loser.  All of her attempts to rise beyond high school obscurity have ended in utter humiliation.  Now that she's a junior, she's setting her sights a little lower:  If she can avoid doing anything horribly embarrassing, she'll consider the year a success."

"Then Cammy accidentally flashes her granny panties at the school dance, and all hope fo flying under the radar is lost.  But just as the dustr of humiliation begins to settle, she is sent an anonymous text message with instructions on how to get her revenge.  With the help of the texter, Cammy causes the downfall of the most popular girl in school..."

Throwing Like a Girl- Ella moves from Chicago to Texas during the middle of her sophomore year.  Back in Chicago, she had a great life and great friends.  In Texas, she isn't sure where she fits in her new private school.  She decides to tryo out for the softball team even though she has never played softball.  With the help of an upper classmen who is fantastic at softball but can't go out for the team because of family obligations, Ella makes the team.  (Everyone who tries out, makes the team.)  Of course, life in Texas doesn't become easy for Ella.  Her new boyfriend's snotty sister just happens to be on the team and makes her life miserable. 

Happy Kid! - Not sure what I thought of this book.  Kyle is a seventh grader who really doesn't care about anything.  His negative attitude has basically earned him no friends and he really doesn't seem to care.  His mom gives him a book, "A Young Person's Guide to Satisfying Relationships and a Happy and Meaning-Filled Life", and tells him that she'll pay him $1 for every chapter that he reads.  For every chapter that Kyle reads, he becomes more happy and has some positive experiences along the way.  Easy book to read.  Not terribly exciting.  If you don't want to have to think too much about what you're reading, this is the book for you.

Friday, June 29, 2012

37 Days In, 49 Days Left

I fixed my countdown on my website.  Summer Break started 37 days ago and the first day of school in in 49 days.  I am going to probably cry when the countdown starts to turn and there are fewer days left before school starts.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy school.  I do enjoy sleeping in though!  I can't believe how easy it is to fall into the routine of staying up late and sleeping in late.  Maybe instead of having early out days for the beginning of the year, we need late start days.  Kids are not used to waking up early especially for school. 
Anything But Typical - This book is told from an autistic twelve-year-old boy's point of view.  It is one of those books that really shows you what life is like from another person's viewpoint.  I know that sometimes I don't consider that other people's point of views are different from mine and that they might not see everything exactly like I do or respond in the same way.  I enjoy this type of book that opens my eyes and makes me see that I need to think more about how others "see".

Stalker Girl - Pretty typical teenage girl situation.  Her boyfriend breaks up with her and she is heartbroken.  Brian starts dating another girl and Carly becomes obsessed with finding out everything that she can about this new girl.  She follows her in the park and she searches online for any information.  Unfortunately, she takes it too far and the police become involved.  One of the things that I enjoyed about this book was that it didn't have a happy ending.  You know how some break-up books end up with the boyfriend and girlfriend getting back together?  Not this one.  This one is realistic.  Another thing that I enjoyed was that this book didn't try to tell us the theme and make judgements about what you should learn from reading this book.  Stalker Girl allowed you to make your own judgements which potentially could be different for each reader.  (Connection to the lesson that I learned/relearned from reading Anything But Typical - Each person sees things differently.) 

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms - I do not recommend this book to any of my students.  It's on this list because I just finished reading it.  It is not a book that I would have read except that I had to for my on-line class.  While it was published in 2010, I feel that it is already outdated. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Reading Part 2

When I look at my website counter, it says that summer break began 21 days ago.  It seems like it has been longer than that.  Only 21 days?  I'm enjoying my break.  Remember when I said that I missed school and the routines?  I'm doing just fine with no routines right now!  I do miss the people though.  I love being able to see students at their summer activities.  I was able to have a rather long texting conversation with Mrs. Matzke this week.  Yes, we did talk about books.   We compared what books we have been reading this summer.
Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan - I would recommend this book to any 7th grader who enjoys suspense.  Three characters:  Blake, Shannon, and Marissa.  Blake and Shannon are the couple with Marissa being Blake's friend.  When Blake and Marissa team up for photography projects, they obviously become closer and Blake learns something really intense about Marissa life that he promises to keep confidental.  Of course, Shannon isn't too happy about this close friendship that Blake has with another girl.  The secret becomes becomes even more intense and eventually requires Blake to break into his father's office which is a morgue. 
Unlocked by Ryan VanCleave - Great prose novel about school violence.  The cover's quote, "If you heard the rumor, would you stop the shooter?", made me want to read the book to find out the answer for the main character.  While you do find the answer that Andy, the main character who is a nobody, there are several twists that are unexpected. 
click here to find out how i survived seventh grade by Denise Vega - Remember that little kid book where Harriet wrote everything in a journal that accidently gets shared with everyone in her school?  Similar situation here.  Erin spills her guts to her computer creating a blog that she plans to never publish.  Good lesson to learn from this book:  Never put anything down on paper/computer that you don't want the world to read. 
Divergent by Veronica Roth - Loved this book!  Once again, futuristic science fiction keeps my interest. If you enjoyed Life As We Knew It, The Hunger Games or Legend, you will love this book.   I have the sequel, Insurgent, but I'm waiting to start it.  I wanted to wait until I have enough time to sit down and read the book without any interruptions.  That's how much I loved the first book.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Matzke said that most of the kids that she has talked to, didn't like the second book.  I'll saving it for vacation and I'll let you know what I think.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Vacation/Reading Has Just Begun!

    We're not even officially one week into summer vacation and I already miss the routine of school!  I had such an incredible group of kids this past year! 
    Summer vacation means lots of extra time to read!  My husband looked at the huge stack of books on our dining room table yesterday and asked if they were all new books for school.  He had to laugh when I explained that they were the books that I wanted to read this summer. 
    The Adoration of Jenna Fox was my first summer read.  "She wasn't supposed to survive the accident.  But she did."  This quote from the book intrigued me.  I enjoyed the book.  It's very similar to the books like Unwind and The Pretties series.  Obviously, Jenna was in a car accident and thanks to her parents' money and medical intelligence, she survived.  They had to move across the country though and basically live in hinding because all the country's medical rules weren't followed during the medical reconstruction.  Uou know that something is different when Jenna calls her grandma a definitely inappropriate word and doesn't even realize that she shouldn't have said that word.  The book does take a slight twist at the end, but it is fairly predictable. 
    Rubber Houses was one of those books that that I started reading on the ride over to the river on Saturday and finished on the ride home.  Quick, easy read written in prose.  Very quickly into the book, the main character, Kit's brother dies from childhood cancer.  The rest of the book addresses how she and her family deal with this loss.  The very best part of the book is the last poem/chapter when you finally figure out why the book is titled Rubber Houses
  I just finished reading Playing With the Boys last night.  Lucy is the main character.  She moves with her father from the east coast after her mother dies from cancer.  (Interesting that moving from the east coast to the west was in the first book that I read and cancer was in my second book.  They came together in this third book which is completely unconneted.)  Lucy struggles with all the normal things that a sophomore moving into a new high school would.  Even though she's the best kicker, she doesn't make the soccer team.  The soccer coach encourages her though to try out to be the kicker/punter on the football team.  Interesting twists occur throughout this book and Lucy tries to discover where she fits in this new school that definitely has its own set of rules. 
    So, which book would I say was the best?  The Adoration of Jenna Fox.  I'm still loving the science fiction/futuristic genre.  It kept my interest and had enough unpredicatability that I was always making predictions. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Historical fiction used to be my favorite genre, but I think that science fiction has taken the lead!  There are so many good science fiction books right now.  I just finished Article 5 by Kristen Simmons this week.  Mrs. Matzke recommended this book before Spring Break.  She hadn't read the book, but thought that the book sounded interested.  On the back, it lists the 5 moral statutes of the United States of America for a futuristic country.  The statutes are very conservative and rigid. 
                                                                    ARTICLE 5
Children are considered valid citizens only when conceived by a married man and wife. 

This sounded like a book that I might be interested in, so I ordered it for Spring Break reading.  Unfortunately, it didn't arrive until after I left on Spring Break.  I had another unfortunate problem though on the way home from Spring Break.  I had finished all of the books that I had brought and we still had 5+ hours to drive.  Lucky for me, there was a bookstore in the town that we stopped for breakfast.  I placed my bagel order at Panera, took one kid with me, and walked to the bookstore.  (In case you're wondering, I did splurge on calories and order a cinnamon crunch bagel with hazelnut cream cheese.  There are just some things in life that you have to say yes to.)  At the bookstore, I picked up Article 5 to get me through the rest of the trip.

Immediately in chapter 1, Ember and her mother are viciously removed from her house by the Moral Militia because her mother violated Article 5.  The book slowly moves along while Ember is taken to a reformatory school, escapes, and tries to find her mother.  Halfway through the book, I felt like this was going to be another book that I just finished because I should, not because I wanted to.  I was wrong.  I finished the book because I wanted to have certain questions answered.  The book became exciting and I began to relate more to the characters. 

While I stress to kids not to finish a book that they aren't interested in, I usually don't follow my advice.  I usually finish what I started.  In this case, I was glad that I did.  How about you?  What do you do when you are reading a book that you are just not connecting with? 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Break is over!

Well, Spring Break is over.  I did finish reading Dead End in Norvelt.  On the cover, Dave Barry is quoted as saying that this is "a brilliant book".  It's written by Jack Gantos who is considered a good young adult author.  This book didn't keep my interest as much as I wanted though.  This book takes place after World War II and there is discussion about different aspects of the war such as Guadalcanal which my Grandpa fought at.  If a reader didn't have knowledge about World War II though, the connections probably wouldn't make sense.  The main character and his family are rather strange.  Mom is an absolute control freak and even Dad seems to cower to her.  The main character develops a close relationship with Miss Volker who had promised Eleanor Roosevelt that she would write all the obituaries for all the original citizens of Norvelt.  (Interesting fact...Norvelt was named after Eleanor Roosevelt and is an actual town.)  Miss Volker can't physically write, so Jack becomes her "hands".  Many of the original citizens are passing away and Jack becomes suspicious.  There are many different suspects in this plot, but it's rather easy to figure out who the author is going to pin for these murders.  The ending is predictable, but not believable.  I would think that someone who had a role in the death of more than 4 people would probably have the cops after them.  Not in this book.  So, would I recommend this book?  I'm not sure.  I almost want someone else to read it and let me know what they think.  Maybe, I'm missing something in this book.  I did read it while sitting on the beach or riding in a car home from Spring Break.  My mind might have been elsewhere, especially when we were driving through Atlanta traffic. 

I also finished reading The Lying Game.  This was a much better book.  I've never seen the TV show, but wanted to read the book because an 8th grader recommended it.  The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that the conflict isn't solved.  I guess that you have to read the second book to find out the climax.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Break

It's Spring Break!  Today is promising to be another fabulous day at the beach!  What do Literature teachers do over Spring Break?  Read lots of books!  On the way, I finished Curveball by Jordan Sonneblick.  Absolutely amazing book!  When I finished, I immediately texted one of my fellow Literature teachers. 

"Nothing better than driving through Georgia reading Curveball with tears running down your face, your husband shaking his head because he can't understand how anyone could cry over a book, and your daughter asking to read it when you're done."

Reading is social!  I want to talk about good books that I've read and I need to be sure that I give students the opportunity to do this in my classroom.  It's been amazing to see the conversations on Facebook right now about The Hunger Games.  These kids are talking about books.  While many of the kids are reading the book because of the movie, they are reading the book.  Most of them are discovering very quickly that the book is so much better than the movie.  I better stock up on Catching Fire before I get back to school.

I also have read As Simple as It Seems by Sarah Weeks and Unwind by Neil Shusterman.  As Simple as It Seems is written in a very similar style as So B. It.  It was an easy, predictable read.  I enjoyed Unwind much more.  It's strange, but science fiction is becoming my favorite genre. At times, I became confused with all of the characters.  The book is separated into chapters that are titled with the character's name that the chapter is about.  The character's lives intertwine throughout the book.  Connor, Roland, and Risa are all kids who were on their way to be unwound which is a kind way of saying that they will be killed and their body parts will be divided among our people.  Abortion is illegal in the United States at this point, but parents can choose to have their children "aborted" or unwound before they turn 18.  Each of these kids have different stories, but end up together as they try to escape being unwound.  While this book wasn't as easy to read as As Simple As It Seems, it was easy for me to turn the pages because I wanted to find out what happpened to the characters. 

I plan on taking Dead End in Norvelt to the beach today.  I'll let you know how it goes.  My guess is that I'll be distracted by the beautiful scenery, but I'm hoping that the book can draw me in.