Saturday, April 25, 2009

Time to look at an award winner.  This year's Newbery Winner for 2009 is Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.  Known to many of you for his novel, Coraline, that was made into an animated film this year.
Part gothic, part supernatural tale this is the story of Bod Owens growing up in a grave yard.  There is the little detail that someone or something wants him dead as well. 
Neil Gaiman himself said this story all started with his son riding his tricycle through a graveyard that was the only park like setting available. His son was totally at ease there and very happy.  Those days started Neil thinking about a baby raised by the inhabitants (read ghosts) of an old graveyard.  Although the story is set today it feels as though it has no time to it at all.  Between the boy himself who knows only the world of the graveyard and the sinister beings sent to protect him and destroy him, you will be drawn into a memorable, believable fantasy world.  
Most critics, adults and young people alike, feel that this Newbery choice was an excellent one. What do you think?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Margaret McMullen will be visiting our school in May to speak to the 5th-7th graders.  I just finished two of her books, one set during the Civil War and the other during Reconstruction, ten years later.  Let me tell you a about the latter.

When I Crossed No-Bob is told from the point of view of 12 year old Addy.  When Addy is abandoned by her only parent, her mom, she is taken in by the local school teacher and his new wife. Removed from the brutish world of her clan the O'Donnells, Addy begins to thrive in her new surroundings. Her long missing father unexpectedly returns, and takes her back to No-Bob, the clan's self-proclaimed land.  Addy tries to make the best of her situation but soon realizes that how the O'Donnell's view the world is no longer how she does.  Addy must summon all her inner courage to do the right thing when she comes to fully realize what her father and others are doing.
Set in rural Mississippi, ten years after the ravages of the Civil War are still being felt, the story combines issues of family, race, loyalty and love in a powerful story of growth and integrity.

I thought this book was so good, that I recommended it to Mrs. Tiesse as a possible 7th grade class novel.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I recently finished "The Last Invisible Boy" by Evan Kuhlman.  

Finn Garrett, 12 years old, is writing a journal after the sudden death of his dad. Finn is trying to make his way through a really hard time in his life while his mom, brother Derek, and grandfather are doing the same.  Part of Finn's journey is complicated by the fact that his hair is turning white and he is getting progressively paler.  He is fairly sure he is becoming invisible.  As he navigates through his year without his dad, he speaks to you the reader in a clear, believable voice.  He is at times funny, sad, scared, happy, lost and determined. 
Here is a quote from Susan Patron who won the Newbery medal two years ago that I think you will find interesting. "If you're looking for a tender, redemptive story told by a fierce, fragile protagonist, meet Finn Garrett, the Last Invisible Boy. You'll love him."-- Susan Patron, author of the Newbery Medal-winning The Higher Power of Lucky
I would recommend this book to any junior high student, boy or girl, looking for a realistic story with a great main character.  You might think this would be a very sad book but Finn will show you real human spirit.
Add your thoughts to this post.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

If you are wondering why I have a group of sleeping puppies on a bench for the header, it is because they are my favorite breed (Pembroke Welsh Corgis) and the picture makes me smile.  I hope it does the same for you.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

95% of the books you see on my LibraryThing widget are in the school library, either in regular fiction or YA fiction.  You can check on the school catalog online to see if they are on the shelf currently.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Welcome to the beginning of something new and hopefully fun for everyone.  My plan is to get our students involved in discussions about what I am reading and what they are reading.  

The next logical step is to get others reading based on the discussion.  

Additionally,  this blog should help develop the collection with ideas generated by our student users, our key clients.