Monday, March 14, 2011

Books for Break

I am currently in the middle of three books, and am waiting for library day tomorrow so I can pick up a few more new reads! Here are some reviews of my current nightstand stack!

As a 4th grade teacher I try to stay current with what students are reading, perhaps not full series, but at least the initial book. This was my mantra, due to so many books, so little time, until I read "The 39 Clues: Maze of Bones" to my class for a read aloud selection.  Not only were the students hooked and now reading obsessively, but so is their teacher! I'm on book seven of eleven (as of this August) and still completely engrossed. As a lover of mystery, suspense, and history, I have to say that this series incorporates all of the above in a fun and engaging way for students. The best part about the series, thus far, is that when I first began reading the original book, we were studying Benjamin Franklin in our reading curriculum, and the book is based on historical fact of his life! The students were connecting our curriculum non-fiction with the adventurous novel. As I am about half way through book seven, needless to say, I am picking up book eight at the library tomorrow so I can read it over break as well.  PS: Books often reference farting, burping, and other various things that boys find hilarious.  Recommended for male students. Or immature teachers... :)

Blue Baillet writes awesome puzzlers! The first in the series that I recommend is titled "Chasing Vermeer" and is followed by two more books.  This series is also based on historical facts and characters.  The best part about these mysteries are the illustrations which have mysteries of their own, and the puzzles and codes that the characters encounter! Being a girl who grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries, I fell in love with these child clue hunters.  They focus not so much on catching criminals as they do on simply finding the truth about things around them.  Read the whole series. Love it.

My more adult side, yeah right, is loving Beverly Cleary's autobiography "A Girl from Yamhill."  Clearly was actually born and raised in the Willamette Valley, referencing many familiar locations in the book.  I also have her second memoir, "My Own Two Feet," which I fully intend to take on after I finish the first book.  Cleary's writing is so simple and clean, leaving her feelings and life blatantly in black ink on smooth pages.  I am constantly impressed by the simplicity with which Cleary writes, she makes life seem so straightforward and obvious, looking at her past with child like eyes.  Not only is Beverly Clearly a wonderful children's author, but she can also paint reality in such plain, yet poetic terms.  HIGH RECOMMENDATION!

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