Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - King of the Screwups by KL Going

Can you believe there are books that I HAVENT read yet? Here's one I'm waiting on this Wednesday. Check out Breaking the Spine for more ideas.

King of the Screwups

by KL Going
Publication date: April 2009

King of the Screwups

“You'll do what you do, which, if I'm guessing correctly, is to be wildly and naturally popular" (Publisher's Weekly Children's Reviews)

Here's a kid trying to change his very nature. Be quiet. Listen. Do as you are told. But Liam will be who he is. I so look forward to this one.

So, what are you waiting on?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

In My Mailbox - February 22

I've got some good books to talk about this week. I'm so excited. It warms my heart to see so many books waiting to be read. As always, I want to thank The Story Siren for this idea. So without further ado:

Books I bought:

Drood by Dan Simmons


I have been wanting this book for a long time. I read about the last five years of Charles Dickens life after he was in a life-changing train accident. Simmons tells the story through Wilkie Collins, Dickens' writing partner. The voice is full of wit and humor with a little creepiness thrown in. I can't wait to immerse myself in this one.

Separate Peace by John Knowles

Separate Peace

I heard about this one when I moved from elementary school to middle school, from the classroom to the library. I read Looking for Alaska by John Green, fell in love and was told this book was similar. The 8th graders will be reading this for book group.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies

The 7th grade book group will read this one right before Nation by Terry Pratchett. I'm hoping that there will be some similarities since they are both, loosely, about starting over on an island.

Epic by Conor Kostick


This is another one for the 7th graders. We will be reading this one in about 2 weeks. It had some similarities to The Hunger Games, which I loved and most have read, so it will be interesting to discuss. There's already some debate about the title. Students feel the author was being lazy. I couldn't find much info on Kostick but he has done some work with libraries to increase reading. Here's a poster he worked on with some students.

The Outsiders by SE Hinton

The Outsiders

I remember reading this when I was in 7th grade, about 30 years ago, no comments from the peanut gallery, and now the 8th graders are reading this for book group. I wonder if it will resonate now as it did then? Will we be able to look past the dated language and find the underlying timeless human elements? Should be interesting. SE Hinton was just 17 when she wrote The Outsiders. Rumor has it that she used her initials to hide her gender. That in itself will be cause for discussion!

Books I borrowed:

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

Bookseller of Kabul

I'm hoping to gain more insight into what's happening in Afghanistan. This book promises to deliver that through the eyes of a bookseller, my dream job.

Well, that's what I have this week. I am now strengthening my resolve to borrow more and buy less. It's a dilemma for me, on the one hand, I'm a librarian so I should support libraries, on the other hand, I want to sell books so I want to support bookstores. In the end, using libraries will help me save money to get my own store. So that's what I'm going to try to do. Ok, enough about me!

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Diversity Rocks - Book Challenge

I just stumbled across this challenge here, thanks to Justina Chen Headley. I find myself in a quandary. I am an African American female who hasn't read many books by African American writers. I've avoided them so as not to get singled out by my peers. I didn't want to be accused of having a bias. I know, it sounds crazy, but it's true. I didn't realize it until today. I was reading this blog, about the diversity of your book shelves. I read widely. YA, MG, Adult, sports fiction, romance, suspense, etc. I've read Mitali Perkins, Justina Chen Headley, Sherman Alexie, Lisa Yee, Paula Yoo, etc. I've read 3 of Sharon Draper's books plus The Skin I'm In, some Bluford High books and Tyrell sometime since I became a middle school librarian. But of the 100 books I read last year? Sunrise over Fallujah and The Autobiography of Malcolm X - that's all I can recall.

I'm appalled at myself. So I've decided I need to read at least ONE book by an African American author each month for the rest of the year. I don't know what I'll be reading, but I know it will be enriching. How diverse is YOUR bookshelf?

Update: I scoured my bookshelf and found the following books:

  1. Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
  2. Day of Tears by Julius Lester
  3. The Bishop's Daughter by Tiffany Warren
  4. New Boy by Julian Houston
  5. After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
  6. Kendra by Coe Booth
  7. Indigo Summer by Monica McKayhan

So I have a good start. Not a great one, but a good one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Along for the Ride

Ah - books, books, books. I love them. And soon there will be more to love! This week I'm waiting on a new Sarah Dessen book:

Along for the Ride
by Sarah Dessen
Publication date: June 16, 2009

Along for the Ride

I've read a few of Sarah Dessen's books including: Someone Like You, Keeping the Moon, This Lullaby, Just Listen, and Lock and Key. Her writing continues to get better. I like how some characters show up in other books. One new-agey thing I did was to get two rings, one for each hand, like Owen in Just Listen. I have something written on both and they serve as constant reminders for me because I wear them everyday! I read that book two years ago and it still inspires my life! That's good writing. If you want to know more about Along for the Ride - check out Sarah reading an excerpt on YouTube. Now I'm even more excited. I'm sure we'll be reading this in summer book club!

What are you waiting on?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In My Mailbox - February 15

This week I recieved quite a few books. Check out The Story Siren here if you need more reading ideas!

Books I bought:

Storm: The Infinity Code by E.L. Young

I like action and adventure books. EL Young is a science writer and uses real life situations to write her books. I'm always on the lookout for good books for MGers.

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

Look at that cover! How could I NOT buy it? (That's a litote by the way!) I'm becoming a real fantasy lover as I get more into what the students like to read. I'm always on the lookout for something that's well-written and student friendly. Plus, look at that cover!!

Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield

This grown-up book was on a list from Flashlight Worthy Books. It sounded good so I put it on my to-read list. Then we found it at Plato's Closet, a used clothing store for teens, and it was only $4.00! I had to get it.

Books I borrowed:

The Boy In the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

This one I'm reading for work. We are looking at a variety of books to use when the 8th graders study The Holocaust.

Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz

This is another book I'm reading for work. 7th graders study Ancient Japan and one of the teachers like to integrate trade books to give students a better insight into the time period. This one has a killer beginning and Gratz relays his study of Japan and baseball in the author notes.

Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

I've read both The Warrior Heir and The Wizard Heir and look forward to this final book in the trilogy. I think each book can stand on it's own too! We are reading The Wizard Heir in my 6th Grade Book Discussion Group.

The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro

Over the summer we picked 6 or so "summer reads" for our book club. One of the books was Ferraro's How to Hook a Hottie. We all then read The Top Ten Uses For an Unworn Prom Dress even though it wasn't on the list. One of the students received an ARC of this book and she's letting me read it now. You can check out Ferraro's blog here. I must say the titles aren't my favorite. It is truly embarrasing to have to ask for these when you're my age! That said - they're good reads!!

Books I begged for:

Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez

I received this ARC from Little, Brown on Facebook. It was delivered within 2 days of my request!!! It has two of my favorite things: a sock lover and a book lover! I look forward to diving into this one.

Poppy and Ereth by Avi

I received this ARC from HarperCollins Children's Books FirstLook program. It's the last book in the series. Avi is featured in a the 7th Grade LA textbook. I'm hoping this book will be a good supplement to the student's reading. Also, I couldn't find a cover at my regular source and this one is from HarperCollins, that's why it looks different.

Well, that's what I've added to the To Be Read (TBR) pile this week. Some will go straight to the top, some I'm not sure when I'll get to them, but all I'm excited to receive!

So, what's in your mailbox?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Review - The Last Invisible Boy by Evan Kuhlman

The Last Invisible Boy
Evan Kuhlman
Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008
234 p.

Meet Finn. He's slowly fading. His hair is getting whiter. His skin is paler. And he doesn't want to go to school or see people or do any of the things he used to do before The Terrible Day That Changed Everything.

Finn has this thing for name meanings. Findlay stands for "fair hero". Finn doesn't feel like a hero, he feels like a failure. He wasn't able to stop The Terrible Day That Changed Everything. Maybe that's why he's disappearing. So in a combination present-day journal/everyday story Finn tells us about his life now and then.

That's really all I can tell you because the story depends on you reading it. Finn talks to you. He shares with you. He waits for you. He wants to tell you about his family and his hopefully one day soon girlfriend but right now best friend Meli.

The Last Invisible Boy is sad and hopeful and beautiful.

There were so many lines to write down and remember:

p. 5 - I'm vanishing in bits and pieces, like a disease that will not kill me but will erase me.

p. 36 - I love happy endings. I just wish there were more of them.

p. 44 - Most people think that Meli is my girlfriend, probably because I tell them she's my girlfriend...

p. 95 - Here's something I know. I'd give the whole world...for one more visit with my dad...

It's just so simple and moving. You should read it. Go ahead. I'll be here when you get back.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday - Wintergirls and If I Stay

There are so many books I'm waiting on, it's hard to pick just one! So, here are 2 books I can barely wait to read, in publication order:

by Laurie Halse Anderson
Publication Date: March 19, 2009

Laurie Halse Anderson is the author of Speak, Fever 1793, Twisted, and Chains. She has other books but those are the ones I've read and re-read and used for book clubs and used for book talks. They make you stop. They make you think. But they never make you stop reading. Wintergirls - it's a fantabulous cover. IloveitIloveitIloveit. Here's a line:

The voice of a dead girl is waiting for me on my phone.

And here's where you can read an excerpt!

If I Stay
by Gayle Forman
Publication Date: April 2, 2009

One of my favorite reviewers, Reading Rants, mentioned this title. Reading Rants put it under her Teen Tearjerkers label along with A Time for Dancing and Before I Die, two other books that I loved and cried through. I lurv books that make me cry! I've never read Forman before so I'm looking forward to discovering a "new" author! Here's a line:

Am I dead?

And here's where you can read an excerpt!

Well, there you have it, a couple of the many books I'm looking forward to devouring!
So, what are you waiting for?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

In My Mailbox - February 8

I bought a lot of books this week. Even though I went to the library. I just can't help myself!!! 2 of the books are for book clubs but the rest I just want!!
So here's this week's what's In My Mailbox:

North of Beautiful by Justina Headley

Happenstance Found by PW Catanese

Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud

Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

Heartsinger by Karlijn Stoffels

I can't wait to get started!
What's in your mailbox this week?

Check out The Story Siren for more books!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Book Discussion books

Here are some books we may be reading:

6th Grade
The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Gift of the Unmage by Alma Alexander

Update: This group met 2/13 and, like the other grades, decided to meet every two weeks!!! I am going to be pretty busy! We may not read Found because some of the group have already read it. We will read the other two as well as Nation and possibly The Mysterious Benedict Society.

7th Grade
Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
Madapple by Christina Meldrum
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Allison Goodman

UPDATE: This group met 2/12 and will also meet every two weeks. Book choices are tough because we've got 1/2 fantasy readers and 1/2 realistic fiction. They all loved Graceling though! I think their books will be Epic, Rash, Nation, and the Big Splash. They still want Heroes and Eon but they want to wait until after Spring Break.

8th Grade
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
Nation by Terry Pratchett
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

UPDATE: The book group chose to meet every two weeks. We decided to mostly go for books that have been out for a while because many of them will buy their own books. So far that means: Secret Life of Bees, The Outsiders, Separate Peace, as well as some from our library such as Nation and Waiting on Normal.

I own about 1/2 of these books. I can't wait until our meetings next week for the student's final decisions.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Review - In Mike We Trust by P.E. Ryan

In Mike We Trust
by P.E. Ryan
ARC from HarperTeen FirstLook via twitter

Garth and his mother are trying to get on with their lives. Garth works at a job he hates and they live in a rundown apartment that his mom has to work two jobs just to keep!! All of this because Garth's mom was left with so much debt, they are having a hard time making ends meet.

In a stroke of luck, a knock on the door announces that Uncle Mike is in town. Mike is Garth's dad free-wheeling, snazzy dressing, ne'er do well twin brother. Uncle Mike never seems to have a job but always seems to have money. He's going to help Garth and his mom leave their troubles behind and get on with their lives.

Mike convinces Garth that in order to get the life he wants, he has to make some changes. They need to look beyond the normal, everyday existence. Work beyond the corner grocery store.

Mike introduces Garth to a whole new way of living. Garth can talk to Mike in a way he can't talk to his mother or his best friend, Lisa. Garth's only concern are some of the "jobs" he and Mike undertake. Garth becomes someone he doesn't recognize anymore, and he's not sure if he likes it.

In Mike We Trust speaks right into the space of who you think you are and who you want to be. The crazy things you do and the hope, that yes, this time, this thing, will work. Although it took Garth an awfully long time, he eventually figures out what he wants and who he is and who to trust.

Waiting on Wednesday - Hunger by Michael Grant

I'm picking up Waiting on Wednesday from Breaking the Spine. You list what book, that isn't out yet, that you can't wait to read.

Hunger (A Gone Novel)
by Michael Grant
Publication Date: May 26, 2009

I can't find any information about this anywhere!!! Yet I still want it. I loved Gone and have been pretty much stalking Michael Grant on Facebook, Twitter, and through HarperTeen!

Love the cover!! I talked about Gone to 7th and 8th grades and then went on our school news. Gone is the story of a time where all people over the age of 14 disappear. Some of the children left behind have special powers that they discover throughout the book. Two of the older kids are in charge - one because he wants to be and one who's kind of thrown into it. But really, you can't have two people in charge. And what about the bullies? There's no one stopping them now. Why can't one of them be in charge? Read Gone and I guarantee you will be waiting on Hunger, too!

So what are you waiting for?

Leave a comment with a link to your Waiting on Wednesday post or just give it a shout.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

In My Mailbox - February 1

In My Mailbox - this is where I tell you what books I received in the past week. This is from the Story Siren. See directions here.

Books I bought:

I have been looking forward to Envy by Anna Godberson since this past summer! It's finally here and my daughter snagged it and went to her dad's! She won't be back until next tomorrow! What a good mom I am, she's still alive!

I got The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness because we are reading it for 8th grade book discussion group. I read it in two days. The second was a quiet day in the school library. It was awesome. It made me cry. The ending was wide open though. I'll tell you about the sequel on one of those Waiting on Wednesday posts.

Literate Lives gave such a good review of The Last Invisible Boy by Evan Kuhlman here, that I had to get this book. I can't wait to dive into it.

Books I borrowed:

I enjoyed reading the first Moxy Maxwell book so I picked up Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank You Notes by Peggy Gifford.

Books I received:
I didn't receive any books this week. Whine. Anyone know how to receive more ARCs?

Ok, that's it for me. What are you reading this week?

30-Day Challenge - February Week 1

In this, The yEAR oF mE, I will be working on something each month. Cultivating habits I can build on and continue. This month will be exercising! I have been so neglectful in this area. No more!

My goal is to walk 30-45 min. at least 6 days a week. I know, that sounds ambitious. Since my aDhD depends on routines to be controlled, those be the steps I need to take. Also, it must be done in the morning.
Even though I hate mornings!
I just can't do it when I come home. I'm hoping a side effect will be better sleep. We shall see.

So, this starts today. Yeah, today. But not yet. But I will, promise. Check back tomorrow for results.

30 - Day Challenge - Week 4

Goal: eating 5 fruits/vegetables daily.

This week was super terrible. My schedule was so erratic, some days I forgot to eat lunch and/or dinner! Hard time sleeping too. I think I had one good day - and that was last Monday!! Oh well.

I'm going to keep going with this. I will jump right back on the horse!


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