Thursday, September 24, 2009

"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

With the recent release of "Catching Fire", the 2nd in the series, I'm reposting a previous blog message:

I recently finished "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. This is the first book in a series aimed at young adults. It is an absorbing page-turner featuring an annual televised event called The Hunger Games. Each district of Panem, the remains of what used to be the United States, has to send one boy and one girl to the games where they will fight to the death until only one tribute remains.

This normally wouldn't be the type of book I would choose, but since it's being billed as something Twilight fans would enjoy, I thought I would check it out.

All in all, I would probably give it 4 1/2 stars. Luckily, it didn't turn out to be as gory as I had feared, and the characters were very well-drawn. I had a few minor complaints; namely that the reasoning behind the games didn't ring true. There was also a romantic twist in the book, but certain aspects of it just weren't very believable. I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment!

4 Books Every Teacher Should Have in Their Classroom

This week I was fortunate to sit in on a presentation by Jacquie McTaggart, "retired" teacher, promoter of books and reading, frequent International Reading Association Speaker, and author of two books: From the Teacher's Desk, and If They Don't Learn the Way You Teach...Teach the Way They Learn. She had great ideas & suggestions for helping reluctant and struggling readers, but not everything was "reading" related; one thing I really appreciated was that she encouraged all the teachers & preservice teachers to do away with the notion of having a captain choose teams. To this day that is one of my worst school memories--always being chosen last, or nearly last, for any kind of sports team.

Another interesting thing I gleaned from her talk was the four books/series she feels every teacher, K-12, should have in their classrooms. In the earlier grades these are books that the more gifted readers will be able to get something out of, and in older grades struggling readers can be successful with them without seeming to be reading kids' books. They are:

* Where's Waldo
* I Spy series
* Guinness Book of World Records
* Ripley's Believe it or Not

Check out for more information from Jacquie McTaggart, or contact me if you're looking for book suggestions for struggling or reluctant readers!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nope, nope, and......nope.

I've had a very hard time getting into any books lately. Used to be I'd keep on reading even if I wasn't really enjoying it, but no more. I want to read something that just reaches out and "grabs" me & doesn't let go! As I've gotten older and developed ADD tendencies I definitely have a more difficult time finding a book I HAVE to finish. Actually, lately, puzzle books are my big thing. I suppose partly because I can complete a puzzle--beginning to end--in less than 10 minutes.

If anyone has any great book suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

5 Interracial Books

Another "5-a-Day"!
Last night I watched "Prom Night in Mississippi", a documentary about Morgan Freeman's efforts to integrate prom in the small Mississippi town of Charleston. Since 1970 the school has held two proms: one for white students and one for black students. While it's amazing to think that such segregation is still occurring, the film wasn't as effecting to me as it was to many reviewers. I guess my qualm was, sure, blacks & whites went to the dance together, but from the looks of it they really didn't interact much with each other. And I'm sure there had to be more, but only one interracial couple was shown. The movie got me thinking about the books I've read in which an interracial relationship played an important role. They are:

* Desire in the Sun by Karen Robards
* Holes by Louis Sachar
* Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
* If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
* Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

While these are all fictional, they do accurately portray the complexities of these relationships. Check one out today!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lost Books

I am a librarian's worst nightmare! Ok, not the worst, but I finally realized why it takes me so long to read an entire book: I'm forever losing them. I was going along pretty good on the last one, but lo & behold, now it's nowhere to be found...we even lifted up the couch to look! So my goal before we go camping this weekend is to find the book & finish it this weekend. Stay tuned........

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reading Rockets: For Parents

Reading Rockets: For Parents

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Since I'm reading VERY SLOWLY this summer (I'm currently reading Heaven Looks A Lot Like the Mall--stay tuned for a summary) I thought I would post a link to a website that I find has tons & tons of great information for parents, teachers, librarians, caregivers.....everyone!

Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help.

Check out their site today for free reading guides, booklists, activities, videos and much more to help children learn to read better.