My Reading Goal

My goal this school year is to read 30 books. That averages out to about 1 book a week. I will meet this goal by reading at least 60 minutes a day and choosing books that are the correct reading level for me and are of interest to me. I will also read a balance of fiction and non-fiction books.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Flying Solo

Flying Solo, by Ralph Fletcher, describes the adventures of a fifth grade class as they attempt to survive a day with no teacher and no substitute teacher.  They are literally "flying solo".  The story revolves around Rachel and how she is struggling with the death of a classmate, Tommy Feathers.  The day alone gives the kids a chance to assert their independence and demonstrate their ability to be responsible as well as a chance to heal.

This book has many great themes, but integrity has to be the strongest.  The kids have many opportunities to practice doing what they know is right.  They must manage their impulsivity and stay on task even though no adult is monitoring them.  I love the relationships that come out of this book.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ungifted



Ungifted, a realistic fiction book by Gordan Korman, explains that stereotypes are not always accurate. Donovan, the main character, can only be described as a trouble maker.  He wants to fit in, but he creates havoc wherever he goes because controlling his impulses is almost impossible.  So, through a series of events, Donovan ends up "hiding out" at the district's school for the gifted.  at the end, he learns many important lessons while at the school for the gifted.

One of the things that I enjoyed about this book was the way the chapters were organized.  Each chapter is told from a different character's point of view.  As a reader, you have the opportunity to "get inside" each character's thoughts. Ungifted is the perfect book for any middle school or upper elementary school student to read.  Often, we judge other students based on outward appearances.  Through the main character, the reader learns that labels are not always correct; gifted or ungifted, nerd or cool we all have something to offer.

Friday, October 19, 2012

People of Sparks

The People of Sparks, a sequel to The City of Ember, continues the saga of Lina and Doon.  Lina and Doon have led their people out of the subterranean city of Ember.  They find a new world in which the people are struggling to exist much as they had in Ember.  The people of Sparks welcome the Emberites into their village, but conflict soon develops.  Differences in lifestyles and a shortage of food are a couple of the problems.  Throughout the story, Lina and Doon help to encourage their people to learn to live peacefully with the People of Sparks.

Jeanne DuPrau does a great job teaching the lesson that working together is better than fighting.  This book's message is one that many societies could benefit from.  As usual, it is an innocent child that brings the two groups together and unites them after a disaster.

I look forward to reading the next book in the series, The Prophet of Yonwood, in order to learn how the city of Ember came to be.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wonder

Wonder, a fiction book by RJ Palacio, teaches that true beauty is seen with the heart and not with the eyes.  Due a rare facial deformity, Auggie has been homeschooled until the fifth grade.  At this point, Auggie's parents decide that they can no longer shelter him and decide to send him to school.  This story beautifully depicts the ups and down of starting middle school, especially with the added pressure of not looking like everyone else.

This book had so many amazing lessons.  I found myself stopping many times to reflect on powerful lines in the book.  Such as, "When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind." (Wonder, pg. 48)  As I read, I wondered why people are so quick to judge others based only on their appearance.  How many great people do we miss because we don't take the time to get to know them?

One of the things that I loved about this book was the fact that it was told from many different perspectives.  (Jodi Piccoult is an adult author that I enjoy reading who also uses this technique.)  It is enlightening to hear the story told from Auggie, his sister, his friend, and other points of view.  If you don't mind crying a little while reading, this is a book that you won't soon forget.

Watch the book trailer below for a taste of this book.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fablehaven

Fablehaven, a fantasy book by Brandon Mull, is the engaging story of Kendra and Seth who spend two enchanted weeks with their grandparents.  When Kendra and Seth arrive at their grandparents' house they are dreading the time that lies before them.  They soon discover that their location is truly something special and their time there will be anything but boring.

I was completely drawn in by the characters in this book.  I came to admire Seth's adventure and courage and Kendra's level headedness and strong sense of duty.  Both of these characters learned important lessons throughout the story.  I believe that Seth learned a greater sense of self-control, and Kendra actually realized the importance of sometimes taking a risk.  These changes are evident in many of the characters actions.  For example, Seth accidentally changes a fairy into an imp, but later he is relieved when the imp returns to her fairy form.  Also, Kendra knows that she must risk visiting the fairy queen's island if she is to save her family.  I'm sure that as I read the next books in the series, I will see these changes in Kendra and Seth's actions.

I highly recommend this book to readers that enjoy fantasy and adventure.  It is surely a page turner and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.