It's Nonfiction Monday right here this week! Add the link to your specific Nonfiction post on the Mr. Linky below, then do try to get around and see some of the great nonfiction reviews out there! Common Core or not, it's fun to pair fiction and nonfiction books. I especially like the one I'm reviewing today, which actually listed a couple of good space themed books in the back!
Also, have a question for Loyal Readers-- have any middle grade people read Jacqueline Wilson? She's my daughter's favorite author, and her UK publisher has approached me about the possibility of putting together a blog tour to try to get some interest raised in publishing more of her books for the US market. She's got a huge number of books (usually realistic fiction with some family problems, but other things as well) in the UK, but very few in the US. Please e mail me if you would be interested in this-- the publisher is willing to send out some books.
Summer Reading Throwdown has started! Hop over to The Brain Lair to sign up. Librarians only, of course! (Oh, okay. No competition if teachers don't sign up, too!) No way I'm reading more than last July-- read 54 books!
Goodman, Susan E. and Slack, Michael. How Do You Burp in Space?: And other Tips Space Tourists Need to Know.
9 July 2013, Bloomsbury USA
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Will space tourism really catch on? Maybe not, but this fun collection of information about what it is like to be in space will whet kids' appetites for it! I learned a lot of things that I didn't know, such as the fact that carbonated beverages in zero gravity are a bad thing, despite the fact that Coca Cola tried really hard to formulate a good version for astronauts, the fact that Sunita Williams ran a marathon in space, and lots of technical tidbits about food, walking outside of the ship, and details of every day life aboard a spacecraft. Of course, the science fiction books never address these little issues, but it's fun to think about them.
Strengths: Sidebars with quotes from astronauts, lots of photographs, and fun illustrations add a lot to the already good information in the text. Complete bibliography is an excellent resource for further reading.
Weaknesses: When space tourism takes off, this will have to be weeded, just like the books I got rid of entitled things like "Space Exploration TODAY!" that claimed that someday man WOULD walk on the moon!
Sutherland, Tui and Kari. The Menagerie.
12 March 2013, HarperCollins
Logan has moved to a small town in Wyoming with his father after his mother has left the family. One morning, a creature is in his room… and turns out to be a griffin that has escaped from the collection of Zoe’s family. Zoe is descended from Kublai Khan, and her family has kept magical creatures safe for years. Now, however, they have five baby griffins loose in the community, eating everything in sight and looking for “treasure”. Oddly, Logan can communicate with the animals, so Zoe’s family reluctantly agrees to let him help and decide NOT to wipe his memory clean! Along with Squorp, Logan manages to track down Flurp, Chink and eventually Yump, the one that has been eating so much! The school librarian, Ms. Sameera, is aware of the magical creatures, and the kids aren’t quite sure what side she is on, especially after events come to light that explain why Logan can communicate with the creatures. At the end of the book, the goose that laid the golden egg is found murdered, leading into the next book in the series... (Dragon on Trail, due 11 March 2013)
Strengths: Tui Sutherland is one of the authors who write as Erin Hunter, and her prose is smooth and engaging. The setting of this was perfect, and the creatures amusing. Students who like Mull’s Fablehaven books will find this a good series to read. Enjoyed it way more than I thought I would.
Weaknesses: Zoe’s family has a lot of people in it, and there were times when I was overwhelmed by either those characters or new creatures. Still fewer characters to keep straight than Warriors, though!
Yankovic, Al. My New Teacher and Me.
25 June 2013, HarperCollins
When Billy show up on the first day of school with dirt all over his shirt, his new teacher, Mr. Booth, wants to know what happened. Billy spins a long string of improbable tales that get him sent to the principal's office, but when proof of one of his exploits falls out of his notebook on the way out of class, Mr. Booth softens. This rhyming picture book is full of all sorts of silly things that young children will adore, and the language and rhyming are quite good. This type of writing is a natural extension of what Mr. Yankovic has done for the last 30 years, and should be adored by young fans and newcomers alike.
It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts.
Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for
the 4th through 8th grader.