Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Trying to be better about reading things other than novels. I loved John Grandits' Technically, It's Not My Fault, and just ordered Blue Lipstick. These are both concrete poetry, which is not something my students really need, since they usually need a poem they can memorize for recitation. I'm a huge poetry snob and usually require good rhyme and meter, but Grandit's poems are so much fun. Hard to explain, as well. It's more word art. My favorite is "A Chart of My Emotional Day". I won't try to explain these-- you need to see them. Excellent books if you are trying to encourage students to have fun with words.
Can't be as enthusiastic and Rachel Renee Russell's The Dork Diaries. This is more appropriate for a younger audience, or for girls who are reluctant readers, and I have very few of those. Also, this is set in a private school, and one of the themes is the snobbishness of the students, and I'm just weary of that. Probably go over very well in 4th grade. And yes, if you have a huge fan base of Diary of A Wimpy Kid, buy this: the style is similar, from the hand writing font to the illustrations. Paper over board binding insures that it won't be around long. Did find it amusing that the librarian was wearing a plaid pleated skirt and looked rather like me!

Still have a few older titles in my library I haven't read yet, so picked up Arvella Whitmore's 1999 Trapped Between the Lash and the Gun. Worth dusting off. Jordan wants to stay in the inner city and run with a gang while his mother moves the family to a safer home in the suburbs, but while on a gang errand, he is transported, by means of his grandfather's heirloom pocket watch he wants to hock, back to a slavery era plantation. He meets up with his ancestor, and learns how difficult things were for slaves, which gives him a new appreciation for his own life. Definitely recommend this to a student today.

Jane Yolen's The Wild Hunt (1995), however, will probably go. It's been checked out three times and is indicative of the sort of book the previous librarian loved-- anything fantasy, even when it is odd/too young. I read some of the very short chapters to my own children and got wrinkled noses. Admittedly, I skimmed this, but found nothing in it to recommend it.
Looks very interesting, but is blocked here at school under "social networking". I wanted to see the "can't-miss reads for boys"!
Found this web site, that James Patterson has, called Read Kiddo Read. Looks very interesting, but is blocked here at school under "social networking". I wanted to see the "can't-miss reads for boys"!

1 comment:

  1. My 8th graders do a poetry project every year, and last year I bought BLUE LIPSTICK for them to use as a resource. They are fascinated with it. In the past I've seen very simplistic concrete poems, but these are incredible. You are right, you can't explain them; you have to actually see them.