Monday, March 03, 2014

MMGM- Fighting Fire

Middle Grade March Head over to Deb Marshall's blog for more about Middle Grade March!

So, the read-a-thon did not go well. My daughter and I were both flirting with sore throat/hit by truck type colds, and the forecast was for 8-10" of snow, and we got...TWO. So we were just out of sorts all weekend. I did get some reading done, but only nine books, since I spent most of Sunday staring listlessly at the pages of The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw. I wanted to finish the ARC because I have about five students who want it desperately, but that just did not happen. You know that's a bad weekend in my world!

18005282Cooper,  Michael. Fighting Fire!: Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought Them
March 4th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
E ARC from

I must admit that I blanched a bit when I saw that this was over 200 pages long; it's tough to get students to read nonfiction over 64 pages. However, the way this book is set up, I think that students find this interesting. There are ten very different fires described, from a 1760 Boston fire I'd never heard about, to a New York pleasure boat fire in 1904 that killed over 1,000 people, to fires in San Francisco and California. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and Cocoanut Grove fires, as well as 9/11 are covered as well. Each chapter describes vividly the circumstances that contributed to the extent of the fire, the main events of the fire, and how these fires were fought. How each shaped the ways that fire departments deal with fires made this especially interesting. This is a great book to have to use for Common Core nonfiction-- there are so many fiction books that would be paired well with chapters of this.

17883955 Klimo, Kate. Togo (Dog Diaries #4)
January 7th 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Togo is a sickly pup who is not expected to survive, although sled dog racer Leonhard Seppala thought he had what it took to become a sled dog and didn't give up on him. After a misspent youth that included a very brief stint as a house pet, Togo's energies are harnessed into dog sled racing, and he proves to be a valuable asset to "Sepp". After winning several races, Togo has to be part of a team that takes medicine to Nome, Alaska for a diptheria epidemic. The leader of the team that did the last leg of the journey and arrived in Rome got all of the attention, and while we have all heard of Balto, few know that it was really Togo who did the largest sections of the journey.
Strengths: This series covers interesting topics of history from the dogs' points of view without veering into the weird or overly precious. The historical notes at the back about the real events (and in this case, accompanied with actual photographs of Togo) add a lot to this and make this series another good examples of books that can be used for Common Core. Great for reluctant readers as well .
Weaknesses:  A bit too much information on Togo's puppyhood for me, but still charming. I'm just sad that I didn't get Barry or the fifth book in my last order of the year.

We’re Going to the Farmers’ Market Page, Stefan. We're Going to the Farmers' Market
March 4th 2014 by Chronicle Books
Copy provided by the publisher

If you need a board book as a present, this is a lovely and beautifully illustrated book about farm markets. Highly recommend.

But I'm old. My girls are old. They ate deadly peanut butter and full sugar jelly sandwiches on nonhomemade whole wheat bread packed in reusuable Bishphenol A spewing containers and nonorganic apples well scrubbedof alar, and washed it all down with hormone ridden, plastic encased COW milk. Reading books like this very vibrant and lovely board book makes me feel older than dirt and full of defunct and deadly parenting advice.

That said, this is a VERY pretty book, which would be great for young kids. My only real objection to the book is that the scansion of the verse is really quite off, but then I am even pickier about poetry in books than I am about the Latin, and that's saying a lot.

Reading nonfiction can't start too young ; this board book to introduce the children of hipsters to the joys of the farm market. The family buys and cooks fruits and veggies, Dad ices an organic, possibly carob and agave nectar laced cake, and everyone is excited about returning next week after putting on their cotton and recycled rubber Toms.(Not that, you know, I'm reading anything into the text...)

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday at Anastasia Suen's blog.


  1. Sorry to hear that you were not feeling well. When you can't even read much, that's definitely frustrating. Thanks for sharing some great nonfiction. I hope you are feeling much better and you have a great week of reading.

  2. Oooo. I hope you are both feeling better. Too sick to read? That is mighty sick. Thanks for telling me about these. Fighting Fires looks particularly interesting.

  3. I had big plans for Middle Grade March, too, but ended up with just ONE. Oh well, time pushes on and hopefully more books this month.

  4. Hope you and your daughter are feeling better today. I think I need to hang my head in shame, I managed to read three books to your nine :) Thanks for giving me the heads up about

  5. Sorry you had a rough weekend. I hope you're both feeling better soon. I let my son read The Hero's Guide before me because I knew it would be a while before I got to it!

  6. My daughter was down with the colds this weekend too. It's intensely humid and hot here though - 34 degrees and no sign of rain anywhere for the past several weeks. Very dry. Too bad you weren't able to get a lot of reading done. Hope this week is better for you. Thanks for sharing these titles - always unfamiliar to me, admittedly, this is my reading gap.