I so love the Fiction Friday linky! I was worried this year that Amanda at The Teaching Thief might not host, but never fear: SHE'S BACK! And just in time, because I've been reading a lot this week as I preview books for the coming year. In no particular order, here is what I have been reading:
A number of students come into my third grade classroom reading below grade level, so I have been looking for some new books that might capture their interest. Roscoe Riley Rules #1: Never Glue Your Friends To Chairs is an engaging story of young Roscoe, a first grader, who sometimes Makes Bad Choices! It's written by Katherine Applegate (author of The One and Only Ivan"). With short chapters and a funny story I think it will make a good entry level book for some students. Roscoe just wants to save his teacher's job by making sure the kids do a great job at their Open House performance. Mix in some head bobbles, drumming sticks, and a tube of don't-you-dare glue and Roscoe has a stupendous plan! Scholastic's Book Wizard says this has a 2.9 GLE.
Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper is one of the books I'm currently reading and loving, although I have to take breaks from it to read something lighter. I think it is particularly resonating with me because I just saw the movie 12 Years A Slave. Draper wrote another favorite book of mine, Out of My Mind, which I read to my class a couple years ago. Copper Sun tells the story of 15-year-old Amari, who is kidnapped from her African village after seeing her family massacred and is taken to America as part of the slave trade. She is purchased as a "gift" for a plantation owner's son's 16th birthday. Not a book that will go into my classroom library due to the subject matter, but this is a great upper middle / high school book. While the story is mostly about Amari, it intersperses the story of Polly who is a white indentured servant on the plantation. I have to admit, this book has been sitting in my "to read" basket for about 3 years. Now that I'm deeply into the story I wish I'd read it long ago!
One of my PD classes last summer was called "Chocolate Economics" and I received an entire curriculum for teaching economics standards. This book is listed in there, with some lessons to use, so I decided I should read it. My students LOVED the lessons this spring, so if there is a book I could use to extend the topic I'd like to use it next year. The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling is a retelling of the story of King Midas and the Golden Touch. John Midas is a boy obsessed with chocolate, but is it possible to have too much of a good thing? His parents want him to eat healthy foods but it takes something radical to change his tastes! There is definitely a character lesson, about greed and selfishness, but the story is told with a lot of humor; I think it will make a good read-aloud this year. The book was available this spring for just $1 in the Scholastic book clubs, so I grabbed a couple copies.
Here in Florida this is one of our new Sunshine State Young Reader Award books for 201402015. Now, you need to know that I do NOT like reality shows for the most part. I have never watched an episode of Survivor, so when I saw Stranded by Jeff Probst I was not expecting the best! However, I was able to pick up a copy for free so I decided to start reading it aloud to my class at the end of the school year. With 18 chapters, I told them we would not be able to finish the book before school ended, but if they enjoyed it they should check out the book during the summer and finish it. Much to my surprise my whole class was totally engaged in the story of four children who become shipwrecked alone on an island in the middle of the Pacific. My boys were especially interested in the story (always looking for books that the boys like!), and as we got to the last week of school they begged me to try and finish the story. We finished it on the last day of school! This is not great literature, but may get students into other books - it is the first in a series of at least 3 books and ends with the kids still stranded.
Looking forward to getting some new book ideas from the linky! What do you recommend?