I finished Wonder by R.J. Palacio on Sunday. It was a book I had never heard of until someone wrote about it online. If you click the amazon link you can read a fuller description. It is the story of Auggie, a 5th grader who starts school for the first time. Up to this point he has been home-schooled because he was born with an extreme facial difference. Definitely made me cry a couple times! I enjoyed reading the story, but it's a bit above my 3rd graders so don't plan to read it to them. I would say for 5th grade and up. It's thought-provoking and could lead to a lot of interesting discussions about empathy, compassion, and kindness, as well as bullying.
Amanda's post last week reminded me that I had always meant to read The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo so I picked that up at the library this week. I love the language the author uses in this fairy tale story of light vs. darkness! The hero, Despereaux, is a tiny mouse with big ears who does not fit into the accepted mold of the mouse kingdom. If you've missed this story I don't want to give it away - you can click the link to read more about it!
When I saw King of the Mound: My Summer With Satchel Paige by Wes Tooke on the new Sunshine State Young Readers Award list, I knew I'd be getting it ASAP. Not because it's SSYRA, but because I'm a huge baseball fan! I ordered it right away, and read it before we were out of school. Fortunately it did not disappoint. It is a work of historical fiction, set in the time of segregation when black ballplayers mostly had to play in the Negro League. In the story, young Nick has just been released from the hospital after a bout of polio. His father is a catcher for a semi-pro team, and the team owner has just hired the best pitcher in all of baseball, Satchel Paige, to come pitch for his (white) team. Nick himself had been an outstanding pitcher in youth league but doesn't know if he will ever be able to play again. I am definitely planning to use this one in my classroom this year, perhaps during black history month. It has a great lesson about not giving up, working hard, and being determined.
Every year I have a bunch of third graders who are crazy about this series by Jeff Kinney. I had never read any,though I have seen the movie! I decided it would be a good idea to at least read the first one so I'd know what they are talking about :) It was a quick read, which is probably some of the appeal for some readers. I'm all for getting kids to read, so this book definitely has a place in the classroom. I picked up a copy of several of the books to put in my classroom library; I expect they will get a lot of use. Personally, reading one was plenty for me -- I'm glad I did, but I don't love it!
And now for a commercial: If you have a donors choose project going, please link up to publicize and hopefully get some support for it! Just click the picture to go the linky blog post: