I didn't get to tackle my reading wish list over break as I had read from the wrong list in preparation for my book committee meeting. Here is a list of what I did read both for pleasure and the committee, with a brief synopsis and impression of each. I might add that I am pleasantly surprised that I truly enjoyed all of them, not always the case.
Steve Jobs: Genius by Design by Jason Quinn - Graphic biography of Steve Jobs aimed at middle grade readers. Tackles the subject well without sugar-coating his personality. Well done.
Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills - Thoroughly enjoyed this book. The voice rang so true, I felt as though one of my middle-school student had dictated this to the author. A good example of why one should avoid absolutes and how we sometimes teach students to not do the right thing by punishing the messenger. My only criticisms would be that children would never be left to their own devices in in-school suspension and the sub-plot with the secretary tied up a bit too neatly for me.
Never Say Die by Will Hobbs - Action and adventure in the Arctic Circle. I have a slew of students who are hunters that will devour this book. This would be great to add to the study of climate change in science classes as well.
Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner - Sci-fi thriller combines the current concern with head trauma with a modern day Manhattan Project. I kept turning the pages to find out where the story would turn and was not disappointed. Loved the references to Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder which gives me a wonderfully sneaky way to book talk two books at once!
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan - Haunting and beautifully crafted story of one girl's journey through grief. Gritty and uplifting though heartbreaking. I read straight through with no breaks as I was invested in all the interesting characters and how they all reacted/changed/grew through their relationships with one child and her misfortune.
The Girl from Felony Bay by J.E. Thompson - Intriguing mystery set in the Carolina swamp. The characters were well-drawn and engaging. I loved Abbey Force the intrepid main character. What a fun read with twists and turns. Definitely sharing this as soon as we return to school!
The Final Four by Paul Volponi - I started this book with supposition that it was a "boy book" and that it would be so technical about the game that I would be bored. Boy was I wrong! Two chapters in I was totally hooked by the characters, the drama and the suspense. There were characters I was not sure whether to love or hate and I was impatient to find out what happened as the story unfolded. Wow!
Jump Into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall - Truly enjoyed this book. World War II historical fiction including the Triple Nickels, Jim Crow, racism and family dynamics. Levi Battle has a wonderful narrative voice and is the type of character that you truly care about. Recommend reading Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America's First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone as a non-fiction partner. I had read it already and the background knowledge of the Triple Nickels made the story even more compelling.
Four Secrets by Margaret Willey - Secrets are power. Power over ourselves and power over others. In the wrong hands, secrets can be wielded as weapons. Set in a middle school, a place where social heirarchy reins supreme, Four Secrets is the story of how secrets can bind together or imprison their holders.
2-Minute Biographies for Kids by Steve Reifman - Very cool format. Information on famous peoples' lives, with the names withheld until the end. Well-written and interesting. Would be great for a research activity in the library. Can't wait to use it.
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