Monday, September 21, 2009

Reading Reasons by Kelly Gallagher and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

On an 8 hour round-trip car ride to Indianapolis this weekend, I managed to engulf two books. The first, I feel embarrassed to admit, I hadn't read yet- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. Of course, it takes a full reading to realize what all the buzz has been about since its publication. Suffice it to say that I LOVED the character of Frankie and her blossoming of self-confidence and self-reliance. I love the power Lockhart gave to Frankie, which ultimately led to her coming of age. It's good to read about an intelligent young woman! I will be recommending the novel to lots of young women I think just need a boost and reminder of their power as women. No wonder this novel has been showered with awards!

I also plowed through Kelly Gallagher's Reading Reasons and started using the mini lessons from chapter 3 today in class! Although the Read 180 kids didn't quite get the correlation between reading and their job some day, I will continue my quest! However, the Word Attack mini lesson gave my regular 8th graders a good look at how roots work in vocabulary. I am anxious to share this with colleagues even though I've already introduced most of them to Readicide, Gallagher's latest.

Some Picture Books

I love Amy Krouse Rosenthal and my kids and I gobble up everything she writes. Her upcoming book, Bedtime for Mommy, will continue to delight children. A little girl goes through the bedtime routine of bath, stories, and tucking mommy into bed and then heads off to get daddy ready. LeUyen Pham is the illustrator and her paintings add depth and humor to an already wonderful book. Release date is March 30, 2010 by Bloomsbury.

February 2010 will see another Bloomsbury book sure to be a hit. Too Purpley by by Jean Reidy and Genevieve Leloup is about a little girl who can't find the perfect outfit to wear. What mother of a little girl hasn't been frustrated by this completely female trait? Each page is full of stripes, polka dots, plaids and other varieties of outfit combinations. Of course, my daughter loved the purple page!

Num8ers by Rachel Ward

This novel truly swept me off my feet in its originality. 15 year-old Jem can see a number on every person. It turns out that this number is the date of his/her death. After her own mother's death, Jem realized what the numbers she'd been seeing actually meant. When she meets a boy (Spider) at school who has a date a mere two weeks away, she becomes curious. However, as the two are standing in line at the London Eye, Jem sees that everyone around her has the same death date and she begins to get nervous. She and Spider run away from the scene right before tragedy strikes. They are then suspects in a crime and continue to run throughout the novel. The deftness of the plot structure here will keep kids riveted to the last page. I found the last 50 pages to be completely engrossing-and....there will be a sequel! I love how Ward threw that curve ball that I wasn't expecting at all. This novel is full of delightful "British-isms" that we have all come to know and love over the years. Jem's troubled life seems to get more complicated for the reader yet more satisfying for her as the novel progresses. I explained the premise of the novel and it was snatched up immediately which usually means there will be a "run" on this particular title come February 2010 when Chicken House (Scholastic) releases it. How sad is it now that I want the second one MUCH before the first is published!