Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts started a weekly meme about what people are reading and reviewing in children’s and young adult literature. It’s a great way to see what others are reading.
Last Week’s Reading Adventures:Catch Up Edition
Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner – I am so glad I was able to read this over spring break before I start lending my copy back out to classrooms. Kate has created a suspensful near future adventure that is simply engrossing. Jaden is visiting her father for the first time in years at the community his company StormSafe has built in Oklahoma. The world is warmer then and catastrophic storms are much more common (so common that shelters exist every 15 minutes on roads in case people get caught out when a storm is coming). Jaden is attending a prestigious summer science learning experience called Eyes of Tomorrow. While getting used to life with her father and his new family, Jaden is also getting exposed to cutting edge technology and research. When it comes time to choose a specialty for the summer, Jaden wants to learn more about storm dissipation. This results in her being paired with Alex, a local boy living on one of the last holdout farms nearby in OK. He has a very different view on life. As they work together, they discover there’s more to the storms than what they seem.
The Last Musketeer by Stuart Gibbs – This is a time travel adventure that is fast paced. Greg Rich and his parents are transported back in time after an incident at the Louvre. Now Greg has to find a way to rescue his parents from prison while looking and sounding like no one else around him. While looking for sanctuary, he stumbles across a teenage Aramis. It isn’t long before Athos and Porthos join the story as well. The four teenagers try to convince the king to let Greg’s parents go but they keep running afoul of obstacles. Then there’s Milady who Aramis wants to trust completely and Athos can only be suspicious toward. It’s a fun story with trappings of the Three Musketeers at a younger age, but don’t look for everything to line up.
Mrs. Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater – This short, early chapter book had a lot of elements in it that I like but the ending felt very incomplete to me. A brother and sister move to a new apartment. They learn of a small cottage in between all the apartment buildings. Their parents forbid them to bother the old woman who lives there. You can guess then what the children do when they first have opportunity. This is a light fantasy with the old woman doing a bit of magic and a talking cat. I’m expecting there will be more titles to follow this one given the abrupt ending.
My review for Ordinary Magic went up. It is definitely my favorite fantasy so far this year. Look for more posts about it in the future.
With spring break, I did manage to go through Third Fencepost, a summer camp novel draft I wrote with my friend Kit. This was a general read through on my part to look at characterization, pacing, plot, etc. It is definitely an interesting experience to read through in three sittings what took much longer to write out. It’s also interesting to see how I changed details, etc. 316 comments on the text later and the read through was done. I still think it is a fun story and I enjoy writing the character I did (we each wrote a point of view character). There’s a lot of work ahead though! I should do this same process with some other story drafts in the summer because it pushes me past trying to make something ‘typo-free’ into actual considerations.
This Week’s Reading Adventures
I need to get started on the Classroom so I can discuss it with one of my fourth graders. After that I would like to read A Boy and A Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton and Alice-Miranda on Vacation by Jacqueline Harvey. Then there’s the stack of picture books I brought home from the public library the other day.
This weekend I was at an awesome teacher institute lead by the Civil War Trust. At the end of the event, I picked up two biographies that Wisconsin Historical Society Press put out. I had no idea they had a line called Badger Biographies aimed toward elementary school. Now I have works on Cordelia Harvey and Caroline Quarrls to read. Cordelia Harvey was the wife of a Civil War governor who did much for the care of soldiers. The Caroline Quarrls book is about the Underground Railroad. I also picked up a text from the same publisher called Freedom Train North about the Underground Railroad. Browsing in that book I found mention of the man a school in my district is named for. I had no idea he was involved in the Underground Railroad. I hope to let my inner history fan have fun reading this books soon.