A Book A Week #16 & #17

16.  Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

I’m not going to write about how to teach this book because:

a.  I didn’t like it that much (even though it won the Newbery in 2005)

b.  I wouldn’t teach with it, even if I did like it, because it is much to complex for even a clever grade 5 reader.  I know this because I found myself asking “Hu?” several times, and I like to think I am at least as clever as a 5th grader.  I know I could be deceiving myself on that one.

But, it’s documented here now as my book count climbs higher!

17.  Saavy by Ingird Law

It’s Mibs Beaumont’s 13th birthday and when a Beaumont turns 13, they get their savvy- their extra special something.  But just before her big day, her father gets in an accident and her world turns around.  She and her cast of secondary characters go on an adventure… you know the rest.

The Newbery obsession continues!  Though, I have to send my thanks to our illustrious “dealer” Barb M. for putting this gem in my hands!  It was a Newbery Honor book this year, and as a result it has quite a bit of press on the internet.

This site has links to the Today Show interview and a few others.

Her website has some good information on it.  It appears this is her one and only book, so far.

Reading Challenges and Teaching Opportunities:

Unlike many of the books that I feel I have been reading lately, this one would be accessible as a read aloud to grade 3 students or higher.

Character Development: It would be good for teaching internal and external story, and also how secondary characters tell us about the main character.

Story Structure: Even though it is a straighforward narrative, you could use this book to illustrate that more complex chapter books often have multiple problems.  Soemtimes each character in the book either has a problem or contributes to the solution of another person’s problem.

Theme: Individual strengths, turning challenges into opportunities, and believing in yourself could easily be identified by students in grades 3 and up in an interactive read aloud situation.

Genre: It’s really a fantasy book because of the super powers of the Beaumonts.  But the story is very realistic in every other way.  It takes place in the present and most of the problems the main characters have could be the problems of any child on the cusp of adolescence.


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