A Book A Week #19-24

Lots of reading over the GLORIOUS spring break we had… my kiddies were still in school so I had plenty of uninterrupted reading time.

I dug into some classics…

19.  Loser by Jerry Spinelli

20.  Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

21.  The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

-and didn’t feel that strongly about any of them.  Both Loser and Maniac were not what I expected, which goes to illustrate one of my favorite quotes of all time:  Expectation is the appetizer of disappointment.

They were not necessarily realistic fiction and I thought they would be.  Also, they would be surprisingly hard for even a sophisticated grade 5 reader to truly understand on a deeper level.  If you use either of these books in class, a read aloud will work best so you can scaffold the comprehension.

Gilly Hopkins was not quite as complex, but it did feel dated- not surprisingly, as it was published in 1979.  It still made me cry at the end, though.

22.  The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan

This book did NOT disappoint.  It reads like a good James Patterson novel- action packed, dialogue and character driven, light on the message.  The formula of the unlikely hero going on a journey with the help of a few pals, some luck, some mysticism, and the wise counsel of some elders works well in this book.  What makes it unique is that it is actually very funny.  The dialogue feels modern and fresh, which may eventually date it… but for now it feels good.

Though I don’t think it will go down in the annals of childrens literature as one of the greats, it was highly entertaining and worth putting in the hands of a solid Bridging reader.  I might even read a few more in this series and I look forward to reading them aloud to J and E… someday.

Fashion Kitty 1

23. and 24. Fashion Kitty and Fashion Kitty vs. The Fashion Queen by Cherise Mericel

This graphic novel series is targeted at girls.  They were cute- not much more to say than that.  I could see these books in the hands of Early Expanding readers, especially our ESL students.  Graphic novels are so good for supporting these students because there is so much support in the pictures, yet the books themselves can look and feel more sophisticated.  Plus, they are a fun read!

One interesting note, this author also writes the “Just Grace” series, which is more substantial. You could use these as a bridge to her more dense chapter books.

At 24 books, I am only 2 away from the 1/2 way point of my goal for the year.  I think I may have to increase the goal… but we’ll see what happens.  I am not committing to anything more just yet.  It feels good to be sticking with this though!

2 responses to “A Book A Week #19-24

  1. “A good James Patterson novel”? Surely this is an oxymoron.

  2. Maybe “good” isn’t the best adjective- totally depends on what you are looking for in a book. However, one can’t deny the hold Patterson has on his niche- his ever expanding niche.

    I have not read his YA stuff (or much of his adult work, either- one or two at most)- but it seems like it would appeal, especially to reluctant readers.

    This article on his publishing empire blew me away: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/magazine/24patterson-t.html?pagewanted=9

    Also, he has a great website dedicated to getting kids reading- love it!

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