Archive for September 1st, 2014

Link up with Teach Mentor Texts

Link up with Teach Mentor Texts

Today is a big day for me. Not only is it my dog Charlie’s birthday (and Labor Day), I am the featured blogger on The Nerdy Book Club. I was excited to be invited to write a post about my reading life. Follow the link: Friend Request an Author.

I am not a reader who believes that every book is made for every one. I have students who adore fantasy fiction. I appreciate this, but I much prefer realistic fiction. I have tried and liked many historical fiction books as well. This week I finished reading Keeping Safe the Stars by Sheila O’Connor. The Stars (Pride, Nightingale, and Baby) are orphans living with their grandfather in the year of the Watergate scandal. For students to fully understand some of the underlying themes, they would need some knowledge of this event. As I recall being a teenager during this time, the whole thing was confusing. Was Nixon a bad guy? Nobody really said so, but he did bad things. Pride is the oldest and is left in charge of the family while her grandfather is ill. She struggles with taking on this huge responsibility, and like Nixon, finds herself telling a few lies. She is only 13. The burden is huge for her. Over and over I wanted to pull her aside and give her my advice. The storyline went on too long for me. I wanted a resolution sooner than it came. Eventually, the people Pride has entrusted rally to care for them, and there is hope for Old Finn’s recovery. This is a story of resilience and independence.

Keeping Safe the Stars


Frank by Connah Brecon will be on sale at the end of September. Frank is a cute little bear dressed in a blue scarf and red vest. He has a problem. He is always late for school, but he has good excuses, such as helping a cat stuck in a tree. When I turned the page, the tree was running off with Frank in it. This does not teach Frank a lesson about being late. He is late again. This time he is challenged to a charity dance-off. His reasons for being late get wackier and wackier. The illustrations are as crazy as the text. In the end, a zombie threatens the school, but Frank saves the day when he challenges the zombie to a dance off. Connah Brecon is a talented artist. The drawings are busy and full of quirky characters. The text lacks a cohesive logic, and the lesson of taking time to make friends is lost in the exaggeration of events.

What are you reading this week? Don’t forget to check out The Nerdy Book Club.

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