It’s only been a week since I went back to school with meetings galore and I’m already missing the feel of a book in my hands and my head in another world of stories. I have a tendency to get lost in the author’s characters and their lives and this summer was no different! Our school librarian did another book club of the William Allen White Children’s Book Award 3rd-5th Grade Master List for 2016-17 and this summer I attended all but one of the meetings. I did, however, read ALL of the books!
I didn’t start in any particular order although I didn’t want to overwhelm myself by choosing several novels to read in a 2 week time-frame before our club met. That would be mean of me to hog all of the books! I’ll give you a run-down of each title based on the list.
- El Deafo by Cece Bell – This was an interesting book format like a comic book. It told the story of a girl who had a hearing disability as she went to school and made new friends. Visually pleasing and a well-told story.
- Life on Mars by Jennifer Brown – Although this story was a little hard to get into it, once you did, it was a great read. I learned things through the characters in this story that I didn’t know about space. I would think this would be easier for a 5th grader to read than some of my 3rd graders.
- The Map Trap by Andrew Clements – Ahh, who doesn’t like a book by Andrew Clements? Frindle is one of my favorites and this one ranks up there with it. I would love to be able to read this during Social Studies when I’m teaching about maps!
- Absolutely Truly: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery by Heather Vogel Frederick – This might be my favorite on the list. Great characters, great story, and who doesn’t love a mystery? I would say that this one is also targeted to a higher level reader.
- Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord – I really got into the characters of this one – friends and multi-generational with photography, lakes, loons, and canoes. Refreshing summer read.
- Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin – Dare I say that this was my least favorite? Not because it wasn’t well-written because it was. I think it hit a little closer to home based on a student experience of my own that I had had. The title was catchy and I loved the way the character focused on homonyms.
- Hello, I’m Johnny Cash by G. Neri – Written like song lyrics, this book was good. I had previous knowledge of Johnny Cash as my son loves his song “Boy Named Sue” and I’d seen movies about this infamous “Man in Black“. In this story I learned some different facts that I didn’t know before!
- Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell – A very inspiring book of a gal who followed her dreams.
- Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with Great Whites of California Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy – I not only read this book during Shark Week but I was also going to San Francisco this summer! Alas, I didn’t see the Islands or any sharks on my visit but I sure learned a lot by readings this book!
- Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh – Usually when you hear about desegregation you think of Rosa Parks. I enjoyed learning about a different family and their struggle from a different view point.
So, not only can I recommend these books to my own students, but I also completed a “review” for the library! I mean, how I can expect my students to read them if I don’t?
P.S. I not only read these 10 books this summer but 12 other novels. Now do you see why I’m missing getting lost in my fantasy world? Time to get back to real life!