It’s Monday! What Have You Been Reading?

This week I was again able to meet my reading goal.  Woot!  Woot!  It is amazing to me that when you really set your mind to something how easy it is to attain your goal.  Even though it wasn’t always during the times I had originally planned to read, I made sure to read just books for at least two hours per day.  That total doesn’t include reading the newspaper, blogs, or from online news sources.  I am thoroughly enjoying getting back into reading mode.  With any luck, this will be just the beginning of staying on this path.

The first book that I read was actually recommended to me by a sophomore at the high school where I was completing my library internship.  I have never been one to choose biographies over other choices of reading material, but I decided for this class that I need to stretch myself as I sometimes ask my students to do.  “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls is a story about a young girl’s struggles through life that hooked me front the beginning.  Jeannette was raised by a sometimes absentee and alcoholic father and a mother that was more consumed with herself than raising children.  This book showed the strength, determination, and ability to overcome dire life circumstances to become a talented and productive member of society.  What an inspiration she is!  One of our English teachers actually got to hear her speak years ago, and some people felt as though she didn’t really understand homelessness in America.  Jeannette’s parents eventually became homeless and stayed that way by choice.  They had children that were willing to support them as well as investments in land worth millions of dollars that they refused to sell.  For a first stab at reading biographies, this one was truly a winner.

Next I chose to read “Rules” by Cynthia Lord.  I worked with Special Education students for many years, and this book also hooked me immediately.  Although I had only intended to read for a little bit that evening, I ended up hitting what I consider the “point of no return,” and I read it in one sitting.  It was an inspirational story of the kindness and patience that it sometimes takes even for loved ones to know how to handle difficult situations occurring raising children with disabilities.  The young characters showed strength in character that many adults don’t possess.  I would definitely recommend this to others.  This would also be a wonderful book to complete as a shared reading in a classroom to teach students about compassion and understanding as well as not judging a book by its cover.  By this I mean, they need to realize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses in life.  It is how we choose to treat others that are different than ourselves that matters.

Another genre of book that I haven’t taken much time to explore is graphic novels.  When I worked at our local high school, I worked with a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome that in general didn’t enjoy reading; until he found graphic novels that is.  He talked and talked about some of the books he has read.  My sixth grade class studied the Holocaust this spring, and my book club group read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.  Therefore, I decided to read the graphic novel “MAUS” by Art Spiegelman as it is a topic that interests me.  It took me a little bit to get used to the format, but once I got going I did enjoy the book.  I enjoyed it enough that after reading the first one I immediately tackled “MAUS II” as I wanted to know what happened next.  J  I would definitely recommend this format of book to students that might struggle with traditional texts.  My hope would be that if they became interested in this format of reading that they would eventually transition to other types of reading material. 

The final book that I completed this week was “The Ghost of Spirit Bear” by Ben Mikaelsen.  I read Ghost of Spirit Bear last year for one of my methods courses, and I had not seen the sequel until I was shelving books during my recent internship.  Since I enjoyed the first book, I decided to read this one as well.  The author did not disappoint me.  It was another book this week that I read in one sitting as it kept me interested from start to finish.  This is definitely another book that I feel could be useful in my classroom.

Sunday night I started reading “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green.  My daughter actually recommended this book to me, and she said that it is her second favorite book of all time.  So far I love it.  I will update you on my opinion of the book next Monday!

I also started my final library internship today at a public library in Sheridan, Wyoming.  While shelving books I pulled out a few more to read over the course of the next few weeks.  Interning at a library comes in very handy for me with taking adolescent literature at the same time.

 Have a wonderfully fun, reading filled week…  Until next time…

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6 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Have You Been Reading?

  1. Interesting collection of books this week! Fault In Our Stars is always one of the most popular books in Adolescent Lit. I don’t always put it on the syllabus, but everyone reads it anyway! It gets passed around. (What is your daughter’s favorite book??) I recently read Cynthia Lord’s new book, Half a Chance, and loved it. Rules is a favorite of mine, but many of my students don’t enjoy it because they want the big sister to be happier about being self-sacrificing and helping out with her brother. But I think her attitude is realistic! There are so many excellent graphic novels for elementary students. Check out the Cybils Award website for great lists of finalists and award winners–definite crowd pleasers. I haven’t read Ghost of Spirit Bear, but I understand there are some serious inaccuracies in its depiction of Native Americans. Might be something to look into before using it in your classroom. Happy reading this week!

    • My daughter said that her favorite book right now is John Green’s “Looking for Alaska.” I haven’t read it yet, but it is on my to-do list. The reason that I read “Touching Spirit Bear” was that it was assigned for my Social Studies methods class. I decided to read “Ghost of Spirit Bear” to see how the author continued the story. That would definitely be something interesting to look into though. I thoroughly enjoyed “Rules.” I worked in the Special Education world for 8 years, and we have friends that have a child with Down’s Syndrome. Although they are always very upbeat with her, I can see how sometimes caring for a special needs child can be more difficult that a child that doesn’t need the extra attention. I too felt that this depiction of life was more believable than an all happy go lucky story would have been. That is really interesting that “Fault in Our Stars” was one that is popular. I didn’t even know that when I chose it. I was just relying on my daughter’s instincts as she is a voracious reader.

      • It’s Touching Spirit Bear that I was thinking of as inaccurate–not Ghost of Spirit Bear! I’ll do some googling and see if I can find an article about that. Has your daughter read Paper Towns and Abundance of Katherines? Paper Towns is my favorite John Green novel. I have a post on my blog about what to read if you love John Green–your daughter might be interested in some of those recommendations! Are you going to see the Fault in Our Stars movie with your daughter? Haven’t decided if I’m going to see it yet. Probably wait for DVD!

      • I wondered when you said something about the inaccuracies as I didn’t remember much historical type writing in “Ghost of Spirit Bear,” but I believe that there was much more in “Touching Spirit Bear” which I read last year some time. My daughter said that she hasn’t read “Paper Towns” yet but one of her friends said that it is amazing and it is on her to-read list. She said that she read about half of “Abundance of Katherines” but just didn’t seem to be able to get into it. We have always told our children that with so many amazing books in the world that if one is just not interesting them that it is okay to move on to another. A teacher friend of mine said that she is only okay with that philosophy if students don’t make it a habit. I understand her point, but all three of our children are voracious readers, and we would rather have them find a book that they will keep reading though than to drag through one that they aren’t enjoying. Obviously they need to complete readings assigned by teachers for classwork, but reading for enjoyment should be just that. Since I am not living in the same town as my daughter right now, we haven’t discussed yet if we will see the movie. I am completing my library internship 4 1/2 hours from our home for the entire month of June. They are coming to see me next weekend though. 🙂 “My Sister’s Keeper” is a book that I loved, but I was totally disappointed with the movie. Since I enjoyed “The Fault in Our Stars” so much, I am hesitant to see it at this point. Maybe though….

      • I agree with you: I am all for kids abandoning as many books as they need to in order to find that “just right” book. Voracious, committed, ardent readers have the stamina and experience to know they can read books they don’t enjoy but still get something out of them. I think it’s a mistake to expect students who aren’t yet ardent readers to be able to do that and somehow develop a love for reading. And helping our students develop a love of reading is the most important thing we can do in our classrooms. Your daughter might like Perks of Being a Wallflower too (also a great movie). I have read that the Fault movie is very faithful to the novel,

      • Both our 15 year old daughter and our 25 year old son have read “Perks of Being a Wallflower” and they both loved it! It is another one that is on my to-read list. I actually have quite an extensive list of books that I want to read since I really didn’t have much time to read for enjoyment over the past three years of working and getting my Bachelors. We have a 22 year old daughter as well, and I believe that she has read it also, but I can’t ask her right now as she is living in Turkey this month as she was accepted to an art class there through the University of Wyoming. We are very lucky that all three of our children love to read as much as we do, so we can all recommend books to one another.

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