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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Were Taught in Schools

Hello!

I’m back!

Wow! The past few weeks have been really busy and tiring with school starting back up. I didn’t intend to take some time off the blog, but I didn’t plan well and all of a sudden I had a lot going on and no posts planned. And THAT is how the blog gets away from you folks!

But I’m back and I’m working on getting some posts scheduled for the next two months or so. *crosses fingers*

Well, it is time for Top Ten Tuesday (A weekly meme hosted by the lovelies at The Broke and Bookish) and I’m ready to go! There was a bit of a choice for today’s theme.  We could either pair up classic school required reading titles with contemporary books, or we could list titles that we wished were taught in schools. I chose the second option since I’m also a school librarian. Sometimes I read a book that I just have to share with my teachers because I know it fits perfectly into their curriculum…this list contains some of those titles.

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin LevineThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

This is a middle grades level historical fiction novel that would fit really well in an 8th grade American History course. It is all about Little Rock, Arkansas in the year following the integration of the public schools with the Little Rock Nine.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This one is perfect for a high school history course when covering the Holocaust and World War II. It would be so beneficial to see the Jewish Holocaust was not an isolated event, but that this type of thing has happened in other places/eras as well.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie StiefvaterThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I think this one should be taught in English classes all over solely for the beauty of Stiefvater’s prose.

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Another 20th Century history topic that gets skipped over frequently in the classroom. It could be taught alongside a 20th century American History course.

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda WoodsSaint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods

This quick read could be taught in a science class to support a unit on weather or natural disasters since it’s all about a boy’s experience in the midst of Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue ParkA Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A quick but moving story detailing one boy’s story of civil war in Sudan. This could be taught in a World History class.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny RorbyLost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Floridian science and social studies teachers could use this in the classroom when discussing Florida.

 Bystander by James PrellerBystander by James Preller

A fabulous read for a Character Development course on the middle school level as it touches on bullying: the bully, the victim and the bystander.

The Day of the Pelican by Katherine PatersonThe Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

Again, with the 20th century history topics! This one tells the story of an Albanian girl whose family is forced to become refugees while escaping their Serbian oppressors.

Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies by Scott Westerfeld

This dystopian sci-fi read could be taught in a middle or high school English class as an alternative to the more traditional dystopian titles.

So there you have it! These are some titles that I think would be great titles to teach in a classroom setting. Have any of you educators actually had to opportunity to teach any of these books? Let me know! I’d like to hear your thoughts!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books Featuring Travel

Hi there!

It’s Tuesday! And tomorrow is my last day at my school with my awesome students….but I promised myself I wouldn’t cry today (I’m moving to South Carolina in July), so let’s just get on with the list!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday  (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is focused on books that feature travel. Although I haven’t done a ton of it, I love traveling and exploring new places. I hope to do much, much more traveling in the future! But for now, due to a lack of traveling funds, I bring you books that feature travel. Some of these books feature travel for pleasure and some for necessity, but it’s all travel!

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. SmithThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (YA)

Love at first sight on a plane on the way to London.

Paper Towns by John GreenPaper Towns by John Green (YA)

Road trip with friends to find another friend.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (YA)

Traveling through distant lands to assemble the team who will take back the kingdom of Lumatere.

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis (MG)

Operation Pedro Pan children traveling from Cuba to the U.S.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman PhilbrickThe Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick (MG)

A boy searching for his brother travels across a Civil War torn United States.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue ParkA Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (MG)

The true story of Salva’s travels one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.

TempestTempest by Julie Cross (YA)

Time travel!

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (YA)

A girl’s scavenger hunt across Europe.

Woods Runner by Gary PaulsenWoods Runner by Gary Paulsen (MG)

A boy searches across states for his kidnapped parents during the American Revolution.

Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey CouloumbisThe Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Couloumbis (MG)

Two orphaned sisters set out into the Wild West and soon find themselves as outlaws.

So, as mentioned earlier some of these books feature a fun, lighthearted travel while others are travel for more serious reasons, but all of the above books are great reads! Have you read any of these? Are there some travel books that I absolutely must read?

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History and Humor: 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Hola!

Contemporary history isn’t something I know a lot about, unless it has to do with the Southern Civil Rights movement of the 1960s (my focus as a History major). So my interested was piqued when I saw that 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis was on this years Florida 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-GalbisSunshine State book list.

When Julian’s parents make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away from Cuba to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation, the boys are thrust into a new world where bullies run rampant and it’s not always clear how best to protect themselves.

Operation Pedro Pan?! Living in Florida I’d known a little bit about this program but not very much.  For those of you who don’t know what Operation Pedro Pan began when Cuban parents afraid the Cuban government would take away their parental authority sent their children to the United States. For two years, (December 1960 to October 1962) more than fourteen thousand Cuban children arrived alone in the United States in what is now known as the largest recorded exodus of unaccompanied  minors in the Western Hemisphere. Super interesting huh?!

The story of Operation Pedro Pan is told through the eyes of Julian, the youngest boy in his family. Loveable Julian is often overlooked as the “baby” but wants to be treated like his older brothers and in the end is the one who makes his mark in the lives of many.

Because this is a middle grades story about preteens and teenagers 90 Miles to Havana is full of boys being boys and kids being kids; competing against one another, playing pranks, and trying to win the attention of girls. The interactions between the kids in the camp are hilarious and believable (I work in a middle school where competition, pranks and attention-getting are all common occurrences!). There were so many times I chuckled to myself just picturing my students in the story! Flores-Galbis mixes the history with humor so you just “get” Julian’s story.

Flores-Galbis, who himself was sent to Florida under Operation Pedro Pan at the age of 9, plays on the idea of a dictatorship by creating a very tyrant-like character who is in charge of the kids at the camp in the United States. The children think they’ve been saved from a totalitarian regime only to discover that this type of leadership can exist anywhere; even amongst a group of teenagers at a camp. Their method of toppling this ruler is both serious and humorous.

So far my students at school have really enjoyed this book, especially those of Hispanic background. If you’re looking for a middle grades novel with a little more depth to it (and one relating to Florida history!), you should most definitely read 90 Miles to Havana. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Author: Enrique Flores-Galbis

Publisher:  Roaring Brook Press (August 3, 2010)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 304 pages

Series: standalone

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book:  90 Miles to Havana

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Top Ten Tuesday: Middle Grade Fiction Recommendations for Boys

Hi there!

Happy Election Day!

For those of you who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful people at The Broke and Bookish.  This week’s theme is open to whatever us book bloggers want to make our lists about.

I was talking with some sixth grade boys at school recently about books they’ve enjoyed, so I thought I’d focus this week’s list around some of the titles these boys recommended (other than The Wimpy Kid Series).  So, this week’s list is Top Ten Middle Grade Recommendations for Boys. Now, don’t get my wrong girls can read these books too…of course…but these are some of the titles my boys said they love!

Framed by Gordon Korman1. The Framed series by Gordon Korman

Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson2. The Daniel X series by James Patterson

Storm Runners by Roland Smith3. The Storm Runners series by Roland Smith

Eggs by Jerry Spinelli4. Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

Hide and Seek by Katy Grant5. Hide and Seek by Katy Grant

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis6. 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen7. Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

Storm Breaker by Anthony Horowitz8. The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson9. Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Everlost by Neal Shusterman10. The SkinJacker trilogy by Neal Shusterman

According to my boys, these are top-notch reads so if you’re looking for something to interest the middle school aged guy in your life, look no further! Do you have any other suggestions for middle grades books?

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Tasty Treats (2)

Well good morning everyone and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

(Do any dad’s read my blog?  If so, let me know!)

Getting new books is like getting tasty treats that I can’t wait to devour, hence the name of this post “Tasty Treats”! (I am working on a Tasty Treats banner…well my husband is working on it for me!)   This morning I wanted to share all the fun books and audiobooks I got-my-hands-on this past week. So what are we waiting for!?

Tasty Treats Stack

Every thing in this stack is a title on the 2012-2013 Florida Sunshine State Book List.  These are some of the books I need to read since I’m a school Media Specialist and the Battle of the Books team coach.  Not only will I be reading and reviewing these books over the summer, but I’ll also be writing a ton of trivia questions from each book for my team to study. Lets look at the covers shall we?

The following titles are the Sunshine State books that I already had in my Media Center catalog.

Sunshine State Books

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman

Some of the books on the list were not already ones I had in my Media Center, so I’ve had to go buy them, like the books below.

More Sunshine State Books

The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald

How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen

I addition to all these middle grades titles I also needed some Young Adult audiobooks in my life.  If I read just YA or just MG I get kinda bored with the one genre, so I have to mix it up now and then.  Since the summer is a time full of middle grade reading,  and I needed some new audiobooks to listen to while running, I decided to pick up some YA listens from my local public library.

Beastly and If I Stay

Beastly by Alex Flinn (currently listening to)

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

So, there you have it – my recently received tasty treats! I know I’ll be having fun attacking these over the next few weeks!  What fun reads did you get this week?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Introducing the 2012-2013 Florida Sunshine State Books

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and Bookish and is intended to help book bloggers socialize and showcase books! This week’s official theme is Favorite Quotes from Books, but I can’t think of any to talk about other than a favorite from Pride and Prejudice, that helps me feel better about life at times:

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?” -Mr. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

So, since I can’t think of too many quotes from books, so I’ve decided to highlight the ten fifteen 2012-2013 Florida Sunshine State Books. Sunshine State books are middle grade books selected for their wide appeal, literary value, varied genres, curriculum connections, and or multicultural representation. The goal of the Sunshine State book list is to encourage students to read independently for pleasure.

As a middle school Media Specialist, my job is to read all fifteen books so I can promote these titles during the school year; I’m going to get really familiar with these books over the next year! Well, here we go; the 2012-2013 Florida Sunshine State books!

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen

Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker’s Bowling Paradise. But while Lamar’s a whiz at rolling strikes, he always strikes out with girls. And his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior, is no help. Xavier earns trophy after trophy on the basketball court and soaks up Dad’s attention, leaving no room for Lamar’s problems. Until bad boy Billy Jenks convinces Lamar that hustling at the alley will help him win his dream girl, plus earn him enough money to buy an expensive pro ball and impress celebrity bowler Bubba Sanders. But when Billy’s scheme goes awry, Lamar ends up ruining his brother’s shot at college and every relationship in his life. Can Lamar figure out how to mend his broken ties, no matter what the cost?

Wild Things by Clay Carmichael

Wild Things
by Clay Carmichael

A headstrong girl. A stray cat. A wild boy. A man who plays with fire. Eleven-year-old Zoe trusts no one. Her father left before she was born. At the death of her irresponsible mother, Zoe goes to live with her uncle, former surgeon and famed metal sculptor Dr. Henry Royster. She’s sure Henry will fail her as everyone else has. Reclusive since his wife’s death, Henry takes Zoe to Sugar Hill, North Carolina, where he welds sculptures as stormy as his moods. Zoe and Henry have much in common: brains, fiery and creative natures, and badly broken hearts. Zoe confronts small-town prejudice with a quick temper. She warms to Henry’s odd but devoted friends, meets a mysterious teenage boy living wild in the neighboring woods, and works to win the trust of a feral cat while struggling to trust in anyone herself. Zoe’s questing spirit leads her to uncover the wild boy’s identity, lay bare a local lie, and begin to understand the true power of Henry’s art. Then one decisive night, she and the boy risk everything in a reckless act of heroism.

Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese

Happenstance Found (The Books of Umber)
by P.W. Catanese

Twelve-year-old Happenstance awakens in a cave with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. Soon a mysterious trio arrives to take him away: the explorer Umber, the shy archer Sophie, and Oates, whose strength and honesty are both brutal. Hap and his new acquaintances narrowly escape the cavernous underworld and make their way to Lord Umber’s bustling jewel of a harbor city, Kurahaven. Once there, Hap learns that Lord Umber is an extraordinary man — he’s a merchant, adventurer, inventor, royal adviser, and chronicler of all things monstrous and magical. But Umber’s accomplishments can’t answer the question closest to the boy’s heart: Who is Happenstance? Desperate to uncover clues in his new, baffling surroundings, Hap accompanies Umber on dangerous and unusual missions. But Hap soon learns that there are powerful enemies inside the kingdom, and a ruthless assassin is hot on his trail. Faced with many unknowns, Hap knows one thing is certain: There’s a reason Umber has chosen him…if only he could determine it.

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

90 Miles to Havana
by Enrique Flores-Galbis

When Julian’s parents make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away from Cuba to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation, the boys are thrust into a new world where bullies run rampant and it’s not always clear how best to protect themselves.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

It takes a graveyard to raise a child. Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

Hide and Seek by Katy Grant

Hide and Seek
by Katy Grant

Thirteen-year-old Chase, a geocaching enthusiast, must constantly rely on his wits to solve unexpected problems. This outdoor adventure and boy’s coming of age story is set in the remote, rugged mountains of northern Arizona.

Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald

Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading
by Tommy Greenwald

Charlie Joe Jackson may be the most reluctant reader ever born. And so far, he’s managed to get through life without ever reading an entire book from cover to cover. But now that he’s in middle school, avoiding reading isn’t as easy as it used to be. And when his friend Timmy McGibney decides that he’s tired of covering for him, Charlie Joe finds himself resorting to desperate measures to keep his perfect record intact.This is the hilarious story of an avid non-reader and the extreme lengths to which he’ll go to get out of reading a book

The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman

The Juvie Three
by Gordon Korman

Three boys serving time in juvenile detention are given a second chance in the form of Douglas Healy, a former juvenile delinquent who is running an experimental halfway house. After Healy is knocked unconscious trying to break up a scuffle among the boys, they hatch a crazy scheme so they won’t be sent back to juvie.

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story
by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about a girl in Sudan in 2008 and a boy in Sudan in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick


The Mostly True Adventures Of Homer P. Figg
by Rodman Philbrick

Master storyteller Rodman Philbrick takes readers on a colorful journey as young Homer Figg sets off to follow his brother into the thick of the Civil War. Through a series of fascinating events, Homer’s older brother has been illegally sold to the Union Army. It is up to Homer to find him and save him. Along the way, he encounters strange but real people of that era: two tricksters who steal his money, a snake-oil salesman, a hot-air balloonist, and finally, the Maine regiment who saved Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg and won the war for the Union.

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X
by James Patterson

Yes, it’s true: Daniel X is special. X-traordinarily special. He may be just a kid, but Daniel is strong enough to fight anything in the world. And it’s a good thing, because not many guys you meet have a host of deadly criminals hunting them to the ends of the Earth. And none of them are extraterrestrials. Daniel is the only one who might be able to eliminate every last intergalactic evil on the List of Alien Outlaws on Terra Firma. Because the greatest superpower isn’t to be part spider and part man, or to cast magic spells – the ultimate gift is the power to create.

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison

My Fair Godmother
by Janette Rallison

Finding your one true love can be a Grimm experience! After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair because she’s not a very good fairy student; Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight. Laughs abound in this clever fairy tale twist from a master of romantic comedy.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Lost in the River of Grass
by Ginny Rorby

A science-class field trip to the Everglades is supposed to be fun, but Sarah’s new at Glades Academy, and her fellow freshmen aren’t exactly making her feel welcome. When an opportunity for an unauthorized side trip on an air boat presents itself, it seems like a perfect escape—an afternoon without feeling like a sore thumb. But one simple oversight turns a joyride into a race for survival across the river of grass. Sarah will have to count on her instincts—and a guy she barely knows—if they have any hope of making it back alive. Lost in the River of Grass takes on the classic survival genre using one of the country’s most unique wild places as a backdrop. In this tense, character-driven thriller, Sarah must overcome prejudice and the unforgiving wilderness in a struggle to survive.

The Trouble with Half a Moon by  Danette Vigilante

The Trouble with Half a Moon
by Danette Vigilante

Ever since her brother’s death, Dellie’s life has been quiet and sad. Her mother cries all the time and Dellie lives with the horrible guilt that the accident that killed her brother may have been all her fault. But Dellie’s world begins to change when new neighbors move into her housing project building. Suddenly men are fighting on the stoop and gunfire is sounding off in the night. In the middle of all that trouble is Corey, an abused five-year-old boy, who’s often left home alone and hungry. Dellie strikes up a dangerous friendship with this little boy who reminds her so much of her brother. She wonders if she can do for Corey what she couldn’t do for her brother-save him.

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach
by Brenda Woods

Saint is a boy with confidence as big as his name is long. A budding musician, he earns money playing clarinet for the New Orleans tourists. His best friend is a stray dog named Shadow, and it’s because of Shadow that Saint’s still in town when Hurricane Katrina hits. Saint’s not worried about the hurricane at first – he plans to live to be a hundred just to defy his palm-reader friend Jupi, who told him he had a short life line. But now the city has been ordered to evacuate and Saint won’t leave without Shadow. His search brings him to his elderly neighbor’s home and the three of them flee to her attic when the waters rise. But when Miz Moran’s medication runs out, it’s up to Saint to save her life – and his beloved Shadow’s.