10.24 {BookFlix Friday} #WarBrothers

Today is

There are tons of great book trailers out in cyberland, and each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you. Many will be new and recent books. Some trailers will preview a not-yet-released book. And others will look back a little further.

Lights…Camera…Action!


 

This is the graphic novel edition of Sharon McKay’s novel set in Uganda, where Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has, since 1987, abducted up to 30,000 children from their villages and homes for use as soldiers and slaves. It is in these nightmarish times that the fates of 5 boys and a girl are entwined. Captured from their school by the LRA, the boys wait for rescue only to discover that if they are to survive they must rely on themselves. But friendship, courage, and resilience might not be enough to save them. Based in part upon interviews with child soldiers in Northern Uganda, War Brothers is a stunning depiction of the human cost of wars fought by children.

 

10.20 It’s Monday! What are you reading? #BigPlans #ThatBookWoman

Guess what today is!

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{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week

& the titles we are currently reading.}

This meme is originated by Jen and Kellee at TeachMentorTexts. Thanks!

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[YUP! This was my 7th or 8th time reading it now. It hasn't gotten old yet.]

[I even read it aloud to my daughters.]

“I’ve got big plans, BIG PLANS I say!” A little boy sits in the corner of a classroom, plotting his future. He’s got plans…and have you heard? They’re BIG. With the help of a mynah bird and lucky stinky hat, he’ll find a quarter…boss around some muckety-mucks…become the mayor–or even the president! And while he’s at it…fly to the moon! This exuberant story is perfect for any child who is ready to dream BIG. Are you in?

[This was recommended by a friend. He took a lot of my suggestions for YA novels, and when he recommended this to me, I hunted it down. Cool historical picture book. I like David Small, too.]

Cal is not the readin’ type. Living way high up in the Appalachian Mountains, he’d rather help Pap plow or go out after wandering sheep than try some book learning. Nope. Cal does not want to sit stoney-still reading some chicken scratch. But that Book Woman keeps coming just the same. She comes in the rain. She comes in the snow. She comes right up the side of the mountain, and Cal knows that’s not easy riding. And all just to lend his sister some books. Why, that woman must be plain foolish — or is she braver than he ever thought?

That Book Woman is a rare and moving tale that honors a special part of American history — the Pack Horse Librarians, who helped untold numbers of children see the stories amid the chicken scratch, and thus made them into lifetime readers.

How many books have my students read? What are they reading?

Check out the reading totals and the handy SpinCam!

Click on each picture to see a 360º view of students and their books:

[this will be updated at the end of the day]

Period 1&2

Books

Period 5&6

Books

Period 9&10

 Books

Parents are invited to participate in our journey as well. 

For every parent who leaves a comment on TODAY’S POST with what you’re reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…

Let’s have a look back to check for parent comments.

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[Will be born on Feb 24, 2015]
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Thanks,
David Etkin

10.14 It’s Monday! What are you reading? #CountingBy7s

Guess what today is!

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{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week

& the titles we are currently reading.}

This meme is originated by Jen and Kellee at TeachMentorTexts. Thanks!

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51P+NH7nQyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I started reading this aloud to my girls over the summer… and we stalled. I was out of town a few times, and they really like to read their own books. Or read to me.

Even though this fell by the wayside, I was determined to pick it back up especially after: A. Hearing such positive reviews about it from my Nerdy Book Club Twitter pals and B. my daughter finished it independently and told me I must finish it because it was SO good.

So I did, and I’m so glad.

Willow is a truly unique character. They say that one person can’t be more unique than another, but I would have to disagree in this case. Willow is U.N.I.Q.U.E. Fascinated by others’ illnesses—especially skin conditions; an extreme horticulturist; adopted; a near-photographic memory; quick language adaption skills… What can’t she do?… Except act “normal”?

I hope you  take the chance to read about Willow and the other cast of characters—Mai, Quang-ha, Dell Duke, Pattie, and Jairo—who get mashed together in this sweet adventure.

How many books have my students read? What are they reading?

Check out the reading totals and the handy SpinCam!

Click on each picture to see a 360º view of students and their books:

[this will be updated at the end of the day]

Period 1&2

14 books

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Period 5&6

15 Books

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Period 9&10

3 Books

Parents are invited to participate in our journey as well. 

For every parent who leaves a comment on TODAY’S POST with what you’re reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…

Let’s have a look back to check for parent comments.

Before checking out this weeks reading, a couple other items:
We wanted to try to use some reclaimed water for our gallon jugs for the upcoming water walk. Check this link for pictures of what happened. Thanks, Mr. Schleicher!
Parents, have you started following my Facebook page yet? Get there and LIKE it!
Have you seen the trailer for the new movie The Good Lie? It is a perfect tie-in to our read aloud A Long Walk to Water. It is coming to our area soon, and my wife scored some free advance screening tickets for tonight. Very excited to see this movie about young men like Salva—men who are know as the Lost Boys of Sudan.
 
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[Due Feb 24, 2015]

 
Thanks,
David Etkin

10.10 {BookFlix Friday} Unwanteds

Today is

There are tons of great book trailers out in cyberland, and each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you. Many will be new and recent books. Some trailers will preview a not-yet-released book. And others will look back a little further.

Lights…Camera…Action!


This is book one of a series.

Description from IndieBound

Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths

Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be eliminated, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret–behind the mirage of the “death farm” there is instead a place called Artime.

In Artime, each child is taught to cultivate their creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.

But it’s a rare, unique occurence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.

Then you’ll want to read:

 #2

 

#3

 

& #4

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BLOG TOUR: Arcady’s Goal by Eugene Yelchin—an Interview

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Remember that guy? The one who surprised the kid lit world in 2012 when he won a Newbery Honor for his book Breaking Stalin’s Nose. Yeah, this guy:

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Eugene Yelchin dug into the history of Stalinist Russia to bring us his first book.

He takes us back again in his follow up effort, Arcady’s Goal.

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Description from IndieBound:

From Newbery Honor–winning author Eugene Yelchin comes another glimpse into Soviet Russia. For twelve-year-old Arcady, soccer is more than just a game. Sent to live in a children’s home after his parents are declared enemies of the state, it is a means of survival, securing extra rations, respect, and protection. Ultimately, it proves to be his chance to leave. But in Soviet Russia, second chances are few and far between. Will Arcady seize his opportunity and achieve his goal? Or will he miss his shot?

 

Arcady’s Goal is a touching, but tough, story of a boy living without family in an orphanage for children of enemies of the state. The things he has to endure—and learns to endure—are troubling to say the least. But Arcady isn’t the only person in this story who is alone and enduring. The way this new friendship develops with stubborn tenderness is a thing to behold.

Because of Yelchin’s past and his connection with the material, the details in the book are not a stretch but based more on experience and history. I had the honor of interviewing Mr. Yelchin about his background, this book, and writing in general. (And I may have even tossed in a question about chicken wings.)

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When were you born and what was your life like growing up in Russia? Tell us about your education.

I had a fairly standard Soviet childhood. Born in 1956 in Leningrad. Grew up in a communal apartment. Four families of nosy neighbors shared one kitchen, one toilet andKGB-Box_Artone cold-water tap. One of them was a KGB informer, but which one no one knew. Ate, slept and drew my first pictures in a small room allocated to my family, all five of us crowded together. On TV, radio and in the papers ­– continuous lies. At school, lies dressed as education. At recess, ceaseless violence. On the streets, pictures of Lenin everywhere. Military uniforms in every crowd. Poor diet. Drab clothes. Badly made appliances. What else? A wealth of culture: magnificent prose, astonishing poetry, remarkable classical music, ballet, opera, drama, world-class museums. That was my childhood.

 

It seems like Arcady’s savior was soccer. What was your “savior”?

Books. I was a voracious reader. I read everywhere: in our room, on the bus, in a classroom (hiding a book in my lap), in a long bread/milk/potatoes/or whatever was Franz-Kafka-The-Metamorphosisavailable line. Good books were hard to come by, so I read out of any sensible order. Kafka at 12 and Faulkner at 13. In middle grade I read Zola, Balzac, Hugo, Schiller, Maupassant simply because my father happened to have those authors in his book collection. Whether I comprehend what I was reading or not did not matter. Fascinating worlds found between the pages of a book replaced that creepy world around me. And that what saved me.

 

In the beginning of ARCADY’S, you have a picture of your father with the 1945 Red Army Soccer Club. How much—if any— of this book is your father’s true story?

At 17 my father was drafted to the Red Army where he played soccer for various armyPFK_CSKA_Logo.svgclubs until the 1950s. He was highly valued as a soccer player. As a result, he managed to survive World War II and Stalin’s terror. Because he was good at soccer, he lived. This was an original premise for Arcady’s Goal ­­– a story of a young boy who believes that if he becomes a soccer champion he will be safe. What happened during the process of working on the manuscript is another story. Arcady surprised me. He refused to change, refused to follow an emotional arc that I have designed for him. Arcady turned out to be a real hardhead. Instead of changing himself, he began changing other characters. As a result, he transformed the story. He also transformed the way I believed stories ought to be written.

 

Why do you think modern-day Russians are still haunted by the tactics of Stalin?

Imagine if there wasn’t a Nuremberg trial in 1945, but instead Nazi criminals were allowed to run contemporary Germany. Did that not happen in 1953 after Stalin died and his sidekicks continued running the country? Did that not happen after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Do they not have a former KGB operative running the country now? Besides in a culture where autocratic rule continued uninterrupted for thousands of years it is difficult to distinguish between past and present. William Faulkner has a terrific line in Requiem for a Nun: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Applies to modern Russia completely.

 

Stalinist Russia is a gold mine for historical fiction stories. Do you see yourself continuing to write books based on this time period? Do you have other ideas for stories?

It is always good for drama when death and danger are lurking nearby, hence Stalinism. 7470286_origBesides I know what Stalinism feels like all too well. But most of my readers don’t know/care about Stalinism and that is a very good thing. My goal is not to educate them about the past, but introduce questions pertinent to their future. What does it take to vote against the majority? How to live your own life instead of the one predetermined for you by others? How to make sense of what you inherited? In fact, the last question is a premise for my next book The House Of Lions. It is a story of a young boy, the last in line of the ancient lineage of Russian nobility. The story is set in St. Petersburg (my hometown) in 1891.

 

What’s more meaningful to you—your artwork or your writing?

arcady-1Both are equally beloved and equally challenging. Well, not quite. I have been making art since my fingers could hold a pencil, but writing in a second language makes me feel a bit like an impostor. But it’s a good thing really; I’m always on my toes, paying attention. Besides I cheat a little. Breaking Stalin’s Nose and Arcady’s Goalarcadys-goal-2are not illustrated, but told in a written and a visual language simultaneously. A reader learns as much from reading as from looking. Perhaps, my novels are simply overlong picture books for older children.

[Note: It should be mentioned here that Eugene Yelchin designed the original Coca Cola polar bears.]

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What did receiving the Newbery Honor mean to you? How has it changed you or your craft?

Newbery_Honor_SealThe Newbery Medal is given for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The Newbery Honor is not the most distinguished, but almost… almost the most distinguished. I didn’t speak English until I was close to 30, so contributing something, let alone something almost distinguished to American literature is exciting. But it is also terrifying.

Suddenly you realize that someone is reading your stuff. The librarians are reading it and the teachers are reading it and the middle graders are reading it and even some parents are reading it. Writing books becomes an enormous responsibility. Because you don’t want to disappoint all these nice folk who instead of doing something really fun for themselves are sitting down and reading what you wrote. So you try much, much harder. I mean MUCH harder.

 

If you came to Buffalo and I took you out for chicken wings, would you order mild, medium, hot, or suicide? 

Are they gluten-free?

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Yes, my friend, they are gluten-free. 

 

Enter here to win a copy of Arcady’s Goal. (You must be 18 or older to enter.)

 

Make sure to follow the rest of the Arcady’s Goal blog tour at these fine blogs—just a click away:

10/6 – Kid Lit Frenzy

10/7 – Eat the Book

10/8 – Watch. Connect. Read

10/9 – Read, Write, Reflect

10/10 – Nerdy Book Club

10/13 – Librarian in Cute Shoes

10/14 – The Busy Librarian

 

10.6 It’s Monday! What are you reading? #KnockoutGames by G. Neri

Guess what today is!

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{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week

& the titles we are currently reading.}

This meme is originated by Jen and Kellee at TeachMentorTexts. Thanks!

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knockoutgames

[I downloaded an advance copy of this for my iPad for night reading. It is captivating, but Rated M for mature. I wouldn't recommend this book for middle school students.
Parents: If you ever have any questions about the maturity level of a book I post on here, please don't hesitate to ask.]
I read Neri’s book Ghetto Cowboy  and really enjoyed it. When I saw Knockout Games on Netgalley, I was quick to request it.
This was a far cry from Ghetto Cowboy. It was a brutal book. Perhaps that’s what made it so captivating. I mentioned last Wednesday that stories are like windows or mirrors.
This one was definitely a window.
I shuddered many times imagining the lives these teens were leading and the consequences they would face for their actions. I stayed up way later than I intended to find out what would happen with Erica and the crew.
Brutal. Captivating. Thought-provoking.
Publishers Weekly

06/02/2014
A 15-year-old gets mixed up in dangerous activities in this gritty urban drama, partially inspired by real events. After Erica’s parents split up and her mother takes her to live in St. Louis, Erica feels like a fish out of water, part of a small white minority in her new school. Her only refuge is the video camera her father gave her. Then Erica meets Kalvin, the so-called Knockout King, is swept up by his dangerous charm, and starts filming the activities of his “TKO” club, a gang of middle-schoolers who assault random passersby with the intention of knocking them out: “One hit or quit.” As events spiral out of control, with people getting hurt and the authorities cracking down, Erica has to choose between her new relationship and friends, and doing the right thing. Neri (Ghetto Cowboy) skillfully portrays the moral and emotional turmoil of a teen desperate for acceptance, and the repercussions of making hard decisions. Racial and social undercurrents further give this story an intense, thought-provoking edge.

For some great background on this book and why Neri wrote it, check out his page. I always enjoy getting a glimpse into the mind of an author.

How many books have my students read? What are they reading?

Check out the reading totals and the handy SpinCam!

Click on each picture to see a 360º view of students and their books:

[this will be updated at the end of the day]

Period 1&2

10 Books

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Period 5&6

23 Books

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Period 9&10

8 Books
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Parents are invited to participate in our journey as well. 

For every parent who leaves a comment on TODAY’S POST with what you’re reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…

Let’s have a look back to check for parent comments.

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 courage
Thanks,
David Etkin

10.1 {Whatever Wednesday} The power of Story

Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’: a cool quote or poster, a video, or simply a picture.

Enjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.
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In class we are reading stories and will soon be writing our own stories from our lives. This quote captures why we do it—”we” not just being students, but humans. Storytelling is a human thing and has been around since drawing on cave walls.

I heard somewhere that stories are like windows and mirrors. Some, like a window, give us a view of other people’s lives and help us to understand a different situation or experience. Other stories reflect back at us and help us to see our own lives more clearly; they give us insight.

I’m looking forward to continuing our sharing of story— from A Long Walk To Water to Good Enough to On The Bridge.

Here’s to windows and mirrors.

9.29 It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Guess what today is!

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{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week

& the titles we are currently reading.}

This meme is originated by Jen and Kellee at TeachMentorTexts. Thanks!

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I DID read, but honestly, getting ready for the Water Walk presentations took a lot of my time. I did read, but not enough to complete a book. I hope to right that wrong this week.

Remember this? (Some pics are from the 7th and 8th grade presentations.)

Photo Sep 24, 12 24 53 PM Photo Sep 24, 12 23 16 PMPhoto Sep 24, 12 26 43 PMPhoto Sep 24, 12 30 01 PMPhoto Sep 24, 12 54 35 PMPhoto Sep 24, 9 48 53 AM Photo Sep 24, 11 03 53 AMPhoto Sep 24, 10 29 37 AMPhoto Sep 24, 9 16 38 AM

How many books have my students read? What are they reading?

Check out the reading totals and the handy SpinCam!

Click on each picture to see a 360º view of students and their books:

[this will be updated at the end of the day]

Period 1&2

11 books!

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Period 5&6

17 books!

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Period 9&10

12 books!
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Parents are invited to participate in our journey as well. 

For every parent who leaves a comment on TODAY’S POST with what you’re reading, I’ll give your child a BUSTED ticket…

Let’s have a look back to check for parent comments.

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[I downloaded an advance copy of this for my iPad for night reading. It is captivating, but Rated M for mature.
Parents: If you ever have any questions about the maturity level of a book I post on here, please don't hesitate to ask.]
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[My daughter finished this last week and RAVED about it.]51P+NH7nQyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

 
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 courage
Thanks,
David Etkin

9.26 {BookFlix Friday} Alex Rider

Today is

There are tons of great book trailers out in cyberland, and each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you. Many will be new and recent books. Some trailers will preview a not-yet-released book. And others will look back a little further.

Lights…Camera…Action!


Every year a couple kids start this series and get so wrapped up in it that they race through it to the end. Will it be YOU this year?
AR fb
Cool site link here.
Read the books… watch the movie:

9.24 {Whatever Wednesday} #ReadWalkWater kickoff with UgandanWaterProject

Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’: a cool quote or poster, a video, or simply a picture.

Enjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.
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Today is the big #ReadWalkWater kickoff. I’ve been anticipating this day since summertime.

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Today is the day to share about this:

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And this:
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Yup, this too:Photo Aug 12, 6 06 52 AMAnd most definitely this…Photo Aug 11, 11 18 56 AM…and THIS:
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Who needs clean water? Hope International School in Bukwiri, Uganda. Here is a video I put together to show what their water is like and why they need some clean water.

Today James Harrington of Ugandan Water Project comes to the middle school to present to all THREE grade levels and prepare them for the big whole-school fundraiser. Here is the site they put together for people who want to donate on-line.

http://ugandanwaterproject.com/sweethome/

I’m so glad we get to do this together.