12.11.17 It’s Monday! What are you Reading? THE BEST WE COULD DO by @MsThiBui ‏

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{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!


Does anyone know if it snowed at the bills game yesterday?

Check this out…


From ABRAMS BOOKS site:

An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author Thi Bui.

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.

In what Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls “a book to break your heart and heal it,” The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Bui’s journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past.

 

No matter how many times I read stories by and about refugees, I’m always amazed by the strength that humans can show to survive. Even in the face of horrible living conditions and near-death experiences, people press on.

It was fascinating learning more about Vietnam and the people of that country. I know that America was in a war there in the 60s and 70s, that it was complicated, that many Americans died. Yet I rarely think of what it was like for the people of that country to deal with the rise and fall of leaders, the split of a country, and the struggle for survival amidst all that upheaval. Bui’s moving biographical graphic novel captured all that, plus what it was like for her and her family to move to and live in America.

The most moving part for me was when the beautiful illustrations were interrupted with the actual refugee photos taken of the Bui’s family when they made it safely out of Vietnam and to a camp.

This book is written for adults, but if the topic is interesting to younger readers, I highly recommend Thanhha Lai’s award winning novel in verse on the same topic, Inside Out & Back Again.

 

Check out this link to the Abrams site to see more images of the book pages.

NBC news did a nice Q&A with Bui. She also shared a bunch with Mother Jones.

 

 


PERIOD 1&2 READ 19 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD5&6 READ 27 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD 8&9 READ 16 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.


Did you catch my
this past week?
audio-books

AUDIO BOOK

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12.4.17 It’s Monday! What are you Reading? SUEE AND THE SHADOW

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{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!


I’ve mentioned to some of you that Graphic Novels are like dessert.

I read them myself and encourage you all to read them (and illustrated novels like Wimpy Kid). At the same time, I think it’s best not to read a steady diet of them. It’s important to read novels—more words, more practice, more like what you’ll be reading for your life.

But GNs are awesome! And if you’re reading them carefully and thoroughly, there is a LOT going on to pay attention to and enjoy.

Reward yourself with a GN or IN every couple novels to give yourself a treat and keep your energy up.

Description from IndieBound

Meet Suee: Twelve years old, wears her hair to the left in a point, favors a black dress, has no friends–and she likes it that way When Suee transfers to the dull and ordinary Outskirts Elementary, she doesn’t expect to hear a strange voice speaking to her from the darkness of the school’s exhibit room, and she certainly doesn’t expect to see her shadow come to life. Then things start to get really weird: One by one, her classmates at school turn into zombie-like, hollow-eyed Zeroes. While Suee investigates why this is happening, her shadow gains power. Soon, Suee must confront a stunning secret that her shadow has been hiding under her own two feet–something very dark and sinister that could put Suee and her newfound friends at risk 

This was a weirdly creepy book. Suee is a fun character: strong-willed and determined. But she’s also a loner, and that gets her in trouble to some extent—especially with, of all things, her shadow.

This was a totally original concept that Ly pulled off perfectly. A shadow that is begging for life… but also is mean and in control? Weird. The spookiest part is when Suee can’t control how she’s acting or what she says, and is completely aware of it. That helpless feeling is what nightmares are made of.

If you’re up for a creative and interesting graphic novel filled with symbolism, seek out Suee and the Shadow. 

Something tells me that there are more Suee tales to come.

And yes, the author has an Instagram account:

 


PERIOD 1&2 READ ?? BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD5&6 READ ?? BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD 8&9 READ ?? BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.


Did you catch my
this past week?
audio-books

AUDIO BOOK

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12.1.17 {BOOKflix Friday} The Lunar Chronicles

Today is

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can. Each Friday I will endeavor to bring a couple to you—some new or recent, some teasers of upcoming books, and a few “classics”. Get the popcorn ready.

Lights…Camera…Action!


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reading&tweeting

As I was reading I made a connection. I sent a tweet out and the author, Marissa Meyer, responded. That never gets old:

FullSizeRender 5Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 7.37.15 AMMal Reynolds From FIREFLY

 

Han Solo from STAR WARS    Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 7.36.05 AM

 ••••

For those “Lunarheads” who can’t get enough, Meyer has also published a graphic novel Wires and Nerve which continues the adventures of Iko, our favorite female robot.

11.27.17 It’s Monday! What are you Reading? Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{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!


From IndieBound:

Description

A wrenching and revelatory novel. – The New York Times”

Green finds the language to describe the indescribable. . . . A must-read for those struggling with mental illness, or for their friends and family.” –San Francisco Chronicle
It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

It is so difficult to understand what mental illness is like. We can be sympathetic. I can nod my head and listen. I can try to empathize…

But it’s tough to understand the anguish that someone struggling with mental illness is going through.

Turtles All the Way Down gives me a better idea for sure. Living with Aza for the length of this book was challenging. There were times when I cringed at her actions or wanted to yell at her for the thoughts she had in her head. I was pained by the conversations she had with her “dark side” that was trying to convince her to do crazy things.

If it’s tough to read about it, imagine living with it. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) shows itself in many ways. In TATWD, Aza is obsessed with the thought that her body being invaded by microbes carrying diseases that will kill her. One of her habits is to dig her thumbnail into the pad of her middle finger. Over time it has developed a callous and a crack that won’t properly heal. She makes it bleed then sanitizes it then makes herself crazy over whether she remembered to change the bandage recently or not.

Strange stuff for someone who doesn’t deal with it, but books like this give me a window into lives of people who do. What do I do with that information?

My hope is that it makes me a little more sympathetic and understanding when I know someone or hear of someone who has to fight this daily.

OCD is just one mental illness. There are many more.

The good news is that there is hope and help for everyone. It may take a while, but it can be overcome.

I’ll certainly be writing more about this book and the themes that echo across it.

John Green bases much of Aza’s struggles on his own experience wrestling with OCD. If you’re interested in hearing him talk more about it, check out his interview with Terri Gross on Fresh Air.

And yes, he’s got an Instagram account.


PERIOD 1&2 READ 22 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD5&6 READ 37 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD 8&9 READ 23 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.


Did you catch my
this past week?
audio-books

AUDIO BOOK

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11.13.17 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #PAX by Sara Pennypacker

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{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!


This week’s soundtrack:

Explosions in the Sky is one of my favorite bands to listen to while working and reading. We’ll see if you agree.

From IndieBound:

Description

National Book Award Longlist * New York Times Bestseller * An Amazon Best Book of the Year

From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come.

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be–with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .

I need to confess: I didn’t want to read this book.

I’ve had it recommended to me.

I like the cover–why doesn’t love Jon Klassen illustrations?

But a story… told from the point of view of a fox? It sounded too much like a childish Disney tale.

Yet, for some reason, when one of my colleagues delivered it to my desk, I put it in my bag and brought it home… and started reading anyway.

It took about five pages to grip me, and it didn’t let go. This was far more than a cute animal tale. It was deep and serious–I wasn’t ready for that.


Both the fox’s and Peter’s chapters were mesmerizing. Maybe that it was told from third person POV instead of first helped. Peter’s interactions with Vola, a woman he meets on his journey, were my favorite. She had many words of wisdom to share, but not in a preachy way. She was soft spoken and truthful.

After finishing, I did a little more research about the author and the book. It was cool to learn about the research she did to learn about the mannerisms of foxes. Even in a fiction book, it’s important to make sure it’s accurate. You can learn more by listening to the show below.

Check out this radio segment about Pax from NPR. Tap to listen:


PERIOD 1&2 READ 12 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD5&6 READ 8 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD 8&9 READ 11 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.


Did you catch my
this past week?
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If my daughter can get it back from a friend she lent it to…

 

audio-books

AUDIO BOOK

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11.6.17 It’s Monday! What are you Reading? #SOLO

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{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!


This week’s soundtrack:

 

Description from IndieBound:

 

New York Times bestseller “A contemporary hero’s journey, brilliantly told.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review.. “.a rhythmic, impassioned ode to family, identity, and the history of rock and roll.” Booklist, starred review..”. many readers will identify with Blade’s struggle to find his place in a family where he feels like an outsider.” — PW (Publishers Weekly)”the authentic character development and tone will strike a chord with young adults.” – School Library Journal

From award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess, comes Solo, a YA novel written in poetic verse. 

Solo tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, who knows the life of a rock star isn’t really about the glitz and glamour. All the new cars and money in the world can’t make up for the scathing tabloid covers or the fact that his father is struggling with just about every addiction under the sun–including a desperate desire to make a comeback and regain his former fame. Haunted by memories of his mother–who died when Blade was nine–and the ruin his father’s washed-up legacy and life have brought to the family, Blade is left to figure out life on his own.

But, he’s not all alone: He’s got the friendship of a jazz-musician mentor, Robert; the secret love of a girlfriend, Chapel; and his music. All may not be well in the Morrison home, but things are looking up for Blade, until he discovers a deeply protected family secret–one that further threatens his relationship with his family and has him questioning his own identity.

Thrown into a tailspin, Blade decides the only way he will understand his past and begin his future is to find out the truth behind the music and himself. He soon sets out on a journey that will change everything he thought to be true. His quest lands him in Ghana, stuck in a village just shy of where answers to the secret can be found. There, Blade discovers a friendship he couldn’t have imagined, a people founded in family and community, and a reconciliation he never expected.

With his signature intricacy, intimacy, and poetic style, Kwame Alexander explores what it means to finally come home.

This was a tragically beautiful story. I enjoy the speed at which a novel in verse moves–the white space and the things left unsaid playing a huge role in the telling of the story.

I went on the roller-coaster ride of Blade’s life and what a ride it was. Carried along by the musical references and the playlist that Alexander and Hess created to go along with the book, I was mesmerized by where his journey took him. I can’t wait to create that playlist on Apple music and listen to it, remembering the different parts in the story.

If you are a Kwame fan—and if you aren’t already, this will likely make you one—you need to add this book to your collection.

And to think–I have a signed copy! (Thanks, Adam!)

And now…. a few words from Master Kwame:


PERIOD 1&2 READ 16 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD5&6 READ 24 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD 8&9 READ 19 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.


Did you catch my
this past week?
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audio-books

AUDIO BOOK

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11.3.17 {BOOKflix Friday} Infinity Ring Series

Today is BookFlix Friday!

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can.

Get the popcorn ready.

Lights…Camera…Action!


Interested in time travel? Are you fascinated by how things that happen in the past affect the present… and the future?

Maybe you like the show TIMELESS.

This might be the perfect series for YOU!

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This series is a book, but also a game. The trailer is showing off the game, but also gives you a feel for the books.

 

 

There is also this SUPER COOL site that goes along with the books.

10.30.17 It’s Monday! What are you Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{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!


 How about that BILLS WIN!!!

DID you get your pumpkin carving in for the contest???

This week’s soundtrack:

Still working on it… See what I’m reading below!

 


PERIOD 1&2 READ 12 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD5&6 READ 22 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD 8&9 READ 17 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.


Did you catch my
this past week?
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audio-books

AUDIO BOOK

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10.27.31 {BOOKflix Friday} The Graveyard Book

Today is BookFlix Friday!

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can.

Get the popcorn ready.

Lights…Camera…Action!


My daughters love Halloween. Do you?

The imagery, tastes, and sounds of this time of year are awesome:

 

glass-of-cider trick-or-treat-nyc jack-o-lanterns-2048x2048-h download

 

And don’t forget our First Annual AlphaTeam AlphaTheme Pumpkin Carving Contest!

There is no better day to share…

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. Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians’ time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack–who has already killed Bod’s family.

Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?

 

You might be familiar with one of this author’s other books and the movie made from it:

 

I found another cool book cover:

 

One of the coolest things is that Neil Gaiman made available the videos of him reading the book aloud. Here is the playlist:

10.23.17 It’s Monday! What are you Reading? Save Me a Seat

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{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!


This week’s soundtrack:

Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they’re both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. 

Joe’s lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. 

Ravi’s family just moved to America from India, and he’s finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in. 

Joe and Ravi don’t think they have anything in common — but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week. 

 

I like this idea of taking control. It reminds me of being proactive—one of the habits we will be working on this year.

It’s always interesting to see how books that begin with two different points of view come together by the end. It was fascinating to see what it might be like to come to school in America from a different culture. What a shock to be in such a different setting. I think you’d enjoy this book and the realistic glimpse into a week in school. On top of that—there are recipes in the back of the book for some of the dishes that are mentioned inside. Very cool.

 

 


PERIOD 1&2 READ 13 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD5&6 READ 23 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.

PERIOD 8&9 READ 15 BOOKS THIS PAST WEEK.


Did you catch my
this past week?
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Kwame Alexander is the author of a couple of our favorite novels in verse. Perhaps you’ve seen these two…

I’ve had his new book Solo on my Books on Deck list here to read all year.

I was messaging with my high school friend Adam who lives in D.C.  It turns out he’s an acquaintance of Kwame’s… and he was able to get me THIS!

How cool is THAT?! Thanks Adam!

audio-books

AUDIO BOOK

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I got this for my daughter for her birthday.
Remind me to tell you what I said to her about it…
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