Wednesday, December 7, 2011

November Reading Recap

Oh, November, I'm so happy to see you go! But now December is here, and I get to wondering where in the world my year went. Is this really the last of 2011? How is that possible? I see all of those 2011 Challenges on my sidebar that I haven't updated in months, and I'm feeling like a bad blogger. Yes, my reading has suffered this year, but the rest of my life has been great, so I'll take that trade. Here's what I read in November:

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke --- A science fiction graphic novel with a girl protagonist? Woohoo! Zita and her best friend are outside one day when they discover this giant crater. Inside it is what looks like a remote control with just one big red button. Well, what are big red buttons for if not pushing, so Zita does just that and her friend, poof!, disappears. Zita goes after him and finds herself on another planet, galaxy even with all sorts of aliens and creatures. She slowly befriends a couple and begins her quest to find her friend. An absorbing read with illustrations that remind me a lot of Amulet - will definitely appeal to that crowd.

What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones --- I've read a Sones book every month for the past three months, and that makes me happy. That also means that she's going to have to start pumping out books a whole lot more frequently if this trend is to continue. Just saying. Ah, I don't think I've read this particular one before, and I, of course, enjoyed it almost as much as my favorite, What My Mother Doesn't Know. It picks up where Mother leaves off but is written mostly in Robin's voice (Sophie's new boyfriend) instead. I just love Sones' poetic prose!

Lost & Found by Shaun Tan --- This is a collection of Shaun Tan's early works; you know, before he became famous for the inventive and gorgeous sepia-toned wordless graphic novel The Arrival. The three stories in this book are admittedly odd and rather dark (I wouldn't buy it for my elementary school, that's for sure), but have a bit of hope and charm reflective of Tan's style. A quick read with few words and lots of quirkiness.

Mudkin by Stephen Gammell --- My review from Goodreads: The negative reviews of this book make me laugh - a book with few words? How dare he! (Pardon the sarcasm.) I generously appreciated this whimsical story of a girl playing outside after the rain on a muddy day. Her conversations with Mudkin were inspired - do we really need to know what he says? No; we can INFER! Inference is such a tricky skill to teach, but this book practically does it itself without needing much teacher direction. Love it. Will recommend to teachers, for sure.

Cloaked by Alex Flinn (review) --- I liked Beastly best (and I haven't even seen the movie yet), then Cloaked, and finally A Kiss in Time, when comparing the fractured fairy tales I've read by Flinn. Cloaked had a lot of unexpected twists and turns that I sometimes appreciated (other times I was just like, huh?), and I did enjoy the little love story too. As long as Flinn keeps writing these retold fairy tales, I'll keep reading them!

Igniting a Passion for Reading: Successful Strategies for Building Lifetime Readers by Steven Layne --- A must-read for anyone who works with children and young adults. Steven Layne is an educator and public speaker, so I was wary that he wouldn't address the librarian side of things, but I was pleasantly surprised to find how warmly and intelligently he speaks of librarians and what we do. He starts the book with a rationale for reading aloud (at all grade levels) and focuses each chapter on different ways to get students excited about reading. I found that I was already doing quite a few things right (I'd hope so!), but I also learned new strategies and tricks that I immediately implemented in my own practice. Simple things like a special bookshelf or display area of my favorite books, a sign or bookstand with what I'm currently reading, book talks, book passes, and much more. I'd be happy to lend it to anyone if you can't get ahold of a copy!



Peaceful Reader said...

I hope I am doing a lot of what Layne recommends too but I'm going to search out the book just to see. Anyone of us can use fresh ideas...

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