Sunday, February 24, 2008

Looking for Alaska, Posted by Mrs. Schauer

by John Green
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Grades

I bought this book two summers ago, but have only just gotten around to reading it...and I can't believe I waited so long to dig into it! Mrs. Camden and I started it at the same time, and I really want her to finish it before I REALLY blog it...I don't want to say too much about this one until she finishes it, because I don't want her to read my words and have it give away the story. ( I mainly just wanted to post something so she'd know I finished it!) LOL I will say this, though...I laughed, I got angry, I cried, I thought, I laughed some more, and thought some more....while reading this book. It is a bit dark, but very thought-provoking and it grabbed my attention from the get-go.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Burned, Posted by Mrs. Camden

Burned, by Ellen Hopkins,
AR: Yes
Interest Level: Upper Grades

When I checked this book out of the library, our school's (and no doubt Texas' --- quite possibly America's) librarian-of-the-year Teresa Schauer commented that it was easy reading due to its being written in prose. She was most certainly right about that! Quick and easy . . . but not painless. The content was disturbing to me. I mean, c'mon, I'm an adult . . . I know things are not perfect in the world outside the walls of my own home. Geez -- they're not even perfect within the walls of my own home! HAH! Yet this poor child's life was horrendous -- I felt so sorry for her, and I hated her father for his abusiveness and her mother for her absolute submissiveness.

I was so excited that Pattyn found "life" while staying with her aunt. I was definitely rooting for her . . . so I was shocked and saddened when the events after summer led to such a tragic ending.

All in all, I loved the book, though, and I would recommend it to our young male readers as readily as I would our female readers.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Must Read for High School Teachers

by Frank McCourt
AR Book Level: 5.9
Point Value: 14
Interest Level: Upper Grades
Audiobook Available in HS Library

On the recommendation of my principal, I listened to the audio version of this book, which I would also recommened because McCourt reads it himself, so each word, sentence and inflection sounds exactly as he heard it in his own head while writing it. Combine that with McCourt's beautiful Irish brogue, and you've got the makings of a fantastic listen!

TEACHER MAN, titled after the way he's referred to by his students, chronicles the experiences that McCourt had during his 30 year stint as an educator in the high schools of New York City. McCourt's teaching style was developed mainly as a defense mechanism--he learned to teach in a way that kept the natives from eating him alive! I'm not sure about how much he got across to his students as far as teaching English goes, but he definitley taught them (and learned from them) many valuable life lessons.

I laughed, got angry, and cried while reading this book. I highly recommend it to any high school educator. Even though it's set in NYC quite a few years ago, I think many teachers today will recognize some of McCourt's students as their own.

I just found out that this is actually the third book in a trilogy--and I have just placed orders for the first two books: ANGELA'S ASHES, and 'TIS.