On my weekends lately, I’ve been doing a LOT of reading, mostly for book groups, but also for fun (not that book group reading isn’t fun, because it is), and I’ve also been creating a lot of new storytime lesson plans. I’ll talk about the storytime lesson plans in an upcoming post, but meanwhile, here is an update on the books that I’ve read this fall for the various book groups at the library:
- For the 3rd grade book group: Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise, The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, and The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin. All great books for this age group, and all were quite successful with the 3rd graders in the group. I love each of these books, and for quite different reasons. The Klise book is approachable and funny; the Pennypacker book has a wonderful, true-to-life main character, and the Lin book is poignant and lovely.
- For the 4th grade group: Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin van Draanen, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, and Dominic by William Steig. DiCamillo’s book remains one of my all-time favorites, but I very much enjoyed the Sammy Keyes book and was glad to have finally read Dominic, though I’m not sure that I’d want to use Dominic again for a book group (the kids were a bit baffled by it, and it didn’t make for the best discussion we’ve ever had, despite this being a group of Readers who love to Discuss).
- For the 5th grade group: White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages, The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John, and Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison. I enjoyed The Green Glass Sea much more than its sequel, which disappointed me, and I was a bit taken aback by the Gilda Joyce book, having expected it to be more juvenile than it was. And I enjoyed my re-reading of The White Giraffe, of course, a book that is unique today in its brevity, considering its intended audience of upper grade readers.
- For the 6th grade group: Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, and The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen by M.T. Anderson. After having connected with M.T. Anderson at the Simmons College Children’s Literature Summer Institute this year (see my posts on the Institute here, here, here, and here), I was delighted to be able to bring two of his books to the 6th grade book group this fall. I’ve also been reading The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing (Volume I – The Pox Party) in my free time – it’s a terrific book, one of the best I’ve read in a long time.
- For the Teen Book Group: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, Uglies by Michael Scott, and The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. This group is still quite large, which means that we can’t read the hottest new young adult books, since we wouldn’t be able to get enough copies of the books for everyone in the group. But I presented the group with one of my favorite books, Elsewhere, and they all loved it (and none of them had yet read it, even better), and with a book that had been a success with this group in past years, Uglies. Surprisingly, none of the group members had read Uglies yet, and it too was a huge hit. As for The Alchemyst – I had very high hopes for this book, and it didn’t quite live up to those hopes. But, once again, none of the teens had read the book, and many of them have gone on to read the rest of the series (or, at least, what’s been published so far in the series).
It’s been a good fall and early winter for reading, and I’m now looking forward to the next batch of book group books that are sitting next to me, waiting to be read: Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins (3rd grade), The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley (4th grade), Spy Mice: The Black Paw by Heather Vogel Frederick (5th grade), Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng (6th grade), and The Prophecy of the Stones by Flavia Bujor (teen book group). The last three of these books were all chosen by kids in the book groups, which makes the whole process – reading and discussion – that much more fun. Happy reading to me!!