IMWAYR – May 8, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week has been filled with a lot of work so that I could wrap up things at my job.  Today I am off to Chadron to take part in Professional Sequence class.  I’m also starting my Book-a-Day challenge – so follow along on Goodreads or Twitter to see what books I get read!

I was lucky enough to have time to finish an amazing YA nonfiction work.  Terrible Typhoid Mary:  A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America, by Sarah Campbell Bartoletti, puts a very real and understanding spin on the story of Mary Mallon.

Mallon was a cook in the early 1900s in New York.  She was a well-respected cook who worked for well-off families.  However, she was unlucky enough to work with a series of families who were victims of the sometimes deadly typhoid disease.

The author dives deep into the motivations and events that led to Mary’s eventual imprisonment and quarantine.  Her engaging story makes Mary a sympathetic character and made me think about the motivations of those who wanted to study (and profit) from proving that Mary was a typhoid carrier.

I highly recommend this wonderful work for those interested in medical history.  The book reads like informative fiction – although everything is true!

I also devoured a book recommended by many of my YA Lit Class classmates.  Little Peach, by Peggy Kern, was an engaging and intense read.  Michelle, aka Little Peach, runs away from a really horrible situation (Grandpa dies, Mom is a drug addict, Mom’s boyfriend attempts to sexually assault her) to find a friend of hers in New York City.

Michelle doesn’t find her friend, but is instead taken in by a kid man named Devon.  However, Devon is actually a pimp.  Peach becomes one of his girls and experiences a life of prostitution, drugs, alcohol, and fear before eventually telling her story.

Little Peach does an excellent job dealing with the delicate nature of human trafficking while still exploring the comfort, then danger, then fear of her main character.  This is an intense read, but an excellent one.  It would be a great conversation starter for an older teen or adults.

Well, what did you read this week? Have you read either of these awesome books?


IMWAYR – May 2, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I spent a lot of time writing papers for school.  This coming week is finals week.

Coming up this week:  finish grading and getting things set at work, taking finals, and generally prepping for taking Block!

I finished up reading Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison.  This fun, flipped tale follows Rapunzel as she heads down the tower after a strange man named Jack appears.  The red fairies are hatching a plot to save their leader Glyph.  However, Glyph’s recovery means death for Witch.

Rapunzel is only looking for a way to save her Witch.  Witch is all that she has ever known and loved.  As she journeys, meets new people, and learns more about Witch, Rapunzel starts to question her experience and life.

I absolutely loved Megan Morrison’s twists and her efforts to make all the characters come alive.  Tyme is an interesting fairy tale world where the lives of many of our favorite characters come together.  Their stories weave together and create an amazingly interesting world.

I can’t wait until October when the next Tyme novel (about Cinderella) is published!

So, what are you reading?

Reading Response/Snapshot Saturday

I’ve got two great bookish pics to share with you this afternoon!

Reading Response:  Tweet an Author

This week I have been reading Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison.  I’m only about 1/3 done but I am truly enjoying it.  I thought I would tweet the author to see what her inspiration was for this flipped tale.Authors on Twitter!


Snapshot Saturday

The first installment of my birthday money, book buying, summer bookshelf filling binge arrived.  Here’s what came today!

Wish Fulfillment!

So, what are you reading today?

Summer Fun!

It sure has warmed up today – it is currently sunny and 81 outside!  The days of warmth and late day sun are finally upon us.

I am a planner.  So the advent of summer also means that it is time to prepare my summer reading plan.  I have been putting this blog off all week because I have LOVED YA Lit class so much that I don’t want it to end.  This summer reading plan is one way I can continue the reading fun all summer long.

The Plan

The Idea:

This summer I am going to follow along with many readers out there and try to complete a book a day this summer.  The #bookaday challenge is one that is championed by Donalyn Miller – one of my fave authors of professional development books.

The When:

I am starting my #bookaday on May 9, 2016.  This is the first day of the May/Summer semester and the official end of YA Lit class (at least in my mind).  I will read a #bookaday until 100 days have passed – August 16, 2016.

The What:

My 100 books will consist of a variety of genres, intended audience ages, and formats.  I will, of course, keep reading my YA Lit Summer TBRTBR.  However, I am going to read widely in a variety of formats this summer.

I plan to read/listen to at least 5 audio books.  This is something I don’t normally do, but driving back and forth to NE each week will give me time to get to know this format well.

I am taking classes, so any textbook that I read at least 75% of for school will also count into these 100 books.  However, my math books will not count.

I am going to read at least 3 professional development books.  I’ve got an idea of where I want to go – Passionate Learners and The Book Whisperer are anxiously waiting to be devoured.

My other books will be from my ever growing TBR, old faves (been itching to re-read Wicked these last couple of days), and new finds from the library, browsing at the book store, or that Amazon (my friend/foe) suggests.  I’ll also try to pick up whatever you recommend to me too!

The How:

So, how am I going to keep myself accountable?  First, I am going to continue to blog right here!  I’ll post my weekly It’s Monday! post and share my week’s reading with you.  I hope that you readers will continue the conversation and make recommendations based on my weekly reads.

Secondly, I am going to continue to tweet my reading.  I’ll bug you on Twitter with the #yalitclass and #bookaday hashtags.  Follow me there to get more consistent updates on my reads.

Finally, I’ll continue keeping count on GoodReads.  I will shelve books, group them by genre, audience, etc., and post reviews and star ratings.

So that’s my plan friends.  I hope that you continue to journey through reading and writing  on this blog, Twitter, and GoodReads.  What are you reading now?  What is your summer reading plan?  Let’s chat….

Questions and Actions

I just finished reading Book Love, by Penny Kittle.  I’m not going to lie – this book was inspiring, heart wrenching, and thought provoking.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, you should go right now and read.  Come back in a few hours.  It’s worth it.

Lessons Learned

There were so many things that I highlighted, underlined, starred, sticky noted, and Tweeted in her book.  These final few chapters did not fail to live up to my expectations.  So, rather than bore you with my ramblings, I want to just outline the take-aways and lessons I have learned by reading Book Love.

  • Teaching a love of reading is hard.  However, it is the kind of hard work that sometimes ends in disappointments.  It is also the kind of hard work that ends in miracles like Crystal (p. 159-167).
  • Teaching a lifetime of reading habits is hard.  You will find challengers and naysayers from surprising faces.  You will find the surprise champion for implementing a culture of readers.  You will cry.  You will smile.
  • Teaching others that choice is essential for a healthy reading life – especially for teens or for reluctant readers – is hard.  You will battle for the type of curriculum that allows choice, promotes readers workshops and writers workshops, and flips the whole idea of teaching on its head.
  • Teaching a love of reading is something that is a life mission.  It is something that you must be passionate about and it is something that will permeate your entire life.  Whether you are an English major, an English or Reading teacher, or the school principal (p. 141-146) – you are a teacher of book love.

Questions and Actions – How I will LIVE Book Love
Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

There is too much in this text to analyze or synthesize.  I’ve learned so much that it is difficult to put it into a few hundred words.  Instead, I think I’m going to publicly declare my intentions to be a teacher of book love.

My Declaration of Teaching Book Love

I hold firmly to the belief that we are all teachers of reading.  I have an insatiable desire to share books and stories with all people – young and old, student and friend.

I also firmly believe that as a teacher of book love I must live by example.  I will continue to read voraciously and to share these amazing (and sometimes not the best) stories through my blog and my Twitter feed.  I will help people find THEIR book – that gateway to the door of reading – and get that book in their hands.

I solemnly vow that I will never stop asking this most vital question

What are you reading now?

For it is with that question that I will frame my expectations, that all people will be reading something, and that their reading lives are just as important as what they had for dinner.  I will ask others for suggestions and will endeavor to ask this essential question multiple times a day and in every interaction I have.


What are you reading now?  Let’s talk below…

IMWAYR – April 18, 2016

ItsMondayGraphicThis week was a long and short week.  Could be that I didn’t do any homework on Wednesday because it was my birthday.  Could be that the weather has been weird and makes me feel wonky.  Who knows.  But I certainly got my 4 hours in with reading The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

This novel, by Sherman Alexie, follows the story of Arnold Spirit Junior.  Junior (as he is known on the reservation) is a big-headed, strong minded Spokane Indian just trying to discover who he is and what his role in life will be.  After getting suspended because he threw a book at a (white) teacher, Junior is encouraged and then demands to attend the white school in nearby Reardan.

When he goes to Reardan, Arnold (as he is known by his white friends and teachers) navigates the world of high school.  We follow him through a tumultuous freshman year.  His older sister Amy marries quickly and move to Montana.  His grandmother passes away.  His best friend Rowdy, and nearly all of the other members of his tribe, consider him to be a traitor.  He is first ignored by the white students, then slowly becomes friends with them. He gets a semi-girlfriend.  He navigates the boys basketball season – even being a freshman Varsity starter.

I loved this book.  While many of Arnold’s struggles are specific to a Native American or other outsider, I related to so much of his life.  His journey really is one that mirrors all of our journeys – discovering who we are, what our identity is, and the often confusing and hilarious struggle of our life.

Have you read this Sherman Alexie novel? What book have you read that mirrors the journey of discovering our identity?  Let’s talk below…