From the Book Stack

One of the features I’ve been wanting to add is something called From the Book Stack, highlighting the stacks of books around my house. One of the reasons I’ve wanted to do this is because we have a lot of different kinds of readers around our house, so I thought it would be a great way to reach a variety of educators here on Two Writing Teachers.  The things is, this kind of post takes a lot of time to put together. Collecting the images, getting the permission from the publisher, writing blurbs about the book and why it’s worth your time…all of it takes awhile.

I don’t have “awhile” to devote to blog posts. So we’ll give it a whirl and see what you think. If you like it, I’ll find the time to keep it going — yep, reader, you’re that important to me. 🙂

I’m expecting to share this feature on Saturdays (you know when all is spinning right in the world…), but since it’s rainy here in the Midwest, I decided it’s the perfect day to share some books.

I’d like you to meet the readers in my family, but I’m worried about this post getting crazy long, s0 I’m just going to share about my reading life and on Friday I’ll introduce you to the other 5 readers in my family. This way you’ll have an idea of the book stack you’ll want to check out.

As you know I’m an avid reader of professional books on the topics of brain research, reading instruction, and writing. I also consume picture books — daily. The part of my reading life I’ve been hesitant to share is a glimpse into the bulk of my reading — YA (young adult). See, some of the YA books I read are inappropriate for younger audiences. So I guess here’s the disclaimer…just because I talk about a book doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you or your students. I read across many genres and for several different age groups. However, my passion is YA. I love stories that reflect real life for teens. This includes many tough subjects that aren’t always easy to read and sometimes use harsh language or images because, frankly, life is sometimes harsh for teens. I tend to read quickly and skim over the rough language, so I don’t always remember to warn people about it. Also, you should know that I’m a sucker for a love story. I don’t tend to pick up science fiction or dystopia but from time to time they show up in my reading stack.

So without further ado, here are a few recent reads from my book stack…

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo— No, I can’t believe I have read this Kate DiCamillo book before now. We read this together as a family. I recommend it simply for the ending. If you’ve already read it, read it again just for the ending. It’s a book that makes me sad I won’t ever get a chance to read it for the first time again.

Want to Go Private by Sarah Darer Littman (She’s active on Twitter.) (Scholastic, 2011 — Review copy provided)– This book reminds me of Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why. (Have you read that one yet)? Both titles are creepy and make me want to go and hug all of the teenagers in my life. Want to Go Private is about a young teen who decides to meet a man she met online. The structure of the story adds to the creepiness and makes it feel even more real. Told from different voices and through instant messaging, this is story that shows the way teenagers can be groomed and manipulated by online predators. As expected, this includes some graphic scenes and language, much in the same vein as Asher’s story.

The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin (Another tweep — find her on Twitter.) (Penguin, 2011 — Review copy provided) — This is a story of a Aggie’s journey to find herself. Told from her perspective it takes you through a whirlwind of emotions until at the end, Aggie begins to come to terms with who she really is. It’s a story that reminds me that through the tough spots in life we find out who we really are.

Clearly this is a work in progress and we’ll see how it evolves. On Friday I’ll introduce you to:

  • Sam: age 5: lover of train, dog, hysterical, and true books.
  • Stephanie: age 7: always trying to read too-big chapter books; loves fairies, princesses, and bossy main characters.
  • Hannah: age 10: avid reader of historical fiction and, more recently, wants a book with a touch of romance.
  • Karianne: age 17: reads what the teacher tells her, wishes she had more time to read what she wants.
  • Andy: if it’s not true, then it’s not worth his time; sports fanatic and history buff.