This week on my blog, I posted a review of the final two chapters of Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild, shared my list of 12 Reasons English Teachers Should Tweet, tackled “What If I’m Not a Good Teacher?”, a question from one of my Methods students, and collected links to my favorite online reading in my Sunday Salon post.
I finally finished Eleanor and Park! It only took me two months to get through this book. I loved the first 100 pages or so, but then I got so incredibly weary of the psychodrama between Eleanor and Park and had to force myself through the last 230 pages, though I thought it did pick up in the last 30 or 40 pages. I understand the rave reviews as well as the criticisms, but for me, this book was about 100 pages too long.
Desperate for an audio, I picked up the first one I saw that I hadn’t already read: Firegirl by Tony Abbott. It was a serendipitous find.
This week’s professional development reading was Nancie Atwell’s new book, Systems to Transform Your Classroom and School. I found the content rather slight. For hard-core Atwell fans only.
A Storm Called Katrina, written by Myron Uhlberg and illustrated by Colin Bootman, is an excellent picture book about a New Orleans family coping with Hurricane Katrina. My older son was riveted by this book.
I read Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, out loud to my oldest son, and I loved loved loved it.
We also read Julian, Secret Agent out loud this week. I really liked the first book in this series, but Julian, Secret Agent is terrible. An incoherent plot, no character development, and clumsy sentences. Very disappointing.
A Terrible Thing Happened, written by Margaret Holmes and illustrated by Cary Pillo, is a good choice to read with children who have experienced trauma. Sherman, the racoon main character, sees something terrible, and experiences symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The author chooses not to name the terrible thing, which makes this book accessible and applicable to children who have experienced different types of trauma. Sherman works with a therapist, talks about what happened, draws his feelings, and begins to heal. I have a feeling my kids are going to want to read this book many times.