Final Vote for Upper Elementary Book Choice #GRA16

With many votes cast, it is now time to narrow it down to the final choice; which book (and author) shall be at the center for children ages 8 to 11 (or so)?  All three books here deserve the honor, but there can only be one.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

From Amazon:

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . .

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

From Amazon:

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Eleven by Tom Rogers

From Amazon:

Alex Douglas always wanted to be a hero. But nothing heroic ever happened to Alex. Nothing, that is, until his eleventh birthday. When Alex rescues a stray dog as a birthday gift to himself, he doesn’t think his life can get much better. Radar, his new dog, pretty much feels the same way. But this day has bigger things in store for both of them. 

This is a story about bullies and heroes. About tragedy and hope. About enemies with two legs and friends with four, and pesky little sisters and cranky old men, and an unexpected lesson in kindness delivered with a slice of pizza. This is Eleven: the journey of a boy turning eleven on 9/11.

Cast your vote here – voting closes April 30th.

Final Voting for Middle School Choice #GRA16

With many votes cast, it is now time to narrow it down to the final choice; which book (and author) shall be at the center for children ages 12 to 15 (or so)?  All three books here deserve the honor, but there can only be one.

The finalists are:

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

From Amazon:

The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.

 

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

From Amazon:

Timothy is on probation. It’s a strange word—something that happens to other kids, to delinquents, not to kids like him. And yet, he is under house arrest for the next year. He must check in weekly with a probation officer and a therapist, and keep a journal for an entire year. And mostly, he has to stay out of trouble. But when he must take drastic measures to help his struggling family, staying out of trouble proves more difficult than Timothy ever thought it would be. By turns touching and funny, and always original, House Arrest is a middlegrade novel in verse about one boy’s path to redemption as he navigates life with a sick brother, a grieving mother, and one tough probation officer.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

From Amazon:

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

Cast your vote here – voting closes April 30th.

Time to Vote for Middle School Choice for Global Read Aloud 2016 #GRA16

I am intentionally dragging my feet with the voting process this year because the amazing books just keep coming.  It is so hard to stop reading and not think of how incredible a conversation might be around a certain book, and yet, time ticks and at some point, the final books need to be chosen.

The group of books for this year’s middle school aged kids, or whomever else that would like to read them, is a particular beautiful one.  From the searingly beautiful Orbiting Jupiter to the riveting page turner read of Night Vision.  From the poetic struggle to finding oneself in House Arrest to the frightening what if tale of The Nest. To the tale of wondrous redemption in The Seventh Most Important Thing or one girl’s search for the truth behind a senseless tragedy in The Thing about Jellyfish,  this year’s contenders are all must-reads and must-adds.  I am glad I have all of you to help me, so while my heart tugs in one direction I cannot wait to see what the vote says.

Whatever book you love, now is the time to let your voice be heard and that of your students. Cast your vote and let us see which book will transport us and connect us this year starting October 3rd.

Voting will be open until April 8th, 2016. Good luck to the amazing books and happy reading.

Welcome Eleven as a New Contender for #GRA16

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Once in awhile, I am gifted a book to consider for the Global Read Aloud.  This the book Eleven by Tom Rogers came to me at my school and I was immediately drawn to it.  The cover told me that the story had something to do with 9/11 and yet I was not sure what to expect.  After all, how do you write about an event that still is so raw in our history and yet do it in a way to capture middle grade readers?

It turns out you do it exactly like Tom Rogers did.  The book follow Alex, a boy whose 11th birthday falls on 9/11, who lives in New York City.  As we follow him throughout the day, we see the story slowly unfold as it dawns on him what is happening in his city.  We also have a dual perspective from the man in the white shirt, which fills in some of the holes that our 11 year old protagonist would not know about.  I cried when I read the book and then I smiled, because I finally found a book that I can hand to the generation of kids that I teach that will offer them a little slice of what it felt like that day.

I should have known that a book that is sold at the 9/11 memorial would be a great read, and it is.  This book is a Global Read Aloud contender for 2016 and should be added to any classroom 3rd grade and up, but I know that my middle schoolers will love it as much as I did as well.

Time to Vote for Picture Book Study #GRA16

It is time….

The very first round of voting begins today for our amazing choices for the picture book author/illustrator for Global read Aloud 2016.  We live in a time where picture books are a vital component of classrooms around the world and I could not be happier to showcase our incredible picture book authors.

Please take a moment to vote – the first round poll will close next Tuesday, March 1st.

Congratulations to all of the authors/illustrators who were chosen as contenders!

The past choices have been:  Eric Carle, Peter H. Reynolds, and Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

 

Another Contender Added – Welcome Raymie Nightingale

raymie

I fell in love with the work of Kate DiCamillo a late summer evening as I read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  who would have thought that a porcelain rabbit who seemed so stuck on himself would bring me to tears ad remind me of my own humanity.  Since then, I have cherished the memories that her writing has provided for my life; the Global Read Aloud falling in love with Edward that year, my own daughter and I listening to the audio book as we drove to school in the early mornings.  When I was asked by Candlewick Press if I would at all be interested in receiving an advanced review copy of her new book Raymie Nightingale I am sure my resounding yes could be heard all the way to their offices.

I abhor book spoilers so I will stick to the official description of the book

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

But what the description does not tell you is how much you will love this book.  How Kate DiCamillo once again has written a tale of unlikely friendship, a journey of souls, that will lead us to question our own.  There were so many parts of the book where I longed for someone else to read what I had just read so that I could talk to them about it.  And that is why I am proud to add Raymie Nightingale as a Global read Aloud contender.  Wonderful, inspiring, and conversation starting describes the book, but why take my word for it?  Read it yourself when it comes out April 12th.

Another Contender for Global Read Aloud 2016 – Pax by Sara Pennypacker

I don’t really do animal books.  As anyone who has heard me tell the tale of how The One and Only Ivan was selected for GRA 2012, they will know that when a book features an animal I tend to take a very long time to even pick it up.  If a book gets a lot of hype, it sometimes takes me much longer.  So when Pax by Sara Pennypacker, yes, the Sara Pennypacker of Clementine amazingness, was brought to my attention I gladly put it in my to-be-read pile.  And then promptly avoided it for a month.  After all, a book about a fox and boy –  wasn’t that just a new version of Where the Red Fern Grows?

Yet last night, after finishing Touching Spirit Bear, I figured I may as well keep this animal trend going and I settled in to this tale of a boy and his fox and the world that separates them.  And I read for 3 hours.  And I stayed up too late.  And this morning I slipped it in my school bag so I could read during my prep, and then I read during my lunch, and then I read after school.  And tonight, I finished it and it is so wonderful. So magical. So heart-wrenching. So deep.  And all I want to do is to talk about others with it.

And that is why this book is the newest contender for the Global Read Aloud 2016.  This book is meant to be read aloud.  This book is meant to be shared, to be discussed, to be read to a silent room where students just want you to read just one more page.  This book is magic, pure and simple.

So order it now, it comes out February 2, 2016.  Read it, hold it close, and then pass it on to as many people as you can.  While this is a book that asks you to reflect, it is also a book that begs to be shared.  For 4th grade and up, I have a feeling Pax will be a book we remember for a long time to come.

 

Choices for Global Read Aloud 2015 #GRA15

While i may be the creator of the Global Read Aloud, this project would be nothing without the amazing authors that give us such incredible books to share.  So in case you need a handy reference guide for which books we are reading this year, here you.

Author Study:

This year’s author study is the incredible Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Her picture books have long enthralled all of my students and aIso I am so happy to have her and her genius be the focus this year.  Remember, this is not just open to younger grades, anyone can do the author study!  All images will link to the actual book on Amazon.

Week 1:

We start with Chopsticks“>Chopsticks

Week 2:

Week 2 is all about Duck! Rabbit!“>Duck!  Rabbit!

Week 3:

How many times do I hearIt’s Not Fair!“> It’s Not Fair in my house!

Week 4:

Week 4 will focus on the trials of being an Exclamation Mark“>Exclamation Mark!

Week 5:

I love that we end week 5 with The OK Book“>The Ok Book

Week 6:

Your choice!  Pick whichever Amy Krouse Rosenthal book you want to finish the project!

Ages 7 and up  (or whichever age group you decide):

When I first read The Year of Billy Miller“>The Year of Billy Miller a few years ago, I wanted to shout hallelujah.  We have such few books aimed at younger readers that have rich stories, yet are easy for young children to follow.  This book promises to create great conversations around choices, family, and how much can change in a year.  Click on the image to read reviews and purchase your copy.

Ages 9 and up  (or whichever age group you decide):

I swear Lynda Mullaly Hunt wrote Fish in a Tree“>Fish In A Tree with making connections in mind.  This book was a crowd favorite from the moment it was published.  I cannot wait to see who a global audience reacts to FIAT as we lovingly call it.  Click the image to read reviews and purchase your copy.

Ages 12 and up (or whichever age group you decide)

L.S. Matthews, or Laura Dron, wrote an incredible book with Fish“>Fish.  I, in particular, cannot wait to make cross curriculum connections with students through this book.  This will open our classroom up to conversations about humanity, kindness, and the choices we have to make and how they define us.  Click on the image to read reviews and purchase your copy.

Ages 14 and up (or whichever age group you decide):

Yes, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass“>this book may have a swear word in its title, but please do not let that stop you from using it with students.  This incredible story of what bullying can do to a person is one that is meant to be shared and discussed.  I am so thankful that Meg Medina wrote this book.

There you have it, happy reading, happy connecting.  We kick off October 5th!