Tuesday, September 6, 2016

RI Mock Newbery 2017 - October Reads

My feverish summer reading is paying off ... by the time the list came out a few days ago, I had already read most of the books. Favorites closest to the top. A couple I plan to read only if they make it to the finals: I'm skipping Hour of the Bees for now, because I've had enough family problem plots for a while; I tried to read Samurai Rising, but there was too much to keep track of; and Some Kind of Courage might be too stressful to read at the beginning of a new school year.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All SeasonsWhen Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now THIS is a picture book with Newbery-worthy text.

may 20
"enough already"
i whispered
to the clouds
(just loud enough
for the sun to overhear
but not enough to wake the rain)
"the strawberries are furious
and i think i just heard
even the roses sigh"

august 30
if you could take a bite
out of the middle of this morning
it would be sweet
and dripping
like peaches
and you would need a river
to jump in
before a bee comes along
and calls you
a flower

october 22
october please
get back in bed
your hands are cold
your nose is red
october please
got back to bed
your sneezing woke december

january 30
it is the best kind of day
when it is snowing
and the house
sounds like slippers
and sipping
and there is nowhere to go
but the kitchen
for a cookie

The Wild RobotThe Wild Robot by Peter Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was 5 stars until I hit page 200 or so, and things got violent and I got distressed. But up until then, love love loved it.

BookedBooked by Kwame Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not the same level of emotional resonance as The Crossover, but still a solid middle-grade book that I will buy for my libraries. Loved the inclusion of words and novels as part of the plot. And Alexander is definitely a poet. If we had a Sharpie budget, I'd have the kids make blackout poems from the pages of weeded books.

As Brave As YouAs Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amusing and poignant. Fantastic voice and depiction of guilt, confusion, and striving to fix what's broken. Loved Genie’s book of questions. Still not entirely sure why the dad was so mad at the grandfather, though.

Wolf HollowWolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Four stars for the writing, two stars for the dread and the nonsense of a war veteran taking orders from an 11-year-old girl. Like some other reviewers, I had to peek at the end midway through because the plot was stressing me out so much. Supposedly the publisher wanted to aim it to kids in grades 3-7, which is MG, but they call it YA. I call it a book for grownups.

Raymie NightingaleRaymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Quick read that I don't think will stick with me. I did like that the girls took initiative in attempting to solve their problems, but many of the situations they ended up in were kind of insane.

Full of BeansFull of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The history of turning Key West into a tourist destination was interesting to me, but I can't see it appealing to any of my students. I would have preferred nonfiction. Also, I couldn't keep any of the oddly named kids straight.

View all my reviews Maybe a FoxMaybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The fox points of view aren't working for me this year. Everyone else loves this and Pax, but while I WAS able to actually finish this one, I think it would have worked much better with no fox stuff. The running, the rocks, the grief, that was all good. The fox ruined it

Paper WishesPaper Wishes by Lois Sepahban
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

While I think it's important that children learn about this aspect of the WWII homefront, there are other books that do it better. I didn't feel connected to Manami; the choppy prose didn't help.

PaxPax by Sara Pennypacker
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I know everyone else loves this book but I thought it was dreadful. Even though I know it will be on the RI Mock Newbery list, I gave up halfway through, because I won't be getting quizzed on it, and I have a stack of other books I'd rather read.

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