Who’s Reading What Wednesday

I’m back. Summer vacation is over. The new school year has begun and today is International Literacy Day.

Did you know?

September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965.
Some 774 million adults lack minimum literacy skills

One in five adults is still not literate.
Two-thirds of them are women
72.1 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

Information provided by UNESCO

And Susan of the Book Chook just came out with the 6th edition of Literacy Lava.  Download your free PDF HERE

I finished Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins last week in about three evenings. I probably could have stayed up all night but being back to work? I needed my sleep.  Of course, the second in the series is in hard back and no one has it to loan. ACK!

The start of school means that I am back to listening to kid books on cd for my drive to school. Currently in the cd drive is Seer of Shadows by AVI. I really like his historical fiction particularly Crispin.


The organizers are hard at work sorting out the huge list of volunteers for judging panels. The deadline is next Wednesday, September 15 to volunteer.  It’s also time to start thinking about your favorite books to nominate  this year’s CYBILS.  Nominations open on October 1 and close October 15.  For more information,visit the CYBILS SITE.

Follow me on twitter @JoneMac53.

What are you currently reading?

Happy Reading.



Who’s Reading What Wednesday, Part Two

Originally I was going to do one post and feature two books.  Then I sat down to do so.  Good idea, not so easy to implement.  One is a review of a book for the school library and this second is because I love to read the YA books (if I could, I would consider a middle school library).

So the second book which arrived in the mail recently was Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala, debut author.  Another book that I could not put down. 

What if your older sister died?
What if you lived with a religious, domineering mother and absentee father?
What if you had aspirations to attend a prestigious art school?
What if you dumped your childhood best friend to be friends with the popular -wild-new-girl in highschool?
What if you spent the summer teaching crafts at church camp?
What if you found out you were pregnant and didn’t want to believe it?
What are your family secrets?

Those are all questions facing Miranda AKA Mandy AKA Rand as she begins her senior year.  And the answers to those questions lead her on a quest of self-discovery and redemption.  From page one, readers will be taken on a wild ride of teen-age angst and hope.  After all, “faith manages.” One of my favorite quotes.

Cupala’s characters are memorable in this story.  From the wickedly wild Delaney who reminds Miranda of her dead sister, Xanda to Essence (love this character name), Miranda’s best friend who suffers betrayal from her.  Kamran, the boyfriend, who is serious and intellectual and gullible in the way he is played by Delaney.  High school is a long ways in the rear view mirror but you know what?  These people also attended my high school.

The book is an intense read with such valleys and peaks of secrets and expectations.  How did it end?  Cupala doesn’t disappoint.  Her words keep us at the edge of our seat.

Of course, you won’t find it in my library but I hope readers will find it in either their middles school or high school library.

Happy Reading.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday, Part One

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

 As a K5 library media specialist, I am always on the lookout for gripping books with substance to suggest to fifth graders.  I also want books that bring young readers into worlds where redemption and compassion are themes.  Bamboo People  by  Mitali Perkins is such a book which I had the pleasure to read in a day recently.

Bamboo People is the story of two boys, Chiko and Tu-Reh, in war torn Burma.  Each have experience the challenges of a country in turmoil: justice, mistreatment, rejection, revenge, and deception.

Chiko is the story of a young man whose desire is to teach.  His father, a doctor has been imprisoned by the military regime of Burma.  When he responds to an ad  for teachers, he is deceived and captured by the Burmese army.  Being forced into the army, Chiko befriends a streetwise boy, Tai.  Chiko learns how to fight and face the brutal treatment of training from Tai and in return, Tai learns to read and write.

Chiko’s  and Tai’s lives take an interesting turn when they switch places for two tasks in the Burmese army.

Tu-Reh lives a different life.  He is a Karenni refugee hiding in the jungle close to the Thailand-Burma border.  His village is attacked and burned along with the bamboo fields.  He wants revenge.  Tu-Reh is thrilled that his father, his “Peh” has finally asked him to go on a mission.

Tu-Reh and Chiko’s lives are about to intersect.  When they do, each learns lessons in redemption, forgiveness, and compassion. 

I could not put this book down.  I had heard many go things prior to reading and was at first, worried it might be too high for fourth and fifth grade.  Having read it, I think not, especially fifth grade.  I cannot wait to hand Bamboo People to a colleague who has engaged her students with books about social justice in the world.  We need more stories about how it is to be a child in other parts of the world.  These stories are critical to opening the hearts and geography of my students.   

Thank you, Mitali Perkins for bringing the world a tiny bit closer.

Title: Bamboo People
Author: Mitali Perkins
Date Published: 2010
Pages: 270
Reading Level: 5th grade and up
Publisher: Charlesbridge
ISBN: 978-1-58089-328-2
Source of Book: Copy from the publisher.

Happy Reading.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday

I was on the road on Monday so I could not blog about a nonfiction book.  But I have been reading.  On the way home I finished Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson( started the Sunday night of June 6 and then set aside with the end of school craziness).  It was refreshing to read a book which I believe will have big appeal for the boys reading the reader choice books(the WA Sasquatch Award).  As I mentioned in this post, the list appears to be girl MC heavy this year.

Imagine that your dad has died, your mother is being pursued by a suitor which you don’t care for at all. Imagine that you live in the woods on the edge of a ridge and river.  Thus begins the story of Leepike Ridge.  When 11-year-old Thomas Hammond falls into the river and is swept underground, he discovers a big mystery that will change his life.

Another reader choice book (YRCA) is Swindle by Gordon Korman.  I always love the Korman books.  This is no exception.  Anytime a rare missing baseball card and a group of kids are involved, there is adventure.  This book will speak to the boys.  I am thinking of a couple I had in fifth grade book club.  When two boys find a Babe Ruth card in an old building that is being wrecked, they soon learn how easily you can be swindled.  From there plans and plots ensue to get the card back. Exciting and unpredictable the book kept me from thinking about the long day in the car on Monday. 

What are you reading?

Happy Reading.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday: an Interview with Suzanne Young

I recently finished The Naughty List by Suzanne Young, Portland area debut author, blogger, and part of the Portland Kidlit community. I met her at the 2008 Kidlit Blogging Conference.  The Naughty List was the perfect escape book for spring break.  It was really fun to interview Suzanne who is transitioning from teaching to author.

MsMac: Were you a cheerleader in high school?  Any of these characters based on your own experiences?

SY:In high school I was in the speech and debate club and lots of plays. I was sort of oblivious to a lot the things going on around me. I didn’t wake up until my senior year, and then I saw everything differently (a traumatic breakup will do that to a person). Although none of The Naughty List is based on an actual event, the feelings were definitely ones I’ve had myself. I think emotions are universal. I was a cheerleader for about three months in 8th grade, but I was terrible.

 MsMac: Where did the inspiration for The Naughty List come from? You really captured what high school is like these days. It felt like I was right back at high school (even though that was more than a half-life time ago, some things don’t change).
Except, I think that teens are much more open about drinking, hooking up and sex.  Have you gotten any feedback about this?  I didn’t find it explicit but my librarian-spydy-self kept wondering if a parent might find reason to complain.

 SY: When I write I try to be honest—both emotionally and story wise. I didn’t think that The Naughty List had anything offensive, but I did hear a few adults think it was racy. Nothing happened on the page, and other than mentioning a few times (both in cheater reports and in the chapters) there wasn’t much else. I think in YA lit some people think if sex is mentioned, it has to become an issue that’s talked about. And since my book wasn’t about “it”, I didn’t really address it. It’s in the background. There are plenty of great books dealing with teen sex. Mine isn’t really an issue book. Unless your issue is that you suspect your boyfriend is cheating on you.

 MsMac: Without spoiling the ending, I loved the moment that Tessa realized something about herself Did you know when you started writing the book that she would have this “AHA” moment?I guess another way to ask is what can you share about the writing process of this book?

 SY: I knew that Tessa would have to figure herself out—no one can stay that perky forever! I definitely didn’t know what was going to happen until it did. I like to keep myself interested. I don’t outline, but usually have a vague idea of what I want to accomplish.

MsMac: I think that reluctant readers will pick this book up and read it.  Did you write with that audience in mind?

SY: I’m so happy to hear that. I didn’t have any specific audience in mind, but I’m a reluctant reader myself. I need books that are fast paced and have romance, so in turn, that was the type of book I wrote.

 MsMac: This is a series, isn’t it?  How many more books are coming out? Because I want to read them.  Great escapes.

 SY: It is a series. The second book, SO MANY BOYS, will be released June, 10, 2010 and the third book A GOOD BOY IS HARD TO FIND will be out November 25, 2010. Things will take a total turn for the worse in book two, so keep your eye out for it!

 MsMac: Ooh I can’t wait, will need a good road trip book.You taught up until recently. How is writing like teaching? Do you miss teaching?

 SY: I absolutely miss teaching. I taught at a Title 1 school in South Phoenix for five years and it was the best job I’ve ever had. I loved my students and the school. My first year teaching 7th grade I found out that my class had an average reading level of 2.4. I spent the rest of my teaching years getting them to fall in love with reading.

 MsMac: When you aren’t writing, what might we find you doing?

SY: Camping or going on long drives. I try to escape life whenever possible.

 MsMac: What’s your current project?

I’m currently working on a new series for Balzer and Bray/Harper Collins. It’s about a girl who’s compelled to do good deeds, only to find that each time she does, people start to forget her. It’s called A Need so Beautiful and it’ll be out Summer 2011

 MsMac: What books are on your nightstand?

I’m reading The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

 MsMac: Where do you find inspiration?

SY: In my own emotions. I’m one of those people who feels a lot. And when I hear something or see something that triggers an emotion, I often translate it into a story. And it helps to hang out with other writers. I think we keep each other going.

 MsMac: Favorite time of the day to work?

SY: In the morning after the kids are at school. At night I’m way more interested in Supernatural or Project Runway.

 MsMac: Chocolate:  white, dark, or milk?

SY: Milk.

 MsMac: Coffee or tea or —?

SY: Coffee. Lots of it!

 MsMac: Dance Funky chicken or the tango?

SY: The Electric Slide!

So what are you reading? Happy Reading.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday: Getting Ready for National Poetry Month

Today for WRWW, I want my readers to know about all the fantastic happenings for National Poetry Month.  Here is the official list.
Thank you to Laura and Irene for organizing a great list for National Poetry month.  You can also find it here at Laura’s “April National Poetry Month” button on my website: www.teachpoetryk12.com.  

Let the poetry party commence!

 2010 KidLit Celebration of National Poetry Month

 30 Poets/30 Days in April 2010


Gregory K. features 30 children’s poets, one-a-day during April in a Celebration of Children’s Poetry. Each poem is previously unpublished.

New GLBTQ Teen Poetry


Lee Wind is publishing many new Teen voices during April for National Poetry Month.

Poems about Teaching


Mary Lee Hahn will post an original poem about teaching and/or learning each day in April.  She will invite other teachers, librarians, students, learners and poets to send her their original teaching and/or learning poems (or links to their poem posts) for inclusion.  The more the merrier!

 Also at A Year of Reading, Franki will review poetry books and tell about the Poetry Month activities she conducts in the school library throughout April.

 Poetry Book Giveaway


Irene Latham is giving away a favorite poetry anthology each Poetry Friday during April 2010. She has instigated a challenge to write a poem a day during April. She invites everybody to join her.

 Poetry Makers


 Tricia Stohr-Hunt interviews 30 children’s poets. She starts off with Mary Ann Hoberman, Children’s Poet Laureate, USA. The list is stellar!

Poetry Potluck

Jama Rattigan’s alphabet soup


Jama is posting an original poem and favorite recipe each weekday throughout the month of April by some of the Poetry Friday regulars.

 Poetry Tag

Sylvia Vardell


For National Poetry Month in April, we’re playing “Poetry Tag” at PoetryForChildren. Sylvia Vardell will be inviting poets to “play” along by offering a poem for readers to enjoy, then “tag” a fellow poet who then shares her/his own poem THAT IS CONNECTED to the previous poem in SOME way—by a theme, word, idea, tone– and offers a sentence or two explaining that connection. The poets have responded enthusiastically and will be sharing a chain of poems by J. Patrick Lewis, X. J. Kennedy, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Avis Harley, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Joyce Sidman, and more!

 Poetry Postcard Project

Jone MacCulloch


Students write a poem which is placed on a postcard. All of the postcards are decorated. If you want one, send Jone (macrush53@yahoo.com) your address and she will mail one to you.

More information can be found here:


Thirty Days, Thirty Students, Thirty Poems

Jone MacCulloch


 Each day in April Jone is posting a new student poem on her blog,  “Check It Out“.

Share a Poem 

Laura Purdie Salas



Laura Salas will post a children’s poem per day from a poetry book she loves.


Original Poem-A-Day Challenge

(Poems will appear on the poet’s site.)

 The following people are challenging themselves to write a poem a day:

Susan Taylor Brown: http://susanwrites.livejournal.com

Mary Lee Hahn: http://readingyear.blogspot.com

Andromeda Jazmon: Haiga Every Day in April!  http://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/

Irene Latham: http://www.irenelatham.com/

Jone MacCulloch: http://deowriter.wordpress.com

Elizabeth Moore: http://tinyreader.blogspot.com/

April Halprin Wayland: http://www.aprilwayland.com/poetry/poetry-month/

There is still time to recieve a postcard with a student poem.  Contact me at machrush53 at yahoo dot com.

Happy Reading.  It is really rainy at the coast for spring break.  I finished The Naughty List by Suzanne Collins.  A review is forthcoming.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday: Interview with Lisa Schroeder

Lisa Schroeder is know for her YA books in verse: I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, FAR FROM YOU, and CHASING BROOKLYN.  I love these books and so do my step granddaughters (they inhaled them!) This month her MG book IT’S RAINING CUPCAKES was released.  I purchased the book at the local SCBWI-OR Gala a couple of Saturdays ago.

Oh my…what a refreshing, fun read! I read it Sunday with the rain coming down; had to fight the urge to make cupcakes.  Lisa is another terrific Portland area author that I have gotten to know better since the Portland Blogging  Conference.  I was able to interview about this book and her writing process.

MSMAC:  How did you switch from writing YA in verse to a MG novel?
LS: It really wasn’t that hard. I have always loved middle grade novels, and I specifically chose to write IT’S RAINING CUPCAKES in between verse projects because I wanted to do something different. My YA novels are sad at times, so I was ready to do something fun. Plus, in verse novels, you have to be careful about too much dialogue, so it was great to let my characters talk and talk and TALK!

 MSMAC:  I really enjoyed It’s Raining Cupcakes. Isabel’s notes in her passport book, a bit of poetry?  It was unexpected and I loved it.  Any back-story with it?
LS: I had written a few chapters of the book, and I was browsing at a bookstore one day and came across a passport holder. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. But I instantly thought, Isabel would LOVE this. But I didn’t want her to buy one and then have nothing happen with it. So, I tried out the notebook idea and I liked it.

 MSMAC:  The knock knock jokes, have you been practicing them on your family so they would work in the story? 
LS: Ha – no, not really. But I can tell you that before I named a couple of the characters, I googled knock knock jokes to find a name that would work well!

MSMAC:  Are any of these characters based on people you know?
LS: Stan is the name of my grandpa, who passed away last year. One of the nicest men you’ve ever met. He wasn’t a barber, and he didn’t look anything like Stan in the book. But in their hearts, I think they’re similar. My grandpa often had a few businesses that didn’t necessarily make him monetarily rich, but that made him happy. And that’s the best kind of business to have, I think.

 JRM: What about St. Valentine’s Cupcakes?  Is that a real place in NYC?
LS: No, I made it up.

JRM:  Drat.  I was hoping to go there!  Will have to go to St. Cupcake here in town instead. And the recipes (which I can’t wait to try) are they family recipes?
LS:  No they are my creations. My grandma would make applesauce in the microwave by cutting up apples, adding a little water, and sprinkling with cinnamon and sugar. So that became the basis ofthe applesauce cupcakes.

 JRM:  I love it!  That’s how I cook. Where did the idea for this story come from? Did you grow up in small town Oregon?
LS: I was driving home from work one day and thought – I want to write about something that makes me happy. Something that will make other people happy. And cupcakes popped into my brain. I thought – how fun to write a book that takes place in or around a cupcake shop. And that’s how it began. I was like Isabel growing up in that I hadn’t been out of the state of Oregon at her age, and I always wondered about faraway places. Not as much as she does, but I knew what that felt like – to want to see more of the world than the town where you are.

 The rest of the story, to be honest, came pretty organically as I wrote. It was a fun book to write and I’m not sure how everything came together and worked, but it did! 

 I grew up in Salem and then Lebanon later on, so both fairly small towns. There is just something so cozy about a small town, you know? I made up Willow so I could take liberties with it.

 MSMAC:  So what’s next for you?
LS: I don’t really know. I have a couple of things with editors now, so I’m in that waiting room writers come to know so well. Crossing my fingers at least one project gets a yes!

 MSMAC:  What books are on your night stand?
LS: PRINCESS FOR HIRE by Lindsey Leavitt, MATCH MADE IN HIGH SCHOOL by Kristin Walker, THE NAUGHTY LIST by Suzanne Young

 MSMAC:  I am reading The Naughty List right now. Fun read. What does a day of work look like for you? Favorite time of day?
LS: I am 110% a morning person, so I get up early, answer e-mails, do a blog post while my kids are getting up and getting ready for school. Once they’re out the door, I move into my office which says “work” to me and I dive in on that day’s tasks. Some days that means writing, but often it means promotional stuff – answering interview questions, writing guest blogs, scheduling promotional opportunities, etc. I try to be done by 3:00 or so, because then it’s time to be mom and wife, and by then, I’m not as productive anyway.

 MSMAC:  Writing the first draft or revising? Which is your favorite?
LS: You know, with each book it’s been different. Some books have been a chore to get a first draft down and I have to bribe myself to just get through to the end, while others have been fun and easy. IT’S RAINING CUPCAKES flowed from the first page to the last and I loved writing the first draft. I honestly don’t know – I like them both on a good day and hate them both on a bad day.

 MSMAC:  When did you know you wanted to write?
LS: I’ve always loved to write, but it was about ten years ago I decided I wanted to write seriously and see if I could get something published. I was reading a book about dreams in life, and when I closed my eyes and really listened, I heard “write for kids, write for kids.” I think I’d always been afraid to try, afraid of failing. But like anything, you don’t know until you try! And I’m so glad I did!

MSMAC:  If you were not a writer, what job would you like to have?

LS: A librarian all the way!!

 MSMAC:  Where do you find inspiration?
LS: Nature. Other books. An amazing movie. Music that touches my heart.

 MSMAC:  What advice do you have for would be writers?
LS: I think the most important thing is to play, explore, experiment – try to discover where YOUR strengths lie and then focus on those strengths. Do what YOU do best and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. My YA novels are very different, but I get many notes from readers who ask me to “keep writing books just like that.” Sure, not everyone likes them, but I’ve found an audience, and I’m making a name for myself writing verse novels with romance at the center.

 MSMAC:  What book do you wish you had written?

 MSMAC:  What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen?  As an adult? Any particular genre stand out?
LS: LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE series was my favorite, along with the BETSY AND STAR books as a child. As a teen, I’d have to say WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. As an adult, too many favorites to list. I’m reading all the time now, both MG and YA, and the occasional adult novel as well. For me, it’s all about a book with characters who stick with me and a story that touches my heart.

 MSMAC:  Chocolate:  white, dark, or milk?
LS: All of it!

 MSMAC:  Coffee or tea?
LS: Tea

 MSMAC:  Dance funky chicken or the tango?
LS: Funky chicken, although I’d love to learn the tango!

Thanks, Lisa for stopping by today.  I enjoyed the book so much.  It is being passed around the fifth grade right now.

Happy Reading.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday

I finished Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graf on Monday night.  Delightful and poignant.  Annie is grieving about brother. She knows she has to be careful or she might get a weird disease or have an accident.  (Okay, that was me in sixth grade and I hadn’t lost a brother.  But I always was reading about diseases in the encyclopedia).  A new neighbor, a book about staying healthy, and some discoveries of her own help Annie close her umbrella of sadness.   It is a gonna be a hit at my library.

I have begun reading It’s Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder, local Portland author.  Look for my review and interview next Wednesday. 

Am listening to The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson.  I can’t wait to share with a teacher in my building.  She’s been reading stories about kids facing huge challenges:  The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis,  the student version of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy.  It is amazing how these stories connect with our students.

Just started The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Another teacher brought it to me and said you have to read this!  It’s quite engaging.


Would you like an original poem delivered to your mailbox instead of a bill?  Email me your address at macrush53 at yahoo dot com.  I will send you an original student written poem.

What’s on your night stand to read?

Happy Reading.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday

I finished Wild Things by Clay Carmichael.   It’s a stunning debut novel about 11 year old Zoe, who’s orphaned and sent to live with her uncle.  She’s not big on trusting adults and neither is the feral cat she tries to befriend.   Carmichael tells this story by alternating first person narrative and third person narrative of the cat.  The language and characters transported me to the back woods setting of the story.  Zoe and the cat are not the only wild things, other characters come into Zoe’s life and reappear.   Learning to trust, redemption and the power of love are pretty powerful themes that don’t hit you over the head with a hammer.  I can totally see why there was chatter about this book and awards.  I suspect it might end up on reader choice nominations. 

I am listening to The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.  This debut novel  received the Newbery Honor Award and the audio is a delightful to listen to on my way to work. 

Would my clientele read these books though?  I would probably have to sell them on the idea.  What I notice is that kids like to go for the comfortable, the easy.  And by going to easier choices, they fail to build their reading stamina.  It’s a reason that I am so thrilled to be working with fifth graders in a book club setting.  The fifth graders have been meeting weekly, responding to blog entries.  This week I have some of their responses to some of the reader choice nominations:

Candy Shop War     

The Candy Shop War is an amazing book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys mystery, fantasy and adventure. The book focuses on four kids Nate, Summer, Paul (nicknamed Pigeon) and Trevor. When the four kids start working for Mrs. White, the owner of a new candy shop in their town, she give them suspicious jobs and candy that makes some odd things happen…

This is a book that I had a very hard time putting down. I have heard that so many people liked it and that they couldn’t put it down either! You never know what’s going to happen next. It is amazing book to read at any time. I am sorry for other people who are in fifth grade book club because they don’t get to read it as their book until March.

 –Emily F.

 Dear Summer,

 If I were you I would definitely wouldn’t have trusted Ms.White either. Did you actually get to feel like what it would have been like to be doing what that candy can do? I think it would have been fun to have that type of candy here in real life. I wish that could happen where I’m going to live which is Kemmerer. I would think that would be totally awesome. I wish you were my best friend and could move with me because I don’t always make friends when I move. I’ve moved form Long Beach to Wheatland to Laramie to Hanna to Gold Bar to here and now to Kemmerer. I’ve gotten used to moving but this is the first place I have ever had a really good relationship with my friends. Even though I want to move back to Wyoming I don’t want to move either it’s really tough for me.



Dear Syvia,
If I was a Jew I wouldn’t think that I would survive from the hunger. From the not being treated well and from the having to hide at night from the Nazis taking the kids away from their parent. I wouldn’t think that I would survive from that kind of stuff. One question I have for you is how were you so brave??? How did you stay for a long time with eating only bread almost everyday? Another question I have was how were you able to stay in that cellar with not very much food, having to babysit your little cousin and not having any sunshine or light around you. I think I wouldn’t have survived without any light and without any games to play with and without any visitors visiting you! I was amazed how when you were in the cellar the Nazis came and found you and didn’t really do anything they just kind of kicked you, screamed and then left because they were losing the war. I think that you are really lucky how people saved you when they saw all the yellow stars. I hope you enjoy my letter!

 From: Lina

 Happy Reading.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday

It seems as though the weeks fly by and I haven’t posted my regular Wednesday post.  I decided in January to read all the 2010 Newbery contenders before the award was announced.  I was envious of the Ohio gathering to compare notes and celebrate the honors bestowed on January 18.  Am going to figure out a way to get a group in the Portland area next year to make predictions.

Soo…I have read the following books:

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne M. La Fleur.  Perhaps my favorite read thus far.  I love the idea of the letters that Aubrey is writing and am particularly interested in the handling of grief in this book.  La Fleur never is preachy and yet you feel the loss suffered by Aubrey.

The Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor was a fun read.  It was a nice change of pace from Love, Aubrey.  O’Connor is one of my favorite new authors, having just read How to Steal a Dog for our regional readers’ choice awards.

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg was incredible.  I love the free verse format.  I know those Vietnam vets, how troubled some of them returned.  It really tugged at me.

Anything but Typical by Nora Raliegh Baskin. Wow.  I could not put this down either.  Glad that I wasn’t on a Newbery committee.  Tought choices.  I think it would make a terrific read aloud. So much to talk about.

I am in the midst of Wild Things and have Also Known as Harper, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (on CD to listen to and from work), and When You Reach Me as well as Captain Nobody.

What are you reading these days?

Happy Reading.  And thankfully, our levy passed yesterday WOOT!