I have a stack of books, actually several stacks, of books I collected at the recent National Council Teachers of English (NCTE) annual conference held in Boston. I have just started to scratch the service, so far here are some of my favorites. In addition, I am re-reading books to get ready from the spring semester of my Children’s Literature course at Boston University.
The follow up to One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, P.S. Be Eleven, sees the return of the Delphine and her sisters. So far, the voice is strong as it ever was. This book touches on issues any 12 year old would be hard pressed to handle; her uncle is back from Vietnam, her dad is dating, and her mother who is still in Oakland, seems to have forgotten Delphine’s birthday.
I read more historical fiction than I would like but Williams-Garcia’s strong prose is a true pleasure.
A student recommended this book to me when it first came out (February 2013) and it took me a while to get around to reading it. Once I began, I was enraptured by the story, the strange combination of familiar setting and strange talents that everyone seemed to take for granted.
I’m not usually a fan of multiple perspectives but Lisa Graff handles the intricacies expertly. There is baking orphans, guys carrying suitcases, and weirdoes with bottles of magic.
Now I just have to figure out where to put it on my syllabus!
I saw the author, Gina Damico, speak at this years ALAN workshop. ALAN is a 2 day workshop that follows NCTE and is basically an orgy of books and authors talking about books. It is fabulous.
So, I heard Ms. Damico talk about death and laughter and I was hooked. All I could think was “how did I miss these”?????
Lex, a true wild child, is shipped off to live with her uncle Mort for a summer of hard work. Problem is, Mort is the Death. He takes Lex under is wing and teaches her the business of death.
Rogue is the third in the series. I started reading but decided I need to back-up and start from the beginning with Croak, then Scorch, and finally Rogue.
I like to start the semester with a selection of Elephant and Piggie books. We spend some time looking at leveling scores for these books, reading leveled book series, and learning how text leveling works. In addition, I have students trace plots, character development, and dialogue using one leveled book and one Elephant & Piggie and we look across the book reading experience.
Re-reading these books always makes me laugh and that can only be a good thing on a Monday.