I can tell that interims are out, parent-teacher conferences are over, and everyone has more or less settled into the school routine. How do I know? I have time to read again!
The literature circle/book club group of 5th graders in my classroom finished TIME CAT by Lloyd Alexander last week. I can't count how many times I've read that book, but I'm always amazed at how much world history (and world history of the cat) Alexander weaves into a time travel story about the boy, Jason, and his cat, Gareth. I'm forever reminded of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE at the end because when he gets home, dinner is just being served. If you haven't read it, or if it's been awhile, you should read this book.
The literature circle/book club group's next book is THE LAST TREASURE by Janet Anderson. We had our first discussion today. This one I've only read once, so it's like that Billy Collins poem I featured on Poetry Friday a while back -- it's like a brand new experience for me! The kids are having a hard time keeping all the names straight (as am I), and we are all going back to the diagram of the sward and the family tree often as we read. It's pretty obvious that Ellsworth and Jess will go into the middle house on the south side of the square and find the treasure, but they know that it's going to take a whole book-worth of story to accomplish that. This is a great mystery for a reader who will have patience with a complicated plot line, flashbacks, and lots of characters.
My adult book club is reading RIDING THE BUS WITH MY SISTER by Rachel Simon. This is not a book I would have picked up on my own, but that's what book clubs are for -- stretching us as readers! It's a fun story of self-discovery. Simon uses flashbacks that start in early childhood and gradually become closer and closer to the time period of the story. They are like stitches that sew together the events of the story into a satisfying whole. Reading this book was like going along on the bus ride, and I was a little lulled by the ride, so I was surprised at the last "stop" (the end).
I'm still picking away at STUDY DRIVEN by Katie Wood Ray. I read just enough to jumpstart my thinking when writing workshop is at a crossroads.
And I have a HUGE stack of graphic novels piled up in preparation for my work on the nominations committee of the Cybils. If you've read a great 2006 GN, head over to the Cybils website and nominate it now!