Monday, November 26, 2012
It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? So, as I often say, it is hard to keep up with a blog about reading when you have no time to READ! This week (or month for that matter) has not been a great one for my reading life. Report cards, NCTE, Thanksgiving holiday, etc. have all kept me from reading much. But I have read two things that I love so I thought I'd share. (For more It's Monday! What Are You Reading? posts, visit Kellee and Jen's blog, Teach Mentor Texts.)
James Preller's new book (the first in a new series--HOME SWEET HORROR (SCARY TALES SERIES). I had heard about this series as I am a huge James Preller fan (because he is one of the best author visits ever). But I didn't know the arcs were available yet. So I was thrilled to get one when I had asked for books appropriate for 4th grade at his publisher's booth at NCTE. This was the first on my stack that I read when returning from NCTE. I actually took it out of a child's hands so that I could read it over Thanksgiving break. And I loved it. When I was a librarian, I learned just how much kids loved scary stories. And I learned how few scary stories there are for elementary kids. I could not keep enough copies of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in the library. And even those, I believe, are a bit much for 3rd-5th graders. Except for Mary Downing Hahn's books (which are perfectly scary for this age), there isn't a lot out there. So, I am very excited about this new series and I am even more excited now that I read the book. This is an early chapter book--120+ pages with great black and white illustrations. Terrifyingly wonderful illustrations, by the way by Iacopo Bruno. The text is large enough that it isn't intimidating. And the book are really quite scary. Dead people, ghosts, true terror. These aren't pretend scary books--they are scary books meant for readers who actually want to read scary books. (Sometimes scary books for young kids are fake-scary and kids know this.). But Preller, as always, knows this age group well. He knows how to make the books really scary but still perfect for upper elementary kids. The ARC says grades 2-5. I am not so sure about Grade 2 although I have had 2nd graders who love scary stories. But for fans of truly scary stories, this is going to be a great series. And I love that the length and difficulty make it more accessible than other scary stories out there. Me, I am not a fan of scary stories--they scare me and I have nightmares. Every since Amityville Horror, I've pretty much given up on reading them. But I will read these because they are just the right level of scary for me and because they are really engaging. It looks like 2 of these are coming out at the same time (Book 2 is called I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM). Hoping James Preller is writing fast-right now-so that he gets lots of these out fast. Not sure how librarians are going to keep enough copies of these for readers. This series is not due out until July and I do hate to write a post about it this early, but I figure we are all looking for new scary books for elementary kids so I figure you'll remember this one. Or you'll preorder it right now. (You can read more about these books on James Preller's blog.)
The other book I read was I HATE READING: HOW TO GET THROUGH 20 MINUTES OF READING A DAY WITHOUT REALLY READING by Arthur and Henry Bacon was one that was recommended to me on Twitter. Maybe during #titletalk. This is a fun picture book that is really a "how-to" book. Written by two brothers, it is a guide for getting through those dreaded 20 minutes of required reading time. Filled with reminders and tips, these brothers have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves. A fun read filled with humor and fun. How I've missed this book for 4 years is beyond me!
A big part of my reading this week was during my NCTE12 Roundup. Little did I know when I offered to pull posts together, what a great experience it would be. I was so lucky to read all of these posts as I added them to the round up. Whether you attended the convention or not, the posts are definitely worth reading--so much to think about. My thinking is that the conversations we started at NCTE12 will last all year!