Sunday, July 30, 2006

My July Reading

We were having so much fun trying to think of 100 Cool Teachers in Children's Lit that we almost forgot that we were supposed to be reading! So, I am going to review my month's reading. All in one post. I have read lots that I like. My favorite new book this month is THE THE PRICE OF PRIVILEGE: HOW PARENTAL PRESSURE AND MATERIAL ADVANTAGE ARE CREATING A GENERATION OF DISCONNECTED AN UNHAPPY KIDS by Madeline Levine. I picked it up on the new nonfiction table. It is a fascinating read about raising children in affluent communities. It was written by a mother in one of these communities so it is very respectful of the kids and the parents who are raising them. I didn't realize how at risk our kids are. This book gathers the research. Definitely a worthwhile read and one I would recommend to help understand our kids today. It helped me see the pressures they are under and ways to be more supportive as an adult in the community. Definitely one of the best books I've read in a while.

I already talked about STUDY DRIVEN by Katie Wood Ray. My current favorite professional book for teachers. Loved it! I have recommended it to lots of friends. It will hopefully get us back to a true writing workshop in schools.

I also read THE YEAR OF THE DOG by Grace Lin. Actually, this may be my number one pick for the Newbery as of today. I thought it was a great story. Her writing reminded me lots of Sharon Creech who is one of my all-time favorite authors. Lin creates a great character and has life stories from her parents sprinkled throughout the text. One of my current favorites by far. The characters have stayed with me and the writing was great. This is on several Mock Newbery lists now so hopefully, it has a shot at the prize! (By the way, I have heard that she is an incredible author visit in elementary schools for anyone looking for a good author!)

PHINEAS L. MACGUIRE...ERUPTS!: THE FIRST EXPERIMENT (FROM THE HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC NOTEBOOKS OF PHINEAS L. MACGUIRE) by Frances O'Roark Dowell is a fun book--light, but with great characters. I am looking for something like this for my first read aloud. I love this author so I usually try to read anything that she writes. This isn't my favorite of hers but it is meant for a different audience. It is a lighter read than others she has written. But, she is able to create great characters and a plot that will appeal to middle-elementary kids. It looks like it might be the first book in a series. This would be a great new series!

Speaking of new series books, I also read IVY AND BEAN by Annie Barrows. I am always on the lookout for new series books for my transitional readers. This is a fun new series that I'll keep in my classroom. I am looking forward to the second in the series which is due out this fall.

I am not having great luck finding a great adult read. Any suggestions out there? I am anxiously awaiting Anna Quindlen's new novel but would love to read something great before that one is available. I have started a few that I picked up but none of them have hooked me.


  1. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Try Elinor Lipman's "My Latest Grievance," for a terrific adult read.

  2. Hi, Mary Lee and Frani.

    I couldn't find a contact link on your blog, so I'm posting a comment instead. I really like the cool teacher list and the Newbery candidates of 2006 project. It's only a step from there to combine the two into a "cool teachers in the books of 2006" list. :D

    I'm part of a group of debut middle-grade and young adult authors with books coming out in 2007, so we're all hoping that you keep your blog going through next year at least.

    I've taken on the task of finding out for our group what teachers would most find of value from a website/blog/forum run by a group of first-time authors. Information about the authors and books will be a given, and in our brainstorming sessions we've also talked about curriculum tie-ins, teaching guides, author visit programs, and a section of the forum dedicated to teacher talk...but since we're all new at this, we really do need some guidance from those in the field.

    If you or any of the teachers you know would care to swap ideas with us, my email is greg[at]gfishbone[dotcom]. The Class of 2k7 website, officially launching in October, is located at


    --Greg R. Fishbone, author of THE PENGUINS OF DOOM (Blooming Tree Press, 07/07/07)

  3. Anonymous7:19 PM

    Read The Wild Girl by Jim Fergus--the author of 1000 White Women. Loved them both!!!

  4. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Read, if you have not already done so, As the Crow Flies by MacDonald. She writes like the gods must. It's beautiful, shattering, and jarring over and over--I just finished it.


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