Monday, January 24, 2011

My January Reading

After a year of lots of travel and coursework, I am working hard this winter to get back into a more healthy life balance.  One of those pieces that helps me feel balanced is getting back to the habit of daily reading. I have never stopped reading, but for a while there, most of my reading during the last year, was for a purpose and I lost track of what I was reading and how much I was reading. I felt like I couldn't keep up and I didn't have control of my own reading.  I found myself meaning to read at bedtime but then falling asleep after just a few pages.  My To-Be-Read stack grew to an overwhelming pile and I just couldn't find the time to enjoy reading when there were so many other things I had committed to.  I am a much healthier, happier person when I read lots.

In November, I attended ALAN at NCTE and came home with a huge box of books. Holiday break provided lots of time to read and I have a semi-calm winter season that is also giving me lots of time to read. Donalyn Miller's #bookaday challenge helped me catch up on my ever-growing pile of books.  Paying attention to Twitter friends, @PaulWHankins, @Donalynbooks and @Professornana on Twitter, I realized how many books were out there that I was dying to read.  And, these people read more than anyone I know.  And then I learned that @MrSchuReads read over 1700 books in 2010! When you hear about so many great books on a daily basis, how could you not make time to read more?

I joined the Facebook group (The Centurions of 2011) of people committed to reading 111 books in 2011.Because of the Facebook group, I have been keeping better track of my reading. I realize that I read a lot that I never really count. Keeping track of picture books is difficult but I am trying.  Hopefully I can keep it up.  So far this month, I have finished 36 books.

And here is how my reading is going so far in 2011:

I am into a better health routine this month. Eating better and exercising almost daily. Since I was pretty out of shape, I started on the stationary bike and have been reading on the Kindle.  I am currently reading RUN LIKE A MOTHER on my Kindle. These authors are marathon runners, which I do not ever hope to be. But I am always interested in ways that busy women fit in healthy habits and I love this book. I am about halfway through and it is the perfect book for me as I try to regain a more balanced life again.

22 picture books (including a few picture book biographies)
6 middle grade novels
3 poetry books
3 nonfiction
2 graphic novels

Some highlights of my January reading that I haven't yet mentioned on the blog have been middle grade books. These, in my opinion are must reads if you are a 4th, 5th or 6th grade teacher.

THE DEFENSE OF THADDEUS A. LEDBETTER by John Gosselink is a great read--probably best for 5th grade and beyond.  It is the story of Thaddeus Ledbetter who has been suspended from school for the rest of the year. This is Thaddeus's story. His defense. His proof that he should not have been suspended. The book is filled with letters, emails, detention slips, etc.  But the voice of Thaddeus is one that I loved early in the book. He is a good kid that has gotten in trouble.  He doesn't mean harm (as he tells us many times.)  As you know, I am all about good characters in my reading and I love Thaddeus. (He even has a great blog.)This is one of those books that is definitely funny but there are also serious issues to consider and discuss throughout the book.

I was able to read both the first and second book in the new series, THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE by Maryrose Wood. I LOVE this series and cannot wait for the 3rd book to be released. (I actually read the ARC of the 2nd so the 3rd may not be coming for a while..)  The story is about a governess who is hired by a family to care for 3 children. The three children were found in the woods, and were supposedly raised by wolves.  The governess, Miss Penelope Lumley is by far one of my favorite characters ever and the adventures of Miss Lumley and these incorrigible children are quite fun.  I can see this as a possibility for an early-in-the-year read aloud for grades 4 or 5. A book that will hold kids' attention and interest and one that will give them lots to talk about in order to set the stage for a year of great read aloud. This is a light read--no huge real life issues to think about. It is really the voice of the author that makes it such fun. How I missed this book for so long is beyond me. Betsy Bird let us know how great it was in May.  I would love to meet this author. She has to be totally hysterical.

Other reviews:
Watch. Connect. Read.
Chocolate Air

This series is a definite MUST-READ. 


  1. I'm so glad you are enjoying Run Like a Mother. Neither do I have any ambition to run a marathon but I am finding lots of things useful. Will you do a 5K?

  2. Did you recommend this book to me? I can't remember where I heard about it. Doubt if I'll run a 5K (but maybe someday), just need to get back to exercising most days. This is a good book to jump-start me, realizing that this balanced motherhood is not easy for anyone--even marathon runners:-)

  3. I am a feeling a bit, well, inadequate in terms of reading after perusing this entry. But, as always you've inspired me to get going on some things...

    Balance is such an overused word, don't you think? I can't even balance my checkbook!

    Thanks for all you do in the name of literacy!

  4. Anonymous8:46 PM

    Oh, I'm so jealous. I haven't seen book 2 yet. The series will have great, universal appeal.

    Do you find that all the recommendations make it harder to keep things balanced.

  5. Yes, I am reading Run Like a Mother too on my Kindle. I tweeted it was free over break, did you get it free? I'm enjoying the humor and reality.


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