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.)

I felt like I won the lottery when I was handed an ARC of 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!


  1. Franki, thanks, I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. It means a lot coming from you. And I am writing fast (a creative tsunami!), currently working on #4, "Nightmareland." If readers like the books, I'd love to keep this series going. As you may know, each story is totally different -- new characters, new setting. And as the series expands, I'm eager to explore new sub-genres. Not just "horror" or old-fashioned ghost stories, but also "thriller," "sci-fi," maybe even (scary) historic fiction. The idea is to keep working on a broad canvas, yet always delivering on the SCARY TALES promise of an exciting, entertaining reading experience with twists and turns and chills along the way. Thanks for your support.

  2. Thanks for sharing the I want to be a part of this more than ever!

  3. Still finishing "The Mark of Athena" by Rick Riordan.

    Also I need to start "The Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson for the book club.

  4. I Hate Reading sounds like Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading. My kids loved that one.

  5. The round-up is going to be good to read, Franki. Thanks for taking the time to do it. And love to hear about the Preller scary books. Some students do love them & it is good to hear about new ones!

  6. I have a special affinity with scary tales, Franki. We've had several 'haunting' stories theme in GatheringBooks and we can't seem to get enough of them. I love how glowing your review is, I shall definitely try to find a copy of this book. :)


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