Saturday, December 3, 2011

New Books to Consider

Most years in November I head to the National Council of Teachers of English Conference, a giant literacy playland for us literacy fans. I love seeing old friends who are active in national literacy issues. We talk blogs and technology, families and teaching, but mostly we talk books. Of course we love to talk about books because we are all rabid readers and we love, love, love putting fantastic books into the hands of our students. In this day and age of scripted reading programs and a national education agenda focused majorly on test scores, many of us see an even greater need to find incredible literature and craft more and more effective ways to include those amazing resources in our schools.

Of course one of the terrific offerings at this conference are all of the publishers showing off their new wares. Gone, I hope, are my days of taking books out of luggage to leave at the airport and cramming and recramming my suitcase at the hotel room before the trip to the airport, only to decide there was no way I could shut the zipper. This year I came home with only 16 pounds of new books. I was very proud indeed, given the family drooling for me to open the suitcase once I walk in, everyone hoping I brought them some paper goodie!! This year I came home with some new books that, while I have not read them yet, look particularly promising. Here is a small preview of two advance release copies (ARC's) that sounded the most intriguing to me.

Sway by Amber McRee Turner. This is an advance release copy (ARC) due out in 2012. The storyline sounded interesting: Mom comes home after 4 months being gone only to leave again. 10-year-old girl and Dad take off to find her, but girl needs some kind of magic to bring mom back, the kind of magic she has always had. But what I really found intriguing were the first two sentences of the books: Being awake all night long is not such a good thing when it comes from eating spoiled mayonnaise or hearing raccoons fight over garbage outside your window. but being awake all night long is a perfectly fine thing when it comes from gladness beyond the stars that you mom is coming home for the first time in four months. 

See, sounds interesting, huh?

The Rivals, the second book from Daisy Whitney sounds intriguing to me. Evidently this is the second in a series, the first of which is called The Mockingbirds: hmmm, guess my summer reading list is already growing.  This book sounds a little more gruesome than Sway. A teen girl discovers some bad cheating actions at her high school. She just happens to be the head of a secret society at the school that polices and protects the student body. As she further explores the situation, she discovers some separation and dishonesty that tries her integrity and her relationships mightily.

Wanna do the first few sentences test? Try this out:
I will pretend I know nothing. 

When she asks me about the Mockingbirds, I will deny everything. 

I won't reveal who we are and what we do, even though she has summoned me here to her inner sanctum "to discuss matters pertaining to the Mockingbirds." That's what the note says, the one her secretary hand-delivered to me moments ago on crisp white stationery, sealed with the official emblem of the office of the dean of Themis Academy. 

Alysa always laughs when she reads ARC's now, having noticed the typos in the books that I have brought home in the past. While this year I may not be able to get her interested in Sway (sounds good and important to the heart, something I would like!!), I have a feeling The Rivals might end up far from my bedside table, resting innocently in the stack in her room, where a few other books from my end of the house seem to have tiptoed to. At least I think that is how they got there...All I know is that I better get reading soon. Yes, soon. As soon as I finish up this workshop I am preparing. Or, given the entrance to both of these books, I may have to just start reading now instead.


  1. I had heard about the second Mockingbirds novel, but Sway looks good, too

  2. So glad you thought it sounded good. I can't wait to get into it and really see what happens in it!