Friday, August 29, 2014

Chu's First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex

I don't know what I am going to read aloud on the first day of school yet. I may read Nest, I may read Farmer McPeepers and His Missing Milk Cows, or I may read Chu's First Day of School.

Neil Gaiman has some serious author chops in a number of genres, so he is no slouch. And this book reveals its storyline in unique and pretty darn funny ways. If you read Chu's Day, the first book about Chu, you will already know that his nose does some serious damage to anything around him once things get stirred up. And in this one, the first day of school offers Chu just such a sharing opportunity.
Totally fun, funny, and an enjoyable read aloud.

It's a short book, with a catchy storyline I feel certain young people would enjoy. I mean it sat on the NYC Bestseller book for quite a while. I still don't know what I am going to read aloud on that first day....I may just have to read all three!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Counting to D by Kate Scott

Loved this read! The main character leads us through her teen life living with dyslexia, with a bunch of brilliant friends who come in and out of the picture in really interesting, engaging, authentic ways. I think what I loved most was how the main character and her new boyfriend seemed totally natural to me. I mean I could imagine two teenagers who are like, and my high-school teacher friends could talk about students who seemed like, these students. I also loved loved loved how the author unveils dyslexia. She actually has dyslexia (and figured out which font dyslexics can best read) (seriously!)(I have so much to learn!) and wrote using that lens very effectively.

Sam has some serious baggage that she is trying to cover up as a new student at a high school in Portland (hometown, baby!!) (oh, did I say I loved that too? I did.). Her schedule includes 5 AP classes--a seeming record for a sophomore. But as the story continues, we learn more about Sam and how those challenges twist and tense her life and those she is in relationship with. She hangs out with a crowd of brilliant students who call themselves the Brain Trust, an intimadating group to most, it seems. But the Brain Trust has its own fragile issues, and Sam gets to play a decent role in a key demise of the group. Greater, wicked-smart Sam unearths some of her own confusions and caps down on living life as herself rather than what she believes others want her to be like.

This would be a perfect read for teachers who want to know more about what it is like to have dyslexia, teens who want to read an authentic text with a primary storyline focused on dyslexia, or someone looking to learn more about teens who are struggling to find their foothold in growing up. Can't wait to read Kate Scott's new book, scheduled to come out this fall. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

nest by Jorey Hurley



life cycle






Read this.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs

Combine summer, "geek camp," a teen who plans to leave the state after her senior year, and the twisting surprises of friendship and time, and you have a great book. Sarah Combs crafts a fabulous first novel in Breakfast Served Anytime--I LOVED IT!! Alysa has it now, at my nudging. Hope she reads it soon and gives us all some response. I am guessing she will sit in the same camp as I do on this book.

Rising senior Gloria heads off to "Geek Camp," a few weeks at a local university with other teens she has never met from around the state, all of whom Kentucky wants to dangle a carrot in front of hoping each of these brilliant top-of-their-class students will choose to attend college there. She and the few others in her writing class receive cryptic notes from their professor, initiating the first of many mysteries and explorations together. Through the practices of solving these mysteries and in turn figuring out what their teacher wants them to connect with, they find themselves and each other, unfolding answers to their life questions and creating solid friendships during the journey. The writing is superb, the storyline tremendously solid and unique, and if I were a teen, I would really want to read this book. I loved it. Seriously.

Find it. See what you think....I am guessing you will be like me and want Sarah Combs to keep writing! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Another fabulous summer read!!!

Isn't that a lovely cover? Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague just rocketed my faves of the summer list last week, and the cover shot offers a sweet capturing of what readers are in for. I am not usually a big time-travel kind of gal, but this one sold me caught me off-guard and hooked least how the authors told this story. This weaving of current day with the 1930's was a tall order, and twisting two seemingly separate storylines together encouraged me to imagine the authors plotting and scheming over morning cups of coffee. However they came up with their ideas, I enjoyed the read.

Short synopsis: teenage Margaret is confident her father is innocent, but she cannot figure out how to prove it. In time, she concocts the plan with the help of best friend Charlie, his grandfather, and a few other supportive characters. The time travel piece works, the seemlingly real ways the characters work together, and the visual images the write conjured for me all helped me really get into this book. I loved sitting in the sunshine, eating lunch and reading about Margaret, Charlie, and their attempts to unearth her father's freedom.

It has been rainy here in Portland these last couple of days, but the sun is trying to come out. Maybe this book and a lunchtime read are in your future.