Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Book covers matter. The cover of The Honest Truth caught me big time, and I read the YA novel from that visual start. My mind images cratered through as I read, reminding me of separation, survival, and the dire questions our lives force us to answer.

Mark and his dog set out on a journey. Taking few things with them and leaving one or two notes behind, Mark figures this will be the last time he sees his home, family, and friend who is a girl. Mark has outlasted death a few times, and now his sickness is winning. Mark figures out how to outsmart most people as he escapes to Mt. Rainier where he has decided to die, but he didn’t count on how others might respond.

This is Dan Gemeinhart’s first book, and I really enjoyed his writing style. It was clean and deep. I can’t imagine what it is like to always be sick as a child, to always need medicine, to always need doctors, and to always need others. The main character who tells his own story gives voice to that part of at least one young teen who called enough and tried to get out of his own life. It just didn’t all go the way he planned. The cover caught me first, but his story kept me with him the whole way.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet

Looking for a terrific read aloud for your youngsters? An engaging read aloud with a small mystery and a little math for yourself? This new book might capture your sure did mine and my students! This big gem has been around for a bit, published in 2006, but it was perfect for my class. We have been in the midst of a giant study on penguins. Students are working on their own nonfiction penguin research. This fiction book offered the flavor of a tall tale as additional possibility for many of my students.

Fun, funny, with some tough math tossed in to complicate matters in a perfectly penguin way.

The pictures are rich, the pages giagantic, and the colors perfect. Even from our distance, I want to read the book again! 

A worthy read for a variety of purposes, I encourage you to seek 365 Penguins out. It is perfect!