Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Some Observations From the Trenches

I really want to write a short, but powerful blurb about the book Peak, by Roland Smith. My student teacher gave it to me and it was such a great read. Briefly, it has: tons of action, intense survival situations, a detail rich plot that includes a climb up Mt. Everest, and great characters. There's also this surprising, but fitting and believable twist at the end with a moral to die for. Soooo good. I nominated it for a Cybil Award for middle grade fiction. But right now it's 9:00 and I was at Washington for more than 11 hours today. So that's all I'm gonna say about Peak. Just check it out.

Oh yeah, for future reference: the scene where Peak climbs a sky scraper and gets arrested at the top was a great "hook" for booktalking it.

I've realized that there aren't that many teachers who blog in the kidlitosphere and those of us who do have something valuable to offer: real live kid readers. Well, here's some data from my first six weeks of working with a class of fifth an sixth graders in a high poverty, high English Language Learning school:

Twilight and the subsequent books in Stephanie Myers' vampire series are getting passed around my room like wildfire. Boys and girls are liking it. I never even booktalked it.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been a huge hit and has already been finished by at least six of my students.

At least four kids have read and enjoyed: Clementine, Down Girl and Sit, Shug, Life As We Knew It, and The Lightning Thief.

At least one kid has deeply loved: Hugo Cabaret, Here B. Monsters, Sahara Special, Gilda Joyce, Walter Dean Myers' Biography of Malcom X, Flashcards of My Life, and Whales on Stilts.

This data is from mid-October, so I'll have to keep you posted as the year goes on. I love kids. I love books. I love watching kids get involved in great books.

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