While we all huddle inside, here's a few books to help you stay warm!
In Sidetracked by Diana Harmon Asher, the reader meets Joseph as he begins 7th grade, feeling like he is loaded with problems. He has ADD, attention deficit disorder, or as he explains, "though he can focus fine, he often gets distracted and focuses on the wrong things." This can make schoolwork difficult so he gets help in the Resource Room with Mrs. T. But this also means he is teased and actually bullied by a few students who call it the "retard room". Though Joseph believes this year will be more of the same, a few things are making a difference. First, Mrs. T turns out to be the coach, of the new Cross Country team that Joseph reluctantly agreed to join. He also meets Heather, a new girl, who is a fearlessly fast runner, but also does not seem to care what others think and seems to want to be Joseph's friend. Finally his ornery but lively and very funny Grandpa has moved back into his house, and is great company with good advice. Join Joseph as he learns about "personal bests" and how important they can be both in running and in life. Grades 4, 5.
The Unteachables by Gordon Korman, are a small class of 7 students who the school has labeled "unteachable" and decided to put together in one class, plus one new girl who finds herself in the class by mistake. Their teacher is Mr. Kermit, who the school has lost faith in as a teacher, and he has lost faith in his ability to teach. Though he once loved teaching and was good at it, a scandal involving one of his student's cheating on a state test, years ago, changed all that. Now Mr. Kermit cannot wait until the end of the year when he will retire. But the year does not go according to either the students' or Mr. Kermit's original plan. As we get to know each of the student's through their own perspective, Mr. Kermit begins to also learn and understand them. And slowly feels a reawakening of his love of teaching and a belief in these students emerges. The year holds many turns and twists and surprises for the students, the school and the reader! Grades 4,5.
Invisible Emmie is a clever graphic novel that deals very realistically with middle school friendships, activities and other school issues. Emmie basically prefers to stay unnoticed and be allowed to draw, which she loves, or be with best friend Brianna (a.k.a. “The Brain”). But when one of her drawings is picked up by a boy, the events that follow are unplanned, The story is told through expressive and funny panel drawings and a sideline written by Kate, a student who seems to be popular and perfect. Then comes the sequel Invisible Izzy Invisible Izzy follows Emmie's best friend Brianna who is tired of being thought of as only a "brain" and artsy dreamer Izzy. Again the drawings and text parallel two stories and fill the story with characters and situations full of humor and meaning. Grades 4-6.
Wild Rescuers: Guardians fo the Taiga. The first in a fantasy series in which Stacy is the caretaker and protector of the taiga forest in which she lives and all the animals within. Though she does know English and has vague feelings about a previous life with humans all she knows for sure is that she has been raised by a pack of six wolves who communicate with her both telepathically and through body language. Together they guard the forest from environmental disasters and changes. The mystery of her upbringing will certainly be the subject of future stories in the series. For animal and environment lovers! Grades 3-5.
My Reading List!
I am the Library Media Center director at Patton School in Arlington Heights where I help students from kindergarten through 5th grade find terrific independent reading for enjoyment and information, and teach students the skills to use information and technology safely and productively and to connect, communicate and share with others. I have four grown children, a large black dog, (flat coat retriever) and a small striped cat. I am an obessive Chicago Cubs fan and I love to run.