Sunday, January 1, 2017

Being a Reader

Reading and I have not always been on good terms. I read voraciously as a kid. It started with books by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. Then books like the Lion, Witch and Wardrobe series. As a teen I discovered Stephen King and every time my father traveled for work (which was like 4 times a year) he would bring me home a book by him. I will never forget my 8th Grade teacher confiscating Carrie from me because she thought it was too mature for someone my age to read. She called my mother and asked her if she knew I was reading that and what it was about. My mother replied that she had already read it and passed it on to me-so yes, she knew I was reading it.

After college, reading was no longer fun for me. I felt like I was reading so much for work that my literary life consisted of mostly magazine articles. Several years back I read the Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller and I realized what I had been missing out on. First of all, how can I be a good reading role model for my students if I am not reading? Secondly, there was this whole world of books that I was missing out on. A way to connect with people through the stories we read. So I made a conscious effort to read more.

Now, I'm a pretty slow reader. The fact that some people can finish a book in one day is awe-inspiring to me. It takes me a while to finish book. That's one of the reasons I like mystery/thriller type stories-I have to keep reading to get to the end and on occasion have stayed up late to finish a book or even got up early to read. :)

I track my books on Goodreads really so I can set a goal for myself and see if I can reach it. This year I surpassed my goal (thank you Winter Break) and I hope to keep increasing it year by year so I can read the myriad of books I have on my bookshelf right now.

My parents took us to see the play Harvey when we young and I LOVED that story. Instead of a rabbit the protagonist in this story sees a large, surfer cat. It's a touching story about dealing with things we don't want to deal with. The kid's family has been homeless and on their way to be again. I really liked this book.

 I know, I know--that last teacher on the planet to read this book! It was assigned for our student book club so I had to read it. I think in a post-Survivor reality show world some kids might do even better surviving. But I liked this story, I liked the focus on one character and the changes he made. It's about a boy who is on a plane that crashes and he has to survive in the wilderness with basically nothing but a hatchet.

I read the reviews of this book after I read it and many people didn't like how dark it was. I thought it was a great suspense story. Two girls are taken back to their father after years of living in the woods with their drug-addicted mother. The story follows the family trying to build relationships again and the girls' trying to fit in when they have never seen a cell phone or microwave before.

This book was recommended to me by Tammy over at Forever in First. I was a little worried because often animals stories like this end up with me in tears. But I really liked this book. It follows both the boy and the pet fox that he was forced to abandon. The ending was perfect, in my opinion.

 I am trying to read more non-fiction and memoirs, just to try and expand my range. This is a very interesting story about a pair of African-American albino brothers who were kidnapped (or possibly sold by their mother) and forced to work in the circus for many years. It profiles that era of prejudice and different laws for people of different races. Parts of it were hard to read, the brutality some people had to endure. And about 3/4's in it got kind of boring and drawn out. I really just wanted to find out what happened to them in the end. But I think the story is fascinating and one I had never heard before.
This book was very different from what I thought it would be. The synopsis says WWII era setting-but that history didn't have much to do with the actual story. There is a little girl who is being bullied by a new girl in school. There is an incident that sets many others into motion and the little girl is put in a situation where she just does not know what to do. I liked her family a lot. I was a little bit shocked by the ending, but thinking about it more I feel like that was the right way to end it. It's advertised for middle school students but I think the themes are a little more mature than that.

Pin It!


  1. I loved If You Find Me, and of course, you know what I think of Pax. It's such a great book!

  2. Thank you for suggesting Pax for me! :)