Category Archives: Recommended Reading

Summer Reading 2014

I’ve seen several new Summer Reading lists for children in the last few days — some have various prizes for accomplishing them, for others the prize is just getting introduced to some great books.

Thought I’d share:

Reward based mega-list: http://www.capitallyfrugaldc.com/2014/05/29/business-sponsored-summer-reading-programs-2014/ 

American Library Association picks:
http://www.ala.org/alsc/2014-summer-reading-list

Scholastic Challenge:
http://www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2014

From SummerReading.org:
http://www.summerreading.org/booklists.php

From a reliable teacher-website:
http://www.education.com/seasonal/summer-reading/

Annual Reading Rockets List:
http://www.readingrockets.org/books/summer

and of course, my favorite:

Classic Children’s Books (20 years or older, but still readily available):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_children's_classic_books

Happy Summer Reading! 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Critical Thinking, Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

Summer Reading 2013

I am very pleased to announce that one of my favorite Oldies But Goodies has been selected by my local school system for their 9th grade gifted summer reading program: A Walk Across America, by Peter Jenkins

(along with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers – not an Oldie But Goodie, but a fine read nonetheless). Great choice, Local School System!

Students (and adults) of both sexes will enjoy this book, a first-hand account of Peter Jenkins’ 1970’s true life adventure, in which he finds his dog, his bride and ultimately himself.

Additionally, a sister Oldies But Goodies novel is making news this season with its re-release from Ballantine Books. Formerly very difficult to find (believe me, I’ve tried and there’s NOTHING out there for under $75.00…) The Girl of the Sea of Cortez

by Peter Benchley is available for pre-order with a shipping date of August 20, 2013. Although Benchley is best known for Jaws, The Girl of the Sea of Cortez is (in my opinion) his masterwork. A beautifully visual read, it is the story of Paloma, a girl who lives near the Sea of Cortez in Mexico (a.k.a. The Gulf of California, located between the Baja Peninsula and the mainland. For more on this area of the world, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_California ).

Her love of the sea and the creatures in it is threatened by greedy outsiders without a care for the destruction they will leave behind. Not only is it a great book, it makes my environmentalist heart go pitter-pat.

Both Walk Across America and The Girl of the Sea of Cortez (and Outliers and Jaws, too, for that matter) are great books for a summer read at the beach, the pool, or curled up in bed with the air-conditioner blasting on you. Even if you don’t have plans to travel this summer, after you’ve read them, you will feel well-rested and dream of faraway places.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gifted, Miscellaneous, Recommended Reading, Writing

Reading is Felonious

This August, in the throes of readying for the new school year, a recently hired colleague expressed concerns about where to keep her purse during the day. Her worries were understandable, as the school is in an urban area with a somewhat higher level of crime than the suburb from which she comes. I assured her that last year I had an enormous purse that would only fit under my desk, but no one had ever bothered it. I even kept a dish filled with nickels on top of my desk from students who purchased pencils, and no one ever stole any. No, the students don’t take money. They steal books.

By June, it had cost me more than forty dollars to replace titles “borrowed” from my classroom library last year. Shiny new copies of The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and My Side of the Mountain had all disappeared from the bookshelf.

“Does anyone have these books?” I would ask my class, only to be met by total silence. But I already knew who had them. I’d recommended them to those students, myself. All bright children who I was pretty sure didn’t have any books of their own at home.

As far as I’m concerned, they are welcome to keep them, and if it costs me another forty dollars this year, I’ll pay it without flinching. I only hope that all of those books stay in print.

2 Comments

Filed under Critical Thinking, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

I was first acquainted with The Thirteenth Tale when I won a contest on author Mindy McGinnis’s blog, Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire. The prize was a book of my choice, and Mindy (a school librarian by day) helpfully suggested several titles, including this one. Billed as “a classic gothic,” I was a little nervous that it might be Victoria Holt-like, but after checking it out on Amazon.com and Goodreads, I decided to risk it.

Margaret Lea works in her father’s antique book shop, emotionally isolated and obsessed to a fairly unhealthy degree with her dead identical twin. Vida Winter is a reclusive famous writer, emotionally isolated and obsessed to a fairly unhealthy degree with her own dead identical twin. In her dotage and facing a terminal illness, Vida has finally decided to share her mysterious life story, and she wants Margaret to be the one to write it down. Off on the moors (okay, that much was stereotypical), Margaret is fascinated by Vida’s twisted tale, but echoes of her own life story inevitably start to resonate. Shadows and foreshadows of Jane Eyre, a mystery of birth, and twins who just won’t stay dead grip the reader until the last few pages, where the author takes great (and satisfying) pains to wrap up every little detail. I couldn’t put it down.

Maybe I was just tired (it was four-thirty in the morning when I finished the book), but even with the care that the author took to tie up loose ends, there was one detail that remained unexplained for me. Whose initials were IAR? Not whose I thought they would be, which begs the question: Was it a typo, or was Emmeline a serial diary thief? If you read it, I’d be interested to know your thoughts.

Thank you, Mindy, good pick.

Layinda’s Blog Rating: ¶¶¶¶

3 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Critical Thinking, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

I Already Read That

Many, many times when I have suggested titles for students in their later years (by which I mean high school), I have gotten the, “Oh, I read that in fifth grade,” comment. It is frequently accompanied by the vaguely superior attitude that tends to distinguish a precocious reader.

In response, I have this to say: Reading something as a child is not the same as reading it in high school (or later). Yes, the words are the same, the characters are the same, and the plot is the same, but you, dear reader, are not.

The Chronicles of Narnia series, by C.S. Lewis, is a classic example of this. Easily digested as a fairy tale in one’s early years, in the hands of a teenager, it can boggle the mind with its innuendo and double meaning. So can The Hobbit. And Watership Down. And practically every other book not exclusively intended for the younger crowd.

Even when perfectly capable of understanding the words and following a complex plot, the preadolescent reader (even a gifted one) just doesn’t have the maturity to recognize the nuance and subtlety embedded in most literature.

Think I’m wrong? Dust one off and read it again.

1 Comment

Filed under Critical Thinking, Gifted, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized

Summer Reading List

In the throes of the end of the school year, I was unexpectedly inundated with a lot of great new (at least to me) titles that I stoically forbade myself to read until summer vacation. As usual, my reading list is a tad eclectic, but so far, so good. I’ll probably be posting reviews of most of them, so here’s a preview:

I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
by Lauren Willig

Chains (Seeds of America)
Chains
by Laure Halse Anderson

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield

School of Fear

School of Fear
by Gitty Daneshvari

The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life's Storms

The Blueprint
by Kirk Franklin

State of Wonder

State of Wonder
by Ann Patchett

Private Life

Private Life
by Jane Smiley

Silver Wedding

Silver Wedding
by Maeve Binchy

 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Miscellaneous, Reading, Recommended Reading, Uncategorized