I was never into graphic novels as a kid. I've read more of them over the past couple of years, since my students are OBSESSED with them. I was excited to read this book and am in awe of an author who can tell such a fun story in words and pictures. Imogene is a knight in training, but also starting middle school. I'm not sure which requires more bravery. Luckily, Imogene is up to the challenge.
I was so pleasantly surprised by this book! Aven is an easy character to love and someone you wish was your best friend when you were 12. (Apologies to my super awesome best friend when I was 12). Aven moves across the country, plays pranks with her new friend, and uncovers a family mystery. Oh, and she doesn't have any arms. Who needs them?
This book. This book should be on everyone's shelf. Refugee tells the story of three children from different time periods under similar circumstances. All must leave their homes in search of safety and survival. Alan Gratz expertly weaves their stories together despite being decades apart. Seriously, just go read it.
My latest Newbery read is See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng. Again, I stayed up far too late to finish this book. Are you sensing a theme? I have a hard time putting these books down. I suppose that's why they're the best books of the year. In this story, 11 year old Alex leaves home and heads to New Mexico to launch his rocket. He's going to send an iPod into space full of audio recordings like his hero Carl Sagan. (Not to be confused with his dog, Carl Sagan). Alex has had a tough 11 years, but he's got goals. He's brave, smart, and finds his pack along the way. I really think that students in 5th grade or above will identify with Alex and be rooting for him to succeed.
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. Go read and share this book with all the kids you know. This book is recommended for students in grades 3-6, but could be easily read aloud to younger students. I wasn't planning on reading this in an afternoon, but I did. The story, told by a tree (that's right: it turns out trees have a lot of stories to tell), is about friendship, loyalty, wishes come true, all sprinkled with a bit of magic. I'm not sure I'll look at trees the same way again. In fact, two days after reading this story, a large old tree in my neighborhood was taken down. I watched as branch by branch the tree was dismantled and turned to chips. I couldn't help but think about Red, our trusty wishtree, and all of the stories this tree next door had to tell.
Teacher, reader, tea drinker, and dog mom.