This weekend I finished reading All Fall Down by Ally Carter. I am a big fan of her books and this one did not disappoint! Imagine an island where there are embassies beside one another on one street. Embassy Row. Grace reluctantly returns here to her grandfather's care after her mother is murdered. She faces the stigma of being depressed, institutionalized and generally "crazy" BUT she will not let this interfere with her investigation to find her mother's killer! If you like mysteries and suspense, this is a great book for you!
Our Fall Book Fair is here and boy, are we excited?! The theme is Sir Read a Lot so we made a castle, had our amazing theater teacher sew costumes and decided to have lots of fun! Today was our first day and we will be going strong until this Friday. I am very thankful for our book fair coordinator, the many parent volunteers, and our students! Check out more information and even order online at our Scholastic Book Fair Website!
On April 26, 2014, I had the privilege of escorting ten of our SBMS students to the Teen Book Con at Alief Taylor HIgh School with the help of Mrs. Cornforth, Ms. Ayala, and Ms. Fontenot. Over thirty authors came ready to answer questions, talk about their books and connect with teens. It was amazing!
Laurie Halse Anderson was the opening keynote speaker and then there were different author panels throughout the day. Matt de la Pena closed everything out with a final keynote and then the teens got in line for author autographs.
Thank you to Blue Willow Bookshop for sponsoring such an amazing event, the incredible authors and chaperons that helped with the event! We had so much fun all together and the students are looking forward to next year. Check out the pictures below for some of the action from our events!
First off - check out Emery Lord's website - very cool! It's at http://www.emerylord.com/.
Emery Lord will be attending Teen Book Con this year on April 26, 2014 and I am excited to meet her! This story is a great one - a hopeful and beautiful read. I really enjoyed the main characters - Reagan, Dee and Matt. The best thing about this book is that the characters are not perfect, but they still learn to love and be vulnerable with each other.
If you want to read about an unusual and fun summer road trip between friends, then check out this book! I give it 5 out of 5 stars!
I had a great time reading over the holiday break! A few years ago, Birthmarked, was recommended to me by a dear co-worker. I have had the remaining two books in the trilogy for at least a year now and just finished them over the break. Such a great series! It definitely falls into the dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy genre. I would highly recommend the entire series.
I also picked up The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. This is a nonfiction book and I have started it, but have not read too much yet. I have a much harder time reading nonfiction books when I have a great fiction book waiting to be read.
Lastly, I started The Adoration of Jenna Fox. I started reading it on Friday and last night, I stayed up until 12:30 reading it! It is engrossing and suspenseful. What I like about this book is that it mixes teen issues with sci-fi/fantasy. I have heard many things about this book and am so excited to see how the rest of it plays out!
Happy New Year!
On October 19th, Ms. A and I went to the Tweens Book Festival in Pasadena, TX. It was a great time of seeing new authors, seeing old friends, and buying new books! We got to talk to Lee Bacon again and he remembered our exciting author visit from last year! I finished reading book 2 - The Nameless Hero - and he said to tell everyone at SBMS hello! So hello from Lee Bacon!
Looking for an uplifting story with fun, humor, heart, and truth? Then you must read The One and Only Ivan! Ms. Ayala recommended this book to me several times, so I put it at the top of my "to read" pile, and I'm so glad I did! Ivan has lived in captivity his entire life - not in a zoo, but in a mall on display for others to see. He has a couple of friends who live there as well include Stella the elephant and Bob the dog. They have their own little community, but they all believe something better is out there. The mall falls into financial trouble, so the owner brings in a new baby elephant which revives Ivan and his friends. This is a must read, even if you're not an animal lover. I would recommend it to all ages and I think it would be a great book to read aloud with a friend, class or family.
You can find out more information at http://theoneandonlyivan.com/.
Book Cover for The One and Only Ivan. Digital image. Web. 30 September 2013.<http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-and-only-ivan-katherine-applegate/1102905158?ean=9780061992254>
When our staff book club met, Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop, brought young adult and adult books to recommend to us. If you have not checked out Blue Willow Bookshop, you must stop by! They are our local indie book shop and take great care of Spring Branch I.S.D.! You can find their information at: http://www.bluewillowbookshop.com/.
One of the recommendations was this book, My Mother's Secret. It is based on a true Holocaust story and it is just beautiful. I read it in two days, but could have easily read it in one sitting. Normally I am not a big fan of Holocaust stories because they are too sad, but this one was told with hope and love. Franciszka Halamajowa and her daughter Helena risk their lives to hide Jewish families and a German soldier during WWII in Poland. Franciszka's ingenuity and bravery challenged me personally. I am still amazed at how these two ladies worked together to save the lives of so many. Thankful that Ms. Witterick explored the lives of these ladies to write such a beautiful story!
Book Cover for My Mother's Secret. Digital image. Web. 30 Septembert<lhttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18167456-my-mother-s-secret>
Last year, I had the privilege of meeting Ruta Sepetys at TLA. It was so amazing to hear her speak about her novels, research and get an autograph! I recently finished Out of the Easy and thoroughly enjoyed it! The main character Josie has great qualities including: fierce determination, presence of mind, and loyalty for those she loves. It's a great story set in New Orleans, otherwise known as "The Big Easy."
Ms. Sepetys even responded to me on Twitter when I commented about her book! I love it when authors do this!
Book Cover for Out of the Easy. Digital image. Web. 10 September 2013. <lhttp://rutasepetys.com>
It is official for me that summer has come to an end, but I am enjoying being back in our library. Last year, I had no library and was in a computer lab for one semester, so this August feels like Christmas!
I have had the chance to read quite a bit before going back to work. I have read a classic, books for book club, and of course young adult literature!
Here's my list:
1. The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro - This book was for our SBMS staff book club. It was a great read and really opened my eyes to the art community and how difficult it is for artists to make a name for themselves. This is definitely an adult read.
2. Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl - This is a Lone Star book for the 2013-1014 year and I really enjoyed it. It was a quick read and reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice...all about how personalities are misinterpreted and misunderstood for good and bad. Of course, there was a prince and princess romance!
3. Nurture by Lisa Bevere - I read this book with a group of ladies from my church. It is all about how important it is that we nurture each other and allow space for emotions and feelings. The book taught me a lot, but our weekly meetings is where I learned the most!
4. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen - I read this for a book club I am in with my mom and some other ladies. Rhoda Janzen writes about her past growing up in the Mennonite faith and her adulthood as she walked away from that faith. The memoir is full of funny stories, sad moments, and family fun. This is an adult read.
5. Trash by Andy Mulligan - After attending the Scholastic Reading Summit this summer, I grabbed this book and finished it in one day! One of the presenters recommended it and I enjoyed it immensely! Three boys live in a trash dump and come across an interesting find that leads them into mystery, mayhem and madness!
6. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe - It's been a while since I have read a classic, but my tradition is to reread Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen during the summer. With the encouragement of my boyfriend, I ventured out to a new classic about slavery and plantation life. Of course, I fell in love with Uncle Tom and wanted his life to end up with all good things, but as a slave moved around from plantation to plantation, he had a VERY difficult time. A great read filled with all kinds of themes and moral lessons!
7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater - I won an ARC (advanced reader's copy) on Twitter this summer! One of my favorite authors is Maggie Stiefvater and the second book in her Raven Boys series is coming out this fall, but thanks to new author Allison Cherry, I won an ARC! This book is filled with mystery, suspense, drama and moral dilemmas. Now I'll have to wait even longer for the third book or hope to win another Twitter contest! ;-)
I am currently reading two books: one is called The Brain that Changes Itself about how we can retrain our brain (very interesting) and the other is a YA book a friend loaned me called Eleanor & Park.
Ms. Smith, SBMS