“If I Stay”…book review (week 10)

MV5BMjI4NjkxODMyMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODYwODQ5MTE@__V1_UY1200_CR89,0,630,1200_AL_So I’m not sure if this book is young adult or not but I own it and I wanted to read it…again. I think it is just because “The Fault in our Stars” is and they run along the same lines.  Now I’ve read the book and seen the movie and they’re both good in my opinion but if I have to be honest, the book is better.  The books are always better than any movie that follows them, in my opinion.

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So if any of you have heard of this story, you know it is about a quiet girl who basically falls in love with a boy who she never thought would’ve noticed her.  They both lead different lives.  She’s the quiet and shy one who is into classical music and she hopes to get a scholarship to a prestigious school. And Adam, the love of her life, is the lead guitarist of his own band and leads a more rock-n-roll kind of lifestyle.  They fall in love just like you would expect but they have a tough road ahead of them.  Mia must choose between her scholarship or Adam.  But she doesn’t even get to make the decision because of a fatal car crash involving her parents and brother.

Of course her parents die in the crash and she is left alone with her brother.  To make the book an even more “on-the-edge” kind of read, Mia is caught in a dimension between life and death and only she has the power to wake up or pass on. 4374400

It might sound like your everyday run of the mill kind of love story where the guy and the girl fall in love but they are too different to really be together in reality but they make it somehow and when they do, something terrible happens that leaves the readers on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen.  Even though we already know what will happen.  Even with all of that wonderful plot and story line, I still love this book! I’m a sucker for books like this but I don’t know why!?

If you haven’t read it but have watched the movie, I would suggest reading the book.  You may like it and you may hate it to the very tip of your core.  But at least you will have read something new!

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We’ve got the POWER! (week 10)

First of all, I would just like to say how awesome Penny Kittle is.  This book is so amazing and it gives so much advice for teachers and future teachers.  I always get such a relief when I read a couple of chapters from her and confidence in myself as I continue this journey that I am on to be the best teacher I can be.

Anyway, going to chapter 5 about book talks, I was getting flashbacks from my sixth grade year when my teacher would have book talks with us.  She would grab three or four books and summarize each one for us and she would also mention if she has read the book herself.  Normally, she would grab books that were new or she hadn’t read them yet.  She would give us the chance to pick which book we wanted her to read and then everyday at 2:30 she would read at least a couple of chapters to us and then leave us hanging on the edge of our seats.  She was really good at picking the books and then reading to the best part and then closing the book.  We would all say “No! Keep reading! What’s going to happen next?”  She would just laugh and tell us that we would just have to wait till tomorrow.  It was really awful when it was Friday and we had to wait all weekend till Monday  rolled around.

Everything, or mostly everything that was discussed in this chapter, most of my teachers have done.  Although, I don’t really remember any one of them using the book to teach qualities of writing, I love this idea.  I like the three questions she asks her students to get them learning about writing.

1. What do you think is wrong with mom?

2. What do you think comely means?

3. How would you describe the economic condition of this family based on evidence in     the text?

I really like the idea of getting your students involved with the reading so that the teacher isn’t the only one talking.  They get a chance to learn different styles of writing because every book is different.  That’s why teachers should always pick different kinds of books.  You can always learn something from books.

For the last couple of years, I’ve heard how important conferencing with your students is.  It gives you, as the teacher, to get to know them more on a personal level and to know how they are doing in class.  It also gives the student a chance to explain their fears and goals to you in hope that you could help them.  Conferencing builds up a wall of trust between the teacher and student.

I liked reading the different types of conferences that Penny put together.  You would think that conferences would be the same but there are actually different types.  Conferences that monitor a reading life (which is the one I am used to thanks to my teachers in college) and conferences that increase complexity and challenge, which I never would’ve thought of to conference about.  I want to make sure my students get conferenced about everything so that way I know they are getting the attention they need from me and I can see what areas I need to work on to help them succeed.

 

 

 

Take that leap into diversity!

I’m huge on diversifying reading but need to take my own advice and actually attempt to diversify my reading list! Like anything else you try to change or diversify, it gets hard and it gets uncomfortable. The moment I changed it, I went back to what I knew before. I went outside my comfort zone and read an LGBTQ book but as soon as I finished it, I went back to fiction and fantasy.  Why?  It is what I am used to but I know I need to spread my wings and fly a little.

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I want to read at least ten books from the different categories on our book bingo by the end of our semester.  I’m well on my way to getting there with a few of the categories but some are still pretty dusty.  My goal is to read as many of these books as I possibly can before I become a teacher so I can tell my students to read diversely. I know they will learn so much and I want them to read, read, read!! My classroom library will be filled to the brim with so many different genres that my kids won’t know what to do with themselves! I’ll have fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, comedy, history, biography, autobiography and so many others. I will read along side my kids just to show them that we all need to read diversely.

I tweeted earlier this week and said that when someone reads diversely they start to ask questions and they start to gain new knowledge about different topics.  I want not only my students to ask questions but I also want myself to ask questions.  I personally want to gain knowledge about problems surrounding the world and everything in it.  A diverse reading life is something you cannot oversee and you have to pursue it with everything you’ve got. yin-and-yang-152420_640

When you get the chance to read a book that may be out of your comfort zone or is just something you haven’t read yet, take that leap of faith and you read that book. Ask questions, gain knowledge and most of all, enjoy the diversity that comes with reading.

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Why we need diversity!

No matter what we all say, diversity is lacking in every area of society. Literature is just another thing that we have to try to diversify. Honestly, before reading these articles I didn’t even think about how non-diverse literature is. These articles were windows (only my young adult lit. class will understand that reference) into a world I didn’t know existed. And I feel somewhat ashamed by that. A world that everyone needs to know about. Diversity is key for a solid and well-oiled world and we can now see why the world is not that right now. I really liked what Myers said about making poor inner-city children human in the eyes of everyone else and themselves. I love that. Finding out that only 93 books out of 3,200 were written about black children is astonishing and shameful. We need to know how diverse our worlds are but also how they are alike.

Why are publishing companies publishing more books with white characters and less black characters? Racism is still part of our world today whether any of us like to admit it or not. It may not be as prevalent as it was 50 years ago but it still lurks around. Do publishers think books with black characters won’t sell as well? If so, that is ridiculous. Children are not born racist and I highly doubt they would care so much as the color of the protagonists skin. I cannot imagine children’s minds work like ours and as long as they have words in front of them, they are paying more attention to the story line than the minor detail of skin color.

The one thing I found troubling is when that little boy asked why none of the books were about them? I guess kids can see it and recognize it when they really pay attention. They need to see reflections of themselves and where they come from and know that they do matter and people do respect them. It hurts to know that some kids feel as if they don’t matter and that people don’t respect them. No child should ever feel that way and publishing companies are doing a good job of accomplishing that disgusting feeling.

I have a question: how do we tell a black student why there aren’t more books about them? How do we tell them in a way that they will understand but not make them feel bad for being who they are? I feel like I would have the most trouble with that.

Wanted: Books of all kinds-Needed in my classroom library!!

So as I was reading these two pieces tonight, I became a little intimidated…not even lying. But I’m also really excited to start my own collection of books and then let my students read all of the glorious titles! I think as of right now I have close to 20 books. I’m a little ashamed but hey, I’m only 21 and on a college student’s budget. But trust me when I say I plan to expand that over time and get close to Sarah Andersen’s amount…1,000 (whoa!). Yeah be envious of that collection. I can only imagine what books she has.

Interior_view_of_Stockholm_Public_Library.jpgPicture CC by: commons.wikimedia.org I only wish my classroom library was able to be this big!

These readings gave a lot of great advice about how to start up your own classroom library especially if you are on a budget. That caught my attention right away. I really like the idea of fundraisers and somehow getting parents involved as well is awesome! They get a chance to know the teacher and see what she/he has planned for their kids. It also gives the students and teachers to build a strong front in their relationship.

 I love Penny Kittle because she is just so brutally honest. When her books go missing, there is nothing she can do except reorder the same series. If you have a lot of popular series in your library, that is a lot of money! But going to Sarah’s post, she makes a list of missing books and then gives extra credit to the kids who return them. Who doesn’t love a little extra credit? Both ladies have great ideas. One is honest and says there really isn’t anything you can do about it and the other still gives a little hope to those teachers who don’t want to give up their money just yet.  I’ll be sure to take both into consideration!

I cannot wait to see one of my students pick up a book and start reading it. To get that to happen, I’m going to decorate my library a little. I want to put a big sign above it and say “FREE OF CHARGE!”. Push them a little to pick up a book. So now that I have written this post, anyone have any books they would like to donate?! Living on a budget here people!

“Lockdown”

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CC picture by: http://www.nationalbook.org

Hey everyone! So this week I read “Lockdown” by Walter Dean Myers!

It is a great book and I recommend it to anyone! It follows the story of a boy named Reese. He is in juvenile jail right now but gets a second chance at getting freed by getting placed at the senior center. He becomes “friends” with an older man who roughs him up a little bit. When I say that I mean he gives him a hard time only to help him realize that he is special and he does deserve a second chance.

My reading response this week was tweeting Walter Myers and telling him I really appreciated his book.Walter_Dean_Myers_Naypl_Ambassador I told him it is nice to know that there are some adults in the world who think kids are special and they deserve second chances when they don’t think so themselves. Kids are special things and they deserve to know that we think they are special. When kids get thrown into juvenile jail, they think they are bad and don’t deserve anything but jail time. It’s a sad thing but it doesn’t take much time to let them know they are more than what they think they are.  CC picture by: en.wikipedia.org

I picked this book thinking it was going to be about some prisoners escaping but it doesn’t even involve real prison. It’s about delinquents and everything I said above. Please check it out! It’ll be worth your time!

A Challenge, a banning and self-censorship.

Okay, what has the literate world come to? Challenges and bannings sound like we are going into the arena to fight to the death.Fedor_Bronnikov_010.jpg If you think about it, though, we kind of are. We are fighting against everyone who brings up “challenges” and “bannings” in order to keep the literate world alive and well! That means keeping every book on the shelf. And I mean every book that anyone has ever thought to be inappropriate. (Picture CC by: en.wikipedia.org) See, my thoughts are all about letting anyone, and I do mean anyone, experience what this world has to offer and what the world actually entails. I don’t think you can get that from anything besides a book. Books are the truth and they will tell you the truth whether you want to hear it or not. They talk about every subject known to man. From homosexuality and religion to war and violence. They cover it all and all of it is happening in the world today. I’ve always thought that when books are banned it’s because some adults do not want others to know just how horrible the world is. And that’s not me trying to be mean but I’m just being honest. People are going to have a rude awakening when they realize the perfect world they were told they were living in isn’t so perfect. The youngest generation of readers needs books that talk about these kind of things. They need to study up and prepare themselves for what they are getting into. And we should give our kids a little credit. Just because they read about war and violence does not mean they are going to go out and buy a gun. Just because they read about homosexuals does not mean they will turn out to be one. If anything, it will empower them to further their knowledge on this subject and learn about it from others. They NEED these kinds of texts in their lives! It is a must!

Kind of going off of what I ranted above up there, I’ve had to come out of my reading comfort zone a lot in the last two weeks! I read a book dealing with LGBTQ, which I really don’t have any prior knowledge of, and it was interesting to say the least. Did I feel uncomfortable at times? shy-544715_960_720

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More like 80% of the book but I did learn a lot from it. I feel accomplished when I’ve learned something new and the fact that I got it from a book makes it that much better! See, normally, I stick with sci-fi, fiction, fantasy and romance kind of novels. You can see the dilemma I had while reading that book…!

I believe your own perception of a book is your business, but do NOT make it out to be the bad guy for everyone else. Just because you may not like a certain book does not mean someone else won’t enjoy it. We are all different and we all have our beliefs about everything. Books are the same.imagesBGCMXQT7 They are all different to conform to our differences. No book should be challenged or banned because it is deemed “violent” or “sexually provocative”. Those kinds of books need to be in the public eye for the reason they are being banned. They tell the truth and people do not like the truth.

 

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Looking into the future, I see LGBTQ books lining the shelves of my classroom. My students will learn the struggles and the differences that those characters go through and see what the world is actually like. I may get into trouble for that but I believe it is necessary for them to be true readers.  They need to read everything!