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review 2018-03-05 22:52
Have you ever wished for a luckdragon?
The Neverending Story - Roswitha Quadflieg,Michael Ende,Ralph Manheim

There are some books that I can re-read over and over again. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende is one of them. Some of you (or most of you who knows) are aware that the 1980's film of the same name was based off of a book. I can say with absolute confidence and conviction that the book is superior in every way. The story is centered around a little boy named Bastian Balthazar Bux (one of the most fantastic names in literature) who is not your typical hero. He's chubby and spends the majority of his time buried in books. He has a strained relationship with his father and he is bullied at school. This character is real. He is tangible. I empathized with this character on a lot of levels. He comes upon a book (I'm definitely leaving a lot out here on purpose) titled The Neverending Story and from this moment on he is changed forever. This isn't a regular book. It's alive. The reader (us) is taken on a journey with the reader (Bastian). We are introduced to the land of Fantastica with characters that range from the Childlike Empress who is the ruler of the land to Atreyu who is on an epic quest. This might be one of the first books that caused me to weep with grief...or maybe it's just the first one that I remember. Whatever the case, I still cry every single time I read this book and I try to read it once a year. It's an adventure story that is layered with magic, friendship, and self-discovery. There's a reason why it's one of my favorite books of all time.

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review 2018-03-01 03:06
Brave - Svetlana Chmakova


Brave is the sequel to Awkwardan amazing graphic novel about navigating middle school life. Brave follows the same basic group of kids, with a different main character. In Brave, Jensen (the art club kid from Awkward who is obsessed with sunspots) learns about bullying. He doesn't think he is a victim at first, but he gradually begins to understand what being bullied really means. He compares his school day to a video game, a constant struggle to avoid the "bad guys" and traps; making it through the day is a struggle for "survival."


This book has a bit more mature content compared with Awkward. There is no sex or serious violence, but the bullies call Jensen "fatso" and "stupid" and Jensen uses the phrase "makes my life a living hell." Compared to the overall message in this book, these are tiny considerations. But, as a parent, you should know what you are getting into. Many of our 3rd graders read Awkward and their parents might not think they are ready for this one.


Overall, this is a great book that describes realities of middle school, bullying, feeling alone, making friends, and standing up for yourself. I highly recommend it to 4th grade and up. 

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review 2018-02-27 03:46
Easy as Enemy Pie
Enemy Pie - Derek Munson,Tara Calahan King

A boy decided to make an enemy pie with the new boy in town. In order to make enemy pie, you must "pretend" to be friends. After pretending to be friends, the two boys became true friends. This book teaches students about acceptance and that bullying is not acceptable behavior. The activity I would be the opposite of an enemy pie. My students will create a friendship pie. The students will choose what qualities make a good friend and how much of that quality does the friend need. I can also integrate measurement conversions into the lesson. 


Reading Level: Lexile AD550L


Grades: PreK-2nd

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review 2018-02-04 19:26
Dear Mr. Henshaw
Dear Mr. Henshaw - Paul O. Zelinsky,Beverly Cleary

Dear Mr. Henshaw was one of the first chapter books that I remember reading. I was captivated by the story and re-read the book numerous times. The story dives into heavy situations, such as divorce, bullying, and moving to a new school. I loved that the main character would write to his favorite author. I think that I would have students do the same!  Because this book is for older readers, I would ask them to decipher the setting and draw or write about it. I would love to incorporate this book into a science or stem lesson. Just like in the story, I would ask students to design their own lunchbox alarm.


Guided Reading - Q

Lexile - 910L

DRA - 40

AR - 4.9

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review 2018-02-04 18:30
Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum is such a relatable story for so many young readers! I remember being picked on when I was a child because my name was unusual. This book reminds children that although they are different, they should not be ashamed. Sweet Chrysanthemum perseveres, even when she faces a bully at school. This text would be great to use at the beginning of the school year, just as a reminder that being kind to classmates is the way to go. Because their is already a math activity included in the story, it would be easy to extend it into the classroom. Students can count the letters in their own names, just like they do in the story! Students can chart the results and compare their findings. The activity can be differentiated for advanced students and early finishers by allowing them to do the same with their last names.


Guided Reading - L

Lexile - 460L

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