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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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review 2018-02-02 16:27
This illness isn't real so don't worry
Close Enough to Touch: A Novel - Colleen Oakley

There is a section on New York Public Library's website where librarians recommend some of their favorite books. I have been known to trawl through looking for ideas about what to read next (because I'm clearly lacking in books lol) and that's where I came across Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley. Our main character, Jubilee Jenkins, is a small-town librarian with a big secret...she's allergic to human touch. And I do mean deathly allergic. Let me back up a bit because the book doesn't open with her working in the library and fretting about whether or not anyone has figured out she can't touch them. Instead we meet Jubilee in her home where she has been sequestered away for several years after a bad allergy attack which nearly killed her. She decides the best way to keep herself safe is to not come into any kind of contact with the outside world which of course results in her becoming absolutely petrified to leave her house for any reason. (She even comes up with a system for getting her trash to the curb without going outside.) I had originally been intrigued by this book because it gave me slight Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore vibes but once I got into it I realized that the main difference here is that she's not trying to solve a mystery. Jubilee just wants to live. 

 

This book's narrative could have been tightened up extensively. There's the exploration of mental illness but there's also a burgeoning romance. AND there was a second subplot involving her romantic interest and his relationship with his adopted son. I think by splitting the focus, none of these were explored satisfactorily. The ending was somewhat confusing and left me disappointed that I had spent the time reading the book at all. And honestly I didn't care for Jubilee. She was extremely wishy-washy and many times I found myself frustrated with her. The initial concept was interesting but the execution and the muddied plot turned this into a low rated read for me: 4/10.

 

Check out the different interpretations of the story via the book cover:

 

 

Source: The eBook Hunter
Source: Simon & Schuster

 

 

What's Up Next: Deep Dark Fears The Creeps by Fran Krause

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-01-29 01:21
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon - Patty Lovell,David Catrow

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon is a delightful story of a unique young girl. Molly Lou has many unusual attributes, and she learns how to use them with the help of her grandmother. When Molly Lou encounters a bully, she knows just what to do. I would love to use this book at the beginning of the school year to help students raise their self-esteem and teach them how to cope with bullies. 

 

AR - 3.5

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review 2018-01-24 23:24
Yes, Stand Tall!
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon - Patty Lovell,David Catrow

"Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon" by Patty Lovell is another good book to use when discussing bullying and standing up for yourself. In this story, Molly is a small child who looks different from her friends. Her grandmother tells her to stand tall and the world will love you. She moves towns and is bullied by a boy named Ronald Durkin at her new school, but she never lets him get her down. She just shows him what she can do and in the end they become friends. I would use this story for any elementary grade to spread awareness about bullying and teach a lesson about always being yourself. It also sends a message to never judge one another based on the way someone looks or talks. Molly Lou Melon gets judged by her new friends and bullied just because she is different. Reading this story on one of the first few days of school could present an opportunity to set up a quick meet and greet in the classroom. Depending on the number of students depends on how you would set up how they can rotate and meet each other. They could have a minute or 2 to share three things that say who they are. Then rotate until everyone has had a chance to talk and meet everyone in the class. This would be better than having all the students stand or get in front of the class to introduce themselves, because some students may be really shy at first. Doing this gives the students an opportunity to talk and share themselves with each other so they can all have a connection from the beginning and know they are all friends in that classroom. There are several other books that would work for this as well, but this story sends a great message. 

 

 

 

Lexile: AD560L

Guided Reading Level: L

Suggested Grade Level: K-2

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