"The Best Laid Plans..."
Even though I've committed the cardinal sin of blogging (lengthy lapses of time between posts), I don't feel guilty about it; I've been busy. It makes me dizzy to realize that it is already the middle of May. March was consumed by preparing for my Abydos recertification presentation ; April was catch-up time for all of the things that went neglected in March; May has brought the end of my UNT journey and now it's time for the end-of-the-school-year madness to begin. Whew. This beautiful Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to play catch up and get back on track with the blog. Here's what I've read over the past two months:
The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Started: February 2011
Finished: March 2011
Goal: 7 of 25
This book embodies all of the research that I did for my Abydos recertification. It should be given to every new parent as they leave the hospital. My copy looks like I went crazy with the highlighter and post-its, which is the sign of an excellent book.
Reading Magic by Mem Fox
Started: March 2011
Finished: March 2011 (over Spring Break)
Goal: 8 of 25
I did a quick skim of this book over Spring Break to finish up my Abydos research. I was a bit disappointed becauseI was expecting more from Mem Fox, a prolific writer and great authority on children's literature. The Read-Aloud Handbook was definitely better.
Word AfterWord After Word by Patricia MacLachlan
Started: April 2011
Finished: April 2011 (2 days later)
Goal: 9 of 25
This is a quick read about the power that words have to transform lives--even young ones. This would be a fantastic read-aloud for an elementary class--especially fourth grade.
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Started: Beginning of March 2011
Finished: End of April 2011
Format: Checked out from the Shaw Library
Goal: 10 of 25
After reading The Read-Aloud Handbook, I felt guilty that I do not read aloud to Landry much any more. Now that she hasentered the world of chapter books and has become an independent reader, we don't share that nightly ritual like we use to. Now Peyton gets all of my attention for reading aloud. Jim Trelease talks about the importance of reading chapter books to older readers to stoke that reading love. Since The BFG is a popular selection among the 2nd and 3rd graders at my school, and I had never read it, I decided to read the Big Friendly Giant to Landry. Even though it took more energy on my part to read to both of my girls separately, I felt compelled to do it because I would be a big hypocrite if I did not. It took about six weeks for us to finish because of the short spurts that we read it in, but it was a wonderful experience and a great book that we both enjoyed. We have started a new tradition, and I will continue to read to both Landry and Peyton not because I have to but because I want to.
Georgia Bottoms by March Childress
Started: March 2011
Finished: April 2011
Format: On my Kindle
Goal: 11 of 25
This book is like an old Coke: it started with a little fizzle of possibility--just enough to get me interested--and then it went flat really fast. I wanted to like this book so much, but I could not stand the protagonist, Georgia Bottoms. She is not the type of female heroine for who you want to cheer. I rarely dislike books because I pick them carefully. This one is totally forgettable and not recommendable. Scarlet O'Hara, Georgia Bottoms is NOT. This just proves that you can't love them all!
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Started: March 2011
Finished: May 2011
Format: Hardcover that I purchased
Goal: 12 of 25
This is the 2011 Newbery Award Winner, and it once again proves that the Newbery committee likes to choose "children's" books that are written for adults. I can't picture a "typical" young reader sticking with this book on his/her own, but I think it would be a wonderful read-aloud for upper grades. If you are a fan of historical fiction and children's literature, then you will love this book.
It took me forever to read this book. Not because I didn't like it but because so much time elapsed between readings that I had to go back and re-read to remind myself what was going on. The changing perspectives, time periods, and historical references might make this a challenging read for kids. Once all the pieces came together, I really enjoyed it.
Out of all the books that I read over the past two month, Moon Over Manifest was my favorite, so it is worthy of a quote:
From Abilene, the wonderful main character:
"I thought I knew a thing or two about people. Even had my list of universals. But I wondered. Maybe the world wasn't made of universals that could be summed up in neat little packages. Maybe there were just people. People who were tired and hurt and lonely and kind in their own way and their own time...If there is such a thing as a universal--and I wasn't ready to throw all of mine out the window--it's that there is power in a story."
So it looks like I won't make my goal of 25 books by the end of school, and I'm fine with that. However, according to GoodReads, I have read 49 books toward my goal of 111 in 2011. I count picture books in this total, so that is why there is such a discrepancy between the blog and GoodReads. The important thing is that despite being very busy, I've made time for reading and writing. That was my ultimate goal.
Now I'm back on track and ready to get lost in the power of more stories.