I love books. Always have. This year I have reignited my love for children’s literature. I would be embarrassed to share how much money I have spent on books since started a fourth grade classroom. The urge to buy two of every book is very hard to overcome. See, I need one book for my personal shelf in the classroom and one for the library. Books that make it to the class library are well loved. I’m ecstatic that they are being read, and more ecstatic to hear them discussed, but I feel a twinge of pain when I see how beat up they get. Therefore, I need two of everything! Two of everything is not so practical, books are not so cheap.
My Goodreads list is now full of novels for children. I am finding that when I attempt a “grown up” book lately, the story line cannot pull me in the same way. Whether the book is about an imaginary world (which many are) or not, all of the kid lit books I’ve read have a sense of magical wonder. I want to learn more about their worlds, and like Peter Pan, I don’t really want to grow up anymore. Children’s literature lets me experience the best parts of being a child, while still being a grown up, where I know everything does turn out okay.
Here are a few of my recent loves. I have also been doing book reviews on my classroom blog, www.pickertskiddos.blogspot.com. A few of my students are working on reviews that we hope to have published after the holiday as well!
The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan is just a fun ride. Like many novels for kiddos, it is about a boy who just doesn’t fit in. Percy finds out there are reasons he doesn’t fit it. The books are just a really fun quick read. Rick Riordan has also branched out to start two more series. I recently read The Red Pyramid and am almost done with The Lost Hero. And the guy is a teacher from San Antonio, who doesn’t want to support that?
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Soctt O’Dell was one of my favorite books in elementary school. One of our literature circle groups is currently reading it, and I had to take it home and finish it IMMEDIATELY. This is one of those books that just gives you a feeling of a world you would never know, or expect to know. I find it difficult to describe without giving away to much, but the book it phenomenal. I have several copies of this book, so if you have interest in borrowing, let me know.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is MAGICAL. The book has 284 pictures in 533 pages. The story is told through pictures, and words. There are stretches of 20 pages or so, where there are only pictures, and then a couple pages of words. The words pick up right where you were with pictures. Hugo is a boy who is all alone and lives in a train station. The book gives me the chills. It is the only novel to ever win the Caldecott Medal, which it won in 2008. The book is already in production for a movie to be released next year. I can only hope it will be just as magical.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Disclaimer: this book is not for elementary age children. A colleague who is currently on her way to becoming a librarian introduced me to this book. It is more a middle – high school aged book. In this story, children from each district from ages 12-18 are put in a drawing every year. A boy and a girl are selected from each of the 13 districts. Those selected are sent to the Capital to participate in the Hunger Games. Basically, they are trained, dumped in a arena, and meant to compete for their lives. Only one person may leave the arena. It is televised to each district. This book is insanity. There are two more in the series, that I haven’t gotten to yet, but I’m dying to read.
Clearly, I could go on for awhile. I have found great satisfaction in discussing these books with my students (and colleagues). I truly love bonding with them over books, and in some cases they are books that the students wouldn’t have attempted on their own. I love that I can speak highly of a book, and several kiddos run to the library to get it. I also love having colleagues with the same interests. Regan (the future librarian) and Lauren (the mentor) have a great passion for books as well. Having adults to have impromptu book talks with has been one of my favorite things about my new career path.
I have five days off now. I think I shall read some. Happy Thanksgiving!