Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Announcing ABCT (Adult Book Club on Twitter)

How ABCT Came About:   While on #titletalk on Sunday, November 25th we were chatting about book lists and books for our students.  As I was watching the tweets come in and adding my own thoughts, I had this flash of an idea.  I thought wouldn't it be fun to create a book club for all the adult twitter members.  I know we all read a lot of "kid" books.  I also enjoy reading books written for adults.  Hoping other teachers, educators, authors, and readers would feel the same way, I decided to take a leap into something totally different for me...

The Invite Sent Out:  I took a risk and threw out the idea of creating an Adult Book Club on Twitter (#ABCT).  I wasn't sure what response I would get.  It was amazing to me when I saw a few tweets come back with readers saying they would love to join this new book club.  It was surprising to say the least.  I must say that one of the greatest moments during this tweet "a-thon" was when @donalynbooks tweeted stating she would love to join this book club.  What a moment!  More and more tweets started coming in with more and more people on Twitter saying they were interested in this idea of a book club. 

First Book Chosen:   Since I was about to start a new book after #titletalk on Sunday night, I decided to throw that out as our first book club selection.  We are going to read Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach.  I had read some great reviews of it and was hopeful it would be a great book to start with.  What was so fun to see was how many people either downloaded the book or looked into the book on that first Sunday night.  For me, the excitement was growing!    

Who Should Read It:   I'm hoping to get as many Twitter readers reading this book during the month of December.  The possibilities of this book club are quite exciting.  I've also contacted the author (via Twitter) to see if he would like to follow this online book club and discussion.  I have scheduled our first #ABCT for Thursday, January 3rd at 7:00 PM CT.  Won't it be interesting to see how many people log-in this night to have the book club discussion.  It is my hope that we also "Tweet-talk" the book while we are all reading it.  Please spread the word about the book, the new book club, and spread the excitement about giving ourselves some time to read an adult book in between all the books we read for our students and young people. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (11/26/12)

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this idea on their site.  Here is a link to their site...

With conferences on Monday, November 19th and then the rest of the week off, it was a great week for reading.  I almost felt like it was last summer and was able to get through several books.  Everything I read this past week was great...

Books I Read this Past Week...

We the Animals by Justin Torres (My ADULT Book - 3 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyeau (My KID Book - 3 Stars out of 5 Stars)

The Secret Tree by Natalie Standiford (My KID Book - 3 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Sidekicks by Dan Santat (My KID Book - 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)

The Genius Files:  Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman (My KID Book - 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)

*I will be picking The Genius Files for my December book club selection for my "Breakfast with Books" book club with my 4th graders.  I know they will LOVE it and will rush to get book #2.  I'm looking forward to reading the second one. 

Books I Will Read this ComingWeek...

Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach (My ADULT Book)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this idea on their site.  Here is a link to their site...

Books I Read this Past Week...

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (4Stars out of 5 Stars)
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (5 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Books I Will Read this comingWeek...

Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyeau (My KID Book)
We the Animals by Justin Torres (My ADULT Book)

Our Skype Visit with Stephen McCranie

After 22 years of teaching, I had a FIRST on Wednesday, November 7, 2012.  My fourth grade class had their first SKYPE session with an author/illustrator.  Through Twitter, I came across Stephen McCranie and saw that he was offering to Skype with classrooms.  I set up a time with him, and the countdown began.

I bought copies of both his Mal and Chad books, checked them out from our school library, and got my students reading them.  As the kids began to read the two graphic novels, the excitement about the books built.  The readers were reading them as fast as they could so that everyone could have them done by the time we Skyped with Stephen.  Well, we reached that goal and were ready to go...

We spend a half an hour with Stephen McCranie on the morning of November 7th.  I remember the class coming in so excited for this opportunity.  It brought me such joy to know that they were this excited to meet and spend time with an author/illustrator.  Stephen started out by sharing with the class the key elements of a graphic novel, showed them how they could make their own drawings, and then created an original drawing for our class. 

I think the highlight was the opportunity Stephen gave us to ask questions of him while he finished our class drawing.  I was so impressed with the questions they asked and the care they took to ask just the right one.  There were certain students in my class that really blew me away with their questions.  One student that normally doesn't share too much, asked him "What was the motivation to create the large cat in your book."  He had such a large smile on his face when he asked.  Definitely a highlight moment for me...

Now that we have had our first Skype session, I can't wait to set up more for my students.  It brings the books, the authors, and the experience to life.  Thanks Stephen!  We still talk about that morning and are counting down the days until Belly Flop (Mal and Chad #3) comes out!!!

Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

How I Heard About It:   I was talking books with a co-worker (which I do a lot) and was telling him about a couple of the last few books I had read.  He told me about this book.  I of course went home and downloaded it on my Ipad and read it! 

What It Is About:  The story takes place in the mid 80's when AIDS is becoming a real health issue in our country.  June and Greta are high school girls living outside of New York City.  Their Uncle Finn lives in the city and has AIDS.  June has a special relationship with her Uncle and is devastated when he passes.  She meets his friend Toby and her life is forever changed.  The story tells of the friendship between June and Toby and also of her relationship with her older sister Greta. 

What I Thought Of It:   I truly enjoyed this novel.  It well written and the story flowed from page to page.  The characters were real and I enjoyed getting to know them.  It was quite interesting to read about this time in our history and how AIDS was looked at and reacted to.  We have come a long way.  There was a soft feel and tone to this story.  It draws you into it and doesn't let go until the very last page.  Even after the last page the characters are still with me. 

Who Should Read It:   This book is for anyone that enjoys a great and powerful story about people, about life, about relationships, and about understanding.  I think any reader at the high school level or above would enjoy this story.  This is a debut by Brunt and is simply an amazing story.  Please hit the bookstore or download this book now.  I know you will not be disappointed.