Fourth Grade Journey

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

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

How I Heard About It:
*I was looking for a new audio book.  I had a few middle-grade novels going and an young-adult book.  So I began searching for the perfect novel published for adults to listen to.  When I came across this title, I was reminded of the title being reviewed by a few of my reading online friends.  Downloaded it, and began reading/listening.  

What It Is About - FIVE Things You Need to Know:
1.  *Alix is a wealthy woman with a two-year old, a new baby, and a husband. Along with her family, she has a successful career.  

2.  *Emira is a young black woman who is Alix's nanny; although she is really just a part-time babysitter.  

3.  *One evening, Alex called Emira and asks if she can watch the two-year old.  Emira takes the child to the local grocery store where a difficult and uncomfortable situation ensues.

4.  *One man at the store, records the entire incident on his cell phone.  A few weeks after the "event", Emira and this man begin dating.

5.  *When Emira and her new man come into contact with Alix, all of their lives will be changed and not with a positive outcome.

What I Thought Of It - Five Observations/Reflections:
1.  *I was looking forward to listening to the story, but was somewhat disappointed at the beginning of the story.

2.  *Based on the summary of the book, I was thinking the incident would be more of a focus of the novel, but it wasn't.

3.  *To be honest, I was a bit bored and was confused why the book had received such great reviews.

4.  *I continued on and the plot did get a bit more interesting and exciting as I listened, but overall not that much happened.

5.  *When I finished, I was like; "Ok, so that wasn't that exciting."  I found myself not really caring about the characters or what had occurred.  Maybe I wasn't the target audience for the subject matter and/or material.

Who Should Read It:
*I don't know?  After reading more reviews on Amazon I saw more negative reviews, then positive.  Some readers enjoyed and many readers had several issues about the characters and plot.  This wasn't my favorite.  Maybe you will like it better.  Happy Reading!

Rating:   3 STARS out of 5 Stars

Friday, February 28, 2020

Wonder Wednesday #308 (The Week in IMAGES)

Wonder Wednesday - A Week of BOOKS

*This week it is ALL about the books...

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla was our fifth class read aloud.  

So lucky to be able to Skype with author Sally J. Pla after we finished her novel.  

The fourth graders had the opportunity to share comments and ask questions during the Skype.

A special opportunity: Our sixth class read aloud is Quintessence by Jess Redman.  The novel won't be out in the real world until May of 2020.  

I just received this memoir: From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle will be the next book club selection for the BBC (Boy's Book Club).  This is a group of men I teach with.  

As the saying goes:  So many books, so little time.  These are the books that I'm currently reading and wishing I had more time to spend with them.  All of them are stupendous!!!

Monday, February 24, 2020

An Inside Look #128 (Author INTERVIEW)

An Inside Look with Leslie Connor
(Author of A Home for Goddesses and Dogs)

*The first season of interviews ran from June of 2016 to March of 2017.  

*Season #two ran during the summer of 2017.  

*Season #three ran during the school year of 2017-2018.  

*The fourth season ran during the summer/fall of 2018.

*Season #five ran during the 2018/2019 school year. 

*During summer 2019, the sixth season ran.  

*The seventh season of interviews ran during the fall of 2019.  

*I'm excited to be back for season #EIGHT with brand new interviews/authors.  

*It has been such an honor to connect with authors and "chat" about their novel, characters, and thoughts about the story.

*This is the EIGHTH interview in which I'm calling Season #EIGHT.  

*Thank you to Leslie Connor for being the One-Hundred Twenty-Eighth author that I've had the pleasure of interviewing.  I truly appreciate it.

*Here is my review of the Novel...

A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

by Leslie Connor

(February 25, 2020)

How did you come to know Lydia?
Ah! Interestingly, she came along because of the big yellow dog. I knew the dog first and was waiting to meet the character he could play foil to.

What do you think is Lydia’s most admirable quality?

What do you think she can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what she went through?
I never think about these things while I am writing. I suppose it is something along the lines of being patient with one’s emotional self, even if it means hesitating, at first, to receive the positive things that are being offered. It occurs to me that readiness has a process, and it should be respected.

How did you research Lydia and the circumstances she found herself in?
I researched heart disease, hospice care, and the science of dying, and how people prepare or don’t prepare. Yet the story is not about death. It’s about one girl’s process through loss and grief, and her search for a sense of belonging in a new place with new people. One really fun piece of research involved a big pizza delivery, and a lunchtime chat with all twelve members of the eighth grade class in a very small town here in Connecticut. This is not their story, mind you; I am a fiction writer. But they added to my ball of clay, and I won’t ever forget their generosity.

Do you and Lydia share any similarities?
We are similar in our use for, and our love of, making art. Also, neither of us is a particularly effective dog trainer.

What was the hardest scene to write about Lydia?
Sometimes it is the small things: my heart really ached writing about the first time she got sick and didn’t have her mom to comfort her.

Who do you think was her biggest supporter and why?
Aunt Brat. She didn’t have all the answers but she had verve and resolve, and genuine love for Lydia.

What do you think Lydia is doing as the present time?
She and Aunt Brat, Eileen and Elloroy are hosting an art party, of course! Everyone is making goddesses.

*Here are links to the One Hundred Twenty-Seven interviews...

SEASON #ONE (2016-2017)

SEASON #FOUR (Summer 2018)

SEASON #FIVE (2018/2019)

SEASON #SIX (Summer 2019)

SEASON #SEVEN (Fall 2019)

SEASON #EIGHT (Winter 2020)

Interview #121 with Melissa Savage (Author of Nessie Quest)

Interview #122 with Tamara Bundy (Author of Pixie Pushes On)

Interview #123 with Lindsay Lackey (Author of All the Impossible Things)

Interview #124 with Tae Keller (Author of When You Trap a Tiger)

Interview #125 with Jamie Sumner (Author of Roll With It)

Interview #126 with Hena Khan (Author of More to the Story)

Interview #127 with Phil Bildner (Author of A High-Five for Glenn Burke)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (2/24/20)

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

Books I Read this Past Week...

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

*Middle-Grade Novel (5 STARS out of 5 Stars)

Books I Will (continue to) Read this Week...

They Went Left by Monica Hesse

*My Young-Adult Novel

When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald

*My Novel Published for Adults

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

*My Young-Adult Novel

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

*My Novel Published for Adults (Audio)

The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane
by Kate O'Shaughnessy

*My Middle-Grade Novel

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

How I Heard About It:
*While at #NCTE19 in Baltimore, I saw advanced copies of the middle-grade novel that is due to release in August of 2020.  I heard conversations about the upcoming story.  I even ran into Kimberly Brubaker Bradley at the Starbucks across the street from the convention center.  I did not come home with an ARC.  I did however receive a copy of the novel in the mail from Penguin Publishers.  Lucky me!!!

What It Is About - FIVE Things You Need to Know:
1.  *First of all, this is not an easy story to summarize.  It is raw.  It is real.  It is powerful.  It is emotional.

2.  *The story centers around sisters Della and Suki.  To say they haven't had the easiest of times, it a major understatement.  The pages begin with the two moving into a foster home.

3.  *They have just escaped a horrifying situation with their mother's boyfriend who she has  "abandoned" them with.  

4.  *Suki had learned that Della was in danger and made it her mission to protect her younger sister.  This protection may come at the price of her own existence.  

5.  *Suki, Della, a foster mother, a school and legal system, along with several young friends/enemies surround these two sisters who are trying to escape their past and make some sense of an unknown future.  

What I Thought Of It - Five Observations/Reflections:
1.  *As soon as I began the book, I knew it was going to be a special kind of reading experience and what an experience it was.

2.  *The writing of Kimberly Brubaker Bradley was so exceptional that I found myself taking in every word, sentence, and paragraph.  I'm not a huge re-reader, but I did many times during the story.

3.  *I've never read a middle-grade novel centered around the theme of sexual abuse.  This story took me to places that were uncomfortable, scary, and horrific; but I know is a story that is needed out in the real world.

4.  *My heart broke, repaired itself, and broke again and again as I read about Della, Suki, and all they endured.

5.  *There are so many important and incredible themes woven among the pages of the book; but I think the most important one is that girls have the right to say to EVERYONE - "You can't touch me and I don't give you permission."

Who Should Read It:
*There is going to be a certain reader out there in the world who will be SAVED by this story.  These type of life-altering narratives are needed and our young readers need to see themselves represented on the pages.  Because of the content, subject matter, and situations; I would be most comfortable putting the novel in the hands of a reader in grade five and/or above.  Be sure to read the novel before you do share it with a young reader in your own life.  Happy Reading!

Rating:   5 STARS out of 5 Stars

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Wonder Wednesday #306 (#nerdcampMN)

*If you follow this blog, you must know all about #nerdcampMI.  I have attended this event the last few summers and have found it the BEST PD ever.

*I'm excited to be on the committee planning our first ever #nerdcampMN.  

*We have been planning since August and can't wait for our first event which will be on Monday, August 3, 2020.  

*If you live in Minnesota and/or are close, please consider attending our inaugural event.  We promise it won't be a day you will soon forget.  

*Here are some of the social media images we have shared over the last several weeks.