Adolescent Literature

YALSA Discoveries: Audiobooks

When looking at the YALSA website, the first thing I wanted to look at were the award lists. Since I have been enjoying audiobooks for the last couple years and they have become a part of my evening routine, this is the first list I looked at. The following books I found are from the 2019 list.

The first book that caught my interest is For Every One by Jason Reynolds. I read this towards the beginning of the semester and it was a very inspirational little read. The time it takes to listen to this audiobook is 25 minutes so it would be cool to have for a quick read. It is also read by Jason Reynolds himself so it would be interesting to hear it read the way he expected it to be read.

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 5.22.29 PM.pngThere are a couple books from this list that I want to add on my TBR list, the first being Swing by Kwame Alexander. I recently read Crossover by Alexander and I really enjoy his writing style and that he talks about sports. Since I do not really read sporty books, Alexander is a great new author for me to explore. Another book I’ve added is And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness. I read A Monster Calls by Ness and really enjoyed it but haven’t read anything else by him. I am

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interested in seeing if I will enjoy him as an author or if I just enjoyed A Monster Calls for the story. The final book I wanted to add to my TBR list is Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling and Kennilworthy Whisp. Since I am currently rereading the Harry Potter series, I am interested to see if this little add-on will be worth reading or not.

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Audiobooks can be very helpful in the classroom because they allow students another way to comprehend the story. If a student is having difficulty with comprehension through reading normally, hearing the story while they follow along in their physical copy can help with this. Also, with technology and how easy it is to get audiobooks through apps like Audible, students can have more access to getting newer books than waiting for local libraries to get them. If a student really wants a book but it is physically not available to them, audiobooks can be a great alternative because they only take a couple hours to download.


#IMWAYR, Adolescent Literature

#IMWAYR 3/25/19

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Happy Monday (or in this case Tuesday)! This week, I read two young adult books. One was a reread and one was brand new to me.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 4.22.58 PM.pngThis series follows a young wizard named Harry Potter. Harry lives with his aunt and uncle after his parents died in a “car crash”. Strange things always happen to Harry which he cannot explain but it all makes sense when he is told he is a wizard and has been accepted into Hogwarts Wizarding School. Harry also finds out that he is a survior of a dark wizard attack that caused his parents to die. This dark wizard is Voldemort who disappeared after he could not kill Harry. When arriving at Hogwarts, Harry meets multiple new wizards but one, in particular, is Ron Weasley. Ron and Harry soon become best friends but they also make a new enemy, Draco Malfoy. I do not want to spoil everything in this book but it basically covers different situations Harry, Ron, and eventually, another classmate Hermione Granger go through during their first year at Hogwarts. These include three-headed dogs, giant trolls, irritating professors, and numerious life treatening situations. If you have not read this series, I would highly recommend. They are not very difficult to read but towards the end books, they get pretty long. However, the story is very interesting and comes with a few surprises.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Screen Shot 2019-03-26 at 4.23.50 PM.pngThe Crossover is a verse novel that follows Josh Bell. Josh is twelve years old and has a twin brother named Jordan. Both of the brothers are wonderful at basketball and this could be partly credited to their father, who was a professional basketball player. The brothers are usually very close but this changes when Jordan gets a girlfriend who seems to be taking up all of his time. Josh gets pretty annoyed with this which leads to some tension between him and his brother, on and off the court. While this is going on, their father seems to be having some medical issues but refuses to see the doctor. I won’t spoil anything else but the ending is pretty upsetting but also very predictable. I would recommend this book because it is a very short read but has a very cool story. Since it is a verse novel, there is always the worry of losing information but that does not happen here!

Happy Reading!

Adolescent Literature

A Readers Place in Social Media

When I started doing research on this subject, the first couple of pages of results were either about how bad social media is for teenagers or how bad social media is for readers. While I do see negative aspects of social media, there are so many positive things about it. Specifically, we are able to connect with people easier than ever. In Nancie Atwell’s book In the Middle, she encourages her students to post online different reviews. Some for books, some for movies. This is just one example of how social media can be a great tool for connecting readers.

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The home page of LibraryThing

Online, there are tons of websites that a reader can go to in order to find recommendations and connect with other readers. A very popular site for this is GoodReads. This is a site I am sure we are all familiar with so I am not going to talk about it too much but with this website, readers are allowed to review books, look at recommendations, and even join or create an online book club. Another website that seems similar to GoodReads is called LibraryThing. I’ve never used LibraryThing but I would love to know if any of you have.

My Bookstagram 

When people usually hear the words “social media” they think of things like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Something I have been very interested in for a couple months now is a community called Bookstagram. Bookstagram is an online community of readers that all have profiles on Instagram. I have recently created a Bookstagram and it has been such an enjoyable experience to talk to other readers and get recommendations. Something surprising that happened to my Bookstagram account is a starting author messaged me and asked me to read one of her books. This was very cool and it would not have been possible without social media.

Students are able to use all of these great tools to expand their reading lives. I have found that social media has provided me with more recommendations than personal recommendations because most of my friends and family are not readers. This has been a great tool for me and I believe students will enjoy these opportunities as well.

For me, I mostly use my Bookstagram and GoodReads in order to talk to other readers and get recommendations. It is also cool to look up different lists that people put together under different subjects. (For example, a list of diverse books.) These are the most helpful to me but I do not want to limit my students to websites that I use. I want them to explore just as much as I have.

Adolescent Literature

#IMWAYR 3.18.19

Screen Shot 2019-01-24 at 12.27.01 AM.pngHappy Monday! This week, I’ve read two young adult books.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 7.01.00 PM.pngThe Poet X is about a young girl named Xiomara. Xiomara lives in a very religious household and is usually criticized for growing into her young woman body. When she meets a boy named Adam, it is not a good thing in the eyes of her parents. As they continue to meet in secret, it is no surprise that they eventually get caught. In order to cope with all of the obstacles in her life, Xiomara writes poetry. The teacher sees this and wants her to join the poetry club. With this, Xiomara finds her voice outside of her words.

I really liked this book because it covers some sensitive issues like abuse that can make people uncomfortable. The book also covers how writing can really impact people when they are unable to speak out or speak what is on their mind. In terms of the writing style, I am always a lover of verse novels so this book was very easy to read while not losing any story elements.  I would highly recommend this book!

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 7.00.47 PM.png Hello, Universe is a middle grades novel that follows a young man named Virgil. Virgil has some issues at school so he is put into a different class. This leads him to be bullied. Virgil also wants to talk to a girl and become friends but is too nervous to do so. This leads him to go to a fellow classmate who is a psyche as does the girl. In the story, Virgil’s best friend is his pet guinea pig who he cares around everywhere in his backpack. This becomes a problem when he meets his bully in the woods and throws Virgil’s backpack down a well. With so much love for his pet, Virgil follows after him. Now, they must figure out how to get out. 

I thought this book was a very cute story about friendship. The end really ties everything together with Virgil and the girl. Since it is a middle grades novel it goes not take very long to read but it is such a sweet story I think everyone should pick up.

For my reading plans this week, I plan on rereading the Harry Potter series along with some stuff on the side. If anyone has any suggestions please leave them!

Happy Reading!

Adolescent Literature

Book Love: Chapters 5 & 6

Book Love by Penny Kittle has really exceeded my expectations. The more I read this book, the more I realize why this book can be helpful in teaching reading and writing. Chapter 5 covers “The Power of Book Talks”. I became aware of what “book talks” were in the previous fall semester. Before this, I had no idea book talks were even a thing. In high school, we were hardly recommended books. If we were, they were recommended by the librarian, never our English teacher. From last semester and this chapter, I’ve come to realize how much I actually missed out on. Book talks can greatly help students become powerful readers. By having book talks in the classroom, we are creating a community of readers. Even the students who claim are “not readers” can become involves by talking about what they enjoy or would want to look at. It can be very helpful to show students books as a group so they do not feel the pressure of being singled out. However, having one-on-one book talks can show the students that a teacher cares about their individual needs and has taken the time to think about what they want. In this chapter, one of my favorite quotes is “Books are co-teachers in our drive to get kids reading.” This is so true but a lot of teachers do not allow for silent reading within their classroom. High school teachers are usually wanting their students to read the classics because they are what they were taught or they are in the curriculum. While some kids will enjoy the classics (like me), a lot of students will not or just simply not understand them. When students are silent readings, they are practicing their reading skills. Isn’t this what we want?

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Chapter 6 covers “Conferences”. This is an engagement with students in order to help them explore more titles and learn their reading preferences. The important thing I learned from this chapter is that conferences do not have to take very long. They can take as little as three minutes. With that, every student should be able to have a conference at least once a month. It is also important to have a conference with every student. We are not just teaching 10 students out of our class, we have to teach every single student we get so it only makes sense to have a conference with them. It is also helpful to keep notes about these conferences. This way, we can learn their preferences and see if they are exploring different genres. We can also keep track of what they have already read so we do not recommend titles that they already know.

Adolescent Literature

#IMWAYR 3.11.19

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Happy Monday!! For last week, I read three YA books.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 11.48.02 AM.pngMonster is about a young man who is put on trial for murdering an older man during a robbery. The book covers the trial as it goes on as well as Steve’s journals about his life and the trial. This is a book I have thought about reading for quite a while but was never interested in it. I am so glad that I finally read it. Covering the trial and the journals was so exciting and you are just hoping that the main character will be proven not guilty. Another great thing about this book is that it is such a quick read because of how it is written. There is a lot of dialogue so it is very easy to get through. However, I will say that I got confused with some of the characters. Some I kept getting mixed up with each other. Overall, I  would recommend this book to someone who is interested in crime stories but this is a great read for everyone.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 11.47.45 AM.pngAllegiant is the final book in the Divergent series. There isn’t a lot I can say about this book without spoiling the previous book but in this book, Tris is working to create a safe area that is not ruled by one power. That is really all I can say. However, this book is a great conclusion to the series. It is VERY upsetting so be cautious to when getting to the end! From what I have read, a lot of people did not like the ending of this series because it is not a very happy ending. To me, it was very relieving to get something different and this ending really set it apart from other popular YA series.

Pedro and Me by Judd Winick

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 11.47.20 AM.pngThis book is about the relationship between the author and Pedro Zamora. Pedro is HIV positive and spent his time being a motivational speaker on how to live with being HIV positive. It is seen as such a negative thing but Pedro shows that people with this illness can live a full and happy life. Overall, the book was very beautiful, in terms of the story and illustrations. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

Hope you all had a wonderful midterm break! Happy Reading!