Adolescent Literature

Book Love- Chapters 8 & 9

The final two chapters of Book Love by Penny Kittle were a great way to finish out the book. Throughout this whole book, we have read about numerous ways that reading is beneficial in the classroom. These two chapters kept expanding on that in ways that I have not thought of.

In chapter 8, Kittle discusses “An Order for Literature”. Something that really stuck with me is the goal for students to see that their personal reading like has a purpose. Most of us in this class enjoy reading as a hobby and this is something that we want our students to develop as well. As Kittle says, there is so many possibilities in literature that the opportunities are endless. What is important in a classroom is that we allow students to discover these things for themselves. Students learn best when they make their own discoveries not when they are lectured at and told what the discoveries are.

Image from Bianca Del Rey

Still in chapter 8, Kittle talks about quarterly reading reflections. These are a great idea for students because they are learning what kind of reader they are through self-reflections. They are able to understand what makes them want to read books in the first place and things they avoid. With this information, students and teachers can set up conferences and set goals for the student’s to reach that will help expand their reading life. The thing I love about reading reflection is that they can be used for almost any grade level.

In chapter 9, Kittle talks about how standardized testing does not effectively measure what we want as teachers. The main thing I found irritating is the need to read quickly in order for students to score well on the ACT. As we know, everyone reads at a different pace and that is not an issue. If the student is still retaining what they are reading, it does not matter how quickly they can read. The ACT is difficult because the tester only gets eight minutes to complete the passage. If a student is a great reader but cannot read quickly, they are automatically at a disadvantage.

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Image from Luai Sultan

Chapter 9 also has a section where is talks about how to work through obstacles in a reading classroom. While these are all helpful, an issue I have been working through in my years at CSC is how to get a student to read when they don’t want to. Kittle talks about having a variety of different literature in the classroom. This is helpful because I did not think about newspapers or magazines in an reading classroom. If it gets them to read something, that is what I care about.

Overall, I found this book incredibly helpful in my studies. I have found myself making connections from this book to other classes that I am in and real life situations. I can see myself referring back to this book frequently during student-teaching and once I start teaching.

Adolescent Literature

My Summer Reading Plans

Holy cow, the summer is just around the corner…WE ARE ALMOST THERE! When discussing my TBR list, I am very lenient on what I am going to be reading next just because I do not have a specific order that I read my books in. Usually, I just see a book I want to read and pick it up. I normally don’t go looking for a book unless it is very special. With that being said, here are some books that I hope to get to in the summer!

It by Stephen King

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 10.28.31 PM.pngI am sure we all know what It is about but for you that do not, it is about a group of kids who are being tormented by a killer clown. The story goes back and forth between their childhood and adulthood and how the clown is still tormenting them.

This is not a YA novel but it has been on my TBR list for way to long. I love horror stories and a lot of King’s books are my favorite. I tried to read this last year and got about 400 pages in but eventually didn’t have the time to get through the whole thing. This is going to be my main goal this summer and I am sure it is going to take up a majority of my time because of how long it is.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 10.27.55 PM.pngI am not sure how to explain this book so here is the link to the GoodReads so you can see what it is about. I want to read this book just because I have heard such positive reviews about it and the next book in the series is coming out later this year. I bought this book when it first came out and it has been sitting on my bookshelf ever since.

During the summer, I am planning to do a lot of camping so while I do not have service and “becoming one with nature” I will get a lot of my reading done. My main goal of the summer is to finish a book a week. In order to complete this goal while reading It, I will have to read more than one book at a time which is not ideal but I always enjoy a challenge. I also want to keep up on my Twitter with recent reads and keep up with new releases.

I know we have a couple weeks left but I want to wish you all a great summer!


#IMWAYR, Adolescent Literature

#IMWAYR 4.15.19

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During last week, I finished three YA books.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson

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Titanic: Voices from the Disaster is a retelling novel that covers the experiences of passengers on the Titanic the night it sank. I am sure by now we all know the story of the Titanic either from school or young Leonardo DiCaprio stealing our hearts. The experiences talked about are ones that I already knew about so with that said it was a boring read for me. However, it was very informative so if you are looking for a good history book and are interested in the Titanic, I would highly recommend this one! On my Bingo card, this crosses off Sibert Medal or Honor winner.


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 9.14.48 PM.pngCarry On is about Simon who is the chosen one in a wizarding world. Sound familiar? There are parallels in this book that reminds me of Harry Potter but I still enjoyed the story. I do not want to spoil too much of the book but it is important to know that Simon is fighting against a creature who looks and sounds just like him. On top of all of this, he is trying to avoid his enemy Baz and fix his relationship with his girlfriend Agatha. This is an LGBTQ book so that is what I counted it as on my Bingo card. A review I found on Goodreads is this book is basically if Draco Malfoy was in love with Harry Potter. That is very accurate! Overall, I loved this book for the relationship that is formed and the quirkiness of the world and Simon’s friend.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by Gregory Neri and Randy DuBurke

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 9.15.03 PM.pngYummy is about a young kid who is in a gang. With wanting to be seen as a more serious gang member, he shoots someone and it causes a lot of uproar in the community. This book was great. It is a graphic novel and the images go along with the story perfectly. This book shows Yummy as the criminal that people believe him as but it also shows him as a young kid who has had so many problems and just seems lost. If you have not read this, please do! It was probably my favorite read this week.

This coming week, I am planning to read Monday’s Not Coming and Sing, Unburied, Sing. Once I finish these two, my Bingo list will be complete!

Happy Reading!

Adolescent Literature

#IMWAYR 4.8.19

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Happy Monday everyone! For some reason, I was on a reading kick this week so I read four YA books and one middle-grade book.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 9.15.06 PM.pngThe Book Thief follows a girl named Liesel who is growing up in the mix of WW2 Germany. She finds love for books after the death of her brother and eventually begins stealing them giving her the name “the book thief”. This book was something I was nervous to read because of all the hype around it. I did not want it to fall short for me and it did not. The book is told through the eyes of death which I thought was so cool and unique. This marks off “Read a work of historical fiction” on my bingo card.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 9.01.09 PM.pngThis book follows Junior who is living within his reservation. With this comes him getting bullied for multiple reasons. One day, his teacher tells him to leave the rez and hope for a better life. With that, Junior goes to an all-white school off the rez. As you can imagine, this was a change for Junior. Not only is he surrounded by all new people, but he is also being shamed by some of his fellow Indians for leaving the reservation school. This book blew me away because it had a wonderful writing style that was so easy to get through. It was such a good story that I finished it in one day. This marks off “Read a YA book by a Native American author” on my bingo card.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 9.02.21 PM.pngThis book follows Leonard Peacock who is planning on having the “best” birthday ever…by killing his ex-best friend and himself. I do not want to spoil too many things because I loved this book so much but there is a lot of sensitive topics that are addressed in this book so keep that in mind if you want to pick this up! The unique thing about this book is it has footnotes at the bottom of a lot of the pages that are more facts about what exactly is going on. I would highly recommend reading them along with the book but I also do not think they are required as part of the story.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 9.15.26 PM.pngI finally got to read this book! The Hate U Give follows Starr whose whole world is turned upside down because of her friend getting shot by a white police officer after doing nothing wrong. The rest of the story follows Starr through the grieving process and the media attention that the case is getting. I did not expect there to be an actual case in court but I am glad that it was included. I am very pleased with this book. Although I did not enjoy parts of the book, I feel like they were very realistic. It is refreshing to see a book that covers some relevant issues about police brutality so I would recommend this book. This marks off “Read a finalist for the Morris Award” on my bingo card.

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 9.15.55 PM.pngThe Indian in the Cupboard is about a young boy who has the power to bring his toys to life by his magic cupboard. This is a pretty well-known book and for me, it was a reread and I hardly remembered anything about it. It was really fun to reread something and not remember the small events that make it enjoyable. Overall, it was a nice break from YA and I understand why this book is still talked about today.


Those are all the books I read for this past week. On my bingo card, I only have two squares left so I am hoping to get them crossed off before next Monday! Have a great week!


Adolescent Literature

Creating Readers

As an English Langauge Arts teacher, we want every student that enters our classroom to love books and love to read. While this would be the ideal classroom, it is not a reality. For numerous reasons, some students just do not like to read and that is okay! It is part of our duty to influence students to find pleasure within their books. This is what I looked into this week, ways to get students to read and become lifelong readers.

Something we have already talked about in this class is book talks. These are great tools just because they do not take very long to do and they allow students to be exposed to titles they might not have seen or thought of as interesting. When I eventually get my own classroom, I want to use book talks every day but I want students to start joining me and talk about what they have read and influenced their peers to read along. This can be very helpful in creating a reading community within our classroom.

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Image from Abby

The Pushy Book Handler as it is called in 6 Simple Ideas to Get Kids to Read, is a concept that I think every teacher should do but rarely do. By handing students books that they think they will like, a lot of preparation is required. When you hand someone a book, your intent is to have them read it and like it as much as you did. In order to do this effectively, we must first understand the type of reader the recipient is. Every student is going to be different in what they like and dislikes in their books. Even I am going to have different preferences from my students. An idea from previous readings in my education talk about keeping a journal loaded with students likes and dislikes. Even keeping track of what a student reads can lead to some connections and eventually some recommendations of types of books the student will enjoy.  This is not required of every teacher to do but it does help with the goal to get every student to become a reader.

The final thing I want to talk about is classroom libraries. Something that really stuck with me is the importance of having a classroom library in every classroom, not just the English room. It is so important to surround students with books because it will allow them to be attractive to them. When surrounded by books, our natural curiosity is peaked and we want to look at them.

Adolescent Literature

#IMWAYR 4.1.19

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Happy Monday!

This week I read three YA books.

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 12.53.20 PM.pngBooked is about a young soccer player named Nick Hall. At the beginning of the book, we find out that he is a very skilled soccer player and his best friend is as well. The only problem is that they play on different teams. Nick also develops feelings for one of his classmates named April. At home, Nick’s family starts to have some problems that lead them to get a divorce. Later on in the book, Nick is injured in a soccer game so he has to deal with his injury, his crush, and his family that is falling apart. This book was very fun to read because it is a verse novel that includes definitions of difficult words with a little comedy in them. I forgot to say that this is the second book to Crossover but it does not follow the same people. However, I would recommend this book to anyone. I am not really into sporty type books but the story of Nick and his struggles is what kept me going.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 12.52.55 PM.pngPersepolis is a graphic novel about a young girl growing up in Iran after the Islamic Revolution. The book was outside my comfort zone because it has a lot of issues that I never knew about. I really liked it because it opened my eyes to all of the struggles that these people had to deal with. I would recommend this to anyone because it is such a powerful graphic novel that really makes you think about the world and struggles of people in other countries.

Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 12.53.04 PM.pngPersepolis 2 is about the same girl in the first Persepolis only this time she is an adult. SPOILER: at the end of the first Persepolis, Marjane leaves Iran so now she is working towards finding her identity and going through adult things as a woman from Iran. These include prejudices, first loves, being away from family, finding friends, and much more. For me, this was not as emotional as the first one but I related to this one more because I have gone through some similar things. With that said, I could feel for her more when imagining myself dealing with the prejudices that she had. I would recommend this to anyone because it really finishes her story from the first one. It gave me some conclusion that the first one did not.

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!