Friday, April 18, 2014

Authors and their influence.

I was so lucky last weekend. I got to volunteer at the April is for Authors event in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Here's a link to their website. This amazing group invites nationally known authors to come and speak to our kids. The great part is, it's a free event. This year, the event got a giant boost from a local guy who is a pretty well known author-James Patterson, who was the keynote speaker. One of the things he said that really got me thinking was that parents aren't taking enough responsibility in making sure their kids are good readers. He said he thought if you could get your kid to the dinner table or get them to take a bath, that you should also be able to get them to read. I thought that was awesome and I also thought I really needed to do more to get my students reading!

I was also lucky enough to get to meet Chris Grabenstein, who is my newest hero.  Here's a link to his website.  His book "Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library" is SO MUCH FUN and so stuffed with literary references that it's hard to imagine that ANYONE wouldn't like it.  On his website, you can find a funny little book trailer.

I also got to meet Lisa Graff.  If you haven't read her books, you need to drop everything right now and go and find some!  She is the master of the plot twist.  Some of my students suggested that I read the Candymakers, but I couldn't grab it quick enough on our book fair (the kids bought them all before I had a chance to read one!).  Here's the book trailer for that one.

I also loved "Sophie Simon Solves Them All" and "Double Dog Dare".  My favorite one, though, is her latest one, which is called "A Tangle of Knots" 

 I loved it because of the complicated plot (many characters, who at first appear to be unconnected, but as you keep reading you find all sorts of amazing connections).  I also loved the really interesting characters who have Talents although at first you wonder if this really is a talent (like one character's talent is spitting and one is hiding but the main character's talent is making exactly the right cake for each person.  And it includes recipes.  Loved it!

I read two of her older books this week too.  I read "That thing about Georgie" which is about a boy who is a dwarf and is trying to figure out middle school and friends and that kind of thing.  That's going to be a great one to pair up with "Wonder" by R. J. Palacio and "Out of my mind" by Sharon Draper.  I also read "Umbrella Summer" which is about a girl coping with the loss of her brother.  The book is a lot more fun than it sounds like it would be.

Anyway, I love Lisa Graff's writing and I hope you'll run out and buy some of her books!

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