Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sunshine State Young Readers 2015-2016

I'm getting a little jump on the Sunshine State Young Readers award.  Last year, I had a hard time getting all the books so this year, I was determined to get them into the library before we left for vacation and I have most of them already AND the kids have already started checking them out!  YAY!!!  It helps that some of the titles I've already read, we already owned, and I've already book talked!  But there were several that I hadn't heard of and I finished one I really liked today.  It's called Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman.  It's about Gabe who likes to read, likes science and math.  He likes to go to school.  His dream comes true right at the beginning of the book because his dad is remarrying and he is going to get a brother.  His new brother is also 10, is from California and likes surfing and is cool.  Gabe worries that Zach won't like him because Gabe isn't cool.  But Gabe gets accepted to go to sleep away camp, which Zach has been dying to do.  Gabe doesn't tell Zach that the sleep away camp is for highly gifted students.  So Gabe spends the summer trying to prove that he really isn't a nerd.  This book is funny and has a great message of appreciating who you are instead of trying to be someone you're not.  This would be great paired with "A View from Saturday" by E. L. Konigsburg.   Here's a book trailer about it.

I also read "Kizzy Ann Stamps" by Jeri Watts.  It's a story about a girl named Kizzy Ann who is starting at a new school in 1963.  It's the first time schools are integrating and Kizzy is in the first wave.  It's not easy.  Kizzy has a couple of big advantages.  One is, she's really smart.  Two, she has a strong, supportive, loving family who work hard on their family farm.  Three, she finds a great dog she names Shag who takes her places she never thought she would be able to go.  This would be great paired with other dog stories like "Because of Winn Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo or "Shiloh" by Phyllis Naylor.  Or you could pair it with other civil rights era books like "Revolution" by Deborah Wiles or "Stella by Starlight" by Sharon Draper or "Lions of Little Rock" by Kristen Levine.  It's a really great story and Kizzy is a character I was sorry to close the book on.  She has a big heart and a strong spirit.  

The last one this week is one I was so happy to see on the Sunshine State Young Reader list because it is so much fun.  It's called "Fortunately, the Milk" by Neil Gaiman.  Neil Gaiman tends to write super creepy scary books (like "The Graveyard" book which won the Newbery award a few years ago and STARTS with a family getting murdered, but the baby gets away and escapes to a graveyard where the ghosts bring him up).  Anyway, "Fortunately, the Milk" is nothing like that and if you can possibly get your hands on the audiobook, I would highly recommend that because hearing Neil Gaiman read this is a real treat.  It's about a family and the mom is going away to a conference.  She has a list of things she is reminding the dad about, and the last thing is "We're almost out of milk".  The kids and the dad get up the next morning and realize there is no milk for breakfast so the dad walks down to the corner shop to get some.  He's gone a long time (according to the kids) and when he finally gets home, the kids ask where he's been and he tells them the story.  It's not really a spoiler to tell you what happens in the first ten pages, so he tells the kids that several odd things happen.  The first is that he's kidnapped by aliens (who want to re-decorate the planet), he falls through the space time continuum and lands near a pirate ship and is then rescued... I should stop, because the next part is so funny and so ridiculous that usually my students are laying on the floor in hysterical laughter.  This would be a terrific mentor text for idea generation (because he goes in SO many different directions that any idea is fair game-the crazier the better).  

Here's the book trailer:

And here's Neil Gaiman reading from "Fortunately the Milk".  

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