Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why I Bought It Wednesday

I've started my 2013-2014 book ordering which, as I've tweeted before over at , makes me want to alternately leap for joy and poke my eyes out.  There is a method to my ordering madness.  I thought I would share on Wednesdays five titles and Why. I. Bought. It!!!! <-- {Say as if announcing a game show...}

Why I Bought It:  Gennifer Choldenko's Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes are perennial favorites in my library.  I own multiple copies and they are rarely on the shelf.  Even over the years, these books have remained popular.  Ordering Al Capone Does My Homework was therefore, a no brainer!

Why I Bought It:  There's nothing quite as comforting as a book from the A True Book series.  I still have some versions from the...ehem...long ago so I eagerly snatch up any new additions to the series.  The photographs are engaging and the reading level is just right for many of my students.  A nice crisp, clean format that never lets me down.  Why Birds?  I have a second grade teacher who is nutty about our fine-feathered friends, so this book will be especially welcomed by her students.

Why I Bought It:  When I first came to my school six years ago, I did a major weed of the biography section.  Out went sports personalities from the early 2000s, for example, and added were some pretty fabulous replacements.  While many of them relate to the Virginia Standards of Learning, others I buy purely based on student interest.  The Who Is... is extremely popular with my students.  I buy them in paperback and purchase multiple copies of each.  They do not stay on my shelves for long.  Who Is Bill Gates? will be a great fit for my tech-savvy students.

Why I Bought It:  This is not a new book, but it is absolutely one of my favorite books ever.  David Roberts has got to be one of my favorite illustrators ever...having also inked The Dunderheads series.  This also fits the bill because both second and fourth grades concentrate on fairy/folktales, and among all grades modern versions of these traditional tales are always popular.  Can't wait to get my greedy little hands on this book once and for all!

Why I Bought It:  To be honest I'm not even sure if my students know or remember who Cal Ripken, Jr., is...after all we now have the Washington Nationals so the Baltimore Orioles may now be a distant memory.  However, this book is a perfect reading level for my higher reading 2nd & 3rd graders and, of course, it is sports-related.  The first book I tried Hothead did very well in my library, so I snatched up Wild Pitch.

And that's the first edition of Why I Bought It!  I hope you picked up some suggestions for your library...any title you'd like to share and why you bought it?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Room with a Review: Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl

Title:  Genie Wishes

Month/Year Published:  April 2013

Author:  Elisabeth Dahl

You May Know Her: As a debut (novel) author!

You May Find Her: At her website and on twitter at @ElisabethDahl.

Review You May Not Have Seen:  Katherine Sokolowski's review on The Nerdy Book Club.

The Review

When I entered a twitter contest for two autographed copies of Elisabeth Dahl's first novel, GENIE WISHES, I had to admit that I didn't know anything about it.  I won (YAY!), received my copies in the mail and, of course, was immediately taken in by the adorable cover, but it was a tiny description about a Popsicle in the first few moments of Genie Wishes that got me hooked on this sweet and perceptive read.  

Genie Kunkle is beginning the fifth (and final) grade at her private school's lower school.  Along with the responsibilities and choices that come with being selected as class blogger, Genie struggles with many issues familiar to kids her age:  friendship threesomes (oh nothing can go wrong there!), changing relationships (with members of the opposite sex), puberty (ew), and most importantly that pull between wanting to fit in and wanting to remain true to yourself.

What I liked about Genie Wishes was that there was nothing incredibly earth-shattering about Genie's life - don't take this the wrong way...there is nothing boring about this book.  Hers are the every day worries and concerns of certain tweens, yet Ms. Dahl manages to make reading about them, and Genie's decisions, immensely readable, comforting and fresh - I was reminded of The Baby-Sitter's Club series, those books I devoured like candy back in the day and are being gobbled up in their updated form by my fifth graders.

An added bonus are the delightful line drawings sprinkled throughout the book, also by Ms. Dahl; fans of the sketches in Grace Lin's Year of the Dog series will enjoy these little touches.  Another cool aspect of the book is its pinpoint-able location, which will no doubt be of interest to many Baltimore-area readers (and writers - hello Laurel Snyder!).

I would recommend this book for readers in grade five (obvs!) and above; it would also make a perfect gift for that fifth grader moving on to middle school.

Genie Wishes gets five out of five dog ears from me!

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