IMWAYR 10/16/17

Hello, readers! How was your weekend? My family and I spent the entire weekend at home and it was glorious! It’s not very often that I have meals and lunches all prepped, laundry done and lessons planned for the week all at the same time. It feels ahhhh-mazing!

I also spent a lot of time reading this weekend, but of course, it wasn’t until Sunday night when my new book really grabbed my attention why couldn’t that have happened on Friday night instead of Sunday night! <<insert whiny face here>>

What was the last book that grabbed your attention RIGHT AWAY and didn’t let go? For me, it was definitely The War I Finally Won.

Haley 
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Cassie 

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Amber


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The Crazy Life of a Cybils Judge


Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards
Can you pick your favorite book of 2017? You only get one. I'll wait as you open your Goodreads account and scroll through the dozens of books you finished this year. Now imagine picking just one. 

This is my challenge as a first-round Cybils judge for the YA fiction category. My TBR pile was already toppling over, but I knew I wanted to be a part of these long-standing awards that feature books that not only appeal to readers but are well written. Nominations close today, so if you haven't already, 
GO NOMINATE NOW! - and add to my TBR pile. 

Here are a few nominated titles I read this week:


Only days after high school graduation, Jill Cafferty becomes the first female drafted into MLB despite attempts to keep it an all-male sport. 

Told from Jill's perspective, readers experience a rollercoaster of emotions along with her. From embarrassment, when fans scream derogatory names and litter the field with feminine products. And pride, when she thinks of how her late father would feel seeing her on the mound of a Class-A diamond. To confusion as she begins to doubt her decision to by-pass Stanford to pursue her greatest passion.

Even if you don't know the difference between a K and a ꓘ, you'll find yourself rooting for Jill as she navigates through the male-dominated sport. 





I'm tempted to sum this book up in two words: mental illness. But, it's about so much more than that. 

Just as the title suggests, the plot spirals infinitely around Aza, her best friend Daisy, and Davis, the son of a missing billionaire. Just when you believe you've solved the mystery, you haven't. Just when you hope Aza is gaining control over her OCD, she doesn't. Just when you think you understand the struggle that is mental illness, you can't. 

I hope this book resonates with teenagers the way it will with adults. This book is a mirror, a window, and a door all at once. An important novel about love, hope, grief, and mental illness that deserves every bit of attention it's receiving. 





Admittedly, I probably wouldn't have read this book if it hadn't been nominated for no reason other than I didn't love the cover. But I'm so glad I did. 

Leo and his brother Caleb have a tumultuous relationship. Caleb, who has been diagnosed with autism, and a host of other issues, begins attacking Leo so ferociously that Leo's only way to escape is to run. Literally. And so begins Leo's love affair with cross-country. Under the tutelage of his new friend Curtis, Leo is able to excel at running and begin to deal with his brother's emotions. 










Please go nominate your favorite book! I have over 40 books to read...what's a couple more?!

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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling - Teacher and Student Review



  • What is this book about?
    • Hayden’s answer: Aven is trying to fit in in Arizona even though she doesn’t have arms.
    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus  is about Aven, a thirteen year old girl that was born without arms. What’s special about Aven is, she can do almost anything anyone with arms can do, she just uses her feet! When her dad gets a new job in Arizona, Aven is forced to move from Kansas and all her friends that are used to Aven and don’t stare at her like strangers do. Making new friends is hard for anyone, arms or no arms, so what is in store for Aven in Arizona? Spoiler (not really): Aven DOES make some new friends in Arizona and maybe even stumbles upon a mystery in her new home
  • Have you ever had a similar experience where you felt different and worried about meeting new people?
    • Hayden’s answer:  When I broke my leg.
    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: I think we all feel different at some point in our lives and it’s important to feel that so we can have empathy for others! I know I was worried when I had to transition from elementary school to middle school and it all turned fine.
  • Would you do anything differently if you were Aven? What did you admire most about Aven's character?
    • Hayden’s answer: That she made the most of not having arms and that she was always happy.
    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: I really, really admired Aven’s spunk and positive attitude! She really didn’t let anything stand in her way and advocated for herself in such an impressive way. I also thought Aven was hilarious and I laughed out loud while reading many times! Making fun of her disability is probably a coping mechanism for her, but I love it when people don’t take themselves too seriously.
  • What did the main character learn?
    • Hayden’s answer: That it’s very easy to meet new friends.
    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: Aven is already a pretty wise 13-year-old and someone that I would like to be more like, but she did learn a few things. I think she learned just how capable she really is despite her "disability" (I'm beginning to hate that word) and how strong she is when faced with an enormous challenge (such as moving and making all new friends in a new school).
  • What did you learn from reading this book?
    • Hayden’s answer: That nothing’s impossible even if you don’t have arms.
    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: I learned a lot about Tourette Syndrome because Aven’s friend Connor had Tourette Syndrome and my heart broke for him. I cannot imagine how difficult that would be and I am so glad he has a friend like Aven.
  • Were you sad when the book ended? Why or why not?
    • Hayden’s answer: Yes, because she was so engaging and fun there were so many twists and I wanted it to keep on going.
    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: I didn’t want the book to end because I wanted to know what Aven would do next. Aven didn’t let anything stand in her way and did almost everything that people with arms do. I just know she’s going to defy odds and do something really great in her life and I want to know what it is!
  • What do you think will happen to the characters after the end of the book? What are they doing now?
    • Hayden’s answer:  I think Aven is going to visit Josephine and keep on writing on her blog. 
    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: I think that Aven will continue to help her parents at Stagecoach Pass and the park will become popular again. I think that Aven’s relationship with Josephine will grow and they will become very close. I also think that Aven will continue writing her blog and possibly become a writer someday. I could see her writing sitcoms - she's so funny!
  • Would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not?
    • Hayden’s answer: Yes, because Aven was so interesting and funny.

    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: DEFINITELY! I have already told just about anyone I possibly could about this book. I know a lot of people love Wonder by RJ Palacio and Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper and if you do, you will also enjoy Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus as well!

This book is out now, so definitely look for it to add to your classroom library. It would also make a great gift for a young reader in your life! 

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The War I Finally Won - Blog Tour



Teachers Who Read Review
This sequel was my most highly anticipated release of 2017 as soon as I heard there was to be a continuum of the The War That Saved My Life. As a 5th grade reading teacher, I have to be brutally honest to you all, as I am with my students. 
I did NOT read historical fiction...UNTIL The War That Saved My Life. The first book in Ada's story truly changed me and a huge reading gap I had for myself. It is the first historical fiction story I book talk with my students and the first one that doesn't ever really stay on my shelf. 
The War I Finally Won was released on October 3 with much anticipation from my students as well. They are all in a race to finish the first to get to the second. 
You always are nervous about a sequel, most never live up to the hype, but Kimberly has done it again. This story lives up to the first and has taken a whole new part of my heart up that I didn't know was missing for historical fiction.

In The War I Finally Won, you follow Ada's story again by beginning the novel with her club foot surgery, graciously taken care of by Lady Thornton. 
Ada's mind has taken a turn in the story, and one you wouldn't have imagined taking after reading The War That Saved My Life. Ada's Mam was killed in a bombing back in London, and Ada is now unsure of how to react, not only in regards to her Mam's passing, but about knowing who she is after the surgery. The after effects of her mother's emotional abuse seem to have this lasting effect on Ada that you must read on to see and truly understand. 
Her little brother, Jamie, starts to call Susan Mommy, and Ada has some resentment towards this newfound calling. She not only feels that her job as Jamie's caretaker is no longer an option, Ada starts to distance herself from Susan, and questioning everything. This is a very different perspective than that of which we read in the first story. 

As the story continues, Lady Thornton is then forced to move into the cottage that they are living in, thanks again to Lady Thornton, because the government has seized their property for their use. Lord Thornton brings a young German girl, Ruth, to the house for Susan to tutor, and Lady Thornton absolutely refuses to have a German on the property. All while Ruth and Ada have a rough time at first developing a friendship, they start to realize they have one love in common, horses. 

Ada's story in The War I Finally Won is one that you will allow you to fall in love all over again with Ada. You not only understand her emotions, but you empathize with her. The struggles that she undergoes, the questioning of who she is as an individual, and the pain/fear that she fights so hard to persevere against, yet you know that underneath it all, she is afraid. 

This is a must read for any one ages 8 and above. 

SCHEDULE:
 
Week One:
October 2 – Teen Librarian Toolbox – Review
October 3 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Review
October 4 – Books4yourkids – Review
October 5 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Author Q&A
October 6 – MsYinglingReads - Review
 
Week Two:
October 9 – Teachers Who Read – Review
October 10 – Gypsy Road – Review
October 11 – YABooksCentral – Giveaway
October 12 – My Little Poppies – Promo: Insta, FB
October 13 – Lourde’s Book Blog Spot - Review
 
BOOK DESCRIPTION
 
One of the most anticipated middle grade novels of the year is finally here. The one that answers the question that the wildly popular novel The War That Saved My Life posed: what happens to Ada now? THE WAR I FINALLY WON by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (on sale October 3) is the sequel to the New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor winning The War That Saved My Life and rave reviews are pouring in already.
 
When Ada's clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she's not what her mother said she was--damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She's not a daughter anymore either. What is she? World War II continues, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, are living with their loving legal guardian, Susan, in a borrowed "cottage" on the estate of the formidable Lady Thorton--along with Lady Thorton herself and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded cottage is tense enough, and then, quite suddenly, Ruth, a Jewish girl from Germany, moves in. A German? The occupants of the house are horrified. But other impacts of war are far more intrusive and frightening. As death creeps closer to their door, life and morality during wartime grow more complex. Who is Ada now? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?
 
AUTHOR BIO
 
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley lives on a forty-two-acre farm in Bristol, Tennessee, with her husband and two children. She is the author of several middle grade novels, including the widely acclaimed Jefferson's Sons and the Newbery Honor- and Schneider Award-winning New York Times bestseller The War that Saved My Life.


 
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Haley's September Reads






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The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King Blog Tour


Teacher Review

I read this book in the mindset of a teacher reviewer and not just reviewing as a reader. What I mean by that is that I see my fifth grade students pick up this series over and over and over. It's so loved in Texas, the first book is a part of our Bluebonnet Awards for this year. When I mentioned I had the third book for review, the kids could not jump on the opportunity fast enough (which you will read about here on October 25), but that made me realize, Max Brallier has done something to kids across the US that allowed them to continually be excited about reading. Here are a few things I noticed about The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King and why I feel this series is so successful.

First of all, as a teacher, any book that merges graphics and writing together has me sold. Graphic novels are so huge right now, and that transition into reading chapter books is made possible by writing like Max's in The Last Kids on Earth. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the connections that students can make into their lives through a fantasy novel such as this. I had one girl describe this series to me as "realistic, fantasy, almost non-fiction," because she believes that if there was a time when she was living in a post apocalyptic world she would be acting just as Jack and his friends. 

The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King begins with Jack and his friends overhearing a radio transmission looking for survivors. At that moment, they begin to fill with excitement realizing they may not truly be the "last kids" or only people left for that matter. Hope starts to trickle in of finding their families...except for Jack, who is an orphan with zero family to return to. The plot leads on where Jack decides he is going to show his friends how much fun it is to be in Wakefield, and to be the last kids. They have the freedom to do what they want, when they want, (which is highly appealing to any and all of my students who feel like this is truly the life they want to live..), and they have the coolest treehouse. The story continues with Jack preparing for a huge adventure and then begins to be hunted by the Nightmare King, who in hindsight is showing the last kids nightmares of what the future of Wakefield could hold. Jack starts to realize that it's not all sunshine and rainbows being the last kids and that life may be a little more difficult in a post apocalyptic world than he had thought. 

The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King is adventure PACKED, action PACKED, AND super hilarious. My students are all about monsters, zombies, fighting action, and all-things fantasy. This story is recommended by me, the teacher, to any and all students who enjoy just a good story, who want a series to get hooked on, and who love adventure, action, zombies, and tests on friendship. 

SCHEDULE:

Week One:
October 3 – Teachers Who Read – Teacher Review
October 4 – The Play Connection: Kids Creative Chaos – Review
October 5 – Pink Polka Dot Books – Full series Review
October 6 – Mundie Moms Book Reviews – Author Interview & Review

Week Two:
October 23 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Review
October 24 – Artsy Momma– Featured Review in Book List
October 25 – Teachers Who Read – Students Review
October 26 – Gravity Bread – Review



BOOK DESCRIPTION
When Jack and his friends find a one-way radio broadcasting live updates, they realize they might not be the last kids on Earth after all. June, Quint, and Dirk are thrilled because this means they could get to see their parents again someday, but Jack is bummed. Living in a tree house with his best friends, racing through town on tricked-out Go-Karts, playing tug-of-war with monsters, successfully battling the Destroyer of Worlds--it's the happiest he's ever been, and he doesn't want it to end. If Jack can make his friends understand how fun it is here, maybe they'll never want to leave him. And if he teams up with the probably extremely evil King Wretch monster--a monster who's capable of giving him visions, even predicting the future--maybe he can do just that...






AUTHOR BIO
Max Brallier (www.maxbrallier.com) is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books and games, including the first two books in The Last Kids on Earth series. He is the creator and writer of Galactic Hot Dogs, an ongoing middle-grade web serial and book series with Aladdin. He writes for licensed properties including Adventure TimeRegular Show, and Uncle Grandpa. Under the pen name Jack Chabert, he is the creator and author of the Eerie Elementary series for Scholastic Books. In the olden days, he worked in the marketing department at St. Martin's Press. Max lives in New York City with his wife. 




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It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Our hearts and prayers are with Las Vegas right now. Tragedies like this are always unimaginable and it is in times like this, I often turn to books as a solace.











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Lone Stars by Mike Lupica Blog Tour


I turned over this blog tour to 5 of my fifth grade boys who read and will be reviewing the book from their point of view. We live in a town right outside San Antonio, so I felt that this would be an awesome opportunity for them to be able to read and make those connections to where the setting is in Lone Stars. 

Boys easy summary: This story is about Coach Coop and Clay and their football season. It discusses the tragic times that they are going through in their season and the things that truly do happen between teammates and coaches. 

Q: How does this book relate to your life as a young football player in Texas? 
Boys: Coming back from losing and winning games. Even as fifth graders we are taught to never give up. So, when in the story they never lose, but are down a lot, they portray to never give up, which is how we are in our own games as well.

Q: What are you thoughts on concussions in football?
Boys: Overall, we know that they are really bad and they damage you brain. Right now, there is only one of us out 5 who are able to play tackle football. We would say that the injuries are exactly why our parents decided that we are not able to play tackle football until middle school.
At first whenever David got blindsided we all thought that he had a neck injury and he wouldn't be back, but the team still won even though he suffered with a concussion.

Q: Have you had any positive role models as coaches? What impact have they had on you as fifth graders?
Boys: Yes. As coaches they have taught us more than what we have learned on the field, just like Coach Coop, we have learned respect, responsibility, hard work, and perseverance.

Q: Favorite part of this book?
A: Getting to go to the Cowboys game and how that feels to be able to watch your idols. Also, the fact that it is set in San Antonio and all of us know all of the locations that they were talking about. Being able to relate to the parts of the story made it even more interesting.

Q: Least favorite part of the book?
A: When he gets a concussion, and knowing the effects that the concussion had on him and the team through the rest of the story.

We really wish that Mike Lupica would make another book that follows Lone Stars after the Thanksgiving game that they got to attend. Even though the book left us with some few questions, we recommend this story for any boy OR girl who plays sports. To read about athletes in school and what they go through is a great opportunity for any young middle grade student to be able to relate to.


Goodreads Summary:

An uplifting story about role models, football, and tackling fear set in the heart of Friday Night Lights country--from the bestselling author of HeatTravel Team, and Fantasy League

Clay is a quarterback's dream. When he zips across the field, arms outstretched, waiting for the ball to sail into his hands, there's no denying him the catch. Like most Texans, Clay is never more at home than when playing football. And his coach, a former star player for the Dallas Cowboys, is just like a second father.

But as the football season kicks off, Clay begins to notice some odd behavior from his coach--lapses in his memory and strange mood swings. The conclusion is painful, but obvious: Coach Cooper is showing side effects of the many concussions he sustained during his playing days. As Clay's season wears on, it becomes clear that the real victory will be to help his coach walk onto that famous star logo in the middle of Cowboys Field one last time--during a Thanksgiving day ceremony honoring him and his former Super Bowl-winning teammates.

In Lone Stars, #1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica demonstrates once again that there is no children's sports novelist today who can match his ability to weave a story of vivid sports action and heartfelt emotion. A touching story that proves life is bigger than a game. 

Praise for Lone Stars

"Lupica has crafted another fine sports story for the middle school reader."--VOYA 
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