IMWAYR 12.11.17

I've been in a Cybils reading cave for the past few weeks. EVERYTHING I'm reading is a Cybils nominated book. While I am loving the Cybils process, I can't wait to get to some of the other books in my TBR pile.

Don't forget to check out other IMWAYR blog posts. If you need a break from the MG or YA books, check out Kathryn's post on  The Book Date. But if you're like me, and can't seem to drag yourself away from the kidlit world, be sure to check out Unleashing Readers, and Teach Mentor Texts.


Image result for positively izzy

Image result for thunderhead shusterman


Image result for starfish book

Image result for optimists die first


Image result for wizardmatch


Devlin Quick: Digging for Trouble - Author Interview

In this new installment, Devlin heads for the Badlands of Montana with her best friend Katie to dig out dinosaur bones, but soon suspects foul play when Katie’s found fossils are switched out for fakes. The good news? With Devlin’s police commissioner mother at home in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But Montana is a treacherous place for finding answers. And when the mystery takes Dev and Katie back to Manhattan--to the Museum of Natural History--the case gets much more complicated, even with Dev's friend Booker there to help. Dev has to use her brains, brawn, and yes, okay, the lessons learned from her Mom if she wants to dig up the truth once and for all.

Linda Fairstein is best known as the internationally bestselling author of the Alex Cooper mystery series for adults, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages. She first dreamed of writing mysteries in the sixth grade. A voracious reader of Nancy Drew, Linda penned her first caper for kids, The Secret of Apple Tree Farm at the age of 11. Last fall, Fairstein returned to her childhood passion with the publication of Into the Lion’s Den. Prior to writing, Linda worked at the Manhattan District Attorney's office as the head of the Special Victims Unit from 1976 to 2002. She lives in Manhattan, Martha’s Vineyard, and Big Timber, Montana.

Welcome to Teachers Who Read - we are students of Mrs. Thomas's and Mrs. Kuehler's class!

Tell us about your most recent book.

DIGGING FOR TROUBLE is my new book.  It’s the second one in a series of mysteries for young readers, featuring a twelve-year old New York City sleuth named Devlin Quick, who loves to solve crimes with her friends.  In this story, Devlin is vacationing in Montana, where she and her friend Katie go on a ‘dig’ with scientists to look for dinosaur fossils. Katie makes a terrific discovery, but it seems to Dev that someone has switched out the bones.  So when she gets back to her favorite museum - Natural History, in Manhattan - she and Booker Dibble decide to explore the creaky old attic of the museum to look for clues.

 When did you decide you wanted to be an author? 

I took a creative writing class in sixth grade, and by that time I knew that I loved to tell stories and write them down.  I dreamed about becoming a writer when I read my favorite books back then - novels by Louisa May Alcott and short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.  I went to law school and became a prosecutor, but I never gave up my dream of writing books, and that job gave me plenty of ideas for mysteries and things to write about.
What were your middle grade years like? 4th, 5th grade? Did you enjoy reading or writing? 

I’ve always loved reading.  I can still remember my mother reading to me before I knew how to read, before I went to sleep.  I especially liked the poems by Robert Louis Stevenson in A Child’s Garden of Verses, and I loved all the A.A. Milne poems, too.  I really enjoyed sports, but when I couldn’t be outside or it was time to go to bed, my greatest pleasure was reading books.  It was about 4th and 5th grade that I began to write my own stories, and write articles for the school newspaper.  Reading is a habit that really serves you well all your life, so I’m glad I started early.

When did you realize you were a writer?

As much as I wanted to be a writer, I suppose the first time I considered myself one was when my first book was published.  It was a serious non-fiction book about my career in the law, and it was very well-received.  I was enormously proud of it, since it is very hard to write an entire book and see it through to publication.  Then, I decided to go back to the dream I’d held on to, knowing that it would be fun to write mysteries.  I grew up on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, so that kind of story-telling was a huge influence on me. I’ve written nineteen novels for grown-ups, and two for middle-grade writers, so I certainly consider myself a writer now!

Do you have any plans for continuing The Devlin Quick Mysteries?

Yes!  As long as young readers connect with Devlin and Booker and enjoy their adventures, I’ll keep writing stories for them.  They will be back next year in  SECRETS FROM THE DEEP, about a beach adventure which turns up some buried treasure.
What was your favorite book as a child? What's your favorite middle grade book currently (aside from your own)? 

My favorite book as a child was LITTLE WOMEN.  I loved the rich story-telling about the lives of the family that were so impacted by the Civil War - so it had a bit of history and a lot of drama.  My favorite middle-school books now are the THEO BOONE, KID LAWYER novels by John Grisham.  I don’t know Mr. Grisham, but I have read every one of his grown-up books and I admire him so much.

What connections can students make with your book/books? Why should our teacher put your books in our library? 

It’s my hope that students connect with my books in a number of ways.  Devlin Quick is a very independent character, with a lot of courage and a loyalty to her friends and family.  I had that same loyalty, but I had none of her courage as a kid, and none of her independence.  So as kids read these books, I hope they will think about whether they would have done what Devlin and her friends did - taking action to solve a mystery.  The qualities I admire about Dev’s interest in seeing justice done and helping those who need it are also lessons I hope to convey - gently, through the entertainment of a good story.  Many librarians have told me that there are not a lot of mysteries for young readers in this age range.  There is a ton of fantasy and lots of books about vampires…but I wanted to add mysteries seen through the eyes of real kids to the library shelves.  I hope they make it to your library!

If you could recommend any books to us as 4/5th graders, what would it be? 
You know more about the newest books.  I happen to love classics, so some of the books I’ve mentioned above as well as THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND (which I read in middle school and I loved), BLACK BEAUTY, TREASURE ISLAND - ask your librarian about some of the old classics, which have lasted well through many decades.

Last question, any advice as young readers and writers?
I’ll give you the same advice I give to adults who ask about tips for wanting to become writers:  you have to read a lot, and you have to try to write something every day - maybe a journal entry. This way you are ‘in’ words all the time, absorbing good story-telling and how to use language.  You learn what kind of story-telling attracts you and how to create characters who come alive in your imagination.  Read and write.  Write and read.  And most of all, it should always be fun.

Thank you so much for writing books that keep us searching to solve mysteries! 

Thanks for the chance to ‘come’ to your class!  Linda Fairstein



'Tis the Season-Holiday Books for Every Elf in Your House

Now that Thanksgiving is over I can officially untangle my strands of Christmas lights and blare endless carols from my speakers.  And, of, course, get cozy with my family and my books.

For Your YA Elves:

Holly Chase refuses to heed the warnings from three ghosts who try to convince her to change her ways. So, after she dies she finds herself working as the Ghost of Christmas Past for Project Scrooge-an organization that saves miserly grouches.
This is the perfect twist on A Christmas Carol. I can't wait to use excerpts in my 8 grade classroom!

All Charlotte wants to do is get back to England so she can spend time with her family over the holidays. All Anthony wants to do is forget about his ex-girlfriend who just dumped him in the airport. When a blizzard strikes, the two find themselves drawn to each other.

A fast-paced, romantic read. 
An oldie, but a goodie. When seven students and a teacher (EEK!) are trapped inside their high school during a week-long blizzard, they quickly learn they'll need to work together in order to survive.

Told from a male point of view, this is an adventure story that will keep your elves reading past their bedtimes.

Each year, Sierra's family leaves California so they can run their family-owned tree farm in Oregon.  This season brings many new worries for Sierra. Will this be their last year at the farm? How can Sierra prove to her best friend that she still cares even though she's hours away? And what should Sierra do about Caleb, the cute guy with a complicated secret?

This is a Hallmark movie-style book!

A collection of short stories written by all the best authors! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, the Winter Solstice, this book has something for everyone.
Some other popular winter-themed reads are The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily, Let it Snow, Stealing Christmas, and The Tragedy Papers.

For Your Middle-Grade Elves:

This is a middle-grade take on A Christmas Carol. "The Beiderman," the Vanderbeekers grumpy landlord has decided not to renew their lease. However, the Vanderbeeker children refuse to let this happen and devise a plan to win him over by Christmas Day.

A book that truly revolves around the Christmas spirit.
Amelia is sent away to work in a miserable job because her mother is sick. Spending her time in a hopeless workhouse, Amelia quickly loses her optimism. When Santa and his elves realize this, they spring into action in order to save Christmas.
Claire gets chosen to participate in an elite training program for ice skaters. While Claire has always dreamed of being a professional ice skater she finds herself unprepared for the mean girls who wait for her at Lake Placid.

One winter morning, Jack follows an evil woman into the snowy woods. His best friend Hazel knows something is wrong and begins a journey to find him while trying to come to terms with her place in the world.

Based on the classic book The Snow Queen, this one is for more sophisticated middle-grade readers.

A funny book filled with lots of unknown facts and strange traditions. My seven and five -year old loved looking at the pictures and learning more about everything winter.

For Your Littlest Elves:

A story that will resonate with young and old readers alike. 
Red and Lulu have always lived in their favorite pine tree-until it's cut down unexpectedly with Lulu still in it.  Can Red find Lulu before it's too late?

I spied this book at NCTE and immediately added it to my Amazon cart. 
A reindeer-loving little girl ventures out to help a reindeer in need. Told in mostly black and white illustrations, with little pops of color, this has become a favorite book in my house. 

The rhyming text tells the story of how a pine tree transforms into a Christmas tree. From picking it out, bringing it home, decorating it, then waiting for Christmas morning, this poem focuses on my favorite Christmas tradition.

A beautifully illustrated book that explores the changes that occur in nature between fall and winter. Descriptive writing highlights the first frost and first snow as a busy town prepares for the holidays.

Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan - Review and Tour

“What to give the kid who’s read all the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson books? Try Addison Cooke.” –Parents Magazine
By Jonathan W. Stokes

Teacher review: 
The first thing that got me hooked in wanting to read this series was the description of "The Goonies meets Indiana Jones." My only downfall is that I'm not 100% sure half my students know what the Goonies are or even Indiana Jones for that matter so that would lead into a whole different discussion. 
Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan is the second installment in the series. As a teacher, series are a dream for  majority of stories. Especially those that involve adventures and journeys led by a kid their age. 
The imaginative description of Addison's adventures are sure to have kids hooked from the start. Not only are they trying to keep treasure from falling into the wrong hands, they also have rescues that have to occur. This story is ACTION packed as well as full of laughs that will keep kids entertained! 
Bonus: The fact that Jonathan was a teacher turned Hollywood script writer is a great way to book talk Addison Cooke into showing students what they are capable of and just how far talent and perseverance can take them! 

By Jonathan W. Stokes
Philomel Books; on sale November 14, 2017; 9780399173783; $17.99

Addison Cooke is back in his latest laugh-out-loud adventure: ADDISON COOKE AND THE TOMB OF THE KHAN (Philomel; on sale November 14, 2017; 9780399173783; grades 3-7). Complete with a cast of funny, kid-friendly characters reminiscent of The Goonies, and a quest to discover ancient secrets, Addison strikes gold once again in his second adventure: this time a journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan.

Fresh off a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just cannot seem to avoid rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves lined with gold. Such is the life of a junior archaeologist. Just as reliably, as Addison attracts adventure, his aunt and uncle attract kidnappers! This time they find themselves becoming the pawn in a Chinese gang's plan to steal the Khan's most prized possession, his golden whip. When a third player enters the race, a Russian gang intent on nabbing the goods and exacting revenge for what happened with the treasure of the Incas, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle, trying to rescue his family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands!

Jonathan W. Stokes ( is a former teacher who is now a Hollywood screenwriter. He has written screenplays on assignment for Warner Brothers, Universal, Fox, Paramount, New Line, and Sony/Columbia. Inspired by a childhood love of The Goonies and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Jonathan set out to write his first novel, Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas. Born in Manhattan, he currently resides in Los Angeles, where he can be found showing off his incredible taste in dishware and impressive 96% accuracy with high fives. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @jonathanwstokes.


Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code
A book review from Rylie, 4th grade.

What are these two books about?
They are about a girl named Sophia and she’s in a coding club with her BFFs and they have the best times together. They hang out a lot, but then they’re participating in their first robot hackathon and they have to do lots of teamwork to be in this hackathon. They are excellent at coding and that’s all thanks to their coding teacher Mrs. Clark.

What did you like best about this book? Why?
All of it was just amazing I am speechless because of how much you learn about coding.
Who would like this book? Is it only for girls, or would boys like it too? Why?
Boys might not take this book because of its cover, it says girls who code but I think maybe a boy might like this book. I think any people who code will really like this.

What did the author of this book do to keep you interested?
After something there will a part that will be amazing and it was awesome I loved the book it was cool how you just keep on learning things. It’s really good.

What was your favorite part of the book and why?
All of it was amazing but my favorite part was chapter 4 because it was the most part of learning and understanding coding.

What did you learn about coding while reading this book?
You learn a lot about coding in this book like you could make a robot just by coding.

Team BFF: Race to the Finish! #2 by Stacia Deutsch; Foreword by Reshma Saujani

Code It! Create It! by Sarah Hutt


Social Media Impact

Hey friends! So, I took to Twitter and Instagram on Sunday night to ask what everyone's current FAVORITE middle grade chapter book and picture book are! The results blew me away, mainly because there are SO MANY overlaps! I love that everyone has a different reason for loving the same book, or that I found books I hadn't even heard of! 
You can find the thread HERE

If you are looking for some new classroom novels to put into your 4th/5th grade classrooms or picture books to use for #classroombookaday - I compiled the list for you! 


Cassie's Back to School Reads

Let’s be Real


               My reading life has definitely plummeted since coming back to work. Not only coming back to work, but also having a crazy two year old at home who constantly yells at me, “Mama, get up! No book!” Unless, of course, it’s a book HE chose and wants to read.

       This equal parts makes me happy that I am so much closer to home and get more time with Gunner and also sad that my Audible time is completely obsolete. I can’t believe in two months I only read EIGHT books total. This is not okay, but I’m trying! 
Okay -- let's talk about the books I have read. GIF format?! :) 

Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart


Ban This Book by Alan Gratz


Caleb and Kit by Beth Vrabel

The Way to Bea by Kat Yah

Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

The War I Finally Won by KBB

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds



Student/Teacher Dual Review - The Swallow by Charis Cotter

Here we are looking scared because this book was creepy!

  • What is The Swallow about?
    • Finlay’s answer: The Swallow is about two kids, Rose and Polly who are completely different. Rose is a girl that looks like she could be a ghost.Polly is a girl that has a big family and likes to be alone.Together they start to solve a mystery what they find out will be strange.

    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: Two girls, Rose and Polly are neighbors and they couldn’t be more different. One is quiet and looks like she could be a ghost. The other is outgoing and energetic. The two do become friends and try to solve a mystery together. What they end up finding out will blow you away…

  • Who do you think would like this book? Do you have to enjoy scary books to enjoy this book?
    • Finlay’s answer: I think if you are the kind of person that likes scary books that have a big mystery you’ll like this book. This book has it’s scary moments and not that scary moments.

    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: I think fans of Goosebumps might like this if they want something a little more than just a scary tale. This book definitely had it’s moments where it was scary, but by the end it didn’t feel as scary and I appreciated that. You definitely don’t have to be a huge fan of scary books to enjoy this one.

  • There are two main characters in this book. How are they alike and how are they different?
    • Finlay’s answer: Well, Polly and Rose aren’t that alike. Rose is small and ghost like some people think that’s she’s scary.Rose has long crazy hair and a pale face.Polly couldn’t look more alive she has straight brown hair and rosy cheeks.Polly is always anxious or wanting to be alone. Rose can see ghosts and Polly wants to see ghosts. Rose wishes she didn’t see ghosts she hates seeing them.Polly wants to stand out but it seems like no one notices her. Rose wants to blend in but she stands out.

    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: Rose and Polly couldn’t be more different. Rose is okay with blending in and not standing out, in fact she tries hard not to stand out because she doesn’t want what happened to her aunt to happen to her. Rose can see ghosts, like her aunt could, and she hates it.  Polly works hard to stand out because she lives with a loud, boisterous family.  Polly is dying to see a ghost and wishes she could see them like Rose can.

  • Without giving anything away, was the ending a surprise?
    • Finlay’s answer: Yes, very.The twist was very surprising I thought if that was going to happen it’d be the other way around.The twist was kind of sad and exciting

    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: YES! I did not see the twist coming and that just made me love the story more. I like it when an author can surprise me.

  • If you were to talk with the author, what would you want to know?
    • Finlay’s answer: I would want to know where she got the idea for the twist and the characters.
    • Mrs. Kuehler’s answer: I would want to know if she based the characters of Rose and Polly on anyone she knows and where she got the idea for the book.

Image result for the swallow charis cotter


IMWAYR 11.6.17

Image result for IMWAYR

It's been a few weeks since our last IMWAYR post. We're in the dredges of the school year, and it's generally around this time that my reading seems to slip. This year, it can't happen because I'm a CYBILS judge. Although you'll notice I'm reading a non-Cybils book right now. I've found that every 4-5 books, I need to read something just for me. 

I'm reading S.T.A.G.S., an edge-of-your-seat mystery that takes place over the course of a weekend at a Medieval estate in England. Greer, a pariah at her prestigious boarding school, receives an exclusive invitation for three days of "Huntin', Shootin', and Fishin.' Unable to turn it down, she finds herself in the middle of an ages-long tradition.

Amber is reading my favorite Neal Shusterman book. I have 6 copies of this book in my classroom and they are ALWAYS checked out. 

In a world ruled by the Thunderhead, Scythes hold a prestigious power-they have the ability to save or end your life. When Citra and Rowan are tapped to train for the Scythedom they begin to reveal corruption in their perfect world.

As always, be sure to check out Kelle's blog for more. And hopefully, we'll see many of you next week in St. Louis at NCTE!

Image result for STAGS book
Image result for scythe shusterman


"The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street" one line reviews

My fourth graders are listening to The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsey Currie and we are about halfway through the book (LOVING IT!). As class, we all wrote one line reviews expressing what we think so far of the story... 

Image result for the peculiar incident on shady street

Mrs. Kuehler - Super-duper scary (in a good way) and is making my skin crawl!

Aden - It sounds so creepy (in the best way possible!)

Rylie - It’s very intense and super scary and it’s making me have goosebumps. It’s super creepy gives me shivers.

Chris - It’s scary and its making me feel like my house is haunted. I turned my Xbox off one time and it came back on.

Drake - Very scary and quirky. It makes my heart beat very fast.

Emma - It is very intense and I feel like I’m in the story.  It gives me goosebumps and I can’t believe that her sketchbook has been drawn in!!?!?

Walker - It sometimes really freaks me out, and other times I am not scared at all.

Anna - It is thrilling because you don’t know what will happen next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Braydon - It is really freaky and really scary

Jordan - It’s really scary (in a crazy good way) and it makes me feel nervous.

Austin - It blows my mind in a good way and it is scary. It is good!

Ellis - I feel creeped out because I do not like scary books or movies.

Morgan - The book is very scary and creepy and is giving me goosebumps.

Finlay - This is the scariest book I’ve read, yet I can’t wait to see the ending.

Chanel - So scary it feels like it was my house and I moved to Chicago. It is the best book ever.

Nia - I’m creeped out and I can’t wait to find out what’s next because it’s so exciting and it spooks me out I just love it

Lila - Is so scary, I feel like I might fall off my chair.

Abdul - Is giving me nightmares and makes me scared when I get up at night.

Raegan - It’s  sc.ary and it feels like it going to happen to me

Kiwi - It is like a middle school story but scary like :0 minds blown piz make more books like this one!

Austin It  is really scary it makes me shiver I wonder what will happen next

Hayden - It is very different from lots of the other books I have read.

Brittany - I feel good about hearing the rest of the story/I want to see where the story is going and what that doll is talking about. It’s getting scary by the moment and it feels like I´m in the story.

Connor - Very scary (in a good way). Kind of funny!

Jaiden - AWESOME!!!!!! But scary. Also fun but horrible when we have to stop. I feel scared, worried, and jumpy. I can’t wait for the end, literally, I CAN’T WAIT I’m so excited for the book to end but I wish it was a series of books so I could read the whole series I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I’m so excited to see what happens next time!!!!!!!!!!

Mattalyn - It is a very very scary book in a good way, great detail described in words, I want to see how it ends, it makes you very jumpy, sometimes I wonder if I was Tessa and what I would do and feel, VERY VERY interesting and brings you into another world.

Gwen - It has a lot of twists and turns and that's what I like SOOOOOOO AWESOME SOOOOO scary {in a good way} I love being scared so it's a good book for me to hear and so far it is amazingly awesome.

Back to Top