Eve 2.0 Blog Tour

Welcome to the Teachers Who Read blog! Today we're featuring Eve 2.0, a new gaming novel sure to appeal to fans of Ready Player One or anyone who likes to game!
Eve 2.0: The Ultimate Gaming Experience (The Gamer Series Book 1) by [Lawrence, Winter]


Just when Gwen thought she could beat any video game hands down, her boyfriend goes and gets her stuck in a top-secret government simulator named Eve 2.0. Being trapped within a couple of her favorite video games doesn’t seem so bad at first, but as time becomes a factor and the A.I. program begins to get smarter, Gwen soon realizes that winning or losing isn’t just about pride anymore; it’s about making it out alive.

My Take:

Can you imagine being stuck in a video game? Some kids dream of that. In fact, 10-year-old me would've given anything to play a real-life version of Super Mario. And given that gaming is anticipated to be a 230 billion market by 2022 (New Zoo), I bet there's a few students you know who would appreciate this gaming novel.

The first in a series, Eve 2.0 features suspense, government conspiracies, and even a love triangle. As Gwen and her ex-boyfriend(!) navigate the gaming world in order to rescue her brother, people in the real world realize Gwen may reveal government secrets. 

While I don't consider myself to be a gamer, other than the occasional game of The SIMS, this book was easy to follow. You don't have to be an avid gamer to appreciate the story arcs.

Winter Lawrence
About Winter Lawrence
Winter lives in the moment and loves nothing more than being surrounded by her family, her fur-babies, and a ton of great reads! When she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a book, she’s usually thinking up far away, fantastical worlds or she’s cooking up a storm in the kitchen! Because of her love for all things literary, Winter pursued a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Professionally, she is a manuscript editor and, in her spare time, she enjoys hosting author spotlights, posting book reviews, and teaching workshops. In her private time, she is an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romances, and one day she hopes to inspire young readers in the same way her favorite authors continue to inspire her today.Find out more about Winter at her website and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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It's Monday! There are not enough hours in a day. I had 10 books on hold at our library and four of them came in on the same day. Of course, within a few days, all of my Netgalley requests were approved. I'm going to finish Jackpot (so good!) tonight so I can focus all my attention to some 2020 releases! 

Happy reading,

22 Days of Anti-Racist Resources for Teachers: Teaching Identity in Middle Grades

This post is one of the series: It's Time to Talk Racism: 22 Days of Anti-Racist Resources for Teachers. Check out the complete campaign here. 

Often times in schools, students aren't able to celebrate who they are and what makes them unique and special. It is unintentionally at times overlooked. Celebrating who we are and our difference can by the first step to breaking the bias we and our students have. 

I start by discussing with my student what is identity and things that make up our identities. At times it may be hard for even my fourth graders to understand with identity is. I love the lesson from Being the Change to also help to teach and help my students understand identity. After we talk about the meaning, we start to look at ourselves and our own identities. My students do this writing on a piece of paper about how they identify themselves (boy, girl, black, white, student, teacher, sister, mother, brother, etc). Next, we talk about why is it important to know their identity and to share that with others.  

I love bringing in picture books to help grow and extend our conversations and understanding. Sulwe was published at the beginning of October and I had to have it to help foster conversations with my students about this topic. This book teaches about colorism, self-esteem, and how true beauty comes from within. *See summary below.

The next book is The Proudest Blue. The book works perfectly when teaching about identity. Just like Sulwe it also teaches to be confident with yourself and your culture. 

I love hove both of these books give my students insight into other cultures and what trials they may go through.

(Teaching Tolerance Lesson on Identity)
I have used this lesson to help teach my students about identity. For more information visit the Teaching Tolerance Website.

In the essay "Magic Carpet," Mitali Perkins writes about learning to see her rich heritage through critical colonial eyes as a young girl in New York and her struggle to reclaim her history as an adult 

Get Started

1. Download the essay, "Magic Carpet," and distribute a copy to each class member.
2. Explain that the essay describes the author’s experience of boundaries within her own identity.
3. Use the following discussion questions and writing activities to help your students explore identity and assimilation in the essay and their own lives.
 Discussion Questions
  1. Describe the author’s childhood experience of cultural boundaries. How did she respond to these boundaries? How would she respond differently now? What might have happened to cause her to write about these experiences? 
  2. Have you ever been made fun of because of a cultural trait, such as your home language or traditional clothing or food? Describe the experience. 
  3. Have you ever made fun of someone — or witnessed others doing so — because of a cultural trait? Describe the experience. 
  4. What situations can you think of that force or encourage people to give up parts of their identity? Explain. 
  5. What does the author mean by "magic carpet"? 
  6. Do you have a "magic carpet" that you and only a few others share? What are the qualities of that "magic carpet"? With whom do you share it? What would enable you to share this secret part of your identity with more people?
 Writing Activities
  1. Share the essay with a parent, grandparent or other elder and discuss questions 1-6 with them. Prepare a written report on what you discover. 
  2. Choose one of these two topics:
    1. Have you ever tried to hide your home language, religion or any other aspect of your family’s culture from your friends or classmates? If so, why? Write an essay describing the experience, how it felt, and what, if anything, about the situation you would change if you could. 
    2. Have you ever discovered that one of your friends or classmates has been hiding some part of his or her cultural identity from you? If so, write an essay describing how the discovery felt, how you responded, and what, if anything, about the situation you would change if you could. 
  3. Imagine that a trait you "disown" now (a physical feature, a custom, a bit of family history, personal ties) will be gone forever at the end of today. Write a story, song or poem to say goodbye to this part of yourself. What do you remember about "it" and its role in your life? Describe your feelings. What advice would you offer to someone who feels forced to give up a part of his or her identity?

The post is dedicated to Alexander Gerhard Hoffman. He was a German national who was shot and killed in the tragic shooting in El Paso. 

Thanks for stopping by :)

Author Interview: Ben Guterson

Books by Ben Guterson

Pictures from inside the book:

Q: Tell us about your book, specifically the story behind the titles?
Winterhouse (and its sequels The Secrets of Winterhouse and The Winterhouse Mysteries) is a book about an eleven-year-old girl named Elizabeth Somers who lives with a cruel aunt and uncle in a little house in a small town. When mid-December arrives and her school goes on break, Elizabeth--much to her surprise--is sent to the mysterious Winterhouse Hotel far from her home for a three-week stay. At Winterhouse, Elizabeth makes a good new friend named Freddy Knox, discovers a strange and magical book in the enormous Winterhouse library, and comes to realize that the hotel may be endangered by a shadowy sorceress who has a connection to the family that's run the hotel for over a century. The title of the book came to me when I first thought of the idea for the story--I imagined an enormous hotel set amidst snowy mountains, and the name "Winterhouse" just popped into my head.
Q; What is your inspiration behind Winterhouse’s storyline?
A:I first seriously considered writing a children's book when my youngest daughter encouraged me to do so one spring day when she was eight or nine. I remember it clearly.  My daughter suggested we walk to the small lake near our house and bring notebooks with us—she thought it would be fun for both of us to draw pictures and write stories beside the water. Once we settled in, I sketched an enormous hotel in the mountains and called it Winterhouse—I don’t know why I chose that name, but I thought it sounded nice. I pictured a grand hotel set beside an ice-covered lake in some snowy, northern location. On the back of my drawing I started to write a story about a girl who lived with a cruel aunt and uncle but had somehow ended up visiting the fabulous Winterhouse Hotel for Christmas vacation. I read my three or four paragraphs to my daughter as we sat together, and she urged me to write a whole book about Winterhouse. We returned home and I put my drawing in my desk—never quite forgetting about it, particularly because, over the years, my daughter kept prodding me to continue the story. By the time she was in high school I decided to take her advice; and after a few more years and several drafts, the book ended up being published!
Q; What are some challenges unique to writing mysteries?
A:It's difficult to create a satisfying mystery, because the clues have to be hard enough or tricky enough that they can't be solved quickly, but they can't be so difficult that the solution relies on knowledge or abilities few people would actually possess. Also, I don't think it's very interesting when a mystery is solved just on a hunch or some chance event or discovery--that feels sort of like cheating, to me. Finally, the mystery at the heart of a good mystery story has to be something that people really care about or find compelling: figuring out an ancient code is interesting to most people, I think, whereas locating a missing hat most likely won't hold a reader's attention.
Q; What makes this book a perfect fit for middle grade classrooms?
A:I think Winterhouse has a nice mix of friendship and mystery, as well as a lot of puzzle solving and some magic. Those are the sorts of elements I like in stories, so maybe middle-grade readers will like all of that, too. Plus, the story takes place in an enormous hotel in the mountains, which is a setting that allows for a lot of discoveries to be made and adventures to be pursued.
Q: What does your daily writing life look like? (Do you set a word count for yourself daily? Or a page goal? Where do you write? How often if not daily?)
A: When I'm really working hard on a book, I typically write from about 8:00 to 11:00 in the morning and then again from about 7:00 till 10:00 at night. I aim for 3,000 words a day, but if I find that's too ambitious, I'll lower it to 2,000. I have a little office (my older daughter's former bedroom) where I like to write, and it's a very rare day when I don't write at all. I love to write and feel sort of "off" if a day passes and I haven't spent a few hours at it.
Q: What’s the best thing about being a writer?
A; The best thing for me about being a writer is that I'm able to spend my time dreaming up stories and putting sentences together. I've always loved to read and I've always been enchanted by books, so it's a real thrill to be able to devote my days to creating stories. I think everyone enjoys being creative, and I'm no different in that regard. Being a writer allows me to be creative for several hours a day.
Q: Future projects you are working on?
A:I'm working on two more middle-grade novels that will be coming out following the release of the third Winterhouse book, The Winterhouse Mysteries, this December. Here are the details of those two books from a recent announcement released by my book company, Macmillan: "The first book, The Vista Point Einsteins, is a mystery featuring a grieving family eager to start fresh by relocating to a remote bed-and-breakfast; it's scheduled for 2021. The Hidden Workshop of Javier Preston, scheduled for 2022, is a mystery layered with art, puzzles, friendship, and family."
Q: What else would you like us know?
A: If you really love to write, always remain focused on the writing itself rather than the fruits of your efforts.  Any degree of financial reward or public attention--or even publication itself--is outside of your control, so if your happiness and self-worth is based on the external rewards, you could be setting yourself up for dissatisfaction; stay devoted to the pleasure of putting words together and telling good stories. I've always loved to read and I've always loved to write--I'm sure I would have kept writing for the rest of my life even if I'd never been fortunate enough to have anything published.

Thanks for stopping by!

Naked Mole Rat Saves the World

Hi Friends!

No, it's not Kim Possible here with a naked mole rat, it's a just a new release by the amazing Karen Rivers through Algonquin Young Readers!

*Affliate Link

Advanced Praise:

“A warm coming-of-age story populated with a cast of memorable characters.”
Kirkus Reviews

Called  “witty and stylish” by The Horn Book

Naked Mole Rat Saves the World 

Can Kit’s super-weird superpower save her world?

Kit-with-a-small-k is navigating middle school with a really big, really strange secret: When she’s stressed, she turns into a naked mole rat.

It first happened after kit watched her best friend, Clem, fall and get hurt during an acrobatic performance on TV. Since then, the transformations keep happening—whether kit wants them to or not. Kit can’t tell Clem about it, because after the fall, Clem just hasn’t been herself. She’s sad and mad and gloomy, and keeping a secret of her own: the real reason she fell.

A year after the accident, kit and Clem still haven’t figured out how to deal with all the ways they have transformed—both inside and out. When their secrets come between them, the best friends get into a big fight. Somehow, kit has to save the day, but she doesn’t believe she can be that kind of hero. Turning into a naked mole rat isn’t really a superpower. Or is it?


As I read a lot of middle grade books so that I can recommend to my students and I definitely have the quirkiest kiddos sometimes and they LoOoOoVEEEE the weirdness that comes from Naked Mole Rat Saves the World, I mean they knew by the title it would be fun, and it was. I have had a few students read with me to leave reviews. 

Student A: "I did feel like I became friends with the characters so it was sad to end, but I loved it. I really enjoy stories that are magical, but feel real, and I definitely felt like this was real a lot of times." 

Student B: "Unputdownable. (That's a word, right Mrs. Thomas ;) haha)" 

Student C: "It was kind of slow at first, but I kept up with it and I am so glad I did. The end of the story makes it ALL worth it. So stick with it!!!!! The characters make you want to be friends with them so much! It was so much fun!" 

Overall, I think it's a good idea to add to your classroom library! It's a great book to book talk and get those who love magical realism into a new story. Karen's stories are all ones I have in my library and they are all very well loved every single year. 

Out: Tuesday, October 15! :)

About the author:

Karen Rivers's books have been nominated for a wide range of literary awards and have been published in multiple languages. When she's not writing, reading, or visiting schools, she can usu­ally be found hiking in the forest that flourishes behind her tiny old house in Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives with her two kids, two dogs, and two birds. Find her online at karenrivers.com and on Twitter: @karenrivers.

Karen Rivers has been celebrated for her “darkly humorous [and] original” (New York Times Book Review) stories that “revel in life’s nuance and complexity” (School Library Journal). Her previous middle grade novels, The Girl in the Well is MeLove, Ish, and A Possibility of Whales, have been called “masterful” by the Buffalo News, “immensely relatable,” by Cleaver Magazine, and “remarkable” by School Library Journal.  Rivers now brings her signature voice, wit, and heart to an extraordinary new book for young readers. Naked Mole Rat Saves the World (Publication date: October 15, ages 8-12, $16.95) follows Kit-with-a-small-k as she deals with friendship drama and her mother’s deteriorating mental health, all while keeping a ginormous secret: when she’s anxious, she turns into a naked mole rat.

“I am an anxious person who is raising two anxious kids and two anxious dogs,” writes Rivers. “So naturally I was drawn to writing a story about a twelve-year-old girl with an anxious, single mother, a story that landed pretty close to home for me. I also wanted to write a book that explored all different types of common fears, and somehow this all gelled in my head with: a naked mole rat, a Rottweiler, a thief wearing a Batman mask, failure on a massive public stage, and also the fears we all carry that we are somehow not good enough, that we aren’t who we are meant to be.”

Hailed as a writer who “doesn’t shy away from the dark places but explores them with heart, humor, and light” (Kate Messner, author of Breakout), Karen Rivers delivers a truly hilarious and heartfelt middle great novel that tackles mental health, complicated friendships, and growing up. I hope you received this moving and quirky novel and look forward to your consideration for coverage this fall.

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