Bullet Book Review with @mrs_cmt1489

Disclaimer: I'm a 5th grade teacher in south central Texas, what works for my kids may not work for your kids, and what does work; it may work the same or in different ways. In the end, they're all kids - they all need to be exposed to many lives, cultures, history, and experiences as possible. 

The Track Series
By: Jason Reynolds 

For fans of: Matt Christopher. Kwame Alexander. 

First Line(s): "Check this out. This dude name Andrew Dahl holds the world record for blowing up the most balloons.....with his nose. Yeah. That's true."

The series: A must have for all middle grade classrooms. 

From Simon and SchusterGhost. Patina. Sunny. Lu. A fast but fiery group of kids from wildly different backgrounds, chosen to compete on an elite track team. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Discover each of their stories in this complete collection of Jason Reynolds’s explosive New York Times bestselling Track series.

The author: Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, National Book Award Honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, a two time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. The American Booksellers Association’s 2017 spokesperson for Indies First, his many books include When I Was the Greatest, Boy in the Black SuitAll American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (GhostPatinaSunny, and Lu), and Long Way Down, which received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.

Read it for + Teaching Points: It's by Jason Reynolds - I mean anything he writes, kids cling to. He embodies what it means to truly understand kids and what they are going through. The Track series is one I use to get students HOOKED on books. It's been one of the best beginning of year read alouds I could ever choose. (So far)

Elements of Genius: Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray Book 1
By:Jess Keating

For fans of: I sell this by saying - it's like Avengers or Justice League as kids. Also, somewhat relative to the movie Spy Kids. 

First Line: "Okay, I can't really explain a lot right now because as you can see, there's a death ray pointed at my eye."

The book: Young readers are going to LOVE Genius Academy. I immediately thought about all those readers who love science and may not even know they love science, yet - thinking back to my adolescence science was my best subject and had no idea what I could have even done with that. The imagination route that Jess takes really had me hooked, too. Nikki Tesla is the main character, extraordinary, brilliant, bright, ambitious. She has a gift for inventing amazing things (again such a great STEAM novel), but of course, she struggles to make friends and feels this constant dark cloud shadow of the embarrassment of her father. Things he has done that seem to follow her around. She eventually captures the attention of this Genius Academy - a school for children with amazing gifts, with some pretty amazing individuals joining her, who train together and use their unique gifts to save the world. 

There's a great part at the back where then Jess leaves in her author's note to have the readers ask their librarian for more information on these amazing individuals she works with in the story. 

Can't wait for book 2 and 3! 

The author: Jess has some amazing nonfiction picture books out, as well as her fiction chapter books. Jess is an amazing artist, creator, inspirational human being. I have had the privilege to see and hear her speak at NerdCamp and I am blown away by what she does as an artist, writer, and researcher. You can read more about her here: https://jesskeating.com/about-me/

Read it for +Teaching Points: HUGE STEAM book. As a teacher I would be pulling out the individuals and merging it with nonfiction research. A culminating activity would then be an invention of some sort following in Nikki's footsteps. 

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