Our GHHS TED-ed Club is off to a great start! We have shared some ideas we want to explore and talked about “What Makes a Great Idea…..Great!”
Shadow and Bone has an exciting plot that keeps you interested and turning the pages from the start. The book has some twists and turns along the way that are interesting and set it apart from the other YA fantasies out there. I was excited about the connections to Russian folklore that were supposed to be a basis of the book, but I was disappointed in this aspect of the book. Elements were there, but not developed strongly enough to give it a true cultural flavor. The romantic elements seemed typical at first, but Bardugo ended up disrupting the expected enough to keep it intriguing. All in all, it was a good debut effort and I liked it well enough to continue with the series. I hope that the Russian element will come through As the series develops!
There are no sparkly vampires here! This one is not for the faint of heart. In this world, Coldtowns have been established enclosed by walls where vampires and those in the intermediary stage before turning; those who have turned “cold” must stay forever. Holly Black chilled me to the bone with this one. Tana has gone to Coldtown to try to save her ex-boyfriend who has been bitten, but has not yet turned. There she meets some terrifying vampires as she struggles to survive. Holly Black’s writing is sophisticated and chilling. It takes a lot to turn my stomach, but this one did it. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a different twist on the vampire tale!
Seraphina is a different kind of a dragon story. It is full of music, intrigue and battle. In this world, dragons are hated and valued at the same time. They are the intellectuals and serve the humans in that capacity. Seraphina belongs to both worlds and because dragons are able to fold up their wings and look completely human, her secret remains undiscovered. She is the music instructor in the palace and it is a prized position. You can read the excellent short story, The Audition, online to find out more about how she got the job. She works for the royal family and when someone in the family is murdered she tries to help find out what happened. Her real journey, though, is about believing in herself and her heritage. I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment!
Jasper Fforde’s books are always a lot of fun. The Fourth Bear had me in stitches over and over again. Jack Spratt of The Nursery Crime Division is out to solve another mysterious death. The Gingerbreadman, a vicious killer has escaped. The book is full of word play and coincidences. For example, Dorian Gray sells Jack a car that fixes itself right back to new condition, but the picture of the car in Dorian Gray’s office shows all of the damage. My hands-down favorite scene was about illegal substances for bears: porridge and honey. It had me laughing out loud it was so clever. I love Fforde’s Thursday Next series, but the Nursery Crimes are a close second!
I have just created a new page category on the blog called Digital Citizenship. Right now I have posted some infographics on how to scrub your digital footprint, what college admissions officers want to see on your digital footprint and manners online. Look for more resources in that category and also check out my Pinterest Boards for more information.
Mrs. Zanutti’s 6th Period Class shared the posters they created about creating a positive digital footprint during our all-school lesson. Here are some examples posted with their permission.
Every time I tried to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it was checked out! I finally got my chance and I am so glad to have read this classic coming of age tale. The book is made up of a series of letters telling the story and you really feel that you get to know Charlie and his friends by the end of the book. Charlie is a wallflower and his confusions, joys and sorrows all come through loud and clear. I am eager to see the movie now. If you have seen it, let me know what you thought.
Common Core Authors & Books Dystopian Literature
Award Events Speaker Series
Learning More About Common Core
Wordle Created and Presentation by Judy Moreillon, assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman’s University and author of Coteaching Reading Comprehension Strategies in Secondary School Libraries.
I spent Friday in two pre-conference half day sessions focusing on librarianship, common core standards and instructional partnerships. I have linked some highlights here:
A video on Fix-Up Strategies(Close Reading) for high school:
Authors & Books
Cory Doctorow (Homeland) was the first author to join us at table 32 at the YA Coffee Klatch, an author “speed dating” event! I also met Lauren Myracle (The Infinite Moment of Us), Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore), Leslea Newman October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard), Derf Backderf (My Friend Dahmer - fascinating story), Trish Cook (A Really Awesome Mess), James Kennedy The Order of Odd-Fish, James Klise (Love Drugged) and Colleen Gleason (The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes, #1). Pictures from YALSA Facebook page.
The conference is full of opportunities to meet authors and collect books for the library, many donated by the publishers. Here’s a link to what I brought back:
CopyrightCreative Commons (BY-SA)AuthorFrank Skornia (@FSkornia) Some rights reserved by ALA – The American Library Association
The members of this wonderful panel described why they write dystopia and what it’s all about in a highlight of the conference!
The Giver has been called the first dystopian book for young people. Lowry wrote the Giver because she was interested in human memory. Dystopian literature is Something like the folk tales we knew as children– they are cautionary tales.“Let our children read and think that maybe they will be the one to save the world.”
5 Big Questions:
1. Why is dystopian so popular?
Society has broken down — you can only count on your friends
“Dystopia is high school”.
2. What does it accomplish?
You can survive the worst thing that ever happened to you.
3. How useful is the label dystopian when writing for teenagers?
Allegiance has to be to the story, not the label or part of the writing process. No difference between the writing process for adults or young adults.
4. Why not utopia?
I don’t want to write the books I saw as a teenager. Trying to tell about how the world should be, not how it is. What would this world really be like?
5. What’s the future of dystopia?
In the end dystopia is a way to tell a story.
Dystopian is an exaggeration of problems that already exist. It is a warning about what could happen.
The personal is the political: wrote Divergent at 21 yrs. – indictment of herself and her worldview.
Turn on each other or help each other– humans eat each other when the lights go out– a dangerous thought.
Dystopias can bring out the best in helping each other.
Predicts the present by telling parables about the future.
Many book awards are presented at the conference. I was able to attend The Edwards Award, Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Awards and Printz Awards presentations.
These three authors and others who I missed presented as part of the speakers series at the conference.
One thing Lanier had hoped for was that an overall rise in wealth was possible through networking and technology, but what’s happened instead is a rise in inequality in the developed world, financial crisis, etc. ” If we can’t get the developed world right, then we aren’t helping the developing world either”.
Congressman John Lewis
Congressman Lewis brings his Civil Rights experiences to a new graphic novel.