Saturday, September 3, 2016

August in Review

This is going up late because my school district started us back in mid-August, for f's sake.  Which cut into my reading time, my napping time, my writing time, and my playing board games with my kids time.  On the bright side, I'm getting to hang out with students and books all day.

My Reading

Books read: 14 (plus four picture books)

I was on a total streak this month.  Mostly 4 and 5 star books.


I am a terrible reading teacher parent, and didn't actually read with my kids this month.  They did listen to some books on tape...  I started school this year by reading David Goes to School to my students, and we ended the week with a reading of Separate is Never Equal: Silvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation.  It's depressingly timely.  

Here's what a giant dork I am: my kids had started listening to book two of Legends of Ga'hoole in the car this month.  Now I'm taking the car to work each day...and listening to the CD during my commute.  There are no kids in the car, and I'm listening to a story about owls who talk.  And have blacksmith forges.  

Mildly Disappointing

Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott didn't cover much new ground.


The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson is a fun mystery about a surfer runaway in Venice Beach who starts helping detectives and PIs find other missing kids.  

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher is narrated by a boy whose older sister's death in an act of terrorism has devastated his family for as long as he remembers.  His father hates all Muslims and immigrants, but the only person at his new school who is friendly to him is an hijab-wearing free spirit.

Reading Ladders by Teri S. Lesesne is a professional book I'd been wanting to get to for awhile.  

Wow, wow, wow!

Like, everything else I read this month.  Specifically:

Constable & Toop, which I heard about on one of Mr. Wasco's wacky book videos, so when I saw it on the library shelf, I had to grab it.

A Gathering of Shadows and Vicious have cemented my new-found love of all things Schwab.

Stella by Starlight and A Night Divided have given me new belief in middle grade novels, and reminded me of how I came to love history by reading fiction.

Symphony for the City of the Dead is just SO AMAZINGLY GOOD.  I wound up creating a nonfiction book tag because I was so jazzed about loving this great big nonfiction work.

Carry On was everything I'd hoped it would be.  So was Noggin, which is not oversold on its humor and snark.  

The Girl With All the Gifts was all What?  Wait! Wow!  Wild!  

The good news is I finally made it to the top of the holds list for volume six of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples's Saga.  The bad news is, I finished it in one sitting and now have to wait who knows how long for the next one to come out.

And while browsing Powell's earlier this week, I fell so in love with two picture books that I had to buy them for my classroom.  They All Saw a Cat and Black Dog in very different ways will be very helpful in teaching about both theme and point of view.  

Favorite Covers

My Writing

August saw me write 15 posts.  We must have had a BOGO sale on Tuesdays, because in five top ten lists I talked about my bookish wish-list, classics I'd like to get to someday,  books set in my home state, books that have been on my TBR for close to a decade, and sections my classroom library is divided into.  I balanced out the Tuesday surplus by only writing three Sunday Posts.  All my book love this month inspired me to write three reviews--one for V. E. Schwab's series, one for Stella by Starlight, and one for Symphony for the City of the Dead.  I also rambled on about my bad habit of ignoring my TBR in favor of whatever catches my eye, a list of 60 books I'd recommend to teen girls, participated in Shannon's fabulous Olympics Tag, and dropped a bunch of photos of the last few days of my summer break on you.

Speaking of Shannon, I was also excited to have a guest post go up as part of the Shattering Stigmas event she organized.  Like most of my "reviews," it mainly consisted of my spouting off reactions and thoughts about several books that address mental illness.

I noticed a drop-off in visits and comments this month, which I assume is because I sucked about visiting and commenting this month.  TIME.  Why is there not more of it???


I think my Sunday posts did a pretty good job of documenting the fun stuff I've done this month.  Since the last one I posted, it's been all school, all the time.  A full week of in-service followed by a full week of teaching, which kind of threw me, since I'm used to starting the day after Labor Day.  I have some students who love to read, which is exciting, and some who hate it, which I'm trying to see as an opportunity to really use what I've learned.  

I had a huge moment in my teacher/reader life when Penny Kittle, a teacher and speaker whose BookLove Foundation is the source of the giant grant I got for my classroom library last year, agreed to meet me at Powell's for a chat.  She was in town presenting to the middle and high school language arts teachers in the large district I live in (but don't teach in).  It was such a treat to get to talk with her for awhile, and I really felt inspired by her thinking and her passion.  

My own kids go back to work next week.  Our son is starting middle school.  Pray for us.  

The first day I had kids in the classroom I came home and slept for three hours.  The second day I only needed a one hour nap.  The third day was when I met Penny Kittle, and operated the rest of the afternoon and evening on giddiness from that.  Yesterday required another epic nap.  The transition to going to bed on time and waking up early is not a pretty one.  We won't even talk about how much money I've spent at coffee stands this week, all because my new classroom is at the opposite end of the building from the person who's coffee maker I've been making use of for the last three years.  

My new t-shirt. Because I'm proud of my addictions?


  1. I love They All Saw A Cat. I wish I had children so I’d have an excuse to buy picture books. I guess I can use school as an excuse, but I still feel guilty for spending money on something I can read in 2 minutes. Also, I liked your Shattering Stigmas post. I read all of the posts (I think?) and yours was one of my favorites.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. Good luck on your napping ... I mean, teaching. :-) I don't even have to teach all day long and I'm exhausted at the end of the day.
    I really liked the movie of The Guardians of Ga'Hoole, so I could totally see myself listening to the books by myself. My youngest listened to the first two audiobooks - this reminds me that I need to check in with him and see when he wants me to get the third from the library!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  3. I recently read A Darker Shade of Magic and I cannot wait to read more from Schwab!

  4. You had a lot of WOW moments in August! Happy September!

  5. Seems like you hava a great month! I really want to read V.E.Schwab's books since many people recommend it to me and it sounds interesting. Glad you enjoy it too! Anyway, hope you have a great September!

  6. I hate all the reading required at home for kids, they don't get anytime to just play and be kids. One night my daughter (who has ADHD and is unmedicated this year) spent 5 hours trying to do her homework. It was painful to watch. I finally told her to leave it unfinished.
    I had a good laugh picturing you listening to that children's book on your commute.


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