Archive for January, 2011

It’s time to begin reading the books that are considered the best of the year so far.
These are the books that have received stars from two or more major review sources during the month of January, 2011.

Angry Young Man by Chris Lynch                     
Eighteen-year-old Robert tries to help his half-brother Xan, a seventeen-year-old misfit, to make better choices as he becomes increasingly attracted to a variety of protesters, anarchists, and the like.
Simon & Schuster  Gr. 9-12
Starred by PW, SLJ

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta, Sepetys                   
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil.
Philomel  Gr. 7+                       
Starred by B, K, PW                             

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones
Blink, hoping to steal some breakfast, is forced to go on the run after stumbling upon the fake kidnapping of a CEO and recovering the man’s cell phone, and he meets up with Caution, a girl trying to ditch her drug-dealing boyfriend, who identifies Blink as a mark until he tugs at her heart strings.
Candlewick Press  Gr. 9+
Starred by SLJ, PW                              

Chime by Franny Billingsley
In the early twentieth century in Swampsea, seventeen-year-old Briony, who can see the spirits that haunt the marshes around their town, feels responsible for her twin sister’s horrible injury until a young man enters their lives and exposes secrets that even Briony does not know about.
Dial  Gr. 9+
Starred by B, K, PW                             

Look! A Book! by Bob Staake
Easy-to-read, rhyming text invites the reader to search for items on a different theme on each page, while celebrating the wonder of a picture book.
Little, Brown  Gr. K-2
Starred by PW, SLJ      

A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt de la Peña
Illustrated by Nelson Kadir 
Tells of the historic fight between American Joe Lewis and German Max Schmeling while connecting it to the political climate of the 1930s.                   
Dial  Gr. 1-5
Starred by PW, SLJ                                                      

Peaceful Pieces by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Explores peace in many forms through poems illustrated by handmade quilts.
Holt  Gr. 2-5
Starred by B, PW                                 

Roots and Blues by Arnold Adoffz
Illustrated R. Gregory Christie
Lyrical text explores how Blues have been part of everyday life throughout history, from its origins in the sounds of the earth, through slaves’ voices singing of freedom, to today’s greatest performers–and listeners.
Clarion  Gr. 3-6
Starred K, PW, SLJ      

The Unforgettable Season by Phil Bildner
Illustrated by S. D. Schinder
Celebrates the baseball careers of Joe Dimaggio and Ted Willams and their unbroken records.
Putnam  Gr. 1-6
Starred by K, PW                                                         

Won Ton by Lee Wardlaw
Illustrated Eugene Yelchin
A cat arrives at a shelter, arranges to go home with a good family, and settles in with them, all the while letting them know who is boss and, finally, sharing his real name.
Henry Holt  Gr. K-4
Starred by B, K, SLJ   

Review Code:                         
B – Booklist
K – Kirkus
PW – Publishers Weekly
SLJ – School Library Journal

Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or Linda’s Links to Literature.
All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.


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Top Teen Reading Trends

Do you know what your teen students like to read? How have the trends changed since you were that age?
Of course, we all know that teens clamor to read the Twilight series, but what else do they like to read?

“Karen Jensen, teen services librarian of Marion Public Library in Marion Ohio, has generously shared a poster she has created depicting the top teen trends of 2010” with VOYA magazine. The poster lists the top ten reading trends with a few related book suggestions.
Be sure to download the poster for your classroom and students.

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For the eighth year, Simon & Schuster and GLSEN have joined together to spotlight No Name-Calling Week. The initiative encourages ideas and ways to eliminate bullying at schools and in communities. Their websites are loaded with resources for teachers, parents, and students.
Barnes and Noble features videos of well-known children’s and teen authors discussing their experiences with bullying. Included are James Howe, Debra Frasier, Dan Gutman, Brandon Mull, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and many more.
Facebook has a web page dedicated to the subject.
Booklist is hosting a webinar featuring author James Howe focusing on using books to prevent bullying. The webinar is today at 2 p.m. EST, 1 p.m. CST, 12 p.m. MST and 11 a.m. PST.

To find books with lesson plans and activities about bullies and bullying, search the Linda’s Links to Literature database using the keywords bullies or bullying.
There are 100+ titles for this hot topic with hundreds of book-related resource links.

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Do your students love to read mystery books? If so, here’s the list of the Edgar Awards nominees for the best mystery book for young adults and juveniles.

Best Young Adult:
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand
7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando

Best Juvenile:                                                                                      
Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy by Dori Hillestad Butler
Griff Carver: Hallway Patrol by Jim Krieg
The Haunting of Charles Dickens by Louis Buzbee
The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman by Ben H. Winters
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.

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The NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children has been awarded to Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan (Gr. 2-6).

The Honor Books included:
Birmingham Sunday by Larry Dane Brimner (Gr. 5-12)
Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot” by Michael O. Tunnell (Gr. 4-7)
If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge by Mark Aronson (Gr. 5-8)
Journey into the Deep: Discovering New Ocean Creatures by Rebecca L. Johnson  (Gr. 5-9)
Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age by Cheryl Bardoe (Gr. 4-7)

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.

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Listening Library (a subsidiary of Random House) and School Library Journal are sponsoring a Judy Blume Contest for readers 13 and older where the writer shares a “Judy Blume story of memory.” Judy Blume will determine the winner. The winner will receive an iPod Touch®, personalized message from Judy Blume, iTunes® gift card, and a collection of audiobooks.
Contest ends February 18, 2011.

Listening Library has released new CDs of some of Blume’s most popular books for young readers, including Deenie; Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Iggie’s House; Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself; Freckle Juice and The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo.

Linda’s Links to Literature has 160+ book-related teaching links for books by Judy Blume.

Use the audiobook excerpt links on our site to promote Judy Blume’s books and encourage reading by your students.

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I recently talked to my uncle in Texas who told me that he got an iPad for Christmas. He was very excited because he is an avid reader, and  he also wanted to be able to send me email. I got his first email last week proudly sent from his iPad. So I sent him a gift card for his birthday so he could download some books to read.
Oh, did I mention that he is 81 years old?

The eBooks section of Linda’s Links to Literature has lots of links for books that can be downloaded to the iPad. The easiest one I use is Project Guttenberg with over 30,000 books available for download in multiple eBook formats. Key words here are multiple formats.
At least you’ll be able to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as originally written without the changes from Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribben that have recently been debated.

I found this wonderful link, Digital Storytelling with the iPad. The site includes a video of how digital storytelling on the iPad can affect educational change, an app list with tutorials (some free), and a list of resources.

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