Thursday, January 21, 2010

Are You a Wimpy Kid Fan?

If you're a DWK fan, then you will be thrilled to know that Jeff Kinney is taking his popular series to the movie screen! Yes! I said MOVIE!

Opening April 2, 2010, is "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movie. It will be live action with bits of animation in it as well. Jeff Kinney has been heavily involved in the process of making this film. To view an article about Jeff Kinney and the making of the movie, click HERE.

To view a trailer of the movie (too funny!), click HERE.

Did you know...

**Book five is coming out in the fall. It will detail the last year of middle school for Greg.

**Jeff Kinney manages two and

Out in bookstores in March will be The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary. "Go behind the scenes with Jeff Kinney and the making of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movie! If you've ever wondered how a movie gets made, you're not alone. Author and illustrator Jeff Kinney didn't know either, but when his bestselling series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, was turned into a live-action movie by 20th Century Fox, he learned how a book gets adapted into a major motion picture. Complete with photographs, script pages, storyboard sketches, costume designs, and original art by Jeff Kinney, The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary is the perfect companion to the bestselling series."--from Amazon

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Monday, January 18, 2010

And the Winner Is...

When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead

That's right! The 2010 Newbery Winner is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead!

Did you hear me squeal?! Did you hear me scream?! I had my fingers crossed! I am thrilled that we shared this book together in class this year. I will forever remember reading to you about Miranda and Sal...Sal and Miranda...and the Laughing Man...and watching your faces twist and your minds boggle as you attempted to fit the mysterious pieces of this story together. LOVE this book!

The FOUR Newbery HONOR books this year are...

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

I read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqueline Kelly this summer. This is her first novel. The book takes place in 1899. The protagonist is Calpurnia Virginia Tate but everyone calls her Callie Vee. The book is a collection of experiences that Callie has during the last half of that year before a new century begins. Callie's mom spends her time in the book trying to make Callie into a respectable lady. Callie, however, befriends her grandfather and would much rather be outdoors. She is very interested in science and discovery and animals and plant life. Oh...did I mention she has to deal with six brothers? No wonder her mother wants her to become a proper lady!

I think the reader who likes this book will enjoy historical fiction. It somewhat reminded me of Caddie Woodlawn, a well-known historical fiction book about a tomboy who would much rather be scouting Indians and playing in the creek than doing lady-like things. If you like science--animals, insects, plants--this would be a great novel for you to read as well. With 340 pages, this book was a very good read. I enjoyed getting to know Callie Vee.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

Want a GREAT historical fiction book to read? I read this book over the summer as well and LOVED IT!! This book has it all...adventure, action, humor, gut-wrenching description of battle in the Civil War.

This book follows the story of Homer whose older brother Harold is illegally sold into the Union Army. Homer escapes the grasp of his mean guardian to find Harold before he is killed in battle. Along the way, Homer has adventure after adventure. And in each adventure, Homer cannot help but to stretch the truth to get him further along in his journey.

Homer and his tale reminded me some of Tom Sawyer...telling tall tales...a likeable fellow...plenty of mischief. I enjoyed this character and his courageousness in the search for his older brother. I was cheering him on even when his situation looked hopeless.

I don't want to give too much away in this book. Just know that if you want an adventure--action--humor--and you like historical fiction, then you should read this book.

Claudette Colvin Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
I have not read this book so here is a summary from Amazon..."On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

"Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history."

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Here again is a summary from Amazon..."In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

"Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, returns with a wondrous story of adventure, faith, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless story reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. Her beautiful illustrations, printed in full-color, accompany the text throughout. Once again, she has created a charming, engaging book for young readers."

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Newbery Award Announcement Coming Soon!

This year's Newbery Award will be announced at the American Library Association's 2010 Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 18. The announcement will be coming from Boston this year. Click HERE to view a live webcast starting at 7:45 AM on Monday. PLEASE NOTE: The number of available connections for the webcast is limited and the broadcast is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you are unable to connect to the live webcast, live updates on the awards will be posted HERE.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. Tyo :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to Steal a Dog

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor is about Georgina Hayes. Her father has recently left her and her mother and younger brother. They are living out of their car. I thought the author wrote this very honestly and up front--living homeless. Georgina and her younger brother are doing poorly at school...they are unkempt...they struggle with trying not to let anyone know what is really going on in their lives.

One day, Georgina sees a reward poster on a telephone pole about a missing dog and a REWARD! She gets the idea to steal a dog in order to claim the reward money in the hopes of getting a real place to live. Throughout the book, Georgina writes in her sparkly purple notebook the rules for "How to Steal a Dog".

I liked this book very much and highly recommend it. It does get heartbreaking at certain points in the book if you stop and think about what Georgina and her younger brother, Toby, are going through. It might also make you feel sad when Willy, the dog, is stolen and what the two kids have to do to keep the dog hidden until it is time to claim their reward.

Definitely a worthwhile read! And click HERE to view Barbara O'Connor talking about her book and a little about the writing process as well...

Happy Reading!
Mrs. Tyo :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Interested in a weird graphic novel? Try Coraline. Based on the novel by the same name, this is one strange story! Coraline lives with her mom and dad in a very large old house. The other tenants of the house, an old man who lives upstairs and two former elderly actresses, can never get Coraline’s name quite right. “Caroline,” they say. Coraline’s own parents seem far too busy with their own lives to pay much attention to Coraline.

So when Coraline finds a locked door with a brick wall behind it one minute and a passageway the next, she is drawn to what may be beyond this dark space. Coraline finds herself in another world much like her own...right down to her ‘other’ parents. Her other parents want to please Coraline very much and want her to stay with them...that is, if it weren’t for the other parents’ button eyes!

Coraline goes back to her real apartment only to find her real parents are missing. Upon finding out that her other mother has trapped her real parents and hidden them somewhere, Coraline is desperate to find them and return things to normal.

This is one strange story! After reading the graphic novel, why don’t you pick up the original novel and read that one. How do the two compare? I’ll be waiting to see who takes me up on this challenge!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. Tyo :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

Here is a good read for the girls! Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a touching story about two very different girls who find out they have a lot in common.

Ivy June lives in Thunder Creek, Kentucky, “up in the mountains with her grandparents, Mammaw and Papaw Mosley.” Her parents live just down the mountain in a small house with her older sister and three brothers. There just wasn’t enough room for everyone so Mammaw and Papaw took in Ivy June. “The Mosleys use an outhouse, drive rickety old cars, and wear hand-me-downs.”

Catherine Combs lives in Lexington, Kentucky, “with her close-knit family in a large, beautiful house with plenty of space for everyone. She has her own room with two beds and is driven to school every day.” There are five bathrooms in her house!

Ivy June and Catherine are taking part in the first-ever seventh-grade student exchange program. “Taking turns, each girl leaves home for two weeks to live and attend classes with the other, and each records her honest feeling about the experience in a journal. For both of them, it’s a chance to see how others live and to find out if what they’ve been told about each other’s lifestyles and beliefs is true.”

I enjoyed this story about Ivy June and Catherine and would recommend it to those of you who enjoy reading realistic fiction about friendship.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. Tyo :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Two Books and Autism

Rules by Cynthia Lord (Review from Amazon)...

“Catherine is twelve years-old and just wants a normal life. This is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"---in order to head off David's embarrassing behaviors.

But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a surprising, new sort-of friend, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?”

I enjoyed this story very much. It was one of those books that after reading and reflecting, I could gleam many life lessons from. This story is told simply and honestly. No wonder it won a Newbery Honor!

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin was a book recommended to me by one of my sixth graders last year.

Jason is twelve years-old and has autism. The book is written from his point of view. Jason gives the reader a glimpse of what life is like for him living in a world where other people are not accepting and/or educated about autism.

Jason is very involved in an online Storyboard site. He writes stories there and posts messages to other writers. He starts getting messages from PhoenixBird and thinks that perhaps this could be his chance to have one real true friend. Perhaps there will be a chance to meet this friend, but he is terrified that if they do meet, that perhaps PhoenixBird will see who he truly is.

Nora Raleigh Baskin does a great job of writing from the main character's viewpoint. I certainly learned a lot about what an autistic child may think and feel. I would recommend this book to a reader who is open to learning what goes on in the mind of others as well as to the reader who likes to write. There are many references to writing a story...character, plot, setting, conflict, etc. A good book.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!