My Season With Penguins: An Antarctic Journal by Sophie Webb

Next year, one of my goals is to infuse more non-fiction reading into my curriculum. I did a fantastic unit this year on non-fiction and want to expand it. That means I need to infuse more non-fiction into my own reading life. I decided to read at least 3 non-fiction books during the 48 Hour Book Challenge this year to help me achieve my goal.

My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal (Robert F. Sibert Honor Books) by Sophie Webb is the second informational book I read during the Challenge. A Sibert Honor book, I highly recommend it. Sophie Webb shares her experience spending two months studying Adelie Penguins in the Antarctic using a journal format and her own paintings as illustrations. The tone is conversational, which makes the information accessible to kids. And this isn’t a boring science book- it’s actually gross at times! Webb doesn’t shy away from the gory details of nature, which I know my students will appreciate. There are paintings of mummified penguins (adults and chicks) and a leopard seal killing and eating an Adelie. And I even learned that human waste is flown out of the Antarctic because of the cold, dryness, and lack of bacteria. Nothing decays in the Antarctic. I actually yelped, “Eww!” out loud while reading. I know my kids will revel in that information.

I also liked that while I learned a lot about Adelie Penguins, I also learned even more about scientific expeditions in Antarctica. Webb shares “insider information” on how camps are set up, the type of clothing and supplies available, and past exploration of the area. Information like this will engage readers who love animals and readers who love survival stories.

Highly recommended for classroom libraries and science teachers!

48 Hour Book Challenge Update #3

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han- 276 pages

Moon Science, History, And Mystery by Stewart Ross- 121 pages

Boys Are Dogs by Leslie Margolis- 195 pages

Girls Acting Catty by Lesle Margolis- 158 pages

My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal (Robert F. Sibert Honor Books) by Sophie Webb- 47 pages

Total pages read: 797
Total Time: 5 hours reading, 22 hours since starting

Girls Acting Catty by Leslie Margolis

I was so excited when I picked up the ARC of Girls Acting Catty at BEA last weekend. Jen Robinson’s review of Boys Are Dogs made me want to read that book and I trusted that the sequel would be just as good.

Annabelle has been going to Birchwood Middle School for about 2 months now and she has managed to use her dog training techniques on the boys she goes to school with. School is finally fun and her friends are great. She thinks she has it all figured out. What she hasn’t counted on is a run-in with mean girls. Who knew that girls could be so catty and cruel? And with no provocation! When her dog training techniques don’t work on the meanest girls in school, Anna is at a loss. When she starts befriending those same popular girls, she risks losing her true friends.

This was an enjoyable read. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Boys Are Dogs but I think that’s because the “mean girls” plot is done so often. The story is well-written and very accurate. At times, I felt like I was reading about my own students. Too often, books about middle school social dynamics are over-the-top or seem like they are more high-school oriented. This one is just perfect! I think fans of Boys Are Dogs will enjoy Girls Acting Catty just as much.

Boys are Dogs by Leslie Margolis

What a fun book!

Poor Annabelle comes home from camp and is forced to move 30 miles away from her home and best friends in North Hollywood. She and her mom are moving in with Ted, aka Dweeble, her mother’s boyfriend. For the first time, Annabelle will be going to a public middle school- with boys!

Starting at a new school, especially one so different from her old school, isn’t easy for Anna. And the absolute worst part of the new school? THE BOYS! They are immature, cruel, and just plain awful. While she is making friends with a great group of girls, the boys in her classes make school absolutely miserable.

When her mom and Ted bribe Annabelle with a new puppy, she is put in charge of training him. While reading the puppy training book her mom bought her, Annabelle realizes that boys and dogs have a lot in common. When she starts using some of the dog training techniques on the boys in her class, they work! Maybe boys and dogs do have a lot in common…

Boys Are Dogs was so cute! I loved the premise and I think the girls in my class are going to love it even more. It’s especially fitting after watching some of my 6th grade girls interact with the 6th grade boys at our end of the year dance last night. Maybe the dog training tips will come in handy. ;) If nothing else, this is a great girl power book and a reminder that boys in middle school aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. It was great to read a book for middle school girls that doesn’t romanticize middle school boys. I spend all day with middle schoolers and this was one of the most accurate portrayals of 6th grade boys that I have read. I was hysterically laughing at the descriptions of the boys at lunch- arm farts, corn dog eating contests, and mixing/drinking random concoctions. Pick this one up for your middle school library ASAP!

48 Hour Book Challenge Update #2

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han- 276 pages

Moon Science, History, And Mystery by Stewart Ross- 121 pages

Boys Are Dogs by Leslie Margolis- 195 pages

Girls Acting Catty by Lesle Margolis- 158 pages

Total pages read: 750
Total Time: 4 hours reading, 21 hours since starting

*So far I have been to the 6th grade dance. Interruption #1. :)


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