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. :)

Moon Science, History, and Mystery by Stewart Ross

I am trying to expand my reading horizons and read more non-fiction.  Space is always a popular topic with my students, so when I saw Moon Science, History, And Mystery I picked it up for my classroom library.

With a stunning cover, this should catch my students’ attention. And the short chapters will hold their attention. Each spread is like a mini-unit, focusing on a different subject. The topics range from moonlight to moon gods/goddesses to moon probes, everything you could want to know about the moon is in this book. Each spread is full of pictures, charts, captions, and much more. I think kids will feel good about flipping through this book and reading the sections that interest them. After reading a spread or two, I think they will be pulled in and will want to read the whole thing!

Each spread is labeled as part of the Moon Struck, Moon Landing, or Moon Facts theme.  The Moon Landing theme is chronological and does a great job of explaining NASA’s first lunar mission.  The Moon Struck sections focus on history, mythology, and the arts.  Moon Facts are just that.  

This is also a great addition to any science teacher’s classroom library!

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

A few weeks ago, a former student emailed me.  The subject line was “A book you have to read!”  The book in question?  Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty.   I picked up a copy the next time I was at the local bookstore.  I started the Challenge with this book because my student swore it would be the best summer read.  Boy, was she right!

The atmosphere in this book is picture-perfect.  Jenny Han draws you in and the atmosphere is palpable.  While reading, I could almost feel the cool breeze off the ocean, the sand between my toes, and the sun on my face.  It’s the perfect summer read.  

Belly, who wishes everyone would treat her like a grown-up and call her by her real name, Isabelle,  measures her life in summers. Winter is just a countdown to the time she can go back to the beach and the beach house. Everything important in her life has included Susannah, Conrad, and Jeremiah.  Conrad  and jeremiah are the boys that Belly has known since her before she was born.  They are her brothers, her best friends, and the love(s) of her life.  But this summer, everything is changing.  

I loved this book.  And I am crossing my fingers that Jenny Han will be writing a sequel!  The last few pages had me teary-eyed and reading faster than I could imagine- I was dying to know how it would turn out!  Now I am dying to know what happens next and if it all works out.  

If you are looking for a great beach read, I highly recommend this one.  And how much do I love the cover?!

48 Hour Book Challenge Update

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han- 276 pages

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

Total pages read: 397
Total Time: 2 hours reading, 5.5 hours since starting

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

Ready, Set, Go! 48-Hour Book Challenge!

This weekend I have the 6th grade dance and I am attending the Tony Awards.  But I’m still in for the 48-Hour Book Challenge!  I’ll be posting updates throughout the challenge when I finish a book and about my progress (and distractions).  Keep checking the blog for reviews and updates.

What Do You Want to Know- Question #8

From Abby:

Sarah, this might be a silly question, but it’s something I’ve always wondered about: what do teachers do on inservice days? Do you have staff training? Meetings? Planning/organization time? Or something completely different?

Ooh!  This is an easy one.  And one I always wondered about when I was a student.

In-service days aren’t very exciting.  They usually consist of either meetings or professional development.  In the past, my district has brought in speakers for different departments.  We also sometimes meet for department meetings.  This past year, most of my in-service days have been devoted to the restructuring that my district is going through.  Like I said, nothing very exciting.  And the teachers are always very jealous of the students who either get to go home after a half-day or not even come to school at all when we all have to be there.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


Unreal. Amazing. Heart-stopping. Gut-wrenching. Mind-blowing. Just a few of the superlatives that describe Suzanne Collin’s Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games).

Yes, I was one of the lucky ones who scored an ARC of Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) at BEA. I started reading on Sunday and have been dragging it out ever since. I just didn’t want the experience to end! However, I have two classrooms full of students clamoring for their chance with the book. Plus, I want to reread it now.  It’s just that good.  Of course, now I have to wait even longer for the third book in the series to come out.  And talk about ending on a cliff-hanger!

Scholastic has asked that no one reveal plot details so that everyone gets a spoiler-free experience when the book is published in September. But what I can tell you is that Suzanne Collins has outdone herself. I read a lot of books and many times can see twists and turns coming from a mile away. But not with this book, no sirree. Collins blew my mind at some points and had me gasping at others. Her world building is impeccable and her characterization continues to amaze me.  The plotting starts out a bit slower, because this is a sequel.  But hang in there, because Collins outdoes herself almost immediately.  

Preorder this one now, because it’s only going to get bigger.  

And I need someone to talk to this one about!!!!!


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