National Book Award

Congratulations to Judy Blundell, author of What I Saw And How I Lied!



*I am a bit sad, as her novel is a little tool old for my students.  Well, something for them to add to their own TBR lists!

Love the 39 Clues? Read Chapter 1 of Book 2!

If you love The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1) as much as my students and I do, then you will be thrilled to hear that Scholastic has released Chapter 1 of 39 Clues: One False Note online! Though the book is not available until December 2, you can read the excerpt here.


What are you waiting for?  Go read!

Books, Books, and More Books!

I am fairly certain that my mailperson and USP delivery person hate me.


It might have something to do with the copious amount of books that land in my doorstep each day.  

I am currently buried beneath Cybils nominations, trying to dig my way out.

Hey, who doesn’t love living under a pile of books?  The hardest part is choosing what to read next!

Winter Blog Blast Tour!

Twice a year, Chasing Ray organizes the Blog Blast Tours.  I LOVE the tours, because I get to read interviews with a variety of authors for an entire week!  And the best part?  Most of the bloggers conduct multiple interviews, and most of the authors who participate are interviewed more than once.  I always learn so much about the authors, their writing process, their books, and random factoids from their life.  

This year’s Winter Blog Blast Tour begins tomorrow. Here is the full schedule:


Lewis Buzbee at Chasing Ray
Louis Sachar at Fuse Number 8
Laurel Snyder at Miss Erin
Courtney Summers at Bildungsroman
Elizabeth Wein at Finding Wonderland
Susan Kulkin at The YA YA YAs


Ellen Dalow at Chasing Ray
Tony DiTerlizzi at Miss Erin
Melissa Walker at Hip Writer Mama
Luisa Plaja at Bildungsroman
DM Cornish at Finding Wonderland
LJ Smith at The YA YA YAs
Kathleen Duey at Bookshelves of Doom


Ellen Klages at Fuse Number 8
Emily Jenkins at Wrting and Ruminating
Ally Carter at Miss Erin
Mark Peter Hughes at Hip Writer Mama
Sarah Darer Littman at Bildungsroman
MT Anderson at Finding Wonderland
Mitali Perkins at Mother Reader


Martin Millar at Chasing Ray
John Green at Writing and Ruminating
Beth Kephart at Hip Writer Mama
Emily Ecton at Bildungsroman
John David Anderson at Finding Wonderland
Brandon Mull at The YA YA YAs
Lisa Papademetriou at Mother Reader


Mayra Lazara Dole at Chasing Ray
Francis Rourke Dowell at Fuse Number 8
J Patrick Lewis at Writing and Ruminating
Wendy Mass at Hip Writer Mama
Lisa Ann Sandell at Bildungsroman
Caroline Hickey/Sara Lewis Holmes at Mother Reader
A.S. King at Bookshelves of Doom

(Colleen will be maintaining an updated version of the list here, with direct links to all of the interviews as they appear.)


Who am I excited about?  Melissa Walker, Ellen Klages, John Green, and Wendy Mass just name a few!  What about you?

Tuck Everlasting Musical?

My class and I just finished reading Tuck Everlasting.  One of my favorite books, I always enjoy starting the year with Babbitt’s seminal work.  My students usually start out bored and uninterested and then become huge fans of the book as we read further.  It’s a great lesson for the kids that shows them how giving a book a chance can really be worth it.  

Imagine my surprise this weekend when I stumbled on the fact that a musical version of Tuck Everlasting is in the works!  Broadway is another one of my passions, and I really think Natalie Babbitt’s gorgeous story would translate well to the stage.  Apparently there is a demo floating around cyberspace, and you can hear one of the songs here.  “Seventeen” is sung by Jonathan Groff, one of the original stars of “Spring Awakening” on Broadway.  The composers’ website includes a few more songs from the demo.    

I would love to see this show come to fruition.  Any other Tuck Everlasting fans out there?

2008 Edublog Awards

Do you have a favorite education/teacher-related blog?  Be sure to get in your nominations for the 2008 Edublog Awards!  There are 14 categories for nominations, including Best Individual Blog, Best New Blog, Best Librarian/Library Blog, Best Education Wiki, Best Teacher Blog, and many more!

A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg

Inspired by her father’s time as a lawyer in the Civil Right’s movement, Shana Burg’s A Thousand Never Evers is the story of Addie Ann Pickett, a young African- American girl growing up in the Deep South during the Civil Rights movement.  This is the best kid of historical fiction- a realistic character who is easy to connect with, just trying to be a kid during her time.  Addie and her family live in the Negro side of town and work for white folks on the other side.  She can’t wait to start 7th grade at the junior high, even if she and her friends have to go to the segregated school 3 miles away.  But when racial tensions grow in town and Addie’s brother and uncle are swept into trouble, everything changes.  

Full of references to actual events, like the Birmingham church bombing and Medger Evars murder,  A Thousand Never Evers is impossible to put down.  I would love to use this book in literature circles along with The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963.  I think the two books would stoke some amazing conversations between my students.  

This is definitely a book that middle school teachers should not miss.  Kid-friendly historical fiction can be hard to come by, but this is the best of the best!

Stenhouse Blog

A few weeks ago, I was asked to write a post for the Stenhouse blog about raising monarch butterflies in the classroom.  Well, that post has now been published.  Be sure to check it out!  



(There seems to be a formatting issue, as one of the paragraphs repeats in the middle of another, but you can get the gist.)

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

I had been meaning to read The Compound ever since it started building buzz over the summer.  Somehow, it fell by the wayside until today.

WOW.  If you are a dystopian/apocalyptic fan, this is the story for you!  Briefly, Eli and his family have been living in an underline compound, built by his Bill Gates-like father, ever since the United States was attacked with nuclear weapons.  Eli’s twin brother and his grandmother didn’t make it to the shelter in time and perished in the aftermath.

Or at least that’s what his Dad tells him.  And has been telling the family for the past six years.  With nine years to go before the outside world will be safe to breathe again (radiation poisoning is the main concern), the food supply shows signs of running out.  Eli’s father has a solution.  But the solution is too repulsive to even think about. Horrified, angry, and already suspicious, Eli begins investigating his father’s stories.  What he discovers is shocking and tears the family apart.

I could not put this book down!  While the premise is frightening and unbelievable, Bodeen makes it realistic and all too-consuming.  Get your hands on this one!  I can’t wait to pass it on to my students.

I’m Buying Books for the Holidays

Thanks to Jen for the link to this great idea!  Amy from My Friend Amy has started a new holiday idea: Books for the Holidays. The whole idea is for bloggers to put their money where their mouth is this upcoming holiday season, and support the publishing industry by buying books as gifts.  Now, I am a huge fan of giving books as gifts- just ask my little sister who is the frequent recipient of my book-giving ways.  But now I have a reason to share my booklove with even more people this holiday season!

Interested in getting involved?  Head on over to the blog that Amy set up.  Add the blog to your feed!


What You Can Do:

-Sign up for the challenge and commit to buy books as your gifts this holiday season.
-Spread the word. We have a cute button you can use on your blog. Write about it on your blog. Email your friends. Twitter your heart out, tell others on facebook…GET THE WORD OUT to encourage others to buy books this holiday season.

-Subscribe to the feed. Don’t miss a single post or request for help. Don’t be shy about offering recommendations to others when they’re looking for help. Look for posts that solicit your review links. Be active in helping others find the right book


How awesome is this idea?!  I am so excited and you should be to!  Now get out there and get involved!