Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nonfiction Reading

As I've posted, during March we're doing a project called Reality Rocks! The idea is to challenge everyone at Highland to read a nonfiction book of their choice during the month.

It's going well so far. Many students are participating and most of the staff members. It is great to walk around the school and see which books teachers are reading. Teachers have posted the titles of the books which they are reading outside of their rooms.

I've read two nonfiction books so far this month, started listening to a third on audio, and all the book clubs this week will be discussing nonfiction titles. Right now I'm listening to Chris Crutcher's memoir, King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography.

I challenge you to pick up a nonfiction book that interests you and join us!

Works Cited
King of the Mild Frontier Cover. LibraryThing. 21 March 2010. Web.

Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore

I don't consider myself a fan of fantasy. In my quest to stretch myself as a reader, I regularly try to read a wide range of genre. I had heard a lot of good things about Graceling by Kristin Cashore from both students and other librarians. I grabbed the audio book and thought I'd have a listen.

I loved it! Frequently, I found myself fighting the temptation to grab a print copy of the book so I could get through the story more quickly to find out what happened. Although sometimes the romantic dialog felt a bit stilted, there were great action sequences and the characters were very interesting. Katsa is graced, her specialty is fighting. When she tires of being King Randa's heavy, Katsa and Po embark on a journey to get to the bottom of a kidnapping and save a little girl.

After finishing Graceling, I was anxious to read Fire. It is a companion book, with only one character from Graceling appearing. I think it was good I read Graceling first because the second book took me farther into the realm of fantasy. But being previously introduced to Cashore's writing and the world of the seven kindgoms, I was ready to slip through the mountains to the Dells. The world of the Dells is a world of monsters and humans and a world at war. Fire is a human monster (the one and only) with bright red hair, breathtaking beauty, and the ability to influence the minds of those around her.

There is another book planned called Bitter Blue. I'll be anxious to read that one when it is published!

Works Cited
Fire. LibraryThing. 20 March 2010. Web.
Graceling. LibraryThing. 20 March 2010. Web.

Monday, March 15, 2010

And the 2010 Caudill Winner Is...

1. All The Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
2. Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf
3, Elephant Run by Roland Smith

At Highland the top three were:
1. Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf
2. Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
3. Elephant Run by Roland Smith

Work Cited
All the Lovely Bad Ones. LibraryThing. Web. 15 March 2010.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Highland Team Competes in the Lake County Battle of the Books

On Thursday, March 4, a team from Highland traveled to Woodland Middle School to face off in the Lake County Battle of the Books. The competition is based on knowledge of the Caudill nominated books for the current school year.

Four schools participated, Woodland Middle, Deerpath Middle in Lake Forest, Beach Park Middle School had teams in addition to Highland. Highland's team finished in fourth place. A good time was had by all!

Pictured: Ms. Perrin, librarian at Woodland Middle School, explains how the event will work to the participants. The Highland team takes a moment to relax after the competition.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Highland's 2010 Caudill Results

Most years it is fairly clear which of the twenty nominated Caudill books will garner most of the Highland students' votes. This year, I didn't have a clue about which book would win. When I asked students about their favorite book from the list, I got a wide range of answers too.

We had around 225 students vote for the Caudill Award this year, about 1/4 of the students at Highland. Eleven of the titles on the list got more than ten votes.
The top three vote getters at Highland were:
  1. Someone Named Eva - 25 votes
  2. Dragon Slippers - 21 votes
  3. Elephant Run - 20 votes
Here's the complete breakdown of votes by title:

I'm anxious to see which book will win the statewide voting and which author will receive the 2010 Caudill Award.