It’s Monday! What are you Reading? Fiction and Non Fiction

This week found me switching between day time reading of non-fiction and evening reading of middle grade fiction. I am working on research for some of my writing and found that reading non fiction is best done during the morning hours when I am really awake and thinking (read that as ready to take notes). Interesting how it took me awhile to admit that this research reading was still reading.  Hmm? more on that tomorrow for Slice of Life.

Middle Grade Fiction:

17262246Bluffton by Matt Phelan was first on my list. After I picked it up from the library I couldn’t put it down till I was finished. It is not that the story was so engaging as I was intrigued but the use of image to tell the story. I love Phelan’s soft colors and the look into the world of the vaudeville performers and their animals.

I love the way fiction and non fiction fit together in this book leading me to want to know more about the life of these performers. It made me wonder about the life of circus people today since I have a friend whose daughter teaches and lives on a circus train.

There are so many ways for students to kick start their own writing from this story. It provides and nice way to create a twist to the return to school paper – “What did you do this summer?”   What story could you create about your summer?

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer I found on someones twitter list of books to read. It was at the bottom of the stack but caught my eye and the review led me to reading it right away. It definitely leans towards being a girl book but a great story of family and seeing a new perspective.imgres-1

Grace and her Mother have been traveling looking for a home for all of Grace’s life. She thinking they have found just the right place when a tragedy happens leaving Grace to move again but this time to a place she has disliked even through she has never been there. She is now faced with living with her Grandmother, the woman they have been avoiding with every move.

Holczer does a wonderful job of building setting and strong characters. The question of who is family and how do we show love pulls us through the story. We watch as Grace learns that things are not what she imaged them to be and home can be found in many places.

This is a good book to include in a unit about growing up, caring for friends and defining what makes a family.

imgresThe last book I got through this week is Wake up Missing by Kate Messner. Her books are always filled with quick action, adventure and finding the answer to a mystery.  She connects real life issues or research to young fictional students.

They are great to read as you talk about researching for a fiction book. The novels are short, she also includes back information that shares her research and helps you to see where in her story she includes facts and fiction.

This tale deals with head injuries and what would happen if someone could change your genetic brain patterns.  In fact, give you the brain of a long lost scientist. Is this a cool thing?  Or are there draw backs to becoming someone else?  Great summer reading as well.

Adult: Research for writing

I am working on a story that connects with gardens and change over time so my day time reading is all about plants and wild gardens.

  • The Forest Unseen by Haskell
  • Jim Gilbert’s Natue Notebook by Gilbert
  • The Wild Garden by William Robinson

Next week I have:

  • My garden books
  • The Night Gardener
  • The Meaning of Maggie
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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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3 Responses to It’s Monday! What are you Reading? Fiction and Non Fiction

  1. Really intrigued by “Bluffton,” thanks!

  2. Melissa says:

    You have some wonderful titles here! I spent a lot of time with Bluffton. I think because I felt absorbed into the story by the softness of the illustrations. And Wake Up Missing is wonderful in a completely different way. It’s exactly the right kind of edgy suspense that kids are looking for. It is on our state student book award list, and my students have deemed it the front runner!

    I hope you really enjoy The Meaning of Maggie. She is a character from my summer reading that has stuck with me over time.

  3. Myra GB says:

    I’ve seen so many great reviews about The Secret Hum of a Daisy so I look forward to finding that one and reading it soon. I am a huge fan of Matt Phelan – will have to look for Bluffton too. 🙂

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