Belly Up

This is my final book for the #48hbc – Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.  It’s a fun read that kids are going to love.  It’s set in a zoo – who doesn’t love that? – plus there’s intrigue – a murdered hippo! – and the character’s voice is fun and engaging.  It might even be good at the junior high, with image art like this:

Actually – I’m not done with it yet.  But I wanted to finish blogging about the book challenge.  It’s been my busiest weekend yet this year (play, reunion, buying a car) and so I can say that I read 7.5  books for the challenge, and read for 13.5 hours in the 48 hour period.  I didn’t do all I needed to in order to win the challenge (I don’t even know what the prize was), but that’s okay.  I think I should do this sort of challenge with my students over a weekend.  I know it makes me a better librarian to read children’s books – how can you do quality reader’s advisory if you aren’t reading the books you are recommending?  But without some push like this, it’s easy for these books to stay on my to-do list and never get done.

Cloaked in Red

I literally just finished the short story collection,  Cloaked in Red, by Vivian Vande Velde.  (Is that really her name?)

I had picked it up at the Scholastic Book Fair, but set it aside because I wasn’t sure if it should be at the elementary or junior/senior high.  Definitely the latter!  I think older elementary would appreciate it, but there’s just some lines in the author’s note (“There are different versions, but they all start with a mother who sends her daughter into the woods, where there is not only a wolf, but a talking, cross-dressing wolf.”) that although not inappropriate, are just not really intended for third graders.  I think the junior high girls would really like it though.  The stories are funny, and actually, with the author’s note about what makes a good story (memorable characters, vivid setting, exciting plot, and important themes) and how these are lacking in the original tale of Little Red Riding Hood, I think this would be an excellent book for a high school writing class.  I’m going to suggest it to the high school English teachers.

So with that, I’m up to 9.5 hours in the #48hbc

Breaking Stalin’s Nose

I just finished the Newbery Honor book, Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin.

I try to keep up with new books and was surprised as anyone when this was given a Newbery Honor as I’d never heard of it.  But I will certainly give the committee a tip o’ the hat – this was a great book.  A quick read, and one that could be an excellent book for even junior high social studies classes.  I’m giving it to my Russian-speaking daughter.  And, it took me 55 minutes to read – so now I’m at an even 8 hours read for #48hbc.

The Underdogs

An hour ago, I finished the book, The Underdogs by Mike Lupica.

I’ve read one Lupica  book before, Hero.  But it was pretty different than his other work (or so I hear) and this is your typical sports book that he usually writes.  If all his books are like this, though, I should read more.  It was an exciting story that ended just like you wanted it to.  I might get it for the junior/senior high library too, because i know some 7th graders who would really like this. 

So that puts me at 7 hours, 5 minutes for #48hbc, the 48 hour reading challenge.  I started at 2 yesterday afternoon so that’s really bad!  I have a show to go to tonight plus church in the morning, so I’ll need to read all afternoon and then some after we get back, and a good six hours tomorrow.  That will put me at 20 hours total . . . far short of what I was hoping, but certainly not a bad amount for my first try at this. 

But really, this is doing me a lot of good for giving quality reader’s advisory.  I should do this more often!

Soccer Sabatoge

I started reading Soccer Sabotage, a graphic novel by Liam O’Donnell and Mike Deas. 

I have several of this series in the elementary library, and they are popular (the students are loving graphic novels).  I didn’t finish, it though – I’m not a huge fan of sports fiction, anyway, and then the funny insets with just the head of the red-hair-afro kid, telling the fundamentals of soccer made it too much.  I did spend a half hour on it, though, so that counts!  So for #48hbc, I’m up to 3 hours, 5 minutes.  I suppose I should round that to 3 hours, but that definitely seems the wrong direction if I’m going to make it to the minimum 12 hours! 

On big fat cows . . .

That is, The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton.

Before I left the library today, I grabbed a bunch of new fiction books that I’d been wanting to read.  I’m glad to see I hadn’t put a spine label on this yet because I may have just put in the fiction collection, when it definitely should be in the easy readers.  I’m doing a new section for those easy readers, as we have youngsters come in for “Good fit books” (Daily 5 curriculum) and we are lacking in that area.  But this book is fantastic for that!  So I’m glad I read it – it didn’t add to my minutes read, much (up to 2 hours, 35 minutes now) but I’ll check out his other books, too.  Students will really like this book.

(This 48-Hour Book Challenge is such a reminder as to how important reading lots of children’s books is imperative for quality reader’s advisory!)

And yes, I know what books I buy for the collection, but we added over 1,000 new books at the elementary school today, so forgive me for forgetting what kinds are which!


I just finished Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick.  Of course I do have more recent books to read, but this has been on my to-read list for a long time.  When I finished my student teaching three years ago, I gave my cooperating teacher, The Invention of Hugo Cabret as it’s always been a favorite of mine.

More than most books, I find Selznick’s books overwhelming.  I probably should have saved this book for last, because instead of jumping into another book really quickly for this 48 Hour Book Challenge, what I really want to do is sit and think about the book for awhile.  At the beginning, it seems so disconnected and complicated, really, but Selznick brings together two stories – decades apart – in a most satisfying way.

That took two hours – only with Selznick can you finish a 600+ page book in two hours!  It’s a quick read with over 400 pages of pictures, but it’s a can’t-put-down, too.