Growing Bookworms Newsletter: October 15: #BookwormMoments, #ReadingLevels + #ReadingChoice
October 15, 2019
Today, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is sent out every three to four weeks.
Newsletter Update: In this issue I have three posts about my daughter's latest "Bookworm Moments": one about having a book call out to her; another about building a reading nook; and the third about mourning a ruined book. I also have a post in which I share some sad snapshots of the impact of reading levels on families and another about when giving kids reading choice is hard on a parent. I have published several posts with literacy and reading-related links that I shared on Twitter. Since there are so many, I've included only the most recent one in the newsletter. You can find the previous ones here: September 20, September 27, and October 4.
Reading Update: In the last four weeks I finished four middle grade, one young adult, and seven adult titles (three fiction and four nonfiction). I read/listened to:
- Matthew Loux: The Time Museum. First Second Books. Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed September 20, 2019. Read my daughter's copy at her request. She wanted to be able to talk about it with me, and I've promised her that I will read any such books. It wasn't quite my sort of thing, but I can see why she likes. And books with time travel are often a bit confusing, whether text or image-based.
- Matthew Loux: The Time Museum 2. First Second Books. Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed September 20, 2019. ,Read my daughter's copy at her request.
- Lincoln Peirce: Big Nate Flips Out. Harper Collins Children's Books. Middle Grade Hybrid Graphic/Text. Completed October 2, 2019, read aloud to my daughter. I like the Big Nate books much more than I expected (as was the case with the Wimpy Kid books). They are witty and entertaining. I have not read the ones that are 100% comic strip, but we've been working our way through the ones that are more of a text/comic hybrid.
- Lincoln Peirce: Big Nate in the Zone. Harper Collins Children's Books. Middle Grade Hybrid Graphic/Text. Completed October 3, 2019, read aloud to my daughter.
- Scott Westerfeld: Shatter City (Imposters, Book 2). Scholastic. Young Adult Speculative Fiction. Completed September 21, 2019, on Kindle. I read this one in one sitting, happy to be back in Westerfeld's Uglies world.
- Robert Putnam: Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. Simon & Schuster. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 21, 2019 (skimmed a bit, but got the main points), personal copy. This book, about the gap in opportunities that are available to kids from different backgrounds, is important. It's a mix of detailed anecdotes of individual students and more quantitative results from studies. I personally tend towards reading the quantitative stuff, and have less patience for anecdotes/personal stories, hence the skimming.
- Craig Johnson: Land of Wolves (Walt Longmire). Viking. Adult Mystery. Completed September 23, 2019, on MP3. Always good to spend some time with Walt. In this installment, Walt is recovering in body and soul from his challenges of the previous book, and it is a bit depressing. But still good, as far as I'm concerned.
- Gui Costin: Millennials Are Not Aliens: ...but they are 80 Million Americans Who Are Changing How We Buy, Sell, Vacation, Invest, and Just About Everything Else. Forbes Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 30, 2019, personal copy. I read this book for work. It's about how technological changes have driven generational changes in expectations/preferences, and the implications of this for providing any kind of product. It's both fascinating and highly useful, and a quick read.
- Todd Borg: Tahoe Night (Owen McKenna, No. 7). Thriller Press. Adult Mystery. Completed October 6, 2019, on Kindle. It took me a while to get through this installment of this PI series, and I think I'm done with the series, at least for now.
- Joy Ellis: Darkness on the Fens. Joffe Books. Adult Mystery. Completed October 8, 2019, on MP3. This UK-based cop series, however, continues to hold my attention, at least on audio. The killings in this one were pretty dark, but I like the characters enough not to be put off by that.
- Sarah Clarkson: Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life. Tyndale Momentum. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 8, 2019, personal copy. This is a book about the joys of loving books and reading well, aimed at women (as you would guess from the title). I skimmed some of the author's specific recommendations (she is much more religious than I, for one thing), but I loved her premise overall, and have added a number of her favorites to my TBR list. Sherry over at Semicolon has been posting about some of the discussion questions from the book, and can give you a much more nuanced feel for this title.
- Carla Naumburg: How to Stop Losing [It] with Your Kids: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Calmer, Happier Parent. Workman Publishing. Completed October 15, 2019, on Kindle. I was inspired to read this parenting book by an article in which the author recommended "single-tasking" instead of multitasking as a way to avoid losing your temper with your children. I have noticed that when I try to squeeze in a few work emails while my daughter is in the room, I often end up extra stressed out, so I wanted to read more. While I wasn't thrilled with the level of profanity in the book, I otherwise appreciated the author's direct, non-judgmental voice. Her main point is that we all have certain things that trigger us (make us more susceptible to losing our tempers), and that understanding what those are and mitigating them where possible (e.g. by single-tasking) helps.
I'm listening to Manitou Canyon (Cork O'Connor, book 15) by William Kent Krueger. I'm reading My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian and Jake Tashjian aloud to my daughter for our breakfast reading. I picked out the latter in my ongoing quest to find new books that my daughter will enjoy given that she has read pretty much every graphic novel and notebook novel I can find that is remotely at her interest level. I was hopeful of this series because while the books are mostly middle grade text, there are small cartoons in the margins on most pages illustrating the more challenging words. I had to push her just a little to give My Life as a Book, the first in the series, a chance, but we are both really enjoying it now. She was nearly late to school this morning, in part because we both wanted to read one more chapter.
In the aftermath of a planned (though not well executed) power shut-off where we live, we have chosen our next read aloud already: The Disaster Days by Rebecca Behrens.
On her own, my daughter is generally reading one longer book at school, interspersed with reads and re-reads of graphic and notebook novels at home. Her recently completed long book was Pandora Gets Jealous, the first book of Carolyn Hennessy's Mythic Misadventures series. She enjoyed it, and brought home the next book in the series from her school library, but she seems to be only reading these during silent reading time at school.
She quite enjoyed Stargazing by Jen Wang, which I picked up on the recommendation of several blog reviews. She's also taken with the newest Sunny book by Jenni Holm and Matt Holm, Sunny Rolls the Dice, and has been re-reading that. She's pretty much counting the days until the new Dork Diaries book is published (October 22 - I have this on my calendar).
She is mildly annoyed by having to read at her designated reading level for school and having to participate in a whole class novel read in school. But so far her love of reading is undimmed. I keep the books she is excited about coming, talk to her about them, and read aloud to her every morning. This is doing the trick, so far anyway.
Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!
© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage.