Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Reading Challenge

 Read, read read, all summer long. Read, read, read while I sing this song.
It was Memorial Day weekend that I issued a challenge to my children. I asked them to read 100 books by next Memorial Day. Well, at first it started out that I would like them to read 100 of the 150 books I placed on a book list sometime in the next two years but to be really crazy, why not read them all THIS YEAR?
And the fun part? I am reading them too. Although I have challenged myself to read all 150. If I found some value in them to be placed on the list, then I should obviously value them enough to dig in and read them myself. You see when I was a tween and young adult, I missed out. I was reading crap, literary fodder, books that were watered down and weak. Gasp! I know, I am ashamed.
That is where my life philosophy serves me well, it is never too late. Also, I now believe a good children's and young adult book is good for all.
When I made the reading list, I scoured the internet, read reviews, looked for classics that have withstood the test of time as well as sought out new treasures. I looked for award winners. I looked for depth of character. I looked for real life as well as found a few fantasy, threw in a healthy dose of biographies and nonfiction. Then I printed the list and challenged the kids. Their first goal was to read 14 by the middle of August if they wanted to go to an amusement park they have never been to. I am all for bribery. It works.

In the first month, I read the following:
 My daughter and I fell in love with the Penderwicks.

In the last three weeks I read these gems:
 There were some truly excellent stories in this lot. Every single one of them were well written. Although Hereville:How Mirka Got Her Sword was not really my thing, being a graphic novel. And I was surprised to see Odd Boy Out was a picture book, how did I miss that? Oh well, we all got an easy read out of that one.

Have you read any of these titles? Which was your favorite?

“Clearly one must read every good book at least once every ten years.”
C.S. Lewis
For some us we need to just read them, it is never too late.


momteacherfriend said...

Gary Paulsen Hatchet and Brian series are perfect outdoor adventure books for the middle school crowd. There is a bit of Brian in me as well. I related to the need to be near nature and gained an appreciation for the circle of life; respecting it rather than feeling all powerful. Good books to put in perspective that we can live with less than we think we can and we probably should.

momteacherfriend said...

“Maybe some things aren't meant to be known. maybe there just meant to be accepted.”
― Wendy Mass, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

Jeremy Fink is a good thinking book with memorable characters and moments. Life is explained from many different perspectives along the journey and while all are certainly not going to follow your world view, it is an excellent look into the thoughts of others. While settling on an answer that will satisfy all.

I have not met a Wendy Mass book yet that I did not like.

momteacherfriend said...

I thought Strawberry Girl was a perfect portrayal of that time and place. Their struggles were relatable and real. A time when the preacher man was a welcome visitor. A great reminder to always be kind to everyone for everyone is fighting a hard battle. And you never know the impact you can have on another.

The dialogue is written in true back country phonics which means it will make for a great read aloud. I can't wait to do the voices for these characters.

momteacherfriend said...

I think every person should read One Hundred Dresses. A story of poverty, immigration and bullying. It is a beautiful story of childhood that everyone can take something from. Quick and easy read, yet memorable.

Angie said...

Turtle in paradise! Loved that one! :) also I too read random junk (but hey, I was reading, right?) as a teen/teen. And feel like I missed out on a are so surprised when I tell them no I haven't read ___. But I'm working. That too. I also loved mrs. Frisby! (Oh! Jenni hlm's newset is called. 'The Fourteenth Goldfish' and comes out in August and I previewed a copy...loved that too!! :) I'm pulling up your to read list to copy for us too :) thanks for sharing!! Also if it's not on yr list already add Flora & Ulysses!! :)

momteacherfriend said...

Turtle in Paradise was really good. It complimented Strawberry Girl as they both took place in Florida in the early 1900's.

Flora and Ulysses was on the list. ;)