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That's Noteworthy! (vol. 3)
a graphic, a novel-in-verse, a genre challenge, and a dinner party
Three weeks in and I am really enjoying the rhythm of putting these little notes together to share. I hope you are, too!
📚. I still have quite a few books in progress, and but this week I did finish two middle grade gems. (I also listened to and absolutely loved The Office BFFs and am now poring over a library hard copy as well to see the photos. May need to start a rewatch of The Office soon, too.).
Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas :: Not only was this a delightful graphic novel about friendship, overcoming fears, and trying new things, but it also featured some very interesting & sobering history about Black people in America and their (historic lack of) access to pools and beaches. I’m glad I had my eyes opened to this issue of privilege.
The characters were endearing and I loved the friendships among and between the different generations as well. I also loved how the illustrations captured the swimming moments so artistically— it’s really a beautiful book in more ways than one! 5 ⭐️s
In the Beautiful Country by Jane Kuo :: I did a reread of this on audio because I wanted it to be fresh before I read the sequel which just came out in June (and which I was honored to receive a review copy of!). I love this first book so much. It’s a novel in verse that is the tender story of a young girl who moves to California from Taiwan right before her 11th birthday in 1979-1980.
I love how Jane tells about Anna’s family’s struggles, while keeping a thread of hope woven through even the hard times. For me, Anna’s parents are a true example of Christlikeness too in their heart to welcome and feed others (even though they didn’t always experience the same kind treatment themselves). 5 ⭐️s
🤓. It’s official! The 5th grade book clubs have spoken, and the official book club choice is Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. I’m excited because I think this book is going to give us a lot to discuss and some fun activities to do as well over the next couple of months.
This week we’re also discussing genres and I’m giving the kids a Genre Challenge, with a genre brainstorming worksheet and book trackers to help inspire them to try reading across different genres. These are trackers that I adapted from my own kids’ old class challenge. I’m going to join my students and track all my middle grade reading with them this school year.
I’d be happy to share these tracking worksheets for my subscribers (just reply to this email or leave a comment) for personal or classroom use.
🥰. Something that brought me joy this week happens to be book adjacent, too. My best friend since middle school celebrated her birthday with a beautiful dinner party last Saturday. It was a potluck where we each brought a Half-Baked Harvest recipe. I don’t have any of Tieghan’s books but I have enjoyed every recipe by her that I’ve made and/or tried. The recipe I made was Cherry Tomato Pasta alla Vodka. It had some kick to it! This was such a fun way to celebrate a friend and the tablescape had me all heart-eyed as well.
Happy Friday and happy reading!
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