The Start of Me and You (SOL #30)

One more day to go! It’s been hard to find time to write while I’ve been on vacation – I usually forget until it’s right at the deadline.

Today, I finished a book called The Start of Me and You, a YA novel by Emery Lord. She is from my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, so I’ve been interested in reading her books. I love discovering local authors. I read her book When We Collided over the summer, and it was heartbreaking, but beautiful

The Start of Me and You reads like a typical teen drama – it takes places over the course of a school year, in which the main character, Paige, is still getting over the death of her boyfriend a year ago. She decides to make a list of things to do to help her get back to normal life.

The thing I love about this book, and what I think sets it apart from other teen novels, is that Lord’s characters are so strong and well-developed. They are complicated and messy, just like real people. She really gets to know these people whose story she tells, and they come alive.

Maybe I saw a bit of myself reflected in Paige, the main character, and my high-school self would have been jealous of her tight-knit friend group. This book is definitely more about character development and personal reflection than exciting plot lines. I have found that I am drawn to these kinds of stories.

I am going to get a copy of this book for my 8th grade classroom – it’s tame enough for middle school, but also has enough drama to keep their interest. I’m looking forward to reading more of Emery Lord’s books!


Books for Babies (SOL #26)

Tomorrow, I get to go visit my niece in Florida. She is only two months old, but I am already supplying her with lots of books. I’m bringing three of them with me tomorrow.

Rosie Revere, Engineer – This is an adorable story about a little girl named Rosie who wants to be an engineer, but she is discouraged when one of her inventions gets laughed at. Then her great aunt Rose, who worked during WWII, comes to visit and inspires her to keep creating and designing new inventions. Great aunt Rose teaches her that even if she fails, it’s okay! I love that I will get to share this story with my niece (even if she can’t understand it yet)!


Ellie – I got this book because my niece’s name is Ellie, and it’s about a little elephant named Ellie who tries to find her own special talent. She ends up using her trunk to paint pictures, and everyone comes to love her artwork. My sister-in-law has decorated Ellie’s room with elephants, so it fits perfectly!


Bunny Roo, I Love You – I found this one on sale at a local bookstore, and the drawings were so beautiful that I had to get it. I know my sister-in-law will love it too. It’s a cute little story about about a mom whose baby mimics different animals, until she finally sees her baby just for who she is.


I’m excited to share these stories with my niece, and many, many more as she continues to grow up!


Forgetfulness (SOL #24)

Today is going to be a 2-for-1 day – as long as I remember to post later today! 

Yesterday was the last day of school before Spring Break, so my mind went into shut down mode. I completely forgot my slice. Sometimes we forget things, but it’s okay. 

I was planning on writing about how I reorganized my classroom library and trying a new system. I got rid of most of my bins because I’ve found that my middle schoolers really like being able to see all of the spines instead of having to dig through bins, especially ones that are a little high up. I’m hoping this results in more kids finding more books!

How do you organize your classroom library?

Here’s my new setup:

Harry Potter = Love (SOL #11)

I went to a friend’s baby shower today, and she had requested that everyone get her books in lieu of cards. She had a recommended list on of some really amazing titles (I bought her I Dissent, a book about Ruth Bader Ginsburg), and one of the books she received was an illustrated Harry Potter book.

My friend and I both grew up reading about Harry Potter – the first books came out when we were 11 years old, so we were both a part of the true Harry Potter generation. We are also both teachers, and when she opened the book, she commented on how many of her students are part of an “inbetween” time for Harry Potter – they are too young to have felt the hype, but too old that their parents weren’t really fans either. We talked about how our generation is going to be the first one to really share our love of the Harry Potter series with our own children, and how excited we are to do that.

At that point, when my friend was looking through the book, many of us started talking about what Harry Potter meant to us. It was a nice moment – sharing stories about how this magical story had touched us, or our kids, and how we continue to spread the Gospel of Rowling to all of our loved ones.

It made me happy to think about how all of us had some connection to Harry Potter, and how this little story that no one wanted to publish has made such a powerful impact on millions of people.

Reading Reflection (SOL #4)

Today I finally finished reading 1984, after taking a few weeks to get through it. I wanted to read it much faster than I did, but it’s not really a book you can read quickly. It compels you to stop and think about it.

I try to remember my own reading habits and patterns when I am talking to my students about books. Some books take longer than others to get through, not because we don’t like them, but because we read in different ways with different books. My students sometimes comment on  how I read so fast (I keep a list of books I’ve read on my wall), but in all honesty, I am a very slow reader. I just create the time to read.

My kids don’t often understand this – sometimes you have to create that time for reading, and make it a priority. I read constantly because I know there are so many books out there that I will enjoy. I don’t think some of my students feel this way, and they don’t have a continuous list of to-read titles. That’s part of my job – to help them start to see this reading potential.

I often find myself frustrated when I am moving too slowly through a book because my to-read pile just grows as I am working my way through. I have to come to terms with the fact that maybe reading a classic published in 1949 will just take me longer to read than the latest popular YA novel.

But since I’ve just finished one book, now I have the excitement of picking the next one! Happy reading!