Friday, July 12, 2013

Fiction Friday-Week 5

Happy Friday everyone!  I am going to apologize in advance, this is a longer Friday Fiction post than usual.  (I am trying to make up for not posting last week) Plus I've been working hard at my goal to get 12 more Children's Choice books read before I have to go back to work.  So here goes with my link up for...
The Teaching Theif

Like I mentioned, I am trying to get as many of this year's Iowa Children' Choice books read before I head back to school.  Here are the latest titles I've read.

Book #1: 
Here Lies Linc by Delia Ray
Reading Level: 3-6
Iowa Children's Choice
308 pages

Graveyards can be scary, sinister places, but to 12 year-old Linc Crenshaw they are practically home.  For much of his life, Linc has traveled with his mother Lottie, a professor of history and burial customs, around the country studying various cemeteries.  Linc is trying to be a "normal" kid.  This year, his absent-minded mother Lottie is allowing him to go to public school and he has made a promise to himself that things are going to be different.  Unfortunately, the first field trip of the year is to a local cemetery and his mother is the tour guide!  
As part of the field trip the students must choose a grave to research.  Linc chooses a grave that everyone believes is cursed.  As he gets further into the project everything changes as old secrets are unraveled.

This is a fast paced story with several twists in its telling.  Linc has to learn to deal with his family dynamics and make new friendships.  An interesting fact is that this story actually takes place in Iowa. The Black Angel that Linc chooses to research is one of Iowa's top haunted places and is located in Iowa City.  After reading this story I am anxious to take a visit the next time I go to visit my daughter at the University of Iowa.  I think this will be a fun story for my students to connect with.

Book #2:
Wild Girl by Patrica Reilly Giff
Reading Level 3-6
Iowa Children's Choice
145 pages

Lidie's dreams are about to come true.  She is finally going to America to be reunited with her father and brother Rapheal.  As she leaves Brazil she stops at the lemon orchard to pick a lemon for Pai (her father).  Before he left her 7 years ago they picked a lemon together and he told her when she came to America she was to bring one with her to show they were home together.  However, when Lidie reaches New York nothing is as she imagined it.  Pai and Raphel still see her as a baby, Pai doesn't seem to remember the significance of the lemon and English is harder than she thought.  She longs to ride the Thoroughbreds at the stable her father is the trainer for, but instead they purchase an old swayback mare to "teach" her to ride.  When her father brings a young filly named Wild Girl home to the stables, Lidie knows she must do something to show her family who she really is and make their home a true home.

I really enjoyed this the story as it was told both from Lidie and Wild Girl's perspectives.  Both the young filly and Lidie possess wild headstrong personalities. They help each other deal with the major changes in their lives.

Book # 3:
The Trouble with Chickens: A JJ Tully Mystery By Doreen Cronin
Reading Level: 3-5
Iowa Children's Choice
119 pages

JJ is a retired search and rescue dog trying to enjoy a little relaxation in the country. Then enters Millicent (Moosh for short) a mother chicken and her two chicks whom JJ renames Sugar and Dirt.  This little chicken family has a problem- two of the baby chicks are missing.  After eying the "popcorn with legs" (that's how JJ describes the little chicks) he finally agrees to help them find their missing family members.  When a ransom note appears JJ notices the "big" words which tell him its an inside job, meaning someone from inside the house must be responsible because they are the only ones who would have access to the books and the big vocabulary.  Together JJ and the chickens come up against Vince the Funnel, an ornery inside dog with a bone to pick with JJ.

I laughed out loud while reading this book.  The conversations between the animals are fun and entertaining. (In my head I could hear the old Sam Spade voice from the movies every time JJ talked).  The events behind the missing chicks turns out to more more than a simple kidnapping and JJ learns a little something about family.

Book #4:
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjan
Reading Level 3-6
Iowa Children's Choice
211 pages

It's summer and Derek is looking forward to many fun-filled adventures. At least he is until his teacher tells the class she will be their teacher again next year and gives them a required reading list and an assignment to read 3 of the books from the list before the first day of the next school year.  Derek is not a fan of reading.  It's hard for him and he would much rather read Calvin and Hobbs or Garfield than a book any day.  One thing he has to do to help him with his reading is to keep track of the words in his reading that he doesn't know.  Instead of writing out the definitions, he draws what the words mean. (You see his words/drawings throughout the margins of the book). After one too many misadventures, Derek's parents sign him up for Learning Camp.  Summer is ruined!  At least that's what he thinks at first.  While at camp, his tutor notices his drawings and helps him learn to visualize the story as he reads.  He discovers a family secret that involves him and the truth about the whole thing impacts the family.  While reading is still not his favorite thing, Derek learns many new things over the course of the summer and one of them is that even when we do things that are hard or we fail at them it is important to keep trying.

If you liked The Diary of the Wimpy Kid, I think you will enjoy this story.  Derek's mischievous nature makes me think a little of Dennis the Menace or even Derek's  own favorite character Calvin. Although the story is simply told, the new vocabulary sprinkled throughout and illustrated in the margins make this a fun read.  It's overall message about perseverance and following your passions is a great lesson for kids.  Those students who find reading more of a challenge or a chore will enjoy Derek's tale.

Well, those are my books to share for this week.  I can't wait to see what everyone else has been reading.
                                                                Until next time...


  1. Awesome post! I loved reading about all your books. Here Lies Linc sounds ah-maz-ing! I can't wait to check that out. I'm probably going to want to visit Iowa after that. Wild Girl sounds good too. Both have been put on my Amazon wishlist. I have Trouble with Chickens, but haven't read it yet. Sounds hilarious! I always get a kick out of those kind of stories. Finally, I'm so glad to learn more about My Life as a Book. I bought a book club set last year, but haven't read it. (It was one of those great scholastic deals.) Now, I can really imagine the kids who might enjoy it. Thanks again for linking up and sharing all your great reads!


  2. Can we just talk about how much we all love Patricia Reilly Giff? So so many awesome books from her in my library! I can tell from your post that you are a passionate reader and teacher! So happy to have stumbled upon your blog and looking forward to reading more from you!
    I am nominating you for a Liebster Award :)

    Hannah Burns

  3. Such great suggestions. I am always looking for new fiction books for my students, especially when I think ahead in the year to read alouds. I'm a new follower :) Keep up the great blogging!!