Mock Newbery 2014 Club Summer #1 Meeting

Mock Newbery 2014 Club Summer #1 Meeting

Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Summer Mock Newbery 2014 Club Meeting

Our first summer Mock Newbery 2014 Club meeting was so fun!  I loved that we had a great turnout on this cloudy June day.  We caught up with each other's summers so far.  We all agreed that it is going too fast!  Some kids have gone on great vacations, so we shared stories of those trips.  I loved that everyone brought the books they were reading and have read, and many shared.  Here are some books we talked about:

Doll Bones
Lindsay and I LOVED this book and both gave it 5 stars!
Adam has this in his stack of library books.  We are both looking forward to reading it!
Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked
Tyler read this one and said it was really funny.  He gave us a summary on it, but no spoilers! :-)
Pi in the Sky
Since I'm in the middle of this one, I shared it and made Ava really mad that I wouldn't give it to her yet. I knew she'd be excited about a new Wendy Mass book!
Quinn is reading this one.  I was excited she was reading it because I wanted to hear if it has "kid appeal."  I loved it, but I'm not sure if kids will.  She'll let us know her final thoughts next month, I hope!  Speaking of "kid appeal," Stephen suggested kid readers should be on the Newbery Committee.  I agree!
This is another book I loved, but didn't know if kids would.  Stephen is in the middle of it, gave a summary of it so far, and said he really liked it.  He thought it might not appeal to all kids, but to kids who love reading, it would. 
Maggie was excited about Clare Vanderpool because she's reading:
Moon Over Manifest
One of things we're doing is reading former Newbery Award winners and honors so we can determine what characteristics we think the Newbery committee is looking for.  Maggie is enjoying this one. 
Another former Newbery winner several kids have been reading and enjoying is:
The Wednesday Wars
I always recommend Okay For Now after kids get done with this one.  It's a companion novel, and I like it even more than Wednesday Wars!  That's saying a lot because I LOVED Wednesday Wars!
Other former Newbery books kids were reading or have read this summer include:
Island Of The Blue Dolphins
Lauren said she emotionally connected to the characters in this book!
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Kaleigh is reading this one.  This was one of my favorites when I was in fifth or sixth grade!
Here are some more 2013 books we discussed:
Genie Wishes
Calynn told us about this one, and I think it sounds great!  The reviews are terrific.
33 Minutes
We liked the title of this one!

Destiny, Rewritten Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
Cassandra brought along these two - Lauren read Rump, too.
Jackson read this one, and Emma is reading it.  It's about a boy who stutters.  I'm looking forward to reading it.
Wake Up Missing
At the very end, I shared this one - it hasn't come out yet (September), but I got it from Kate Messner, and it's signed to our class!!  I really liked it - it's science fiction, creepy, and exciting! 
Every Day After
I finished this one on vacation and LOVED it.  I want all of you to read it!
We talked about some other books that aren't 2013 OR Newbery books, but that's ok.  Whenever we get together, we can talk about ANY books!  Abby F. is rereading Harry Potter.  It's one of those masterpieces that never won the Newbery, but we all love it anyway, right?  I've always wanted to reread the whole series.  Maybe one day...
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
Abby M. told us about:
Just Grace
Sorry if I missed talking about a book or one of you.  If I did, comment below and remind me!  It was so much fun to talk to all of you!  I can't wait until July!  Keep reading!  I will e-mail you soon about a July date.  Keep writing reviews in your booklets.  You don't want to forget about the books you read.
Happy reading and thanks so much for coming today!  Thank you, parents, for bringing your kids!  I know it's such a busy time.  We missed all of you who couldn't make it, but we hope to see you in July. :-)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Hi everyone!  I've PICKED A DATE for our first official Mock Newbery 2014 Club meeting!!

DATE:  Thursday, June 27th
TIME:  Noon - 1:00
PLACE:  Outdoor Gazebo behind the Lebanon Public Library
WHAT TO BRING:  Books to share, Mock Newbery booklet with reviews to share, BAGGED LUNCH and drink. 

Parents - you are completely welcome to stay and chat with us.  You may also drop your kids off  and pick them up at 1:00.

BAD WEATHER make-up date:  Friday, June 28th, same details.  I will let you know by e-mail the day before if we postpone it due to bad weather.

Yay!  I'm so excited to talk about books with you and hear about your summer so far!  Here are some more books I've been hearing about:

For all you Wendy Mass fans!  This came out YESTERDAY!
Pi in the Sky
The first 7 chapters are being offered for free on Kindle right now.  Also, Mark Turetsky, one of the narrators in one of my all-time favorite audio books, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, is narrating Pi in the Sky for the audio book (he narrated The Candymakers, too)!  Here's is a cool blog post and video by him about it:
Click on Link
Also interesting news for Wendy Mass fans - The Candymakers book is being made into a movie!
Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked
I love Jarrett J. Krosoczka (author of the graphic novel series, Lunch Lady) - he's just a great guy (I met him at the Dublin Lit Conference in Feb.) and so creative!
 Aces Wild
(Companion to When Life Gives You O.J.)

All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens
(Companion to Small Acts of Amazing Courage)

Let me know if you can attend on the 27th so I have some idea of how many are coming!  Can't wait to see you! :-)

Monday, June 10, 2013


Hi everyone!  I love getting your comments on the blog and parents' e-mails talking about the books you're reading!  Keep it up! :-)  Here are some more I'm hearing about:

Hokey Pokey
Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that's impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.
The Wig in the Window
Best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they witness a terrifying, bloody scene at the home of their bizarre middle-school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward).

At least, they think they do. The truth is that Dr. Agford was only making her famous pickled beets! But when Dr. Agford begins acting even weirder than usual, Sophie and Grace become convinced that she’s hiding something—and they’re determined to find out what it is.

Soon the girls are breaking secret codes, being followed by a strange blue car, and tailing strangers with unibrows and Texas accents. But as their investigation heats up, Sophie and Grace start to crack under the pressure. They might solve their case, but will their friendship survive?

Perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Wig in the Window is a smart, funny middle-grade mystery with a REAR WINDOW twist.
The Ability
No one has any confidence in twelve-year-old Christopher Lane. His teachers discount him as a liar and a thief, and his mom doesn’t have the energy to deal with him. But a mysterious visit from the Ministry of Education indicates that Chris might have some potential after all: He is invited to attend the prestigious Myers Holt Academy.

When Christopher begins at his new school, he is astounded at what he can do. It seems that age twelve is a special time for the human brain, which is capable of remarkable feats—as also evidenced by Chris’s peers Ernest and Mortimer Genver, who, at the direction of their vengeful and manipulative mother, are testing the boundaries of the human mind.

But all this experimentation has consequences, and Chris soon finds himself forced to face them—or his new life will be over before it can begin.
The Key & The Flame
Eleven-year-old Holly Shepard wants nothing more than to seek adventure outside of her humdrum American life. She gets her chance at last when her family travels to England and Holly receives an unusual gift: an iron key that unlocks a passage to the dangerous kingdom of Anglielle, where magic is outlawed and those who practice magic are hunted. When her friend Everett and brother Ben are captured by Anglielle’s ruthless king, Holly must rescue them. But that means finding—and using—the magic within herself and learning which magical allies she can trust.
Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.
The Apprentices
SEQUEL TO APOTHECARY (Someone has my classroom library copy of The Apothecary ;-))
Two years have passed since Janie Scott last saw Benjamin Burrows, the mysterious apothecary’s defiant son who stole her heart. On the other side of the world, Benjamin and his father are treating the sick and wounded in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam. But Benjamin has also been experimenting with a magical new formula that allows him to communicate with Janie across the globe. When Benjamin discovers that she's in trouble, he calls on their friend Pip for help. The three friends are thrown into a desperate chase around the world to find one another, while unraveling the mystery of what threatens them all.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Hi everyone!  I hope you're reading, reading, reading!  I love these beautiful days when you can sit outside and read.  That's what I've been doing!  I finished up a book I read for my book club, lots of picture books, a professional book about teaching reading, and now I'm reading a book I've waited a long time to read by one of my favorite adult authors, Khaled Hosseini.  THEN I'm going to read some books for Mock Newbery!  I'm excited about this one coming out June 11:

Every Day After
Historical Fiction
Trouble has rained down on Lizzie Hawkins. Her daddy has deserted the family, her mama is silent with sadness, and the bank is after their house.

Daddy always said Lizzie was born to succeed, but right now she can't even hold on to her top grades or her best friend, Ben. Bratty newcomer Erin Sawyer has weaseled both away from Lizzie, but Erin won’t be satisfied until Lizzie is out of her hair for good, packed off straight to the nearest orphanage.

Still, Lizzie refuses to lose what's left of her family. With the bank deadline fast approaching, Erin causing strife at every turn, and Mama and Ben slipping away from her, Lizzie finds comfort writing in her journal and looking at Daddy's face in the heirloom locket he left her. She's keeping her head high and holding onto hope that Daddy returns on her twelfth birthday. Still, she can’t help wondering: Why did Daddy have to leave? And can I save us if he doesn't come home?

Times may be tough in Bittersweet, Alabama, but the unsinkable Lizzie Hawkins will inspire readers with her resilience and determination.
I got this one from the Symmes Library and will be reading it soon:
Doll Bones
Goodreads summary:
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .
Caleb picked this one up from the library, so thanks for giving us the heads up that it's a 2013 book!
Goodreads summary:
In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter-churn riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magnus.

Jinx knows that wizards are evil. But Simon’s kitchen is cozy, and he seems cranky rather than wicked. Staying with him appears to be Jinx’s safest, and perhaps only, option. As Jinx’s curiosity about magic grows, he learns to listen to the trees as closely as he does to Simon’s unusual visitors. The more Jinx discovers, the more determined he becomes to explore beyond the security of well-trod paths. But in the Urwald, a little healthy fear is never out of place, for magic—and magicians—can be as dangerous as the forest, and soon Jinx must decide which is the greater threat.

Sage Blackwood introduces a daring new hero for an innovative new world as Jinx is joined by friends, battles enemies, and discovers life beyond—and even within—the forest is more complex than he can imagine, and that the Urwald itself needs him more than he could ever guess.
Finding any other good ones?  Let us know!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Summer Bookaday Challenge!

I hope your first couple of days of summer are going great!  My summer officially began today, and I'm already thinking about all the reading I want to do!  One thing I'm going to challenge myself with is the Nerdy Book Club's Bookaday Challenge.  Mrs. Donalyn Miller sponsors this challenge.  She's an amazing teacher and author.  This is her fifth year doing it, but I've never tried it.  Want to try it with me?  Every book counts - even picture books!  Let's see if we can do it!  I'll try to post as many books I read during the challenge on this blog.  Let's get reading!  Here is her post on the Nerdy Book Club blog:

Every year, I prepare for summer with the same comforting rituals. I buy a pack of Goody black hair elastics and new flip flops. I write end-of-year notes to my students. I recheck my summer travel plans. And I publicly announce my intention to read a book for every day of summer break.
This ambitious challenge began as an attempt to catch up on the landslide of books piled around my house and reconnect with my reading life. Over the years, the Book-a-Day challenge has evolved into a social event connecting readers who share book recommendations and celebrate reading. Nerdy Book Club fun fact, I “met” Colby Sharp for the first time when he joined the Book-a-Day Challenge on Twitter in 2011. Mini Book-a-Day events pop up during spring and winter breaks, and literacy gurus like Teri Lesesne post book titles under the #bookaday hashtag all year.
That book on your nightstand for the past two months? That biography someone gave you last Christmas? That cascading pile of journals on your office floor? Isn’t it time? Won’t you join me in the Fifth Annual Book-a-Day Challenge?
Imagine languid days reading an entire book in one sitting. Picture yourself staying up past midnight to finish one more chapter. Summer (reading) is coming.
The rules (more guidelines, really) are simple:
Read one book per day for each day of summer vacation. This is an average, so if you read three books in one day (I know you’ve done this!) and none the next two, it still counts.
You set your own start date and end date.
Any book qualifies including picture books, nonfiction, professional books, audio books, poetry anthologies, or fiction—children’s, youth, or adult titles.
Keep a list of the books you read and share them often via a social networking site like goodreads or Twitter (post using the #bookaday hashtag), a blog, or Facebook page. You do not have to post reviews, but you can if you wish. Titles will do.
Let me admit a secret. I probably won’t make my Book-a-Day Challenge this year without reading more than a few picture books and graphic novels to hedge my bets. You probably won’t either. Book-a-Day is not a competition. It’s an opportunity to enjoy marvelous reading experiences and rededicate ourselves to daily reading. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what we read, or how much, or when. What matters is that we have fun and indulge in our favorite leisure activity—reading a lot of books!
I like a little bit of everything, but here are ten books I plan to read:
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appeltsugar man swamp
Standard Hero Behavior by John David Anderson
Doll Bones by Holly Black
Dreams and Shadows by C. Thomas Cargill
Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman
Red River Stallion by Troon Harrison
Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler
The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
Golden by Jessi Kirby
Winger by Andrew Smith

I hope you have an adventurous summer both inside and outside the pages. Please share the books you plan to read this summer and help our reading lists grow.

Donalyn Miller is a fourth grade teacher at Peterson Elementary in Fort Worth, TX. She is the author of The Book Whisperer and the upcoming Reading in the Wild. Donalyn co-hosts the monthly Twitter chat, #titletalk (with Nerdy co-founder, Colby Sharp), and facilitates the Twitter reading initiative, #bookaday.