Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

Two books I enjoyed reading this week are Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli (will be published in September by Scholastic) and Call Me Hope by Gretchen Olson.

I was fortunate to receive an ARC of Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli at Book Expo in NYC last month.  I have always loved reading his books so I was excited to pick up his newest book to read.

This book is the prequel to his book Fourth Grade Rats and is about George, known as "Suds" to his friends, who is just entering third grade.  His third grade teacher, Mrs. Simms, starts the first day of school by explaining what "third grade angels" mean from the famous rhyme "first grade babies, second grade cats, third grade angels, fourth grade rats." She tells them that they need to earn their "halos" to be "angels" in third grade and that she will be honoring one student each month who has earned "the halo".  Suds is determined to be the first student who earns the halo because he always strives for perfection.  The ending as a surprise twist when Mrs. Simms honors a student to receive the first "halo" - will all the good deeds Suds did pay off or will he learn an even better lesson than just receiving "a halo".

I loved the ending in this book most of all because it teaches the reader an important life lesson.  Third Grade Angels is a good story for students in third grade and up.  It will also be great for students to read both Third Grade Angels and Fourth Grade Rats and think about the characters across both texts.

Call Me Hope by Gretchen Olson is a powerful read about Hope, an 11 year old girl, who has a verbally abusive mother.  She is very unhappy with her home situation and finds comfort through reading about Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank. Hope even sets up her closet as a secret hideaway and creates a point system which gives her points every single time her mother says mean things to her, which is a lot.  At times, she wants to run away and wants to confront her mother about her mean and hurtful words.  Since the mother is verbally abusive, there is some language in the story that you should be aware of before putting in the hands of middle grade students.  This story brings forth a home situation that some students will be able to connect with unfortunately and also brings awareness of this issue to all readers.  It is heartbreaking that some children have to live in environments with such hurtful language. At the end of this story, Hope does give a strong sense of hope to readers and children who may find themselves in similar situations.  This is a powerful and heartbreaking story with an inspirational ending that will touch many readers.

To see what other people are reading and recommending, please check out Jen and Kellee's blog Teach Mentor Texts - thank you Jen and Kellee for hosting each week!  

Happy Reading! :)


  1. Fun - I haven't read either of these! I adore Jerry Spinelli, will have to get this one for sure.

  2. Call Me Hope sounds like an excellent book. Verbal abuse is so harmful and we really don't always recognize it as a problem or bring it to light. I will definitely have to look for this one.

  3. I also adore Jerry Spinelli but I didn't know about these books.
    I hadn't heard of Call Me Hope and it sounds powerful- added to my TBR.

    Happy reading this week! :)