So many of my book recommendations come from teachmentortext.com, a website that links many bloggers and lets us all share what we have read over the week. I appreciate our hosts, Jen and Kellee for all of their recommendations and for their great blog hospitality!
I read Sophia's War by Avi over the weekend and I recommend it for upper elementary students, especially if you are studying the Revolutionary War. I love reading historical fiction and gaining new perspectives. Sophia's War weaves in history, as well as lessons in empathy, decision-making, ethical behavior, and universal conflicts during times of war. Avi wrote the story in first person and, at times, Sophia addresses the reader directly, a craft move that would be fun to teach. I think this would be a great read-aloud to parallel a social studies unit and I would love to hear if anyone has already used it as such.
I also just received my copy of The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli. I have been waiting for this book and it was worth the wait. What a great book to use within Writer's Workshop to teach what is really important in stories. Such a simple story line with such an important message about writing!
Since I had time to spend with one of my daughters at Barnes and Noble, I also caught up with some of the recent recommendations from many of you. I loved Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean. My teenage daughter thought I was too easily entertained but I can't imagine younger students not loving this book. She admitted that The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems is funny. If you haven't read his latest, I recommend it. I have loved watching first-grade teachers use Mo Willem books to teach students how to study and draw facial expressions.
Professionally, I have been reading the Instructional Leader's Guide to Strategic Conversatons With Teachers by Robyn Jackson. This book has many practical tips, charts, and worksheets to help administrators, evaluators, and coaches work with teachers at all levels. More to come about this book, as I am thinking a lot about the categories of teachers that Jackson describes.