Slice of Life: Serenity

Every Tuesday, a number of amazing bloggers write a Slice of Life. If you are interested in joining in, visit the Two Writing Teachers blog for more information.

I am not sure about sharing this.  I am not sure I want to really document this.  I do know that writing this reflection was good for my soul so I will share it and perhaps someone else will benefit from my reflections.

In the last few weeks, I have found myself reciting the serenity prayer.  For various reasons, this small bit of supplication to a higher power is quite applicable to my life right now.  I am struggling quite a bit with the hand we have been dealt in life.  My husband and I are unable to conceive. We have tried a few procedures, but it has been a long time and we are tired of the disappointment. It is not always easy to tell the difference between things you can change and things you cannot change.


In this world of incredible medical advances and technology, there are so many opportunities to keep trying to conceive. There comes a point, though, at which it becomes absurd to continue to spend outrageous amounts of money for the slight chance that it might work.  Logically understanding that it is time to stop trying is far removed from accepting the inevitable. I need vast amounts of serenity to accept this one.


What I can do is to live my life in a healthy way and to take care of myself and my husband.  We both need to change our diet and lose weight for our health.  It takes courage to change our habits, but it is so important for us to live our best life, even if it is a different life from what we had imagined. It takes courage for me to change the direction I saw my life going.  It takes courage to keep moving forward.


This one is tricky.  It is hard to know when it is time to stop.  I understand the reasons for stopping and I am not getting any younger, but it is hard to know that this is the right thing to do. Every fiber of my being has always known since I was very little that I am made to be a mother. Who am I to stand in the way of this destiny? Except it isn’t me standing in the way. It is infertility rearing its ugly head. I am still working on this one.  It is hard to know the difference here.  
As I have been struggling through all of this in the last few weeks, the serenity prayer has repeatedly popped into my head. It is so interesting how a small bit of text can help you to reflect on almost anything in life.  As I work through one of the most difficult things I have had to work through in my life, I find the words comforting and I hope someone is hearing my prayer.  

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? July 28

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? –From Picture Books to YA is a weekly meme started by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. This is a chance for bloggers to recap their week of reading and share their plans for the next reading adventures they will take. Visit the host blogs for a list of great blogs participating in this meme and a whole bunch of titles to add to your to-read lists.

Books I Finished This Week:

I really enjoyed Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue.  The entire Origami Yoda series is so much fun.  The rebel alliance continues to make waves in this book.  I highly recommend the series.  
I definitely will recommend the Infinity Ring series to my students (especially any students who really liked The 39 Clues series).  The adventures remind me somewhat of The Magic Tree House, because they are traveling through history to fix some anomalies.  It is science fiction because the world of the protagonists is vastly different from ours because of the anomalies in historical events.  These are fast-paced books and I enjoy reading them. 
 Middleworld by Jon Voelkel is the first book in the Jaguar Stones series.  It is an adventure book about Maya artifacts and temples.  This book reminded me of City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende.  The american kid,who is completely in love with the materialistic society, ends up in the middle of nowhere and scrambling to stay alive.  There is some magic that happens and he ends up believing in some of the legends.  This book would be a good one for fans of Rick Riordan.  I highly recommend this book and will be looking for the other books in the series.  
Crafting Digital Writing by Troy Hicks is brimming with excellent ideas and resources for teachers to do more digital writing in their workshops.  I really liked the ideas in this book and it really got me thinking about how to incorporate technology into our every day lives in the classroom.  I already have my students blogging, but this book brought so many more ideas.  I was especially interested in the idea of creating more audio texts.  I am going to look for his first book The Digital Writing Workshop as well.  

Books I am Currently Reading:

I am reading El misterio de la cripta embrujada by Eduardo Mendoza.  I also picked up two books about writing to inspire me.  I am reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Escaping into the Open by Elizabeth Berg.  I also started Gulp! by Mary Roach and a memoir of a man who went back to his summer camp for one last summer working there before he got married.  I also started re-reading Reading in the Wild.  It is because of this scattered reading that I did not finish much last week.  

What’s Next? 

My goal this week is to continue with the books I have already started.  I will most likely grab some middle grade titles to go along with these books as well.  I will also continue to write more. 

Blog Posts from this week:

What are you reading this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Celebrate July 26 (Better Late Than Never)

Join this fabulous group of bloggers as we celebrate our weeks. You can link up on Ruth Ayres blog at

I had a wonderful week full of things to celebrate, big and small.

1. I went to the tea shop this week and bought two different flavors of loose tea.  I really love the new Blackberry Mojito Iced Tea Lemonade at Starbucks and had not known that there were teas out there with that type of flavor.  I bought Watermelon Lime and another tropical flavor tea and will be having some fun refreshing iced tea to drink at home.  I love that this is an option for sugar free yumminess (and some antioxidants too).

2. On Thursday, my husband and I remembered that Milwaukee Ale House does free river boat cruises for patrons.  They did the cruises earlier than usual so there weren’t many people.  We basically had a private cruise out into Lake Michigan.  It was a gorgeous day for boating.

3. On Friday, we went to the campground where my parents just bought a trailer.  It was fun zooming around the campground on the golf cart, sitting at the beach, and then having a nice campfire to roast marshmallows and make smores.

4. On Saturday, we spent the day with my mom in Madison.  We went to the Farmer’s Market, toured the new library, and then spent some time at Memorial Union terrace.  We miss some of these things and it is always nice to be able to do them when we are in town.

5.  My cousin is going to be leaving for an international teaching job in Turkey.  She had a going-away party on Saturday night.  I am so excited for her.  It will be a big adventure for her since she will be doing her first year teaching this year and it is in a foreign country.  That is a lot of adjusting to do.  Good thing she is young and full of energy.  It was nice to see my extended family at the picnic and to catch up with them.

6. My dog had a mini-vacation at her favorite doggie spa.  We love the place where we board her.  She has so much fun there and LOVES the place.  She can tell when we are packing her stuff up and starts to get excited then.  The car ride is a noisy time as she vocalizes to let us know how excited she is.  Then, we pull into the parking lot at the place and we almost need ear plugs.  She can’t get in there fast enough and she does not look back when they take her into the play yard.  It is so nice to have a good place to leave her in really great hands.

I also did more writing this week.  I have been reading some books about writing and doing some of the exercises that were suggested.  I was really good about daily writing until Friday, when we were with my parents.  I will get back on track this week.

What do you have to celebrate this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? July 21

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? –From Picture Books to YA is a weekly meme started by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. This is a chance for bloggers to recap their week of reading and share their plans for the next reading adventures they will take. Visit the host blogs for a list of great blogs participating in this meme and a whole bunch of titles to add to your to-read lists.

This week was another great reading week for me.  I keep going to the library, which is very fun, but it keeps adding books to an already huge TBR pile.  This week my job is going to be weeding out the shelves.  I am hoping to keep only the books that I know I will read.  I have a very bad habit of buying clearance books at Half Price Books.  A lot of times the books I get are very intriguing on the day I buy them, but then they sit on my shelf for months (or years) getting passed over.  I am overwhelmed right now by the number of books in my house.  I have about 10 boxes of young adult titles that will not work for my 4th grade classroom next year.  I have to sort through those books and then find some good middle school or high school homes for most of the collection.   I also just need to get rid of some of the books on my shelves.  Luckily, there are a number of free little libraries around my neighborhood.  I will be stocking some of them with my discarded books.  

Books I Finished This Week:

Adult Books:
I loved this book.  I am a huge mystery fan so the inherent mystery in this one really pulled me in.  I also am a book nerd so the idea of a secret book society and this amazing sounding bookstore really pulled my heartstrings.  I also thought the technology used in the book was really cool.  I am not sure if it was science fiction or if some of the technologies actually exist, but I was really impressed! 
Graphic Novels:
I got this one mostly because it is set at a camp.  The story was okay.  I wasn’t too impressed.  I think some middle schoolers might relate and enjoy this book.  
This was a fun book to read.  I am not so sure about the format, with some comics that are inserted between the chapters of the main story.  I think some readers would find these confusing.  Overall, I thought the book was entertaining and I will keep an eye out for a copy to include in my class library. 
This is an amazing graphic novel.  It would be an excellent text to share with middle grade students to start a conversation about the holocaust.  This is a story of a grandmother who is telling the story of her experiences to her granddaughter.  I will absolutely be buying a copy for my classroom.  
This is another graphic novel that does a great job of introducing a difficult history topic.  The Storm in the Barn is set during the dust bowl and would serve as a good starting point to teach about this time in the history of the USA.  This is another one that I will be looking for to add to the class library.  
I am really impressed with Matt Phelan at this point.  This is another great graphic novel that really piqued my curiosity.  I had not heard of two of the three world travelers in this book and it was really interesting to read about their adventures.  
Picture Books:
The whole time I was reading Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems, I was thinking about how fun this would be as a mentor text.  The cars are so varied and so imaginative.  I think it would be fun to have students imagine their own car and work to write a car poem of their own. 
I was drawn to this picture book from the cover.  It just seemed like an important book to read.  It was really interesting to read this biography of an artist I had never heard of before.  
Middle Grade:
This is an amazing book that will be a powerful one to share with students.  I can imagine there would be very deep conversations that could come out of it.  I would like to highlight the idea that you should be kind because you never know what people are dealing with in their private lives.  I think this author also did a good job of showing how the problems with girls start and are perpetuated usually through rumors.  I think it would be a good book to help girls to see that you shouldn’t always believe it when someone tells you that someone else said something about you.  I am definitely considering this book for a read aloud early in the school year.  
I like the way the illustrations and comics were integrated into this novel.  It is a fun book and I also like how some really rich themes were brought out throughout the story. I know it will be a big hit in the 4th grade classroom.  
Young Adult:
Briar Rose by Jane Yolen is a retelling of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, but it is so much more than that too.  Here is what I wrote on Goodreads: 

I picked up Briar Rose expecting a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I got that and so much more in this book. As she did in The Devil’s Arithmetic, Jane Yolen writes a heartbreakingly beautiful story of loss and survival. I was swept up into the story and immediately wanted to solve the mystery. What comes is another tale of the Holocaust and the atrocities committed during the war. This author does such a good job of teaching history while at the same time telling a compelling and riveting story.

Books I am Currently Reading:

I am still reading Crafting Digital Writing and The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook.  I also started reading Gulp! by Mary Roach.  

What’s Next?

I am trying to start a book in Spanish.  I need to start during the day and not try to get into it at night before going to sleep.  My brain just isn’t into working so hard before bed.  I still have a stack of library books, so I will probably dig into some of them.  I also want to get to some books about writing in order to get some inspiration there.  
What are you reading this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Celebrate July 19th

Join this fabulous group of bloggers as we celebrate our weeks. You can link up on Ruth Ayres blog at

I had lunch with a friend on Tuesday.  It was nice to catch up with her and to talk a little bit about ideas for next school year with her.  She is going to be teaching at a different school this fall and I will miss her greatly.

I FINALLY got my hair cut.  It has been a long while since the last cut and color.  I was way overdue for the haircut.  Although the stylist left my hair a little too short, I am happy to have hair that I can do something with instead of crazy frizzed-out tangles.

My husband and I went on a tour of the SC Johnson headquarters in Racine, WI.  This is just a 40 minute drive from home and I had never been there.  This summer, they opened up the research tower to the public for the first time in fifty years.  It does not exactly follow fire codes so they had to get special permission to allow tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed facility.  Both the research tower and the administration building were fabulous examples of his amazingly forward-thinking architecture.  We almost didn’t go on Wednesday, but we were both glad that we forced our lazy butts out of the house and went on this tour.  I don’t have many pictures because the most interesting things were inside the buildings and pictures were prohibited there.

I did a lot of reading and writing this week.  I read some amazing books and I am so happy to have the time to really savor some great literature.  I also am working on making writing a daily habit.

I went to an inservice on Friday.  It was very difficult to get out of bed to go there.  However, I am so happy about the fact that we will be using Infinite Campus this year.  The information system we were using was such a dinosaur that the company didn’t provide support for it anymore! My district was waiting for Wisconsin to decide what the statewide system would be before purchasing a new one.  It was so nice to work with a system that actually makes sense and will work with our standards-based grading.  It will also be great to be using a web-based system.  With our old dinosaur system, we had to log into a VPN server from home, if we could get it to work.  Report cards and grade book entry will be sooooo much smoother!

My husband and I took the dog up to the beer garden in our park this week.  My dog is really embarrassing to take anywhere because she wants to meet everyone and is very vocal about it.  She cries and cries.  We figured out that the way to get her to be quiet was to have some food on the table.  That way, her intense energy is all focused on begging. Getting the dog to be quiet was a thing to celebrate.

After we were done eating, the dog went behind me to eye up the table back there where they were eating and feeding a baby.  She definitely saw that this could be a good situation for a dog.  At one point, she got extra excited and I looked to see what was happening.  The baby was making faces at my dog and waving to her.  It was so cute to see the dog and the baby excited about each other.  The mother of the baby brought her over and it was so fun to see my dog interacting with her.  She did such a good job.  It was one of those hallmark moments that you wish you could record. 

I started watching and catching up on this season of So You Think You Can Dance.  It is so cool to see how these young people are so talented and have such good stories.

What do you have to celebrate this week?  I would love to hear from you in the comments!  Have a wonderful week!

Slice of Life: Storms and Schema

Every Tuesday, a group of bloggers writes a Slice of Life. If you are interested in joining in, visit the Two Writing Teachers blog for more information.

     The other day, I was standing in my kitchen making lunch when I heard a BOOM.  It wasn’t particularly loud and didn’t last for long.  I puzzled about it, and asked my dog what she thought the neighbors were doing.  Were they moving something big that had been dropped?  Or maybe the train had some freight shift or the construction workers were using a noisy tool.  After a few minutes, the sound came again.  Now I was starting to get annoyed.  So, I took my dog out to the sunny backyard and looked up and down the alley.  No one was doing anything that could have been that noisy.  Then I heard the sound again and turned around. What I saw was a wall of dark clouds that was quickly descending on us.  I had to chuckle.  As a midwesterner, I should be ready for quick changes in weather.  I was a little embarrassed that it took me so long to figure out.  In my head, I apologized to the neighbors for the not-so-nice things I had been thinking about them and all their noise. Then, I started to think about schema.
     I have lately been doing a lot of professional reading to get myself ready for a grade level switch this year.  One of the books I read is Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor.  In this book, the author offers a wealth of suggestions about using concrete experiences to help students understand comprehension strategies.  I had just read the chapter about schema, so it was fresh on my mind.  I thought about how important my schema had been in my initial confusion and eventual comprehension of what was going on.  At first, the sun was shining and I had not seen the weather report.  I had no idea that there were storms predicted for the day.  My schema for sunny days made it possible for me to register that thunder as a different sound.  It couldn’t be thunder because it was sunny outside.  (Although I have to say, as a Wisconsinite my schema should know better) I was not understanding what was happening because my schema told me something different.  Later, when I saw the roll of clouds, the a-ha moment hit me and now I did have schema to place that noise as thunder.  I added the new information to my situation and had a new understanding of what was taking place, thus synthesizing and gaining much more comprehension of the situation.
     It made me think about how important it is for students to be aware of schema and its role in their comprehension efforts.  My schema actually led me astray, and it wasn’t until I linked the new information that I gained understanding.  How many times do students pick up a book thinking that they know something about the topic only to find out that they were not quite right? Adding to schema by synthesizing new information and making connections to what we know about the world can help you to understand what you read. I think this could be a good story to share with students to talk about how initial understanding is sometimes erroneous.  By adding the new information and rethinking, we can then come to a more complete and accurate understanding of what is happening.  Now, every time I am unsure of a big noise, I will be looking at the sky before blaming the neighbors.


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? July 13

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? –From Picture Books to YA is a weekly meme started by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. This is a chance for bloggers to recap their week of reading and share their plans for the next reading adventures they will take. Visit the host blogs for a list of great blogs participating in this meme and a whole bunch of titles to add to your to-read lists.

I was feeling better this week but not 100% so the week was perfect for lounging around the house reading and writing.  I had a very good reading week, with many thought-provoking books and much introspection.  
Books I Finished This Week: 

The Serpent’s Tale by Ariana Franklin is the second book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series.  It is set in medieval times, when the protagonist, who is a woman, must hide the fact that she has been medically trained.  Seeing her solve crimes or perform autopsies will cause the average person in her world to call her a witch.  I quite enjoyed this installment and plan to read the third book soon.

Raging Star is the third book in the Blood Red Road trilogy.  I love this trilogy and really enjoyed the stories.  I was not happy with the events in this book, but I can understand the need for the story to take that path.  I still would recommend the trilogy but I am not loving the end.  In fact, I was close to throwing the book across the room which I guess shows how emotionally invested I was in the story.

I LOVED this book.  I don’t even have words for it.  You just need to read this book.

Because of the elephant on the cover, I thought this book was about an elephant.  Silly me! I did enjoy the graphic story about Buster Keaton and a small summer getaway for vaudevillians called Bluffton.  I thought the use of muted colors in this graphic novel was very smart and I am really interested in reading more by Matt Phelan.

Professional Books Finished:

I was really happy when I saw this title was on the digital campus.  I have been wanting to read it for a couple years now.  Overall, this book was another one that affirmed the practice of reading workshop and encouraging kids to read.  I like the concept of reading ladders and have been doing something similar for years.  The book did make me think a lot about how there are different ways that books can be more complex.  Definitely recommended reading for teachers of reading.

This book would be a good book to give a new teacher or one who has not really delved into the possibilities of being connected.  I felt like I already knew a lot of what this author was saying and that I already do a lot of what she was recommending that we do. I would definitely recommend it for newer teachers though.

Comprehension Connections is a must-read for teachers who are teaching reading workshop. I absolutely love all the ideas for lessons to make the abstract a little more concrete for students.  I read this book online and will be ordering a hard copy because there are so many great ideas that I want this one on my shelf and at my fingertips for reading workshop.

Books I am Currently Reading:

I am reading The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook and Crafting Digital Writing for my professional reading this week.  I also am reading The Old Man and The Sea and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore.  I am listening to The Clockwork Princess.

What’s Next?
I will probably pick up El Asedio by Arturo Perez-Reverte to continue my Spanish reading.  I am not sure what else I will pick up, but I need to get to some more middle grade titles so that will be a priority.

What are you reading this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Teachers Write Warm-Up July 8

The following is a free-write, very rough, of a childhood memory turned into a work of fiction.

The bell sounded and the students all scrambled to clean up so that they would be ready to be dismissed for recess.  Ms. Ryan looked around the room and gave the signal that released the class.  And then, “Sam and Shelly, stay here for a minute please.”

   Sam turned around and felt her insides quaking.  This could be many things, but it didn’t seem like it would be good news.  She racked her brain to figure out what she might have done wrong that morning.  She couldn’t think of anything.  What did Shelly have to do with anything either? They never really talked to each other and there wasn’t much that would bring them together. Biting her lip, Sam walked over to Ms. Ryan’s desk, where Shelly was already standing.

“Sam and Shelly, I had a chance to go through the applications for the newspaper positions and I have some good news.  You two have all the qualifications necessary for the Editor-in-Chief position.  Unfortunately, I am having a very hard time deciding between the two of you.” Ms. Ryan paused while Sam and Shelly warily eyed one another.  “I have a choice for you girls to make.  Either you can work together and be Co-Editors or we can put the choice to the class for a vote.  Keep in mind that I already have decided all the other Editor positions so the person who loses the election would then be in a worker position.”

There was a long pause.  Sam and Shelly looked at each other and shrugged, each feeling the unbearable weight of this decision.  Each wanted the position badly, and each wanted to be the only one with the prestigious title of Editor-in-Chief.  Shelly spoke first. “I think we should have the class vote.” Sam cringed and thought, “Of course you do.” Sam knew that she was not popular. But this vote wouldn’t be a popularity contest, would it? Surely her classmates would vote for the person who would do the best job.  Sam knew she was the best girl for the job and she was sure her classmates would see the truth of it.  “I guess the vote would be okay.  I agree that we should have the class vote.”

“Are you sure? Whoever loses the election will be out of the editor job and in layout. Wouldn’t you rather share the responsibilities?” Ms. Ryan wanted them to be sure.

“We’re sure.” Sam said confidently and Shelly nodded along.

“Okay, then the election will be immediately after recess.  Think about what you want to say to the class.” Ms. Ryan went back to her stack of papers to grade. Sam and Shelly headed outside for the remainder of recess.

When the class came back inside, the vote happened fast.  Sam lost.  She was shocked and devastated.  How could her classmates be so dumb? Didn’t they see that she was the right girl for the job? Shelly beamed and soaked up the congratulations offered to her by Ms. Ryan and the rest of the class.  Sam felt hot and she felt tears prickling the corner of her eyes.  She wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction of seeing her cry.

Slice of Life: New Adventures

Every Tuesday, a group of bloggers writes a Slice of Life. If you are interested in joining in, visit the Two Writing Teachers blog for more information. 

This Spring, I decided that the time had come for me to make a change.  I have been thinking about it for a few years now, and the impulse to look for something new just became too strong to ignore.  I applied to some new coaching positions within my school district.  After being at one school for 14 years, the prospect of learning a whole new set of procedures and rules, and meeting a whole new staff was quite intimidating.  However, I took the bull by the horns and kicked my behind into gear and applied.

It turns out that this position was highly sought after and the competition was stiff.  This did not bode well for me.  You see, I am an introvert.  I know in my heart of hearts that I would do an excellent job with this position, yet it is almost cripplingly difficult for me to tell that to a group of strangers.  If you stuck me in a workshop or a classroom, you might not know that I am introverted.  I am comfortable in those situations. I am the person in the front row, asking questions and participating enthusiastically.  I am eager to share my knowledge and to learn from each and every person in the room.  But that is a give-and-take situation. Interviews are not. The ability to sell my skills and my knowledge in a relatively short amount of time to strangers is not in my set of expertise.

Going through this process made me think back to my reading of the book Quiet by Susan Cain and her assertion that the world is more comfortable for extroverts and that we actually value characteristics of extroverted behavior more.  Certainly this interview process that we have favors the people who can walk into the room and immediately be comfortable among strangers.  But does that ability really tell you anything about how well that person will do on a day to day basis? Is my apparently less appealing personality really less appealing? Give me some time to get to know people and you would see that anxiety disappear.  Ask anyone who has known me for years and worked with me side by side.  My ability to really think through a problem and to sit back and listen makes me more suited for coaching in a lot of ways.

As I thought more about this issue, I felt it necessary to do some research.  While visiting Susan Cain’s website, I came across this article that really resonated with me and I found her Ted Talk from this year.  It was a great talk to watch to remember back to all the ideas that had intrigued me so much when I read her book.

Our culture values extroverted behavior and is biased toward extroverts.  My interviewing experience highlighted that for me.

I am generally a very confident person.  The experience of entering interviews and trying to sell myself to the committees really knocked me down a few notches. I did not have any success with the process and felt disappointed and disillusioned.  I have since stood up and dusted off my ego and accepted the fact that this was not in the cards for me this year.  What I know for sure now is that I want to revisit Quiet and think about the ways that Cain proposes to harness the quiet strength of being an introvert.  I need to find the power within me to promote positive change and to find the inner extrovert when it is necessary.

P.S. Everything actually worked out for me for the better.  One of my colleagues handed in her retirement papers shortly after the interview cycles were complete.  I was able to move out of the middle school position back to a 4th grade classroom.  I am so excited about this move! My years teaching 4th and 5th grade were the best ones in my career so far and I can’t wait to work at this level again!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? –From Picture Books to YA is a weekly meme started by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. This is a chance for bloggers to recap their week of reading and share their plans for the next reading adventures they will take. Visit the host blogs for a list of great blogs participating in this meme and a whole bunch of titles to add to your to-read lists.

Books I Finished This Week:
I was sick last week and did not get very much reading done.  At this point, I am starting to feel much better so I hope to read more this week. 
If you haven’t read any books by Arturo Perez-Reverte, I highly recommend his fiction books (start with The Seville Communion).  He is a Spanish author.  El Francotirador Paciente (The Patient Sniper) is about a woman who is sent out by a publisher to track down a famous graffiti artist, who goes by the tag Sniper.  The publisher wants to find this artist to offer to do a biography and exhibit of his work.  The artist has a price on his head and is in hiding.  The book is a mystery as well as a fascinating glimpse into the world of graffiti.  I enjoyed the story and would recommend it to adults (unfortunately, there isn’t an English translation yet).
  I liked Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets because it was realistic.  There aren’t any big heroics happening, just a kid trying to get through some rough times.  I think it would definitely be a book that will resonate with teens.  I highly recommend this one. 
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas is a graphic novel that shows the story of how each woman got started with her research.  It is a fascinating look at the way science unfolded and would be a good introduction to a unit about primates.  It was also interesting to learn more about these three women.  It definitely piqued my curiosity about each woman.

Books I Am Currently Reading:

I have a bunch of professional reads going right now.  I will talk more about each one as I finish the book.  I also started reading The Serpent’s Tale by Ariana Franklin, which is the second book in the Mistress in the Art of Death series.  It is an historical mystery.

What’s Next?

My library pile includes Raging Star, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and Bluffton. I don’t know if I will get to all of them because I also will pick up another book in Spanish and another middle grade read this week.

Blog Posts from this week:

I posted on Saturday to participate in the Celebrate Link Up HERE
I also shared my goals for Teachers Write HERE

What are you reading? Any big plans for this week? I would love to hear from you in the comments!