Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer reading

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the bigger beanlets, so of course we are gearing up for summer reading. If you're in Seattle, the public library has a lovely program-
Summer Reading Program

Every time you read 10 books you get a pony. Well, not quite, but it felt like it. We turned in one of Claire Helen's forms, and she came back with all manner of loot- including a trip for the whole family to the Burke Museum- and is quite energized to get stickers to put on her name tag on the library wall. Sign up, if you are local!

We're just back from a little family jaunt to Iceland, and mean mother that I am, I assigned the elementary schoolers "homework" for our trip, since they were missing school. For Claire Helen, in part that meant 2 books with attendant mom book group discussions-

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Fountas and Pinnell: level Z
Lexile: 830

I am an unapologetic judger of books by their covers, and this cover art absolutely drew me in. Isn't it lovely? Calpurnia is an 11 year old girl living in 1899 who loves science (especially botany), much to the frustration of her very proper mother. It had a very Anne of Green Gables feel to me- not quite so fuzzy/romantic, much more scientific, but similar spunky main character with modern morals overlaid.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Lexile: 750

The lexile level is deceiving- this is a difficult book. It's worth it, but it's not easy. Manhattan sixth grader Miranda begins receiving cryptic notes after a falling out with her best friend, which she has to puzzle through while dealing with her game show obsessed mother and keeping it together. A Wrinkle in Time makes an appearance, and there is time travel (!). We had some great discussions about it, particularly the way that the book discusses a book we already know. I'd recommend it, but it's worth talking about while they're reading it, for the bullying incident (mild, but focused on), if not to explain what the 20,000 Dollar Pyramid was, back in the age of dinosaurs.

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