As we approach the coming holiday, this month our feature books will incorporate stories from many perspectives, namely Wars fought by Americas to honor Veterans Day. One of my favorite books to begin reading to students is titled Candy Bombers : The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot" by Michael O. Tunnell. This book combines great narrative nonfiction writing with archival photos and great stories from those serving in the European Theater. This book is also a great companion to Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot by Raven, which also provides more in-depth discovery about the mission to to uplift the city of Berlin after the war. With so much suffering, the hope and courage of these pilots is awe inspiring.
Next, we move on to great spymasters of the Revolutionary War and some of my favorite reads such as George Washington's Secret Six : The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution by Kilmeade and Yaeger. This book is a great read for students who love to learn the details of how secret messages were sent and the impact of spying as an occupation during the American Revolution. Told in a narrative format, this informational read is brisk and engaging. For those who seek a departure from conventional story telling, The Culper Ring: The History and Legacy of the Revolutionary War's Most Famous Spy Ring by Charles Rivers Editors offers a great background knowledge of the time and delves into the people, places, and events that shaped how spying influences the events surrounding the Revolutionary War. This book would be great for readers who desire a structured and well researched history of spying in early America.
Lastly, reading is such a broad term and this week I want to feature an App that allows visual reading of great works of art that also help tell the stories behind many of the great events in history. The Google Arts and Culture App is an excellent addition to your G Suite as it allows you to view and engage with artist and their work on a very user friendly interface. Next week, we will be using works from artist of the period to begin our unit on Narrative Nonfiction. Check the Google Classroom for the first hint related to the feature artist for the week. The anchor activities will also allow for a 3D experience using the Google Arts and Culture App with Google Cardboard. This will be very exciting!
Writers Read-Tools for the Middle
Next week, a Nation will embark on a National Day of Writing on October 20, 2016 which also prepares us for the Write a Novel in a Month starting in November. Writing is the natural reflexive process of sharing our thoughts but also broadening our imaginations. So many authors implore us to read others because while we may live the relaxing nature of reading, writing also provides an outlet to grow and share others.
This month's Must Reads are books that will support our Reading Workshop in October titled "Vote for Your Favorite Series". Thus far many students have nominated the Harry Potter Series or Rick Riordian's mega popular Percy Jackson and Hero's of Olympus. However, a large number of middle schoolers are also in love with Erin Hunter's popularWarriors series which features cats.
In keeping with the tradition of fantasy and realism, I am featuring the Michael Vey series by Richard Paul Evans, which is a great Science Fiction series featuring a character who is struggling with a special power and to reunited with his mother who was kidnapped. I love this series because we see Michael grow up and become a master of critical thinking and strategy. His friends also mirror the types of friends any typical middle to high schooler might make and lose as they grow and change. A great series for those who love the Enders Game series or the Gone series by Michael Grant.
Lastly, Scott Westerfield's writes a number of series that offer something for everyone. Each of the series like Uglies, Zero's , and Leviathan invite a little mystery, science, history, and of course realism with a heavy emphasis on plot. What makes Westerfield a master of the many different types of genres is a genuine emphasis on storytelling and connection to the reader. For example in his series Leviathan, the merging of history (World War I) and the airships known as dirigibles are used to stop the threat of a "monster" via land and sea at bay. The action will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. If you like Brandon Sanderson's Steelheart you will like the Leviathan series. ( I will provide a book chat for Steelheart via YouTube next week)
Stay tuned for video book talks starting next week.
And of course, Keep reading!