Sunday, March 25, 2007

Top Ten Hot Teen Picks

I’ll be speaking this week at the UVSC Forum on Children’s Literature. If any of you are going be sure to stop in my workshop and catch the updated version of these lists. These are the top ten books my students were talking about last year.

Brashares, Ann. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2003.
They were just an ordinary pair of thrift-shop jeans until the four close girlfriends took turns trying them on.

Hale, Shannon. Princess Academy. Bloomsbury, 2005.
The thought of being a princess never occurred to the girls living on Mount Eskel. When it is announced that the prince will choose a bride from their village, Miri, believes this is her opportunity to prove her worth to her father.

Hiassen, Carl. Hoot. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2004.
Roy is the new kid in town, and it’s the same old routine: bullies like Dana pushing him around. But if it wasn't for Dana, Roy might never have seen the running boy, met Beatrice, discovered the burrowing owls, or had the adventure of a lifetime.

Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted. Harper Trophy, 1998.
At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the "gift" of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. A Cinderella story.

Lewis, C. S. The Chronicles of Narnia series. Harper Collins, 2004.
Four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children and everything is far more than it seems. One of the few book sets that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood, and late in life. (Watch for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian in theaters 2008.)

Meyer, Stephanie. Twilight. Megan Tingley, 2005.
Headstrong, sun-loving, 17-year-old Bella declines her mom's invitation to move to Florida, and instead reluctantly moves to her dad's cabin in the dreary, rainy town of Forks, Washington, where she becomes intrigued with Edward Cullen, a distant, stylish, and disarmingly handsome senior, who is also a vampire.

Paolini, Christopher. Eldest. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2005.
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have survived the battle at Tronjheim, but their challenges are not over. Galbatorix, the corrupt emperor, still rules Alagaesia and is looking for them. The magically bonded pair must help the rebellious Varden regroup after their leader is slain.

Shan, Darrin. Cirque Du Freak series. Little Brown, 2002.
Evil begins to win when Darren and his buddies find a flier for "Cirque Du Freak," a traveling freak show promising performances by Larten Crepsley and his giant spider, Madame Octa. Darren and his friend Steve wouldn't miss it for the world.

Skye, Obert. Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo (Aladdin, 2006)
Leven can glimpse and manipulate the future. According to the other characters—Winter, a girl who can freeze things instantly; Clover, a foot-high furry creature assigned as Lev's companion; and Geth, the wise but displaced king of Foo—Levan is also the only person who can protect the gateway to Foo, a place whose existence allows humans to dream, hope and imagine.
Westerfield, Scott. Uglies. Scholastic, 2005.
Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic society that teaches its citizens to believe they are ugly until age 16 when they'll undergo an operation that will change them into pleasure-seeking "pretties." When Tally meets Shay, another female ugly, she has decisions to make that might change her future.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Top 10 Favorite Books for Adolescents

I speak at a lot of conferences and workshops for educators, and one of the favorite parts of my presentation both for me and for my audiences is when I give book talks. Here’s a list of my favorite books that I talked about in a workshop last summer. Maybe you’ll enjoy reading them too.

Auch, Mary Jane. Ashes of Roses. Laurel-Leaf, 2004.
Immigrants, Rose Nolan and her younger sister are left to care for themselves in America and must go to work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory to survive. Rose makes friends with Gussie, whose father is a union organizer. And then, the infamous fire breaks out.

Ferguson, Alane. The Christopher Killer. Viking Juvenile, 2006.
Cameryn wants to be a forensic pathologist and follow in her father’s footsteps as the county coroner. When he allows her to join him, she proves she has a knack for detective work. But the next case is a murder, and the victim is one of her friends.

Funke, Cornelia. Inkheart. Scholastic Paperbacks, 2005.
A novel for the true bibliophile, filled with literary allusions, readers will enjoy the journey as they travel along with Meggie who has just discovered her father’s secret ability: he can read characters out of books and into the modern world. Unfortunately, he seems to have read Meggie’s mother into the book “Inkheart” several years before.

Holm, Jennifer. Boston Jane: An Adventure. Harper Collins, 2001.
Although Jane Peck is happy with her tomboy lifestyle, she wishes she could capture the attention of the handsome William Baldt before he moves to the great northwest. When an
invitation to join him and become his wife arrives, Jane’s life will be changed forever.

Kerr, P. B. The Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure. Orchard, 2004.
Twins John and Philippa learn their true identity as children from a long line of Djinn, capable of granting three wishes to each person who releases them from their lamp or other temporary home. Soon they must use their new powers to overcome an ancient Egyptian pharaoh and his seventy djinn who will change the entire world if they are released into the wrong hands.

Naples, Donna Jo, The King of Mulberry Street. Wendy Lamb Books, 2005.
When Beniamino, a nine-year-old Jewish boy from Napoli, is smuggled aboard a cargo ship heading to America in 1892, he assumes his mother is onboard, too, but he has a lot to learn once he reaches New York. The streets are not safe and the food is scarce, unless you know how to survive.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Blizzard’s Wake. Atheneum, 2002.
Set in the 1941 North Dakota blizzard, the novel weaves together the story of Kate Sterling, who is still trying to cope with the death of her mother four years earlier, and Zeke Dexter, the drunk driver who killed her mom.

Ritter, John H. Choosing Up Sides. Puffin Books, 2000.
In 1921 society looked upon being left-handed as a sign of the devil. Twelve-year-old Luke is left-handed and discovers he has a natural talent for throwing a baseball. He is also the son of a preacher who sees both left-handedness and baseball as of the devil.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Scholastic, 2006.
In the latest episode, Harry is faced with Lord Voldemort’s Death-Eaters, even in the Muggle world. he leaves for Hogwarts with the promise of private wizardry lessons from Dumbledore, but once again, Harry is not sure who he can trust, and who he can’t.

Rook, Sebastian. Vampire Plagues: London 1850. Scholastic, 2005.
When a ship from Mexico docks in London a flock of bats and a young boy are the only living things on board. A London street urchin, Jack Harkett, hears the boy’s tales of a vampire plague that's killed the entire crew.

Friday, March 02, 2007

UCET Conference Day One

Wow! I've had such a great day at the UCET (Utah Coalition for Educational Techonlogy) Conference. I attended a keynote and three sessions by David Warlick (Consultant, Speaker, Author, and computer guru extraordinaire) took pages of notes, and learned so much already to improve my blog, e-zine, and website. Now I can hardly wait to start a wiki!

All this excitement from the person who once said, "Why do I need to learn to use a computer? I'll never use one in my life." Ah, the wisdom of youth and the irony of famous last words.

So, I'm trying out some of what I learned and if I've done it right, a photo of me listening to David Warlick present should show up here at the bottom of this blog entry. Keeping my fingers crossed!