Saturday, August 3, 2013

Staying Up Late with Sarah Weeks

I love my blog! I love how it looks every time I click onto it - thanks to Barbara at Ruby Slippers for her lovely design. And when I finally get here, I love to write a post. But that seems to be the problem.  I keep promising myself I'm going to write on this every single week - and then time just seems to slip by . . . and by . . . and by . . .
But here I am with renewed vigor and  promise - to write and let you know what I have been reading and when I get back to school, how I've been coaching! So let's talk books first because it's summer and I have been indulging myself and not only reading a lot but buying a lot - shhh - don't let anyone know, ok? It will just be between you and me!

I have fallen in love with a new author for the chapter book crowd and her name is Sarah Weeks. Now, it's not that SHE is new, it's just that she is new to me and that's because I was a picture book girl for 22 years when I was a kindergarten teacher. Now that I am a literacy specialist and work with K-5th graders, there is a whole new world of books out there for me to read and explore and they are sooo fantastic! I read these two books by Sarah this past week and both were page turners - stay up late until you're done, books:

The first book I read was:      
jumping the scratch  - no, I didn't forget the capital letters (remember, I'm a literacy specialist - LOL!) that is how the title of this book is written and I am showing you two book covers - I have the first one with the red cover, but you might also see it with the main character, Jamie, on the front.
This is a fabulous book and made me fall in love with Sarah Weeks and her writing and want to scoop up everything else she writes. The main character, Jamie, is having a tough time of it, and moving to a new town right after his cat dies is only the start of it. Jamie and his mom have to move to take care of his aunt Sapphy who has had an accident at work and has no short term memory. Sarah has a wonderful way of developing her characters to the point that you feel like you know them, care about them and want to jump into the book and help them!
Here comes my coaching tip - this is a short enough chapter book that even the most reluctant reader won't look at it and think, "I can't read that - it's too long!" Sometimes that is one of the biggest problems for our kids that don't like to read - even if it is a fantastic story - if it's a "fat" book, they aren't going to attempt it - give it up! This is a great book for 4th grade and up and I think would hook a reader on Sarah Weeks and have them asking for more.

So, YOU are asking for more? I'm so glad you asked because I picked up the next book I had bought by Sarah at midnight, thinking, "l'll just start it" . . . and at 3:38 a.m. I finally went to bed! I knew it was 3:38 a.m. because I was curious as to what time I had finished it. There was NO WAY I was going to be able to sleep until I knew what had happened to these people that I had come to care about so much. See what I mean? Sarah has the touch . . . she really makes you care about her characters. All I can say is, I'm glad I didn't have to work the next day because I slept until 2:00 p.m. LOL! Oh, and the name of the book you ask?
So B. It - Interesting title and an even more interesting book. Twelve-year-old Heidi doesn't know much about her past - that is because her mother, So B. It, only knows 23 words and can't tell her. Luckily, they have been befriended by their neighbor, who has pretty much taken care of them, since Heidi can remember. The only problem is - Bernadette has agoraphobia! As Heidi gets older though, she has questions. Who has been paying the bills? When is her birthday? And why does her mother always say "soof" and what in the world does it mean? Is it a clue to her past? When she finds an old camera and develops the pictures that give her some clues to her past, Heidi starts out on a cross-country trip that leads her to answers that she may not want to hear.
Again, another magnificent story with many life lessons to be learned along the way. You will fall in love with Heidi, her neighbor Bernadette and want to wrap your arms around her mother. It is a must read! And here is some more amazing news - So B. It is going to be a movie. Usually this doesn't make me happy but if you click on the link below to Sarah's webpage and when you are there, click onto her blog, you will see that the movie is being made privately to ensure creativity control - that is a good thing!

Please explore Sarah's website - there are a lot of great things there - Reader's Theater, Author Study, info on her, a blog, etc.
Please leave a comment if you have read these books or any other books by Sarah!

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