Tag Archives: book shelf


While looking for a new book to read and share with my middle school students, Pax kept coming up as a recommended read.  This is the first book I have read by the author and in many ways, it brought me back to my childhood and reading Where the Red Fern Grows.  (Ahh, I loved that book!)  Pax carries the same punch and beautiful writing as that book.  It also tugs at the heartstrings, for anyone who has ever had a pet will instantly connect with the main character in this book.  Although it is written for upper elementary to lower middle school children, there is much that adults can connect to, and the writing is anything but “childish.”  Great sentence structure, vocabulary, and a powerful story creates an unforgettable book and journey as boy and fox try to be reunited again amidst a great war.

paxPax, by Sara Pennypacker

Genre: children’s literature; nature; animals

Summary:  Peter and Pax are inseparable, ever since Peter found Pax alone and abandoned as a kit.  However, years later a large war is looming, and Peter is forced to drop off Pax in a forest as Peter’s father enlists in the war.  300 miles away Peter moves in with his grandfather–a move Peter bitterly regrets.  That night Peter realizes he should have never dropped of Pax, alone and vulnerable, and sets off on a journey to find and rescue his beloved friend.  Meanwhile, Pax sets off on an adventure of his own, trying to be reunited with his owner. Continue reading

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I am starting a new series titled Book Shelf. Here, I am writing about books I have read and loved, sharing some of the space on this blog for another passion of mine–reading.  I am an English teacher by day, and in my classroom I give book talks to my students often, and I ask them to do the same.  We share books we love and hold dear to our hearts, write about passages that resonate with us and challenge us, and discuss the author’s craft and the beauty of the written word. We’re cultivating a love of all things books, and it’s turning into a wonderful thing.

In my book club with fellow English teachers,  we each get a turn at choosing a book for our club to read.  My friend chose this one.  Fantasy is not my favorite genre, (however, I feel the need for a disclaimer here,  because The Hobbit is my ABSOLUTE favorite book and  it’s fantasy), and I probably would not have chosen this on my own volition, but I found that I couldn’t put this book down from the moment I read the first sentence.  Sooo…maybe fantasy is my genre.

uprooted Uprooted, by Naomi  Novik, genre–fantasy

This novel is about a young woman named Agnieszka who is taken from her quaint village near the Wood, which is corrupted and evil, to live in the Dragon’s castle.  The Dragon is a  wizard who has protected her village for a century; he only asks every ten years for a young woman to be handed over, no questions asked–and  he gets to choose.  Nieshka, as she is fondly called by her friends, goes to the Dragon’s tower bravely, but soon finds out that she will prove more useful in saving her family and village from the evil Wood than she, or the Dragon, ever imagined. Continue reading

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Monster Bookmarks


It is officially the end of the school year. Finals are graded, my classroom is packed up, good-byes have been said.  My children are also excited for the school year to be over. For Grace, her year of preschool is finishing this week, and Matthew, his first year of kindergarten ended Thursday.

It has been a year of transition.  I started teaching at a new high school this past fall–one close to home so I am not travelling 90+ minutes a day.  My son started public school (I can’t believe how fast time flies!) and had weekly homework.  And my husband got a new job in January that is within walking distance of our house, so he’s not commuting 2 hours a day.  God has been good.

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As the school year drew to a close, I wanted to give something to my students as an end-of-the-year present.  This year, I asked my English students to cultivate a reading life, to not just read the novels required in class, but have choice books to read for the shear joy of it.  Each month, students read at least one book outside of class (which meant they were reading two novels each month–one required and one choice) and then met with me to talk about it. And I read along with them, sharing books I was reading and giving book talks to the class. It was actually quite fun!


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