I am not sure how the book Twelve Mighty Orphans walked into my house, but it fit right in. All four of my sons played Texas football, and for many years we lived at one football stadium or another. One year we attended three games a week with three sons on two different middle school teams, and our oldest son playing on varsity at the high school. It was either that year or the next that Tanner’s team won the state championship. It’s all a blur of blue and white.
Everything you have heard about Texas football is true. It’s big, and it consumes your life.
Maybe that’s why this book by Jim Dent had such a voice at my house. My husband read it. My sons read it. How could I not?
Not much compares to talking with your teenage athlete sons about a book.
This non-fiction book chronicles the efforts of one man to make a difference in the lives of orphan boys. He teaches them to play football, but he teaches them much more than that. This trailer introduces the storyline with beautiful images:
Oh, man. I love and hate this book. You have to read it. Then we need to talk about it. It’s that kind of story, a hauntingly beautiful coming of age story.
Here’s the book trailer:
And a NY Times review
I would love to hear what titles are keeping you up lately. Please share.
I had the book Splintered by A.G. Howard on my shelves for a long while, but with so many other books towering my TBR pile, I kept skipping over it — until I got Unhinged. Now, I am a fan of both. Take a look and see why:
You will never think of the Rabbit Hole or Wonderland in the same way again.
This is cool. Author, Julie Berry, gives a book talk about her new book All the Truth That’s in Me.
While I like that Berry doesn’t come right out and reveal the setting of the book, and I like historical fiction myself, I have a difficult time getting my students to even give it a try — unless the book is set in the time of the holocaust.
I enjoyed reading this book though, and I believe it pairs well with early American literature. I’ll share this video of the author with my students, and maybe when I add my recommendation to her voice, I can get this intriguing and thought-provoking narrative into at least one student’s hands.
Winger by Andrew Smith is another book I kept hearing about. (I’m a little jealous that so many of my teacher friends seem to be way ahead of me in their TBR piles.) I knew I needed to keep this one — like I did Eleanor and Park— and read it before I let my students get their hands on it.
I did not have my own copy, but at #ALAN13 in Boston, after I had the pleasant task of helping Donalyn Miller with her jacket, she gave me a copy from her book stacks. She gave me a copy!
Surprisingly, I found no book trailers promoting it. However, I did find and read an interesting piece in The New Yorker called “The Awkward Art of Book Trailers,” which made me rethink the value of them at all. Rachel Arons says, quoting Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom: “Franzen explains—in a tone that is polite but characteristically aggrieved—his “profound discomfort” with having to use moving images to promote the printed word. “To me, the point of a novel is to take you to a still place,” he says. “You can multitask with a lot of things, but you can’t really multitask reading a book … To me, the world of books is the quiet alternative—an ever more desperately needed alternative.”
Hmmm. I might agree with that.
So instead of a trailer today, let’s read a book review. I love this one at TLT: Teen Librarian’s Toolbox, and I’m thinking that a next step in my students’ literary journey is to write their own “professional” reviews. This one will make a good mentor text.
Any thoughts on book trailers? good idea or not?
Last week during #titletalk on Twitter someone mentioned that she’d been trying to read Shiver but couldn’t get into it. I responded that Shiver is my niece’s all time favorite book — she is obsessed. Someone else chirped in saying that of Maggie Stiefvater’s books, she loved The Ravenwood Boys and Scorpio Races best. I, too, loved those Ravenwood boys, but I’d yet to read the other. I think about five different people joined the chorus, tweeting about Stiefvater’s books. Quite the popular recommendations.
Three days later while scouring the crowded book shelves at the thrift store, I found a brand new copy of Scorpio Races for .75. Book-a-holic deal. Later that week, I had five hours to spend on a plane and read this great little book half the way home. I have a few students in mind who will grab it right out of my hands when I talk about it.
I love that.
Go here to read the author’s reasons for writing this book. She includes a great narrative about writing, and even failing at writing, along with a beautiful painting that hangs in here living room. Fascinating.
My Friend Dahmer by Berf Backderf only sits on my shelve until I book talk it just once. My students are fascinated when I tell them that the book is based on a real boy who grew up to be a real man who murdered people. They only know of serial killers from TV and the movies. I get the “pleasure” of introducing them to a real life psychopath. It creeps me out a bit that this is such a popular book, but students love to read it.