Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Q Formula

I have just come up with a new formula, titled the Q Formula: Beach + Book + ADD = not much being read. I have recently spent 9 days on the beach and only completed one book...Maximum Ride. I seem to look up every time there is a person, bird, wave, or whatever moving past me. Recently, I decided to not even take a book down to the beach...I guess we must all find ways to cope with our problems.
By the way, if you have seen Pixar's newest movie...UP, and you remember the part where Dug the talking dog loses focus during a conversation: "My master made me this collar. He is good and smart, and he made me this collar so that I may talk...squirrel." Then you have seen me on the beach., a media to self connection!

I guess I will just have to wait until I get back home and can read on my hammock.

Keep Reading (this goes for me as well),
Dr. Quinn

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Maximum Ride

I have had several students encourage me to read James Paterson's Maximum Ride. They have made comments such as...filled with action, each chapter ends with a cliffhanger, quick read, kids will love it, similar to X-Men but kids 6-14 in age, short chapters. What they didn't tell me was that the book was over 400 pages. That is nothing compared to the recent Harry Potter books, but 400+ pages is a lot for someone with a short attention span like me.

I originally picked up the first book in the trilogy, Maximum Ride The Angel Experiment, several months ago. I started it and enjoyed it, but I would only read a little at a time...not a specific choice, rather it just seemed to happen that way. After several months I decided I must finish this book. So today I read 200+ pages while sitting on the beach in Seaside, FL. I can now say that I have completed the book, and I am glad I did.

I thought the book was all it was hyped up to be...(see above). I found it entertaining and an easy read...once I set my mind to completing it. I can't wait to pass it on to my 12 year old son.

Now that I have completed book one, will I complete the next two? Great question. To tell the truth I'm not a huge fan of books in a series; however, to get the complete story I probably need to read the next two.


Keep Reading,
Dr. Quinn

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Anything but Typical

Nora Baskin's Anything but Typical is just what the title states...anything but typical. The story is told by the protagonist, Jason Blake, a 12 year old autistic boy. Through his words Jason shares his thoughts, feelings, and emotions. He gives the reader a glimpse of his world as he describes excitement, anxiety, love, frustration, embarrassment and so much more.

The jest of the storyline is that Jason is an excellent communicator when it comes to writing stories. He often posts his work on a storyboard computer site. As a part of these postings, he connects with another writer from a different state. As part of a reward for not getting sent home from school for behavior, Jason's mother takes him to the storyboard convention where he will have the opportunity to meet his distant friend. Of course this is easier said than done because she is NT (neurological typical) and he is anything but typical. Ultimately Jason learns to except who he is..., "This is who I am. This is me."

I believe that Baskin did an excellent job of sharing Jason's thoughts with the reader. This book had some strong intertextual connections to Terry Trueman's Stuck in Neutral and Cynthia Lord's Rules...two other books that I enjoyed.

I highly recommend this book for upper elementary.

Keep reading,
Dr. Quinn

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Wednesday Wars

I may have just found a new favorite book. I know that many of you have already read this Newbery Honor Book, but I just picked it up for the first time.

If you haven't read Gary Schmidt's book, then here is a quick summary. Holling HoodHood tells about his 7th grade school year (1968-67)...each chapter is a month. He starts by sharing how his English teacher, Mrs. Baker hates him, and why they will be spending every Wednesday afternoon together. Throughout the year Mrs. Baker challenges Holling to read various Shakespeare plays. Holling's year is filled with real-life adventures and interesting happenings.

I love it when I come across a book where I feel like I am right there in the story, and with all my personal connections to the book I truly felt like I was Holling. Here is a shortlist of these personal connections: I missed school to go to an MLB opening day game (Reds not Yankees); I ran cross country; I didn't have a great relationship with my father (home builder not architect); one of my sisters ran away; our sixth grade class had a camp out; I am a Jesse Owens fan; I am all about teacher-student relationships, etc.

Gary Schmidt, great job!

Happy Reading,
Dr. Quinn