Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

This book will make you cry. First Hurricane Katrina, then death of her grandmother and mother. Then falls in love, falls hard for T-Boom, a meth addict. Who leaves her when she gets hooked. It is a downward spiral for Laurel, but her daddy loves her, she has a little baby brother Jesse Jr., a best friend Kaylee, and Moses, a friend that doesn’t try to come on to her as she sits begging for money, homeless.  The grip that meth has on people rises mysteriously to the surface in this poetic tale of struggle, of continually being pulled back to an addiction, and the people like Moses that don’t judge and don’t give up.

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The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake

Maleeka is poor. Her mom sews to deal with the pain of losing her husband, Maleeka’s dad, but Maleeka can’t wear those hand sewn clothes to school. Sweet already teases her so much about her deep dark skin. So she borrows fancy clothes from Char, who has a lot of issues and bullies everyone around her. Then Miss Saunders shows up with her unique skin, her strong attitude, and changes the tone. She see Maleeka and, though caught in the middle of trying to be true to herself and following along doing what Char says, Maleeka will never be the same.

Always Running: La Vida Loca by Luis J. Rodriguez

In his seering autobiography, Luis Rodriguez claims no glory. But he questions his place in world, and seeks to find an answer. You will bear witness to older ones teaching the younger ones to steal, senseless gang violence, abuse from teachers, misguided treatment from school nurses to Latino students, and an evolving consciousness of who he is and what is valuable in his life. Here is a chapter by chapter account.

 

Something Noble by William Kowalski

Dre is in high school and needs a kidney transplant fast, and LeVon, his drug-dealing half-brother is the only one who has his same blood type and can save his life.  They have the same father.  Dre has been told that his half-brother is no good and to stay away from him all his life. Now they need LeVon. If you like emotional stories and stories that cut through stereotypes this is a book for you. On the outside, LeVon is a destroying his life and lives of those around him. But if you read this book, you will see who LeVon is on the inside.

Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan

by Mary Ann

Vampires, vampires, and even more vampires! This enjoyable and imaginative story has so many twists and turns, you’ll be on the edge of your seat for the entire book. This first person narrative brings you to a world of adventure and gives you a whole new perspective on friendship. It all begins with seeing something no one was supposed to see. This book is such a page turner. It makes you want to read book after book in the series. I recommend this book for young adults with a taste for the unexpected.

Demon in my View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Jessica is 15. She has now written and published two books under the pen name or pseudonym Ash Night about the life of the powerful vampire of the Silver line, Aubrey.

When she gets to school, she meets Carlyn, who annoyingly wants to be her friend, and Alex, who each time she runs into him seems to be more and more like Aubrey. Could it really be him? Could fiction be true? Or is this guy just a crazy fan, messing with her mind? Witches who hunt and kill vampires will help her find out the truth of who she is. Meanwhile, the stories come to her and she writes them down…the suspenseful, romantic, and thrilling pace won’t let you out this book down!

Booktalking using active listening sheet



This format of having students accountable for listening during booktalks came out of NYCSLA’s wonderful presentation by Sonja Cole. Students listen, reflect and write down 3 words to describe the book, and then rate all the books that were presented in the booktalking session. Great format and this year (2010-11) I will work on growing their vocabulary about books.
This is a 4th grade example: