Catching up on books!

Beautiful Child by Torey Hayden

Another by the author who works with special needs kids.  This book follows a little girl who is pretty much nonfunctional–doesn’t speak, won’t move without some moving her.  Her classmates include twin boys with Fetal Alcohol syndrome, a gifted and learning disabled boy, a boy with Tourette’s syndrome, a high-functioning girl with Autism, and a girl with just strange behavior.  It’s horrifying to find out why the mute child won’t speak, fascinating to see how the author deals with an aide who is less than helpful and still manages to make her class a community, and still a reminder of what my students experience outside of school.

Speaking of school, I also finished The CAFE Book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.  I read The Daily Five last year, and implemented some of the pieces of this structure in my classroom.  I went to a 3-day conference that they led this summer, and ordered this book as soon as I got home.  The CAFE Book addressed Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Extending vocabulalry, with guidelines on how best to achieve instruction in all of these areas.  I’m planning on jumping in the whole program this year.  Wish me luck!

Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes was published in 1943.  It consists of chapters that are all short stories on their own.  Mama and her husband are Norwegian immigrants who are managing to live happily in America.  The book is written from the viewpoint of one of their young daughters.  It reminded me a lot of Five Little Peppers and Little Women, but shorter and more accessible.  I don’t like historical fiction, but this didn’t feel like historical fiction, and it was very easy to read a chapter and come back a little later.  I really enjoyed it.

Of course, there are the murder mysteries.  I read 3 of the Eve series by Iris Johansen:  The Face of Deception, Blood Game, and Quicksand.  All 3 mainted a quick pace, elaborated on the death of Eve’s daughter, and showed considerable growth of the characters.  It starts to move into the paranormal in Quicksand and Blood Game, when a psychic accurately predicts occurances in the current murder cases, and then passes on paranormal abilities to Joe.  I’m not sure I like this direction, but the books were still good.

Worst Case–James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

This is a Michael Bennett book, who is a NYC detective raising 10 children on his own after the death of his wife.  He’s trying to track down a kidnapper who kills the teens he kidnaps when they can’t answer his socially-conscious quizzes.  An FBI abduction specialist becomes a romantic interest, as well as a contributor to finding the killer.  A little difficult to suspend disbelief in a few places, but overall an intriguing book.  I’ll be hunting down the others in this series.

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