Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reminder of Citizenship Standards

Reminder of Citizenship Standards


Citizenship Grades:  Students will earn a citizenship grade based on this (school-wide) criteria.
American Fork Junior High
Desired Results for Student Learning (DRSL’s) and Performance Indicators
Civic and Social Responsibility
Performance in
        Following School Rules    attendance, punctuality, dress, language  (Code of Conduct) 
        Integrity   honest, truthful, does own work
        Respect     for faculty and staff, for other students, for physical facilities
        Motivation     on task, prepared, turns in assignments, gets and does make-up work
 Needs Improvement
Helps Others

Responsible for Own Actions
Not Taking Responsibility for Own Actions
Hurts Others


uses put-downs

Social Emotional Learning:
know the value of giving more than they take, will be responsible for their own actions, and will know that they are an important part of our school community. 

know themselves better, relate better to others, and make responsible choices.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

March 30/31, 2010

March 30/31, 2010
Bring your science fiction or fantasy book-of-the-month club book to class.

Practicing using apostrophes to show possession. 

Subject-Verb Agreement -- Individual quiz on subject-verb agreement (verbs agree with a singular or plural subject) to see if understand it yet.
Link: This site includes rules and quizzes. If you are assigned to complete the practice quizzes (or if you received less than 18/20 on the in-class quiz on March 30/31), this is the site to go to.  

Also, see examples of singular and plural at our PB wiki.

More Love That Dog and writing based on it.

Love That Dog assignments in your composition book:
Write a poem imitating "The Red Wheelbarrow."
Write a poem imitating "Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright."
Write a stanza imitating "Stopping By Woods":  "Whose woods these are, I think I know. . . "
List sounds you would hear in a place you know well. (Based on "Street Music.") 
Collect words and phrases you could use to describe a pet or another animal when it is sitting, running, sleeping, or performing some other action.
Write a poem imitating "Love That Boy."

See  Poems to Imitate, to be INSPIRED BY

Some classes have read the poem "A Slice of Life" and written in response to it.

A Slice of Life

What's as confusing as last week's science lab?
Can be as sweet as sugar?
Then, sharp as a knife?
Comes quickly
But with no instructions on how to handle it?
Can take you up to the stars
Or throw you sprawling against a rock?
Just when you think you've got it figured out,
It takes an unexpected turn.
Those who have lived it
Either warn you about the dangers it brings,
Or tell you to live it to the fullest,
Perhaps you know what I am talking about.
Don't let it pass by without making a mark
Or saving a memory, because
It will only come once, and soon the opportunities,
The moments, the dreams
Will all just be a slice of your past
The piece of life that we call

Katherine T.

1.  Write quickly for 2-3 minutes about all that this poem brings to mind for you.
 2. Borrow one line from the poem and write again, this time focusing on that line, using it as the basis as a passage that will perhaps be poetic. 
3. Write about what adolescence has been like for you so far.



the transitional period between puberty and adulthood in human development, extending mainly over the teen years and terminating legally when the age of majority is reached; youth.
the process or state of growing to maturity.
a period or stage of development, as of a society, preceding maturity.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 26/29, 2010

March 26/29, 2010
Bring your science fiction or fantasy book-of-the-month club book to class.

More on subject/verb agreement:  students individually or in pairs work on finding the subject (getting prepositional phrases out of the way), and choosing the correct verb to agree with the subject. 

Bring your book-of-the-month to read.

More poetry --read more of (and write more based on)  Love That Dog  See the poems at 

Poems to Imitate, to be INSPIRED BY

American Fork Junior High Writer's Conference

American Fork Junior High Writer's Conference
Friday April 2 during A1 and A2
Guest authors: Annette Lyon, Melissa Rowley, Debbie Rowley

If you would like to go, write a brief letter (handwritten in pen or pencil is fine) to Ms. Dorsey telling why you want to go, and why I should select you to go.  Turn in your letter as soon as possible -- no later than March 30. 
I am able to select about 14 students out of my 200 students.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Writer's Conference

If you would like to go to our American Fork Junior High Writer's Conference in April, write a brief letter to Ms. Dorsey explaining why you would like to go and why I should select you to go.

We are looking for a limited number of students who enjoy writing, would like to improve their writing, and would be well-behaved audience members for our presenters.

Write that letter explaining why you would like to go and why I should select you to go, and hand it in by March 30. 

Poems to Imitate, to be INSPIRED BY

Core Target:  Students will identify main idea and emotion in a variety of poems.

Poems to Imitate, to be INSPIRED BY

 The Red Wheelbarrow

by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

“The Tiger” by William Blake
TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

 The Pasture” by Robert Frost
    I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
    I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
    (And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
    I sha'n't be gone long. You come too.
    I'm going out to fetch the little calf
    That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
    It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
    I sha'n't be gone long. You come too.

    The Lamb  by William Blake

    Little Lamb, who made thee?
    Dost thou know who made thee?
    Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
    By the stream and o'er the mead;
    Gave thee clothing of delight,
    Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
    Gave thee such a tender voice,
    Making all the vales rejoice?
    Little Lamb, who made thee?
    Dost thou know who made thee?

    Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
    Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
    He is called by thy name,
    For He calls Himself a Lamb.
    He is meek, and He is mild;
    He became a little child.
    I a child, and thou a lamb,
    We are called by His name.
    Little Lamb, God bless thee!
    Little Lamb, God bless thee!

    “Dog” by Valerie Worth
    Under a maple tree
    The dog lies down,
    Lolls his limp
    Tongue, yawns,
    Rests his long chin
    Carefully between
    Front paws;
    Looks up alert;
    Chops, with heavy
    Jaws, at a slow fly,
    Blinks, rolls
    On his side,
    Sighs, closes
    His eyes: sleeps
    All afternoon
    In his loose skin.

    Street Music” by Arnold Adoff
    T h i s    c i t y:
    t h e
    a l w a y s
               n o i s e
    g  r  i  n  d  i  n  g
    up     from     the
    s u b w a y s
    u n d e r
       g r o u n d:
    slamming from bus tires
    and taxi horns and engines
    of cars and trucks in all

    v  o  c  a  b  u  l  a  r  i  e  s
    hot  metal    l a n g u a g e
    c  o  m  b  i  n  a  t  i  o  n  s:
    as    p l a n e s
    o v e r h e a d
                 r o a r
    o r c h e s t r a
    of rolling  drums
    and battle blasts
                   my ears
    w i t h
    t h e
    a l w a y s
        n o i s e   of
    t h i s   c i t y:

    street    music.

    Love that Boy” by Walter Dean Myers
    Love that boy,
    like a rabbit loves to run
    I said love that boy
    like a rabbit loves to run
    Love to call him in the morning
    love to call him
    “Hey there, son!”

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

    March 24/25, 2010

      March 24/25, 2010
    -- Editing:  Subject-Verb Agreement

    -- Finish Shackleton for  B1(1:18),  B2  (1:20), A1.

    -- Poetry  --identify main ideas and emotions in poetry 
    We started reading Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, and imitated some famous poems.
    To the left is a photo of Sharon Creech's yellow dog.

    Here are the famous poems used in Love That Dog:

    Poems to Imitate, to be INSPIRED BY

    -- Receive Book-of-the-Month Assignment for March/April.   
    Sign-up as soon as possible.  
    Bring your individual book to read.

    Fantasy/Science Fiction Book-of-the-Month Assignment

    Due April 14/15 

    Sample for Part 2: 
    Sample Answer

        Veil of Darkness: Book One of The Earthsoul Prophecies
    by Greg Park is a fantasy novel. It is fantasy because of the setting and because of the magical aspects including strange creatures and the powers of many of the characters.
               It is set in a medieval-type world created by the author where the “Earthsoul” and  all life on that world are being threatened by evil beings – some from beyond death, and others corrupt mortals. 
        Evil beings have created fierce and frightening creatures such as the shadowhounds and the huge flying bat-like K’rresh.   On the side of good are the intelligent and deadly dolphin-like lumtars.
        The main character is a young man named Jase who is of the royal family, but has been raised away from the palace on a farm near a small village. Nevertheless, he has been trained in the use of weapons and other martial arts.
               His mother has special powers with making things grow, and as the book begins, Jase is discovering that he too has special powers, but his seem to be purely destructive ones.  Other good characters in the book use the powers of Ta’shaen to protect and heal and fight against evil.  The evil characters corrupt the same powers to destroy.
        Veil of Darkness is clearly fantasy because of the setting, because of the strange creatures that do not exist in the real world, and because of the magical powers that are used by many of the characters.

    Sample for Part 3 of the Assignment

    March 22/23, 2010

    March 22/23, 2010

    Editing Self-Starter: 
    Subject-Verb Agreement exercise taped into composition books, edited carefully, and corrected together

    New seating assignments

    We watched more of the Shackleton DVD.   B4 finished the DVD.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Term 4 Begins March 22

    Term 4 Begins March 22

    Targets for Term 4
    Word Analysis and Vocabulary Development 
    Identify the literal meanings and shades of meanings of words.

    Shades of Meaning


    Determine word meaning through definitions or explanation context clues.
    Review our commonly confused words and our prefixes and suffixes:

    Seventh Grade Confusing Words for Term 1 (and on) Spelling

    Prefixes and Suffixes from the Seventh Grade Core for Term 2 (and on) Vocabulary

    Comprehension of Informational Text 
    Continue to work on identifying and using external text features: headings, subheadings, pictures, captions, bolded words, graphs, charts, tables of contents.
    Continue to work on identifying internal text structures with their cue words and phrases: chronological, sequence, description.  

    Retell, paraphrase, and summarize  -- review and extend understanding

    Distinguish main idea and supporting details -- review and extend understanding

    For practice go to

    Comprehension of Literary Text

    Review elements of narrative and poetic text:
    narrative plot structure, character's traits, setting, figurative language (simile and metaphor)
    Continue to work on distinguishing  topic from theme
    identify main ideas and emotions in poetry 
    Continue to work on recognizing and reading various genres: Focus for March/April is on Science Fiction and Fantasy.  During April/May students will select from a wide variety of genres.

    Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

    Defining Fantasy and Science Fiction

    Writing to Learn
    Retell events in sequence -- review and extend understanding

    Summarize information -- review and extend understanding

    Connect text to self  -- review and extend understanding

    Extended Writing
    Determine Audience  -- review and extend understanding

    Determine Purpose  -- review and extend understanding

    Relate an event in chronological sequence with simple reflection  -- review and extend understanding

    Use sensory details

    Revision and Editing
    Unifying topic  -- review and extend understanding

    beginning, middle, and end with transitions
    tone and voice  -- review and extend understanding
    word choice
    varied sentence beginnings and varied sentence lengths

    grade level spelling -- review
    commas in a series -- review

    subject-verb agreement
    possessives -- review

    capitalizing sentence beginnings and proper nouns -- review
    end punctuation on simple and compound sentences -- review

    More on Inquiry -- review and extend understanding

    accuracy and relevance of information   -- review and extend understanding

    fact and opinion  -- review and extend understanding 

    avoiding plagiarism  -- review and extend understanding

    American Fork Library

    I just found out that the American Fork Library has a Mother-Daughter book club.  Find out more about it at

    Junior high students also might be interested in their Teen Thing Events and other services for young adults, including a YA summer reading program.  See

    I belong to an online teen book club I signed up for through the A.F. Library.  Every weekday I receive in my email about a 5 minute segment of a book written for teens.  After five segments of a book (about 25 pages), the service begins another book.  This gives me the chance to sample many books and find out for each if I'd like to read more.

    If you live outside the bounds of A.F. City Libary and have to pay to use it (which I did for many years), you could alternately pay about the same amount for access to the Provo and Orem libraries.  This works if you frequently visit those cities. 

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    Shades of Meaning

    Word choice is  an important trait of writing.  
    Words have both denotation and connotation.

    Denotation and Connotation 
    • Denotation refers to the literal meaning of a word, the "dictionary definition."¨ For example, if you look up the word snake in a dictionary, you will discover that one of its denotative meanings is "any of numerous scaly, legless, sometimes venomous reptiles having a long, tapering, cylindrical body and found in most tropical and temperate regions."
    • Connotation, on the other hand, refers to the associations that are connected to a certain word or the emotional suggestions related to that word. The connotative meanings of a word exist together with the denotative meanings. The connotations for the word snake  could include evil or danger.    

    “A thesaurus can be dangerous 
    in the wrong hands.”  

    Shades of Meaning
    Words have various intensities (strengths) and connotations.  When writing, we try to choose the word that best fits what we are trying to express.

    A warning from Be careful when using the thesaurus. Each word listed as a synonym for the word you're looking up may have its own unique connotations or shades of meaning. Use a dictionary to be sure the synonym you are considering really fits what you are trying to say.

    "Precision of language, please!" -- The Giver 
    What is the difference between "vast" and "large"? 

    Do you live in a "dwelling," in a  "house," or in a "home"?  The choice of word makes a difference. 

    Is the item you're buying "cheap" or "inexpensive"?

    Which would you want to be called?

    For another example of connotations, consider the following:
    negative   There are over 2,000 vagrants in the city.
    neutral    There are over 2,000 people with no fixed address in the city.
    positive    There are over 2,000 homeless in the city.

    All three of these expressions refer to exactly the same people, but they will invoke different associations in the reader's mind: a "vagrant" is a public nuisance while a "homeless" person is a worthy object of pity and charity. Presumably, someone writing an editorial in support of a new shelter would use the positive form, while someone writing an editorial in support of anti-loitering laws would use the negative form.

    Which word conveys a more favorable attitude. and which  word  carries a less favorable attitude?
     • refreshing – chilly
    • plain – natural
    • clever – sly • cackle – giggle
    • snob – cultured
    • cop – officer
    • skinny – slender
    • statesman – politician
    • smile – smirk
    • domineering – assertive

    Is this true?  A recipe is denotative; an advertisement connotative.

    How would you rank these from most positive to most negative?
    Group 1 Thin, slim, lanky, skinny, gaunt, slender

    Group 2 Aggressive, assertive, domineering, dynamic, pushy, forceful

    Group 3 Shrewd, egghead, bright, clever, brilliant, cunning, smart, intelligent, brainy

    If you were naming a sports team, which name would you pick?
    These are potential names for new professional athletic teams: Poodles Toads Gazelles Hippos Buzzards Snails Meteors Ferrets Glaciers Maggots Sloth Mosquitoes Sleepers Zeniths Mares Spikes

    Denotation is the literal meaning,  and connotation refers to the emotional weight of a word.

    Defining Fantasy and Science Fiction

    See this page on our wiki:

    Defining Fantasy and Science Fiction


    "Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot." -Neil Gaiman

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    March 18/19, 2010

    Finish up creating in your groups a test on Ice Story, and take the test.
    View the Shackleton DVD.

    Term end.

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

    Here are some suggestions for your fantasy or science ficition books:


    Alexander, Lloyd  –  The Book  of Three L770, The Black Cauldron L760, The Iron Ring L680, and others.
    Anthony -- Incarnations of Immortality; Xanth series L@750
    Asprin – Myth series, Thieves’ World Series    L710-980
    Babbit, Natalie – Tuck Everlasting   L770
    Banks, Lynn Reid – The Indian in the Cupboard L780, and others
    Barron, T.A. – Heartlight, The Ancient One L910, The Lost Years of Merlin (series) L770, and others.
    Beagle, Peter – The Last Unicorn and others   L820
    Bradbury, Ray  – Something Wicked This Way Comes L820
    Brooks, Terry – Sword of Shannara and others L830-1220
    Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold    L830
    New: Chabon, Michael – Summerland (500  pages)
    Collins, Suzanne -- Gregor the Overlander series
    Cooper, Susan – Greenwitch L830 , The Dark is Rising L920, Silver on the Tree  L900, and others.
    Cowell, Cressida-- How to Train Your Dragon  (Lexile: 990, recommended for ages 9-12, grades 3-5)
    Dasher, James -- The 13th Reality  (Science fiction)
    Donaldson, Stephen – Lord Foul’s Bane and others
    Eager, Edward -- Half Magic L830 (part of a delightful series)
    Eddings, David – any novel L800-900
    Farmer  – The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm  L660, The House of the Scorpion  (Science fiction)
    Feist, Raymond – Magician: Apprentice L940 (485 pages)
    Goldman – The Princess Bride L870
    Grahame – Wind in the Willows L1140
    Hale, Shannon -- Princess Academy, Goose Girl, and others
    Jacques, Brian - Redwall and others  L800
    Jordan, Robert - The Wheel of Time series
    Kendall  – The Gammage Cup  L950
    Kurtz, Katherine – Deryni Rising and others
    L’Engle, Madeline – A Wrinkle in Time L740, A Wind in the Door, etc.
    Lewis, C.S. – The Chronicles of Narnia L870-940 (fantasy), Out of the Silent Planet L1020  (160 p.),   Perelandra,, That Hideous Strength, and others. (scifi/fant)
    Lubar, David --Hidden Talents L630, True Talents L590
    McCaffrey, Anne – any novel   L910-1120
    McDonald, George – The Princess and the Goblin   L1030
    McKinley, Robin  – Beauty L970, and others.
    Mull, Brandon -- Fablehaven books and others
    Nix, Garth – Keys to the Kingdom, Seventh Tower, and others
    Park, Greg -- Veil of Darkness and others
    Pullman, Philip – The Golden Compass L930 and others
    Riordan, Rick -- Percy Jackson and the Olympians (and he has a a new series centering on Egyptian gods)
    Rowling, J.K. –  H. P. and the Sorcerer’s Stone L880 and others
    Sanderson, Brandon -- He has his own novels and has been selected to continue Jordan's  Wheel of Time series.  Try the Mistborn books.  The Rithmatist is a novel written for your age.
    Stewart, Mary – any novel   The Crystal Cave L960
    Stroud, Jonathan -- The Bartimaeus Trilogy begins with The Amulet of Samarkand  800L
    Swift, Johathan – Gulliver’s Travels   L1330
    Tolkien, J.R.R. – The Hobbit L1000, The Lord of the Rings  L860,810,920, any novel
    Ursu, Anne and Erin McGuire -- Breadcrumbs, The Real Boy
    Weatherill, Cat - Wild Magic (a re-imagining of Robert Browning's "The Pied Piper of Hamelin") L530
    Weis/Hickman – The Dragonlance series
    White, T.H. - The Once and Future King L1080, The Sword in the Stone L1120, and others.
    Yolen, Jane  – any novel above Lexile 700

    Inbetween Sci-Fi and Fantasy:
    Russell, Romina -- Zodiac

    Science Fiction

    Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy L1000

    Asimov, Isaac – any novel L740-1250

    Bradbury, Ray - The Martian Chronicles, any novel

    Card, Orson Scott - Ender’s Game and others. L780-910

    Christopher, John – Pool of Fire, The White Mountains, City of Gold and Lead L760-970

    Collins, Suzanne -- The Hunger Games series

    Condie, Ally -- The Matched series, Atlantia

    Coville, Bruce - My Teacher is an Alien L650, many others. My Teacher Fried My Brains, My Teacher Glows in the Dark L740

    Crichton, Michael – Jurassic Park, The Lost World L710,670

    Dasher, James -- Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds

    Dickenson, Peter -- Eva

    Farmer – The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm L660, House of the Scorpion

    Haddix, Margaret Peterson -- Turnabout L690

    Lewis, C.S. – Out of the Silent Planet and others (scifi/fantasy)

    Lowry, Lois – The Giver (some years this is a class book) L760, Gathering Blue L680, The Messenger, Son (just out fall 2012)

    Lubar, David --Hidden Talents L630, True Talents L590

    Philbrick – The Last Book in the Universe L740

    Shusterman, Neil -- The Everlost Series, Unwind, Downsiders, The Eyes of Kid Midas

    Sleator, William – Singularity L740

    Verne, Jules – Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea L1040,1080

    Wells, H.G. – The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man L1070,1170,980

    Westerfeld, Scott -- The Uglies Series, Leviathan Series

    Youd, Samuel (written under the pseudonym Christopher, John) -- The Tripods series: When the Tripods Came 760L, The White Mountains 920L, etc.

    See more below.

    The Always War -- Haddix

    Only for our reluctant readers with far- below-grade level lexile
    Applegate, K.A. , Animorphs  series 460L to 640L

    Note for Parents:   Many distopian novels, as with other novels, may be more appropriate for high school than for junior-high-aged students. For example, I believe the Hunger Games series is too "old" for seventh graders.  However, due to its great popularity, many, many of them  are reading it anyway.  I recommend that as parents, you read books along with (or before) your children.  Because different parents have different expectations for their children's reading maters, when I ask students to select an individual novel to read, I direct them to get parent approval as well as my own.  

    If you're looking for especially "safe" distopian fiction, look at the Among the Hidden  (Shadow Children series or at Phantom Tollbooth, or A Wrinkle in Time.  Matched by Ally Condie has received positive reviews from some who would censor many  books, as have the City of Ember books.

    Distopian:  Some may already be on the above lists.

    Examples of books you could read include 

    Hunger Games or other books in the series

    Uglies or other books in the series

    Matched or other books in the series (Crossed, the second book, just came out.)

    Gathering Blue or The Messenger by Lois Lowry (Some years we read The Giver as a class.)  

    Ender's Game or other books in the series

    Hidden Talents or True Talents by Lubar 

    Truesight  and others in the series

    The Last Book in the Universe by Philbrick 

    Tunnels or other books in the series

    City of Ember or other books in the series

    Leviathan  or other books in the series

    Incarceron or other books in the series

    Maze Runner or other books in the series

    Maximum Ride or other books in the series

    Among the Hidden or other books in the series

    Unwind by Neal Shusterman 

    Everlost by Neal Shusterman

    Eva by Peter Dickinson -- Go to  Ms. Dorsey's Summer Reading and scroll down to find a brief review of Eva.

    Related nonfiction link:

    The Adoration of Jenna Fox 

    House of the Scorpion

    The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm

    The Tripods Trilogy

    Bar Code Tattoo  or other books in the series  (Warning: Some "mature" content.)

    A Wrinkle in Time  

    The Roar 

    The Looking Glass Wars -- (a very different version of Alice in Wonderland -- very violent) 

    Birthmarked recommended by Mrs. Jones in the media center

    Blood Red Road  ? (I haven't read this one.)  (It has been recommended for those who loved Hunger Games.)

    The House of Power (Atherton Series)  ? (I haven't read this one.)

    The Sky Inside   ? (I haven't read this one.)

    House of Stairs  ? (I haven't read this one.) 

    Pendragon: The Reality Bug 

    Truesight by David Stahler, Jr.

     Recommended and Ridiculous:  The Phantom Tollbooth 


    Scott Westerfeld (author of The Uglies series) recommends this new book.   Below is his blog post about it.  However, I don't know yet whether it has stuff in it that your mom wouldn't like, so approach with care:

    Scored – A New Dystopian Novel

    Ridiculously Simplified Synopses (1) from Shelfari:

    • Which comes first? Your future or your friends?
    Several famous fantasy writers say that one of the  books that hooked them on fantasy when they were young was Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword

    From American Fork City Library Teen Book Club on November 10, 2013:
    ANOMALY by Krista McGee

    Start Reading today's book in HTML:


    Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds to
    live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is
    invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.

    Decades before Thalli's birth, the world was decimated by
    a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks
    to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. There they
    created genetically engineered human beings who are free
    of emotions in the hope that war won't threaten the world

    Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel
    emotions and a sense of curiosity she can barely contain.
    She has survived so far by hiding her differences. But
    then her secret is discovered when she's overwhelmed by
    the emotion of an ancient piece of music. The Ten quickly
    schedule her annihilation, but her childhood friend,
    Berk--a scientist being groomed by The Ten--convinces them
    to postpone her death and study her instead. While in the
    Scientists' Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous
    alliance, one strictly forbidden by the constant
    surveillance. As her life ticks a way, she hears rumors of
    someone called the Designer--someone even more powerful
    than The Ten. What’s more, the parts of her that have
    always been an anomaly could in fact be part of a much
    larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always
    guarded could be the answer she’s been looking for all
    along. Thalli must sort out what to believe and who to
    trust, before her time runs out.

    Another possibility: PETER NIMBLE & HIS FANTASTIC EYES and THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier
    Gr 4–6—About The Night Gardener:  Storytelling and the secret desires of the heart wind together in this atmospheric novel that doubles as a ghost tale. Irish immigrants to England, Molly and Kip make their way to the Windsor house in search of employment. The great house stands in the shadow of a menacing tree, which locals speak of only in fearful whispers. Despite her young age and the warnings of a local storyteller, Molly uses the power of her own words to secure work, but soon realizes that all is not right in the house. Constance, Bertrand, Penny, and Alistair Windsor each struggle with personal demons, and strange footprints appear at night. A malevolent spirit, the Night Gardener, haunts the estate, dooming its inhabitants with foul dreams while the tree grants wishes to entrap the recipients. Molly and Kip must face their own dark secrets to release the Gardener's hold and end his evil enchantments. Auxier gives readers a spooky story with depth and dimension. Molly's whimsical tales illustrate life's essential lessons even as they entertain. As the characters face the unhealthy pull of the tree's allurements, they grow and change, revealing unexpected personality traits. Storytelling as a force to cope with life's challenges is subtly expressed and adds complexity to the fast-paced plot. Readers of Mary Downing Hahn or Peg Kehret's ghost novels will connect with the supernatural elements and the independent child protagonists of Auxier's tale of things that go bump in the night.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

    A movie coming out soon:  Divergent