Sunday, June 22, 2008

Spring Read Thing 2008 Wrap-Up

Summer is now here in full swing, complete with the afternoon showers and the hot and muggy weather. This Spring I had decided to read a whole slew of books for the Spring Read Thing 2008.

The Bully by Paul Langan (DONE!)

The Gun by Paul Langan (DONE!)

Until We Meet Again by Anne Schraff (DONE!)

Blood Is Thicker by Paul Langan and D.M. Blackwell (DONE!)

Brothers In Arms by Paul Langan and Ben Alirez (DONE!)

Summer of Secrets by Paul Langan (DONE!)

The Fallen by Paul Langan (DONE!)

Shattered by Paul Langan (DONE!)

Search for Safety by John Langan (DONE!)

Caitlin #1: Becoming Me by Melody Carlson

Caitlin#2: It's My Life by Melody Carlson

Caitlin#3: Who I Am by Melody Carlson

Caitlin#4: On My Own by Melody Carlson

Caitlin#5: I Do! by Melody Carlson

On the Loose by Jenny B. Jones

In Between by Jenny B. Jones

The Coffin Quilt by Ann Rinaldi (DONE!)

Amber Morn by Brandilyn Collins (DONE!)

The Restorer by Sharon Hinck

The Restorer's Son by Sharon Hinck

The Restorer's Journey by Sharon Hinck

Unfortunately, time managed to get away from me and other reading commitments superseded this list. However, I am not beating myself up over not finishing like I did last year--which is quite an improvement!

Bluford Series:

The books by Paul Langan and Anne Scraff are part of what is called the Bluford Series. Right now it is a series of thirteen books about teens in an urban setting. Most of the characters are black or hispanic and come from "rough" backgrounds or lives. These books are great for reluctant or low-level readers, and are touted as low level-high interest books--which I can attest that they fit that category. In fact, we couldn't keep them on the shelves in my last school library--AND most of them disappeared without being checked out. Needless to say, with that much popularity, I just had to read them to find out what the big fuss what all about.

I will say that it is a series and that it has a definite order, but you can hop into the series at any time and still know what's going on. Anne Schraff's books seem to be a little more light-hearted and deal with family and relational issues. She even mentions God a few times and has undercurrents of faith in her storylines. Paul Langan's books have a little bit of faith through in them, but they are more rough and coarse for their readers. He has a lot of gang activity and fighting in his books, and most of his characters are males dealing with "teenage male issues." He also throws some profanity in, but not too much since it's written for teens. Each book is relatively short, and for a good reader--will take about thirty minutes to an hour to read. If you have reluctant readers--have them read some of these books. After all, they're only a dollar each from Townsend Press. :)

The Coffin Quilt by Ann Rinaldi

I realized after I started reading this book that I think I've read it before. However, it may be that I just know the story so well, that it only seems that way. You see, this book is about the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. I'm related to "Devil" Ance Hatfield and have heard many stories from my grandma about his life and "the feud."
It was kind of neat to read about a coffin quilt. (I think that part is the fictional part of the story because my grandmother didn't know anything about a quilt.) Basically, it's a quilt that has little coffins around the outer edge with the family members' names and birth dates embroidered on them. When that person dies, a death date is sewn on and the coffin is moved to the center of the quilt. It's kind of like a family tree through a blanket.
In any case, this quilt is a source of contention throughout the story, which is told by one of the teenaged McCoys. After all, it was her sister that ran away with that "awful" Hatfield boy and continued the feud between the families. (It actually started with pigs being "stolen," which is mentioned in the book, but most people talk about the two teens running away to elope as the source of the feud.) This is a great book if you're interested in reading a historical fiction book. Ann Rinaldi is known for the research she does before writing her books for teenagers.

If you leave a comment on this post between now and Sunday, June 29,2008, I will enter you to win my copy of this book! Right now I can only open this contest up to people in the US, but if you live elsewhere and are interested in giveaways, please let me know. I will post the winner on Monday, June 30, 2008.

This is the last book in her Kanner Lake Series, and I think it's one of the best! It includes all of the characters we've met in the series and they're meeting to celebrate with their very own about-to-be-published author. Unfortunately, evil invades the town again and sets this celebration on its end. Hostages are taken and shots are fired. You'll have to read the series and this book to find out who makes it out alive. It's a great ending to a wonderful series and I'm really sad to have to say goodbye to these characters. The writing has made me feel like I'm a part of Kanner Lake and now they're moving away. (Yes, I do tend to get wrapped up in books, but that just means the writing is superb!) Definitely grab a mug of tea and keep the doors locked while reading. You never know who's watching....

I will eventually get to the other books on my list because I want to add them to our school's library when we return in August, but there are a couple of other books that I want to finish between now and then as well.
I hope you had a wonderful time during the Spring Read Thing 2008. Let me know what you read!


Katrina said...

I'm so glad you're not beating yourself up! You got quite a bit of reading done this spring, so in my book, you did a great job!

The Dynamic Uno said...

Thanks Katrina! I had a lot of fun and look forward to participating in the fall--if you decide to do it again.