By Varian Johnson
Lexile level 650
It’s not often that I read a book and think I know these kids, they’re my students. But that’s exactly how I felt when I met Varian Johnson’s intelligent, racially diverse, creative characters in his new novel To Catch a Cheat. The book is a quick, fun read that will keep readers guessing until the end. Will Jackson Greene and his friends be able to prove that contrary to what the video shows that it wasn’t them who flooded the school? Who did flood the school and why? And of course, last but not least, will Jackson and Gaby kiss or not? Read the book to find out.
By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Lexile level 580
It’s December. Scuffed folders, dull crayons and worn erasers have replaced September’s shine, and students may be feeling overwhelmed with classroom expectations. It’s a great time of year to talk about perseverance and gratitude. The War that Saved My Life lends itself well to both topics. Even though the main character, Ada, suffers from an abusive mother and a physical disability, she perseveres and pursues the life she’s always wanted. Furthermore, the book is set during World War II. So, it provides an opportunity to reflect and give thanks that we are not enduring the hardships of war. Lastly, this is a great book for emotionally mature readers who hanker for complex themes yet struggle with higher level vocabulary and complex sentences. Savor this treat!
Whether it be for one specific student, a small group of kids, or a whole class, finding a "just right" book makes the teacher's and the students' day.