Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Rain Reign

I haven't read an Ann M. Martin book since chomping my way through the Babysitter's Club books 20 years ago! To be honest, I thought she was a pseudonym, similar to Carolyn Keene. It was fun to see her name on the cover of Rain Reign, which one of my students was reading. I decided to read the book when Sophie finished.

Rose Howard is a highly functioning autistic child who has an obsession with homonyms. She lives with her impatient father and a sweet dog named Rain, whom her father found for her. Life isn't easy for Rose, but having Rain helps, until Mr. Howard lets the dog out in a superstorm and he doesn't come back.

Most notable in Rain Reign is the peek into the mind of a child with Aspberger's Syndrome. Every time there is a homonym in the book, its variants are written in parentheses. For example, choose (chews). As an adult reader, I was able to skim over these frequent interruptions, but I wonder about their effect on developing readers. I imagine it would get pretty annoying, and am eager to ask my student about it when we return from winter break.

It's not a groundbreaking book, but will appeal to the dog lovers in my 5th grade classroom. I also think it is helpful for kids to get an idea that the inside of everyone's heads are not the same.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Girl With All the Gifts

I've been on a hiatus as I transition to a new school and my youngest students ever...fifth grade! We are on winter break and I am unwinding with a book that would never be okay for my new students, The Girl With All the Gifts. Post-apocalyptic worlds, vengeful humans, and cruelty are not in the typical middle grade books. Save this novel for the high school students in your life, but definitely be sure to share it. It was intense, addictive, and a quick read.

There are so many surprises that I would hate to spoil, so I will just say that the ending was perfect and fitting.