I was going to write a review of The Girl Who Drank the Moon for today, but it was reviewed wonderfully yesterday on the Nerdy Book Club blog by two of my nerdy friends. Stacey Reidmiller, who teaches 4th grade in Ohio, is the most creative and organized teacher I've ever met. I want to go back in time and be a 4th grader in her classroom. Donalyn Miller is a former teacher and author of The Book Whisper and Teaching in the Wild, as well as co-founder of the Nerdy Book Club. I take every opportunity I can to hear her speak because I learn so much.
Read their review here: https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/the-girl-who-drank-the-moon-by-kelly-barnhill-reviewed-by-stacey-riedmiller-and-donalyn-miller/
In her Scholastic Book Fairs’ #ReadingSummit session called "Dead Presidents and Whales," Donalyn discussed genre preference and avoidance, asking us first to reflect on our own reading lives.
One of the (sub)genres I avoid is high fantasy. As a child, I loved mostly realistic fiction and historical fiction. I read everything by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. I LOVED The Babysitters Club. My favorite two books, Charlotte's Web and Anne of Green Gables, led to my middle child's name, Charlotte Anne.
As a teen, I read all Stephen King, all the time. Now, I read about 60% children's books, 35% YA and 5% books published for grown ups. Harry Potter is awesome, of course, but I do not like much else in the high fantasy realm. The worst experience I had in the past year was when my friend, Benji Martin and I read The High King for our Newbery Pie blog. This was the last book in a 5 books series; I was confused for the majority of the book.
One of the most important reminders for me from Donalyn's session is that we have to read the books our students read. How else are we going to have authentic conversations about books? If you only read the genres you prefer, are you only going to discuss books with students who like the same books as you do?
Donalyn recommended I read The Girl Who Drank the Moon when I shared that I avoid high fantasy. Fortunately, I picked up an ARC from Nerd Camp, although I had preordered it already. I may avoid some genres, but I never fail to buy buzzworthy books. Reading them is another matter! This was not a book I struggled through, and I was grateful it was summer so could stay up as late as I wanted reading. I loved the characters, became lost in the story and read it way too fast! As a mother, I weeped at parts of it. When my published copy comes next week, I need to smell the paper and read it again, taking more time to appreciate the language. I also need to read The Witch's Boy and The Mostly True Story of Jack, currently sitting neglected on my bookshelf. Thank you Kelly Barnhill for killing my genre avoidance and Donalyn Miller for (in the words of Colby Sharp) being awesome!
Amy's genre that she avoids: science fiction. I recommend that she read the HILO series and Red's Planet.
My favorite part of Donalyn’s presentations? Book recs! Check out:
Don't forget to look for The Girl Who Drank the Moon when it releases on next Tuesday!