My fifth grade Book Lunch Bunch is responsible for most of the stretching I do as a reader during the school year. There seems to be a hole in my reading history of children's chapter books during the last two decades for various reasons, and reading with the Lunch Bunch is helping me fill in that hole book by book.
A good example of this is Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, a Newbery Honor book originally published in 1987 and one of our current reads. It' not my usual genre, but I'm glad it was the students' choice this month. The main character, Brian Robeson, is thirteen and trying to sort out the life changes that come with the months-old divorce of his parents. His father has summer visitation rights, and Brian is flying out to Canada to see him when the single-engine plane crashes in the wilderness. With little more than a hatchet, gifted by his mother for the trip, Brian must survive on his own, waiting for an improbable rescue.
In The Book Nook, I've been reading The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. The students are introduced to a "regular girl" and her best friend--her dog. The girl gets a "wonderful idea", and attempts to make it a reality. She keeps trying and trying...but the results don't quite align with the idea in her head. There are some great verbs to use as mentor text while she is working! The problem-solving process and portrayals of perseverance, frustration, and coping skills are great for open-ended questioning on the lessons we can learn from Spires' book.
It's Monday; what are you reading with your students this week?