About This Blog

Bet you can guess: Who's the writer and who's the (young-at-heart) 6th grade teacher?

Here on my author site, I've handed over this blog to Louise Hopping (@​HoppingReads), my sister, my two-time coauthor, and a veteran 6th grade teacher.

For decades, Louise has evaluated books for tweens (ages 10-12.5) for quality, classroom suitability, and kid appeal. She adds only the best titles to her locally famous FREADom classroom library.

Her blog is aimed at anyone keen on putting good books in the hands and minds of tweens.
—Lorri (the writer, on the left)

Louise, age 11, in her favorite big, green chair.

ARCs and Review Copies

Authors, editors, publishers: YES, you are cordially invited to submit ARCs and review copies of books for tweens (ages 10 to 12.5), fiction and nonfiction, English language only.

Louise only reviews books that she recommends and can add to her classroom lending library—meaning the book must be available in a print edition.

Send materials to:
Louise Hopping, Grade 6
c/​o St. Michael School
11311 Hubbard
Livonia, MI 48150

All the material on this website is copyright © 2000-2017 by Hopping Fun Creations. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to visitors to download, print, and use the "Freebie" materials for personal or educational use only. Reproduction, reposting, sales, or distribution in any form or media is prohibited without written permission.


Return of the ARC (Advanced Reader Craze) Club!

May 7, 2017

Tags: reading incentives, advanced readers, ARC

I've already taught my class how to quickly evaluate books based on the cover art and copy. Let the reading frenzy begin!
As a blogger of books for tweens (ages 10.5-12, specifically), I spend my summers reading ARCs—Advanced Reading Copies—of upcoming books that aren't quite published yet. I try to sneak in a title or two during the school year, but time is precious when lessons are in session.

My goal is to find fresh books to add to my locally famous FREADom Classroom Library, a highly selective set that sixth graders can check out at will. I can't go by reviews or word-of-mouth; I have to read the books myself for levels of maturity, quality, appropriate themes, and tween appeal.

Falling behind a couple of years ago, I decided to take a risk and entrust this job to my best readers. I decided to give them books, unread by me, to evaluate for their peers. As I set out the crisp titles, to my glee, a READING FRENZY broke out!!!

This year was no different, except that the principal herself got into the act. As before, the club expanded well beyond my initial list of good readers as word got around that tweens could be the first ones in school to read an unpublished book and perhaps discover the next Harry Potter or Wimpy Kid.

Students can choose any title from the pile, and I ask them to write a one-paragraph report—not necessarily a book report or review, per se—but a report that details why I should or shouldn't include the book in my library. Will their peers like it? Does it include anything "dicy"? (We talk a lot about that in my censorship unit.) It is well-written and engaging? Are there certain types of readers who will like it best?

I've already received my first report, from Abby, a fast reader.

She gives a thumbs up to The Wrong Train, by Jeremy de Quidt:

I chose The Wrong Train to try something new. I was rewarded with a suspenseful, spooky, and bone-chilling story full of horrors and ghosts like you never would have imagined. The switches between the train station and the stories are so smooth that you feel like you are in the story.

de Quidt is the new Mary Hahn. The stories are new but feel like they've been around for years. They are so interesting to read that you just don't want to put the book down. I would suggest it to anyone who dares to read it!"

This report reads more like a book review, which is fine, but others are careful to point out any incidences of swear words or other red flags, to be sure that I know about them. That usually kicks off a healthy discussion about censorship, maturity, and how to draw that line. Here's a roundup of scores and reports from a previous ARC club.

With about a month to go in the school year, I now have a giant head start on my summer reading list, as the soon-to-be rising seventh graders a helping me rule out some books and zero in on others. I am curious to hear what my principal reports about the ARC she chose!

Stories & Games

Born-Digital Products
Science and nature games, activities, animations, and more for ages 6-9.
A digital story told in narrated episodes, interactive journals, and social media.
Mayan Mysteries is a narrative video game (Dig-It Games) in which students join archaeological adventures, solve puzzles, and discover an ancient culture.
Children's Books
Read the sad, moving tale of a peace-loving leader who lost his land, many of his people, and his life-long fight to keep the peace.
The true science adventures of Diane France, forensic anthropologist. NSTA Selector's Choice, AAAS/SB&F Subaru finalist, starred reviews!
Adriana Ocampo found her path to science adventure through space-traveling robots and crashing asteroids! (FREEBIE science quizzes.)
The Body as Evidence (Autopsies) and Crime Scene Investigation!
Outdoor fun for 6 to 8 year olds.
Tornadoes! and Hurricanes! are my two best-selling books with 1.6 million sold!
A must-have card game set for English language (ESL/EFL) and language arts teachers and tutors. (FREEBIE ESL materials.)
My top selling game book!
Lively games and activities about grammar, vocabulary, and dictionary skills.
Great American History Games, 15 Primary Source Activities (plays, games, readings, and more) and more!
Race from Earth to Mars, an orbiting target, by fixing malfunctions and answering intriguing science questions. Endorsed by astronaut Jack Lousma.