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READALICIOUS! Books for Tweens

My FREADom Library Rises Again!

Sometimes books just grab you, and you can't help but peek inside. A big *thanks* and a *hug* to my classroom library summer work crew.


Two years ago, I started this Readalicious! blog with a post about the ritual of rebuilding my FREADom classroom library every school year. It's a daunting task of unpacking, sorting, shelving, and cataloguing that never fails to remind me of why I love books.

This year, I am grateful for the help of one of my incoming sixth graders and two former students. These motivated girls worked doggedly for hours! I’m going to have the most organized library I’ve ever had!

They started with the easy stuff—series books and folklore. Then, they put my biographies in alphabetical order by subject and my historical fiction in timeline order (not that the books will stay that way for very long!).

When they got to the nonfiction section, which is growing in response to the common core initiative, progress slowed a bit. They separated books into categories: U.S. history, presidents, science, geography, ancient history, world history, wars, and miscellaneous. I loved listening to them discuss and debate which books belong in what category.

In the meantime, I kept busy at the book repair and weeding station. Deciding which of my old "friends" to jettison in order to make room for new titles is very, very difficult for me. Among the new acquaintances are three books I highly recommend. Read More 
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The Cardturner, by Louis Sachar

That's my Uncle Bob, playing a family game of Michigan rummy. My mother's about to hammer down the ace of spades (left).


When I heard about THE CARDTURNER: A NOVEL ABOUT A KING, A QUEEN, AND A JOKER, the new book by Louis Sachar (Holes, There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, and Sideways Stories from Wayside School), I had to have a copy for my own bookshelf, let alone the classroom lending library.

Playing cards and board games was a central part of growing up in the Hopping household. To this day, whenever we get together, some game or another eventually comes off the shelf.*

THE CARDTURNER quickly pulled me into the not-so-great life of 17-year-old Alton Richards. What kind of a name is Alton, anyway! Alton drives a beat up car, has no money, no job, and suddenly, as summer vacation begins, he has no girlfriend.

On top of all that, his mother insists that he drive his very wealthy great uncle Lester to Bridge Club four times a week. Bridge is a "boring" card game that Alton knows nothing and cares nothing about. The truth, as Alton well knows, is that Mom wants him to be nice so that old Uncle Lester will remember them in his will.

Alton has been dealt a pretty crummy hand and is feeling a little "played" himself! Even so, he copes by maintaining a dry sense of humor.

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