Paul Acampora’s I Kill The Mockingbird is great fun to read. Here’s the cover copy:
When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic. They plan controversial ways to get people to read the book, including re-shelving copies of the book in bookstores so that people think they are missing and starting a website committed to “destroying the mockingbird.” Their efforts are successful when all of the hullabaloo starts to direct more people to the book. But soon, their exploits start to spin out of control and they unwittingly start a mini revolution in the name of books.
This was a fast paced story, with many clever twists and turns. The three main characters were literate and sophisticated, but managed to come across as funny and likable – very believable high schoolers with a bent for intrigue and a true love of books. Once the “plan” gets going, I found myself completely caught up in the story, wishing for its success, but also worrying about its unintended consequences. An 8th. grader borrowed my copy on the very first day of school, returning it two days later with a big thumbs up, but I’m finding that my sixth graders have difficulty becoming engaged with the story – so perhaps this is a book for the upper grades.
I discovered Peg Kehret this summer, first through her wonderful memoir:
in which she details the terrifying experience of contracting polio as a child, and her experiences with treatment and recovery. This will be one of our mentor texts for our writing unit on memoir, and I can’t wait to share it with my students.
Kehret has also written a number of middle grade books, fast paced adventures in many interesting locales. Escaping the Giant Wave is set on the Oregon coast, here’s the jacket copy:
Thirteen-year old Kyle thought spending a vacation on the Oregon coast with his family would be great. He’d never flown before, and he’d never seen the Pacific Ocean.
Kyle’s perfect vacation becomes a nightmare while he’s babysitting his sister, BeeBee. An earthquake hits the coast and starts afire in their hotel. While fighting their way through smoke and flame, Kyle remembers seeing a sign at the beach that said after an earthquake everyone should go uphill and inland, as far from the ocean as possible. Tsunamis, giant waves that often follow earthquakes, can ride in from the sea and engulf anyone who doesn’t escape fast enough.
Can Kyle and BeeBee outwit and outrun nature’s fury to save themselves from tsunami terror?
I loved the way this story moved along quickly, establishing a sense of place and characters deftly so that once I began reading I could not put the book down! And I can say the same for I’m not Who You Think I Am:
here’s the jacket copy:
Who is the strange woman in the white car watching Ginger? She appears at Ginger’s birthday party, at her school, and in front of her house, but Ginger has never met her before. When she confronts Ginger, she reveals a secret that will change Ginger’s life. And when the woman’s confrontations become threatening, Ginger is forced into a crisis of loyalty and honor—a crisis from which her family might never recover.
Suffice to say, that this was another gripping story that I read in one sitting, too! Both of these books are relatively short, and are perfect for those reluctant readers who need to be drawn into the marvelous world of good books and reading with a tantalizing story they will immediately fall into. Both of these books have been in constant circulation in my classroom since they were book talked on the first day of school – that is success!