It’s Monday and Here’s What I’m Reading #IMWAYR:February 1st., 2016

Visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to participate in the kidlit version of this weekly meme.

One of my New Years’ resolutions is to read more graphic novels, primarily because my students are really drawn to them.  Both strong and struggling  readers in my class seem equally drawn to this genre, and I see such a variety of topics and genres being encompassed within the realm of graphic novels.


a bag of marbles.jpg

bag of marbles 2

A Bag of Marbles is based on the true story of a family caught in Nazi-occupied Paris, and having to spend the war years in a desperate journey to safety.   For ten year old Joseph and his brother Maurice, danger begins the day their mother stitches yellow stars on their jackets.  Soon, their beloved Paris becomes too perilous for their family, and their father gives them 10,000 francs to travel all alone to the south of France, which is a free zone. They will find safety and their older brothers, their father assures them, until such time as it is possible to live freely and safely in Paris once again.  The two boys manage to make their way  to Menton, on the Italian border, but not without many a close call.

I was fascinated by the many twists and turns of this journey, where the boys encountered kind people as well as collaborators quite happy to turn them in.  And, even when safety was at last at hand, events suddenly changed and the situation would often be dire once again.  I thought Vincent Bailly’s artwork did so much to bring the settings and emotions to life.  This would be a wonderful book to share with students in my class, who would be so interested to know what it was like to be Jewish in Nazi occupied France, a time of great peril for these citizens.  The graphic novel format allows the reader to “see” so many perspectives all at once – which, I think, could lead to many seeds for discussion and written responses.

Emily Carroll’s Through The Woods was simply terrifying.  There were six stories in all, strange, mysterious and spine tingling, just as the jacket copy promises.  I was so glad that I chose to read these on a sunny afternoon with my dog Sophie lying near, alert to any danger, and I kept her close at hand for hours after.  Each story is beautifully crafted, and although you the reader just KNOW that nothing good is about to happen…you are compelled to keep reading.  The illustrations are even more terrifying, and I still have visions of these racing around in my head.  Not a good thing.

Some kids will LOVE this, and others will run screaming from the classroom.  You, the teacher, will definitely have to make the call as to which student to share this book with!





8 thoughts on “It’s Monday and Here’s What I’m Reading #IMWAYR:February 1st., 2016

  1. I think we have a copy of A Bag of Marbles in our library, but I haven’t read it yet. there is just no way in hell that I would ever read Through the Woods. I can’t handle scary at all. That said, I have those readers who love this stuff. What age do you think it is best suited for?

  2. I look forward to A Bag of Marbles, know it will be good. I thought Through The Woods was beautifully done, but you’re so right, terrifying. The appeal for graphic novels is strong. Isn’t it great to see so many good ones being published? Thanks, Tara.

  3. I have not been drawn to graphic novels but like you am pushing myself to explore them. The Bag of Marbles sounds great but think I will stay away from Through the Woods until a sunny summer day on the deck.

  4. I didn’t know either of these titles. I’m not sure I can read Through the Woods. I usually avoid creepy, but it sure sounds like one several of my students would enjoy.

  5. I remember seeing A Bag Of Marbles on your FB page and marking it – as it looks like the kind of graphic novel I would really love reading. I know what you mean by Through the Woods – it is fascinating and riveting.

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