|Designed by Jarret J. Krosoczka|
Welcome to the return of
Last year we launched Summer Throwdown Teachers vs Librarians. We had a friendly competition to see who could read more, the teachers, headed by Jillian (Heise Reads) and Brian (Wyz Reads) or the school librarians headed by Sherry (Library Fanatic) and Kathy , er me! (The Brain Lair).
We had a ton of fun and Jarrett J. Krosoczka (StudioJJK) made a cool logo for the librarians T-shirts! It was great! And each team won a round.
This year we are MIXING IT UP! Jillian and Brian, the brains behind the throwdown, changed some things in their classroom and we want to see how that works on national scale.
So this year, you need to beat the number of books you logged last year! Yes, it’s YOU vs YOU! How many books did you read last summer? (AKA I know what you read last summer – new movie idea)
Check out the details:
- Sign up on the spreadsheet (link below) and put your twitter handle and reading goal
- We will add up all these individual goals and that will be our overall target
- The spreadsheet will have a “countdown” in the upper left
- We will also try to beat last year’s one-month total of 2,873.25 books read
- Reminder to help with goal setting: we averaged 17.8 books per person last year
- Book counting just got easier: if you read or listen to a book, any book, it counts as one book. So keep in mind what kinds of books you plan to read when setting your personal goal.
- Spreadsheet SIGN UP HERE!
Kittscher, Kristen. Wig in the Window, The. HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2013. 368p. $16.99, 9780062110503.
About the Book
Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game of spying on their neighbors, but when they stake out the home of bizarre middle school counselor Dr. Charlotte Agford (aka Dr. Awkward), they stumble across a terrifying scene.
Or do they? The girls are convinced that Dr. Agford’s sugary sweet façade hides a dark secret. But as they get closer to the truth about Agford, the strain of the investigation pushes Sophie and Grace farther apart. Even if they crack their case, will their friendship survive?
Perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Wig in the Window is a smart, funny middle-grade mystery with a Rear Window twist.
After following the blog tour for Kristen Kittscher’s debut novel, The Wig in the Window, you now want your own copy! Guess what? I’m giving it away, giving it away, giving it away now (apologies to the Red Hot Chili Peppers)!
|“Never underestimate Nerds.” “I wouldn’t dream of it, nerd|
Genre:Mystery (real and not real)
Cover Appeal: A good representation of the girl’s personalities. Youngish with the character’s drawn more cartoonish than graphic. Will appeal to 4th and 5th and some early 6th graders.
“I’m like…Mr. Miyagi and Yoda rolled into one.” Michael Scott, The Office (substitute this book is for I’m)
Grace is all about the spy business. She’s got the clothes and the lingo down. Sophie considers herself more of a shy-retiring type who needs Grace to bring a little action into her life. The girls have upped their spying game by sneaking out of the house at night and investigating FBI bulletins, pretending that the people in the neighborhood represent wanted criminals and are just hiding out in their town.
Things take a turn towards the serious when they accuse someone of murder and then find themselves being watched. To Sophie’s horror, she also now has to spend MORE time with the suspect. Resentment starts eating away her and Grace’s friendship.
Were they ever true friends or was she just someone Grace used and pitied?
I was drawn in by Sophie and Grace’s quick banter. They seemed to know and love each other. There was lots of eye-rolling and compromise. Just like a normal friendship. Using the Walkie Talkies gave them an additional sense of being connected even though Grace was homeschooled, so didn’t share in Sophie’s daytime world.
The friendship gets strained when Sophie finds a new friend in Trista. Even though Grace has friends from Chinese school and piano lessons, she’s never had to compete for Sophie’s attention. Soon Trista has Sophie questioning herself and Grace’s relationship. Not as a way to get Sophie to herself though. She just calls it as she sees it.
The mystery, a little gruesome and over the top, was well-developed but didn’t seem like the heart of the story. That was the girl’s friendship. As such, I was baffled by how much the parent’s trusted Dr. Agford, the school counselor. I understand that they were stressed at work, but the strong girl characters we were getting to know, should have stemmed from loving, concerned, and involved parents. Sophie’s parents didn’t even pretend to listen to her side of the story and they never confiscated her spy equipment, not even the rope she’d used to climb out the window. While Grace’s homeschool teacher conveniently leaves the picture, meaning Grace could be at home alone during the day.
On the mystery-side, I was able to follow along with Sophie and Grace’s spy work and uncover the culprit but I liked that Kittscher threw in a couple of red herrings. Though I guessed the identity of the white truck owner, it took some doing to figure out rest.
“At one point she went after the school librarian. The librarian! Could there be a more noble soul?”
“…on the bright side, our school counselor is not a fugitive.”
“If I’d known dropping teeth into drinks could so effectively remove Jake from my presence, I would have made it a more regular practice.”
It was refreshing to read a book about two twelve-year-old girls who sounded like two twelve-year-olds. Many middle grade novels make the characters sound too young while the young adult books cast them as precocious. When Grace joked that Sophie and her should trade families, I laughed because my daughter has a friend who’s similar to me and they joke about trading all the time.
I give this 4 out of 5 stars for the mystery and the realistic portrayal. It lost a star due to the lack of parenting. Though the SMILE organization almost brings it back to the top, the confusing love interest struck me as unneeded and brings it back down to 4.
Tune in tomorrow when Kristen Kittscher guest stars on The Brain Lair!
Click the button in the sidebar for more tour stops!
Want to use The Wig in the Window in a group setting? Here’s The Wig and The Window Discussion Guide!
Find Kristen around the internets:
I am not sure what I think! I like it but so many things happened in my personal life this month that reading was pushed aside. Which meant having to scramble to do my committee reading. Which meant this fun reading felt like less fun. I don’t think it’s the book. Things should start easing up since I’m practically done with work. I’ve had weeks like that – weeks where I felt like “it’s not the book, it’s me” felt real. I hope that now that things are calming down you’ll be able to relax and enjoy.
Our school year is coming to an end. The students in my TV Studio class did some really nice book trailers. Despite the spelling and grammar mistakes, I can see how their video skills have improved. It will be sad to say goodbye to them, but I’m so happy to get back to full-time in the library! I look forward to having more time to partner with teachers in the fall!
Saturday, June 8th, 2013 at the Tivoli Theater! Sign up here!
And at the end of this week – two of my favorite things come into play! The 48 Hour Book Challenge (#48hbc) and Summer Book-A-Day (#bookaday)! YIPPEE! This is how I mark the end of the school year and the beginning of summer reading!
This year the 48 Hour Book Challenge runs from 7 am Friday, June 7th until 7 am Monday, June 10th. You can pick any consecutive 48 hours in that time span to read as much as you possibly can! This year’s challenge will be hosted by Ms. Yingling and Abby The Librarian.
Last year I met my goal of reading 20 hours and donated $20 to Reading is Fundamental! This year, as noted above, I’ll be taking some time to see JUDY BLUME so I won’t have as much time to read. Will have to figure out my goal by Friday!
This Saturday will also kickoff my 4th year participating in Donalyn Miller’s summer reading challenge. One goal is to encourage students to prevent the summer slide by setting an example for them. Another goal is to catch up on books you’ve been meaning to read or to find new books to introduce to students in the fall. Either way it’s win-win! And all books count! Children’s books, adult books, picture books, graphic novels, memoirs, narrative nonfiction, committee reads, and mind-candy! Just read!
My break officially runs Saturday, June 8 – Sunday, August 11, 2013. That’s 65 days which means my Summer Book A Day goal is to read 65 books!
You can read several books in one day or no books on some days. It’s an average! No pressure! That is the beauty of this challenge. It’s only a challenge against yourself!
Happy Reading! And, look for the return of the Summer Throwdown – School Librarians vs Teachers reading challenge in July!
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This week we discuss the cover. I’ll talk about why I wanted to read this one and Maria has provided us with links to her Connect the Pop guest post she did at School Library Journal (SLJ) about The Hero’s Journey, my current obsession. We hope to discuss Summer of the Mariposas through the eyes of the Heroine’s Journey. Stop by Maria’s Melange to get a more detailed look at the cover.
Why I Wanted to Read This
Last week, Maria and I had a great conversation about the hero’s journey and she mentioned the “heroine’s journey” which I’d never heard articulated. She really sparked my interest! I’m excited to learn more about this from her as we work our way through Summer of the Mariposas.
LINKS OF NOTE
Maria’s post for School Library Journal’s “Connect the Pop” series on using fandom to teach the Hero’s Journey – includes links to simplified HJ page and video.
One day. One day, I’m going to go to BEA! Now that I’ve said it out blog, I need to make this happen. Maybe 2015? Anyway, PW just published their annual Children’s Galleys to Grab and I’m super-excited for the following titles. That means, if you come across any of these galleys, send them to me. PLEASE! I PROMISE TO LOVE YOU FOREVER! And not in a Robert Munsch crazy way. Maybe.
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
I love Sanderson’s work. He’s fantastic at worldbuilding! I’ve read the 1000+ pg Way of Kings twice will
dive into it once more to get ready for Words of Radiance. I also loved Warbreaker! I pre-ordered Rithmatist and am now adding Steelheart to my want list! It sounds awesome. People get super human powers adn decide they don’t like humans anymore. They are called Epics and they will do what it takes to keep man down. In come the Reckoners who want to set things to right, especially one who needs revenge.
Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Do you like epic fantasy with hints of romance? Then don’t miss Chima’s Seven Realms Series! You can read those then start on the Heir series to be ready for Enchanter Heir this fall!
The Eye of the Minds by James Dashner
We used Maze Runner for our first One Book, One School venture two years
ago and students are still reading Dashner’s books. It’s a great word of mouth title. I know the holds will be heavy on this one! This one’s all virtual reality hacker style.
Broken by Elizabeth Pulford
I don’t know this author nor this publisher but the synopsis reminds me of Inkheart except with comics. She is trying to find her brother. IN HER HEAD! This is a graphic novel-expository mashup. Looks fantastic.
The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman
GORDON KORMAN! I have read many of Korman’s books and this past
December, some of our students had the opportunity to Skype with him about his latest, Ungifted. He was great, even with our spotty technology.
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
The sequel to Raven Boys! The sequel to Raven Boys! Give it to me.
The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer
Oh.My.Word. Have you read House of the Scorpion?? I handsell that as often as
possible. I recently bought the ones with the new cover. And now there is going to be a sequel. That title alone has the power to make me happy. But, I won’t settle for anything less than the book itself.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I’ve already read Eleanor & Park twice. The second time I listened to the audiobook, which I recommend you hear soon! I also read Rowell’s post on Why Park is Korean. Touching. This one is about sisters growing up and growing apart and trying to find your own self. I can hardly wait. Get it for me so I don’t have to wait long.
A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchinson
A retelling of Hamlet. I’m always on the lookout for retelling to give
my students more incentives to check out classics beyond what’s required in the classroom.
Wow, those are just a few of the books I want. Must go begging. Also, did you notice the blue??? Is that the official color of scifi/fantasy for Fall?