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Books for Boys Who Will Soon Be Men

“Books for Young Men Who Don’t Want Anyone to Know They Read (Or Know How To)”
A list compiled by teacher, cousin, friend, Kelly Love

Warning: Some of these books would be rated PG-13 if they were movies; in some cases rated R. They are tough, honest, and real. They dig deep. They are written in beautiful language, mostly by men, for young adults to be. I wouldn’t hesitate to let my sons read any of these, so take that for what you may.

These are not in any order of preference; these are some of my favorites, and those that some of my guy students have secretly told me they loved. If you want further information, please email me:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
http://www.fallsapart.com/truediary.htm

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Oh, Mr. Gaiman, you are amazing.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. From Death’s perspective – a personification of triumph of the will.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
This story still holds up today – replace Soc’s and Greasers with Crips and Bloods, if you like.

Slam by Nick Hornby. An honest counter-point to the movie Juno, in my opinion. What’s it really like to be a teenage father?

Schooled by Gordon Korman
Talk about a fish out of water story – poor Cap (Capricorn) Anderson must make his way through middle school after being home-schooled by a hippie grandma – yikes. My students (and I) LOVE this book!

Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman
What would you do if you were a nice kid in a bad family? A really bad family?

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli

Hero Type by Barry Lyga–Kevin did a really brave thing – or did he?

Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper

Monster by Walter Dean Meyers

Inside Out by Terry Trueman
What happens when you are 16 years old, have schizophrenia, and can’t get the help you need?

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Lightening Thief (#1) to the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (series)
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/imageviewer.asp?ean=9781423101475
The classic “journey of the hero” that all people respond to – archetypes that we all recognize, and the hero struggles, as we all do – this is a fantastic series.

New Found Land by Allan Wolfe: a tale of the Lewis and Clark expedition that made me finally understand why Sacajawea was so important and how a dog thinks.

And always: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: the ultimate teen angst story.

Looks promising:
Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini

On the darkside of fantasy:
Ironside, Tithe, or Valiant, by Holly Black: dark fairy stories, with twists – if you need to cleanse your palette after the Twilight series (it’s a guy thing)

I recommend this book to one and all.
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Hunting Great Books: Desperately Seeking Substance

I’ve been on a treasure hunt, a quest, a  mission, an operation, and a charge to seek out books that will help us all answer our burning questions in life. To boldly use my insomnia (inability to sleep peacefully) to explore the websites’ nooks, crannies, bogs, blogs, under logs, and kissing a few frogs to seek beautiful, bold books for myself, and my students, to read.

To say that there are a plethora of young adult book blogsis an understatement. And, one trend I’ve noticed is many of them promote what I would consider a tendancy toward chick-books: Gothic, romantic, swooning, with plenty of lip gloss and angst. Not that there’s a darn thing wrong with any of those things. However, I’m still on a quest for more choices, better organizations of genre, and targeted searches. I may just have to take control of my own destiny and make this blog work a little harder.

 There are so many ways to choose a good book to read. The question isn’t whether or not you should be reading, of course you should. You must. You read to expand your brain so the world doesn’t take advantage of you, but you can control your world. You read to develop better life skills, a personality, you read to get a life, for goodness sake! Let me know how you find good books to read.

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Drop me a line from time to time…

Well, that was more of an emotional last few days than even I anticipated. Seeing all of my 8th grade students go through a magical transformation from children to young adults right in front of my eyes was amazing. I am so proud of each and every one of you. Please keep in touch, and let me know how your journeys are going.

With love,

Mrs. L

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Burning Questions on a legal pad…

Someone grabbed a legal notepad and started writing some questions. I’m not sure whose these belong to, but I wanted to capture them:

1. How is the war effort going in Iraq? Are we winning or losing?

2. Is there life on other planets?

3. Why do people live and then die?

4. How are movie special effects made?

5. Why is there racism?

6. Why did Thomas Jefferson own slaves?

7. Why was earth created?

8. Why are some people taller than others?

Here are some of the resources they jotted down:

Iraq-Dick Cheney speech

My War: Killing Time in Iraq

Google search: Iraq

Wikipedia

News

Life on other planets?

SETI

Drake’s Equation

A Brief History of Time

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Burning Question #2,679: Who Owns Your Truth?

While researching some links and more information for a book that a student loaned me (thanks, A.N.!), So Far from the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Kiwashima Watkins, I came across a site that made comments which indicated that what the author wrote wasn’t true. The author wrote the book many years after the events (about forty years later) and it’s her memoir of when she was a young Japanese girl living in Korea during WWII.

What do you think? Who owns your truth? If you remember it slightly wrong, does it matter?

http://www.alisonshomework.com/aalit/watkins/index.html