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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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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

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Wrapping Up a Year…My Gift to You

As I begin to write out the last two weeks’ worth of lesson plans and agendas, it strikes me that I really don’t want this to be quite over. Yes, I can hear you all now, that you can’t WAIT to get out for summer vacation, not have to worry about a darn thing, and mentally and emotionally prepare yourselves for high school. Well, I’m looking forward to summer break, too. But it shouldn’t feel like this permanent boundary, that once crossed, you can never return. I haven’t taught 8th grade students before, and while I was teaching 7th grade, I had a pretty good idea that I would see most of you again. Now that you’re off to high school, this is when you will really need a friend, a mentor–I just wanted to let you all know I’m still here for you, so please email me, let me know how you are, and ask questions.

Some of the things we’ll be finishing up are:

  • Writer’s Portfolio: In my overly ambitious attempt, I don’t think it will be possible to bind and laminate your writer’s resource guides, but you will have your Writer’s Portfolios, and those are still heavily graded.
  • Make sure all missing assignments (blue sentence packet, set 1 and set 2 of the grammar vocabulary words, your burning questions summer reading list) are all completed by June 12. Grading begins then, and I must have my grades done before school is out.
  • We will conference over the Writer’s Portfolios:
  • We still need to add poetry
  • We still need to add a small expository piece

So, write, write, write! Get your assignments done! Don’t worry, be happy!

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World Religions

Think of your “five” themes/words that describe the religion you’re studying. Here are some helpful links:

Buddhism:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddhism.htm

Judaism:

http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm

Islam: Muslim

http://www.islamreligion.com/

Daoism/Taoism

http://www.geocities.com/tokyo/springs/6339/Daoism.html

Native American Spirituality:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/nataspir.htm

Australian Aborigines:

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aboriginal1.html

Christianity:

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aboriginal1.html

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