My Favorite Summer Read

book cover

Do you ever get super excited when you finish reading a book, and it joins your “Favorite Books of All Time” list??? That is the feeling I had yesterday when I finished reading the Newbery Award winning book The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (yes, that name may sound familiar…she wrote the Animorphs series with her husband, Michael Grant). I read this book in about two days, as I sat at my daughter, Mari’s, state swim meet. Although the format of the book made me think the book would be a quicker read, I found myself frequently pausing to appreciate every part of the story, savoring each word. The fact that this story is based on the true story of a the Shopping Mall Gorilla named Ivan made me even more interested.

See this link for real images of Ivan.

This is a story about Ivan, an artistic silverback gorilla who lives in captivity in the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He’s pretty happy with his life at the mall because he is surrounded by his friends Stella (an elephant), Bob (a dog), and Julia (a girl whose dad is the night custodian at the mall). When Ruby, a baby elephant, joins the animals at the mall, Ivan sees life through different eyes…and he begins to think that maybe a change is in order for everyone to find true happiness.

My Post-It notes sure got a workout on this read. I was continuously flagging words, sentences, and situations that grabbed and moved me. Mari’s Gramma Jan was at the swim meet with me, reading her own book (not Ivan, though), and noticed all the Post-It notes I was using. “Wow! That must be a pretty good book,” she said to me. It was more than pretty good, Gramma Jan. It was incredible and memorable! See more for yourself by visiting the official website at .


This book appealed to me on so many levels. I marked many well-written sentences and paragraphs which I felt were great for writing models (look out incoming 5th graders! You’ll be seeing many of these in class this year.) Parts of the story that I thought needed reflection, discussion, and extra consideration were flagged. Anything that I thought was worth a prediction, a connection, an inference were also flagged. As the picture shows, this book is packed with many amazing points to ponder…a perfect book to read, to learn from, and to love.


July Bloggers’ Challenge!!! Who Is Up for It???

Summer Reading

Hi, Summer Readers! I am finally settling into some great summer reads and reading routines…how about you? Every morning, after I go for my run, I come home, grab my bottle of water and my book, and I spend some quiet time reading outside in my favorite chair. That’s one of the best times of the day for me to steal reading! I hope you’re finding good times during your day to read.

I just finished reading a couple of fantastic books. The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, “Magic and Other Misdemeanors” (Book #5). I’d give it a 5-star rating, especially because Michael Buckley gives us some more insight into the Scarlet Hand and its master. I have a great prediction as to who I think the master is…but I won’t be a spoiler and say. The other good book I just read was given to me by my very dear friend, Miss Shammas. It’s titled “Small Medium at Large” by Joanne Levy. I’d give it a 4-star rating, and I’d recommend it to girls going into junior high. I loved it because it was about a girl, Lylah, who can talk to ghosts…very high interest to me!!!

I have heard from many of you sharing what you’re reading, making awesome book recommendations, and commenting on what our other bloggers are doing…I can’t tell you how many smiles you have put on my face by telling me about your reading experiences. I know even more of you are out there having some great reading experiences, and I want to hear from YOU, too!

So…here’s your challenge! You can meet the challenge by doing one or more of the following:
1. I would love it if you could get a friend and/or family member to comment on the blog, sharing what they are reading or commenting on other blog entries.
2. Share some word games that you’ve played this summer…any will do! Are you playing word games like Scrabble, Bananagrams, or have you found any good word game apps that I need to try???
3. Spend some time reading to or with someone. (This is something I need to do more of…I have some great book recommendations I think my daughter NEEDS to read, and my son has to read “The Odyssey” by Homer this summer for one of his AP classes next year.) I promise to share if I get some reading time with them…will you share your experiences with me?
4. Have a Book Swap with some friends/neighbors. This is a great way to trade good books for other good books. It’s like a party where books are the guests of honor!
5. Have you been able to steal a little reading time each day this summer? Comment on when and where you are making time to read.
6. Keep reading and keep posting comments, recommendations, etc. You are the inspiration in summer reading for me and for others!

I can’t wait to see who’s up for the challenge…will it be you??? I HOPE SO!!! Happy reading:)