Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers


IMWAYR: A Little of This, A Little of That – Genres

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

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I’m trying something different for the weeks before school starts: a little of this, a little of that. I’m reading different genres and discovering new and upcoming books and having FUN reading! THIS is what I want for my students this coming school year. I cannot wait for them to dive into books of their choice that they WANT to read.

I’m reading and re-reading the books in my Book Love Foundation Summer Book Club bag. Up next is Me (Moth) by Amber McBride, which has the most interesting cover, don’t you think? And look at all those stickers!

I read Answers in the Pages by David Levithan and I will definitely introduce this one for Banned Books Week this year. This book hosts three stories, weaved together to tell a larger story about strength, activism, and bravery. Donovan is one main character – his mom has the whole town up in arms about a book that she deems inappropriate. In the meantime, the characters in The Adventurers (the title in question) have their conflicts, while Gideon and Roberto (classmates of Donovan) have their own book project going on at school. It’s fun to see the characters in the book AND the characters in the book’s book (you’ll see!) meld together. Read this! You’ll love another David Levithan book. I promise.

Next up: The upcoming Crash From Outer Space by Candance Fleming (October 4, 2022, by Scholastic Focus). I love Ms. Fleming’s work! My granddaughter is into aliens and UFOs right now, so this is perfect for sharing with her. I’m sure my students are going to love it, too!

I’m trying more fantasy fiction, too. Tangled Up in Nonsense by Merrill Wyatt sounds like a good one! Thank you to the author and McElderry Books for sharing (coming November 29, 2022).

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?

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Book Review: Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius Kellner is a teen who does not fit in at school, or really much at home. He describes himself as a Fractional Persian, with Mom born in Iran and Dad in America. Darius and his father share two things in common: a love of Star Trek, and depression. They both take their medicines every day and try to do the best they can, but sometimes life gets in the way.

When Mamou calls and tells Mom that Babou’s brain tumor is making life worse, the Kellner family packs up and travels to Iran to help. What will Darius do now? How will he cope? He’s never really been around his grandparents — only talked to them through the computer monitor. And he doesn’t speak Farsi, although his little sister, Laleh, does. He doesn’t have many friends (just the teasing bullies from school), so leaving isn’t that much of an issue for Darius, but that only makes things more uncomfortable for him. Will there be friends in Iran? Will his family treat him differently once they are in another country?

Darius narrates his own story in this wonderful tale of family and friendships, travel, and learning to appreciate family customs and origins. I loved the voice — the dialogue among characters, and also the way Darius talks directly to the reader along the way.

Darius the Great is Not Okay is a fabulous book you’ll want to think about and savor. You will fall in love with Darius and his entire family, and you’ll find that even with hardships, home is the best place to be.

Note: This title just won the 2019 William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (YA category). Darius the Great Is Not Okay, written by Adib Khorram. The book is published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, Random House.