It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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I feel like I’m late to the party for A Snicker of Magic (Scholastic, 2014), Natalie Lloyd’s debut middle-grade novel. Even though it’s only been out for a little over a month, A Snicker of Magic has gotten oodles of love on Twitter and kid lit blogs. This love is well deserved. 

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A Snicker of Magic is one of those “good stories” that “take your heart someplace else.” Felicity Pickle, a 12 year old who “sees words everywhere,” is the heart of Lloyd’s story. After years of being “sweet gypsies,” Felicity, her mother, and sister arrive in the tiny town of Midnight Gulch, Tennessee. Tired from years of wandering, Felicity is ready to stay, but fears her mother will become restless and want to leave again at any moment. Midnight Gulch “used to be a secret place… because the people who lived there had magic in their veins.” But the magic is gone. Felicity is curious about why it left and where it went. With the help of her new friend, Jonah, and a colorful cast of characters, she does her best to find the magic and return it to the town. 

Felicity is a poet who knows that she holds “the finest magic, words worth spinning, stories worth telling.” Hope has perched in her soul, and she uses her gift with words to heal the pain caused by a century of anger and misunderstanding. Lloyd has spun a story filled with magic, a story well worth telling. A Snicker of Magic is a good choice for a read aloud in fourth or fifth grade and will likely inspire many students to become word collectors and poets themselves.

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Educational Leadership, the monthly journal published by ASCD, always has timely articles by leading researchers, and the April issue is no exception. Devoted to “Writing: A Core Skill,” contributors include Carol Jago, Mary Ehrenworth, Kelly Gallagher, Penny Kittle, and more. I’m still reading, but can see already that this issue is a valuable resource. The articles I’ve read offer a succinct introduction to many elements of good writing instruction, including using mentor texts, teaching craft rather than formulas, types of writing, and more. I plan on sharing Jeff Anderson’s contribution, “What Writing Is & Isn’t,” with my colleagues. This article is the perfect springboard for a discussion about our understanding of writing instruction.

Don’t forget to visit Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers to find out what other people have been reading lately. Thanks, Jen and Kellee, for hosting!

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5 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

  1. This book, by far, has been my favorite book of the year. I’ve book talked it so many times, everyone knows. One thing I found very interesting – I had 2 4th grade classrooms use it as a read aloud after me giving it rave reviews but afterwards they both said it doesn’t work as a read aloud. I was shocked. They said its a book that needs to be seen. All of the lovely words that Felicity sees is harder for kids to see without seeing the way they are written in the story. After I thought about it for awhile it made sense! It was an interesting observation I had not expected! Have a great week!

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  2. I’m late, too, Catherine. I have it, but still not read it, too many others on the stack! But soon! Thanks for the article recommendation. I’ll see if I can find some of them online!

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  3. What a wonderfully detailed review, Catherine. We still don’t have a copy of this book in our libraries. I hope we get it in the next few months or so. 🙂 I love a book that inspires young children to be word collectors.

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