Category Archives: Uncategorized

Review: DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD by Jennifer Mason-Black

Bluesman Robert Johnson wasn’t the only musician to go down to the crossroads and make a deal with the devil. In Jennifer Mason-Black’s Devil and the Bluebird, 17-year-old Blue Riley takes her guitar and meets up with the red-haired woman … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: FUTURE SHOCK by Elizabeth Briggs

Elena Martinez remembers everything, but that doesn’t help her much. Her mother is dead, and her father is in prison. She lives in a variety of foster homes. Her tattoos might be a hint that she is tough and fearless. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Review: THE MONKEES, Head, AND THE 60s by Peter Mills

Before we get into this book, maybe we should consider the question “What is / Who are The Monkees?” One way to answer the question is that The Monkees are four musician-actors: Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, and Davy … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Quick Reviews of Seven 2016 MG/YA Books

Here are a few titles that I’ve enjoyed recently. Those most likely to appeal to older students are near the top, with those geared toward younger readers toward the end. The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner “It’s like I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Today in Cubs-Mania

As one who lives in perpetual Cubs-mania, I should have been ready for this. I can’t focus. I can’t concentrate. Today I can only think about a baseball game that will be played later tonight. And I’m not alone. What … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: HILLBILLY ELEGY: A MEMOIR OF A FAMILY AND CULTURE IN CRISIS by J. D. Vance

J. C. Vance made it out. Raised in the hillbilly culture of Appalachia and a transplanted hillbilly culture in Ohio, Vance had the help of generous grandparents who force fed him education, and he eventually ended up at Ohio State … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Six 2016 Nonfiction Picture Books for Your Consideration

Here are my thoughts on a few nonfiction picture books from the first half of 2016. These reviews first appeared on Goodreads in slightly different form. I hope this post is helpful to those choosing books for young readers. Pink … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Fun Podcasts for English Teachers

As part of my self-directed professional development, I subscribe to numerous podcasts, but these are the five that provide regular combinations of fun and information for my English teacher soul. The links here point to the iTunes page for each … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Top Ten Merle Haggard Songs

When I heard earlier today that Merle Haggard had passed away, I felt just terrible. I loved that guy. The best way I can think of to celebrate Merle is through his music, so what follows here is a collection of videos … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: IT’S COMPLICATED: THE SOCIAL LIVES OF NETWORKED TEENS by Danah Boyd

The ways teens use social media spawn a lot of myths. Here are a few: • Using social media makes teens vulnerable to bullies and sexual predators. • Many teens are addicted to technology. • The “digital native” generation has … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment