I think I tend to start "summer reading" when summer vacation is soooo close that my mind is already there, even if my body is still working the school year. This was the "summer reading" post I wrote May 31, 2008, in anticipation of summer vacation. I then blogged about my Twilight reading marathon in subsequent weeks while I taught the year-end portfolio project. But I read very little during that ACTUAL summer vacation.
So I have started "summer reading" frenzy - Percy Jackson and the Olympians series a few weeks ago, then read and wrote review for The Picnic Basket about The Baseball Card Kid (my review is in the comment section) last week, and (drumroll please) my latest obsession, Nancy Farmer's The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm. It's awesome young adult science fiction, reading and content level probably grade 9 and above, in my opinion. (I can see more mature 8th graders reading and enjoying it. More on appropriateness later in this post.) Farmer's web site has interesting autobiographical information related to the author's background and writing career. I'm going to try to read more of her books, like The House of the Scorpion.
Literally, for 2 days, I could not stop talking about The Eye, the Ear, and the Arm to anyone who paused to listen. Past few years, I've know about the book, but I had a hard time saying the title all in one breath and in the right order. Apparently, when I think about something for 48 hours, I say it pretty well! The story is set 200 years in the future, in Zimbabwe, when robots serve those who have money. The title characters suffered mutations from plutonium waste near a nuclear facility, and they use their "special" skills to form a detective agency. They are good-hearted and intelligent people but professional inept detectives who consistently fall steps behind 3 kidnapped children. Farmer's focus on children (and adults) who persevere through hard times shines through the 3 children's ingenuity, resourcefulness, and devotion to each other.
My school librarian friend (also my carpool buddy - aren't I lucky?!) and I have discussed whether to include this or other Farmer titles in next year's Battle of the Books at our school (grades 6, 7 & 8). Eye, Ear, Arm incorporates traditional Zimbabwe history and cultural (fascinating) and explores good vs. evil themes (with kidnapping, implied animal/human sacrifice, spiritual possession, etc. that may be more appropriate for more mature young adult readers). Librarian friend and I concluded that we're not interested in including Ear in the Battle. This book reminded me of how I gorged science fiction and fantasy novels as a teenager, some of which were probably over and above my "maturity" level (i.e. Dune series, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Piers Anthony), haha. (I'm a classic example of the "underground reader" as per The Book Whisper Donalyn Miller's classification.)
I might as well read as much as I can while I'm living the "summer reading" dream! The good news is I'll never run out of material :) I wish y'all happy reading anytime!