Also read a couple of great new books of African American poetry. FREEDOM'S A CALLING ME, by Ntozake Shange, is the story of slaves, escaping north to Canada on the Underground Railroad. A little two graphic for the elementary set, but perfect for middle or high school.
I, TOO, AM AMERICA by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier, is a gorgeous new one poem picture book. Look at the book, then read Collier's illustrator notes, then read it again.
A STICK IS AN EXCELLENT THING by Marilyn Singer is a primary grade poetry collection celebrating the joy of playing outside. Lots of great examples of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition for teaching, and a whole bunch of poems that would just be plain out fun to perform.
I'm in the middle of two novels. ABOut AVERAGE is Andrew Clement's newest (I think) about a fifth grader who just wants to be recognized as good at something. Only about 25 pages in, so I can't really say much yet.
I'm also reading MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN for my book club. I had been looking at this book for months, but never checked it out simply because the cover just kind of gives me the creeps. It's a genre new to me- an "illustrated novel." At the beginning of the book, the main character, Jacob, gets a phone call from his grandfather, who is in the early stages of dementia. The grandfather insists that someone is trying to get into his house. I'm not going to say anymore because I might spoil the book, but so far I'm thinking it would be a great read aloud for a high school classroom. I have to finish that one before the 20th, so it's on the top of my pile.