It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s been a while, but I’ve been thinking a lot about adding to the “What Are You Reading Monday?” links. Thank you to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for giving book lovers this opportunity. I’ve again been participating in my summer reading challenge, trying to read a book each day. I’ve been successful so far, and you can see my progress on Goodreads. For now, here are the seven books that I’ve read this week:

Readicide by Kelly Gallagher

This book outlines the problems in the classroom that are turning students into non-readers, such as too much emphasis on standardized tests and over-teaching classic literature. It also offers solutions to these problems, such as close reading strategies and an emphasis on independent reading in class. Gallagher has written a book that is a good companion to Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller.

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

When four Grade Six students come together to compete in an academic competition, their teacher can never quite explain why she chose to combine this terrific group. Told from the perspective of each of these four students and their teacher, this book is a pleasant read as it teaches acceptance and companionship despite differences.

Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray

Set in the Middle Ages, this book tells the story of Adam, the son of a wandering minstrel who loses both his father and his dog and must fend for himself for months in various villages surrounding London. The book was a little slow in parts, and had no definitive climax, but it gave great descriptions of life during the 1300’s.

Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

This book describes a young girl learning more about herself and her family while on vacation at her grandmother’s seaside cottage. It is a wonderfully calm and earnest read for those who enjoy realistic fiction.

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Billy Miller is about to start Grade Two. Throughout the year he will encounter a misunderstanding with his teacher, an annoying classmate, a wonderful yet frustrating younger sister, and a patient mother and father. This book serves as a great introduction to chapter books for young readers.

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

Orphan Hattie has been bounced around from one distant relative to another, until she decides to try to settle a land claim in Montana that was left to her by an uncle she never knew existed. This book gives a good view into what life was like for pioneers in 1917, as well as giving insight into how World War I affected the homefront.

Squish: Super Amoeba by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm

In the first graphic novel of the series we are introduced to Squish, a small yet courageous amoeba. Squish wants to do the right thing and protect his friends, even if it means getting eaten by Lynwood, the amoeba bully. The humour is often a little too simplistic for adults, but this would be a good book selection for emergent readers in upper elementary and middle school.

I’ll keep reading, and try to post some more of my book selections next week.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?



I’ve been back at school from my Maternity Leave for the past five weeks, and am now on my last week of Winter Break. I missed my students, they appeared to have missed me as well, and I have returned with new books to share and new ideas to implement both in the classroom and on this blog.

I have been looking at this weekly link-up for a while, and have finally decided to participate. I have decided to start a reading challenge with both of my classes in the new year, and am taking the opportunity over the winter break to tackle my extensive to-read list. Here are my selections from the past week:

Torn Apart: The Internment Diary of Mary Kobayashi, by Susan Aihoshi

This book is part of the Dear Canada series. Mary Kobayashi is living in Vancouver on the eve of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7th, and the book chronicles her experiences as a Japanese Nisei both on the west coast and in the British Columbia internment camps. I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second half, as I did not know most of the hardships Japanese-Canadians had to endure in Vancouver before they were all sent east into the BC interior. The second half of the book did not give me much new information, but only because I have visited Internment museums in New Denver and Kaslo with family friends and former residents of the internment camps. However, I would recommend this book to students living on BC’s west coast, as it gives a unique perspective to a time in BC’s history that deserves discussion.

Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Some of the girls in my class have been looking for new dystopian novels to read, and I have been trying to help by reading a few selections recommended by our school librarian. Life As We Knew It is unique because it shows the very beginning of the apocalyptic event that would lead to survival in a new world. A meteor hits the moon and knocks it closer to Earth’s orbit, causing horrific tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Miranda and her extended family must figure out how to survive in these conditions, with no electricity, freezing temperatures, and food supplies running low. If it is possible, I both liked and disliked the book because it was so real. Pfeffer completely brought me into Miranda’s world, and I finished the book very quickly, but it left me uneasy because I like to be a little bit more separated from my dystopian novels and this situation seemed all too likely. Still, it might be a good suggestion for the students who are devouring dystopian novels at a rapid pace.

A Desperate Road to Freedom, by Karleen Bradford

This is another book from the Dear Canada series. I think I liked this book because it discussed the Underground Railroad and how former slaves made it to Canada to live and work, which is a part of Canadian history I knew almost nothing about. Julia May Jackson and her family decide to run from their masters in Virginia, and eventually make it to Owen Sound, Ontario to start their new life. I liked how the issues of racism were addressed in this book, as Julia still had to contend with prejudice as a free person in Canada. This would be a good book to introduce to students as they study 19th century Canadian history.

Boy: Tales of Childhood, by Roald Dahl

This book is a re-read for me, but again I thoroughly enjoyed Roald Dahl’s recollections of growing up in England in the 1920’s and 1930’s. His short chapters are filled with the warmth and humour that we are so used to in his fiction stories, and I loved seeing how some of the ideas for his stories got their start as real life recollections. I plan on using some of his experiences for reading lessons this year.

Going Solo, by Roald Dahl

This book continues with Dahl’s life experiences after school, as he works for the Shell Company in East Africa and then joins World War II as an RAF fighter pilot. I do not usually like reading war stories with long descriptions of fighting, but Dahl managed to keep my interest as he related his experiences fighting the Germans in Greece, Syria, and Palestine. I plan on recommending this book to a few of my students in the new year to see if they appreciate the action and storytelling as much as I did.


I am both anxious and excited to start 2014 with a heavy emphasis on independent reading in the classroom, inspired by Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer. Any book recommendations for improving my classroom library would therefore be appreciated.

Old Challenge Complete, Newbery Challenge Beginning


This summer I tried the reading one book a day challenge, just to see if I could, and it turns out I can. Sixty-two books were read over July and August. The best part was that some of this number were children’s books that I read with my son. He’s obviously too young to understand what I was reading, but the cuddling as we flipped through the pages together provided some great memories. Here are a few of my summer favourites:


The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

Can Ivan, a gorilla who since childhood has been in a small zoo at an arcade, honour his friend’s last wish and help a baby elephant named Ruby to freedom? The 2013 Newbery Honor Award winning book is easy to read, poignant, and memorable.


Hold Fast, by Blue Balliett

Early’s father has disappeared, and now Early, her mother, and younger brother are forced to leave their home and live in a shelter. The problem of how to save Early’s father will keep you reading, but I particularly liked this book because of the honest and sometimes heartbreaking portrayal of shelter families.

The Franny K. Stein series, by Jim Benton

The Stein family home is quite normal, except for a small room in the attic. It is here where Franny K. Stein, genius mad scientist, conducts her brilliant experiments. I have read five books in this series so far, and have been greatly amused by Franny’s thinking as she attempts to solve typical friend and school problems with her ingenious devices. This series would be great for Grades 2 – 4.


Tsunami!, by Kimiko Kajikawa

The story is simple enough, as an old, respected farmer living high on a hill attempts to warn his small village about an impending tsunami. But what really made this book for me are the illustrations. Ripped paper in a variety of textures creates gorgeous and dynamic pictures, plus a brainstorm for me about creating art for the classroom.

The Giver, by Lois Lowry

I had somehow missed reading this book during school, and I am so glad I gave myself a chance now. This novel is so brilliantly written that I went from thinking “Oh, maybe Jonas’ society isn’t so bad” to “OK, that doesn’t seem right” to “Oh no! Oh God, No! What are you doing?” in the time it takes to read approximately 150 pages. The only downside is I’ll now have to find time to read the rest of the books in the series.


Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, by Laura Amy Schlitz

If you teach the Middle Ages, just make this book part of your library. As a history major and a general history buff, I loved how Schlitz made the characters in her short plays relatable and endearing while still providing so much information about the time period.


I have now given myself a new reading goal, with no deadline. I am attempting to read all of the Newbery Award and Honor books. I have procured a list, and have scanned it to cross off any of the novels that I have already read. Some of the novels, like Ramona Quimby, Age 8, I think I will have to read again because I cannot remember the plot. Others, like A Wrinkle in Time, I may have to re-read to see if I like it any better the second time around. I’ll also have to overcome the challenge of finding all these books, in particular the novels from the 1920‘s. However, so far this challenge has been rather enlightening. By choosing to read books based on this one criteria, I have been exposed to a variety of plots, characters, and experiences. I have also noticed that many of the award winners are realistic fiction, which is a genre that I don’t naturally pick up, so I feel rewarded in that I have more books to recommend when asked what students should be reading. I am hoping to post updates about my progress, or, if you wish, simply go to my goodreads account to see my recent reading accomplishments. Also, if you like charts, learn more about the Newbery Award.

It’s So Much Work, But That’s Why We’re Here



Have you ever been reading a book about helping children, and as you go along you start to have the sinking feeling that the book’s advice is something you should already be doing in the classroom? I had that feeling recently as I was reading It’s So Much Work to be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success, by Richard Lavoie. In his book, Lavoie examines a variety of learning disabilities that students experience, and how these difficulties can negatively impact students’ lives outside the classroom. He states that while many schools and teachers focus on academic assistance for these kids, most children are far more concerned with their social status and how their learning issues can isolate them from their peers. I admit that I have been one of those educators who was primarily concerned with helping students with learning disabilities reach their academic potential. I think I assumed that if these students felt more confident in the classroom, their self-esteem would enable them to be more capable in social situations. If they did need assistance finding friends or navigating the rough waters of middle school, I would help them in the same way I would help any other student in my classroom. However, Lavoie has helped me to see that students with learning disabilities have unique needs, and that my assistance for their social difficulties needs to be specific. For example, if a student has trouble picking up on social cues, tone of voice, or body language, he can have great difficulty understanding why his peers might be frustrated with him. I can help by spending one-on-one time reviewing a particular situation and leading him towards insight as to why the friend is irritated. I can then give him a similar hypothetical situation to see if his gets the point, and ask him to behave differently if a similar issue arises throughout the week, as well as schedule a follow-up meeting to see if he followed through on our conversation. I can also help him to discover the “hidden curriculum” in school, where he will learn the rules of the school that the students create, such as which doors he needs to enter after lunch and how students typically wait at the canteen. Lavoie offers practical advice to both parents and teachers who see a child suffering through social issues but are unsure of how to help. I know that when I go back to school I will try to implement some of these ideas. It is important to make all students feel comfortable in the classroom, and in middle school that means teaching them the social skills that they will need to feel comfortable and confident in the eyes of their peers.

7 Great Reads for Canada Day


It’s Canada’s 146th birthday today, and in celebration, I thought I’d write a quick list of my favourite Canadian books. This list is in no way exhaustive and is in no particular order, but is more of a compilation of titles and authors that come to mind.

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Of course this book must be included. The classic tale of orphaned Anne going through all the trials and tribulations of life in an idyllic Prince Edward Island setting. I remember liking how much Anne worked to make life as she wanted it to be, even with her many setbacks. It’s no wonder that this book has stood the test of time.


Shattered, by Eric Walters

This is such a powerful book about how those who have never been on the front lines can be affected by wartime atrocities and must ask what they can do to help. Walters has a frank writing style that makes you feel as if you are the main character, listening to Jacques describe his time as a member of the Armed Forces in Rwanda. This is a novel that would elicit meaningful and complex discussions in a middle or high school Social Studies.

Growing Pains: An Autobiography, by Emily Carr

Yes, I know she’s probably more famous as a painter, but when she could no longer trek out to the wilderness to paint her larger than life creations she wrote about her lifetime of experiences. Emily wrote several books, but her autobiography has always been my favourite. It’s a wonderful memoir of a woman who was so unsure about so many aspects in her life, and the one thing that kept her moving and forced her to make life decisions was that she wanted and needed to make art. It seems only fitting that the most written about Canadian artist should be able to have her own say.

Shhh! Canadian Scientists and Inventors Rule, by Diana Crutchley

From acetylene to zipper, learn all about uniquely Canadian inventions in this science ABC book. I have been to two of Diana Crutchley’s literacy workshops, and have come away from both with fun and informative ideas to try in the classroom. This book fits in with my impressions of the workshops. It’s a quick and enjoyable read, and is a worthwhile purchase for a middle school classroom.

Terry, by Douglas Coupland

I’ll admit it, throughout most of my childhood I knew Terry Fox was brave and determined, but I just didn’t get all the emotion that surrounded his run. Terry passed away when I was one month old, so I wasn’t one of the Canadians glued to the screen as he made his historic run, or donating money at the impromptu telethon once the run abruptly stopped. But this book by Coupland made me get it. The pictures interspersed throughout Terry’s story made me understand just how monumental Terry’s undertaking was, and how his efforts should not be forgotten. Now I use this book every year right before the Terry Fox Run, so my students will be able to get it too.

The Breadwinner, by Deborah Ellis

For me this book was always an introduction for students about how other children were forced into terrible situations that they must overcome. Every time I read this book I become struck at how Parvana wants her old life back, but is slowly coming to terms with how this is now the way life must be in Afghanistan. This is another book that would provoke complex and thoughtful discussion in class. Of course, after you read The Breadwinner, Parvana’s Journey and Mud City must come next to you can complete the entire trilogy.

The Secret of Grim Hill, by Linda DeMeulemeester

When you have a class read-aloud that the students refuse to have you put down, you are going to appreciate the book. There is nothing more Cat wants to do than go to the Grimoire private school in her new town, and when she learns that the champions of a soccer match will be given the opportunity to enroll she just has to win the game. However, something supernatural is happening in Grim Hill, and Cat’s soccer victory could be her undoing. This is the first of five books, with a sixth promised soon, and my only complaint is that the sixth is taking so long to be published.

Happy reading, and happy Canada Day!

There, I Read All of Harry Potter



And … done. All seven Harry Potter books have been read. They were actually finished two months ago, and my response to them has been turning itself around in my mind for some time. However, I find that I have not been able to come up with any eloquent or profound observations, so here is my basic review:

I get it now. The books are good, and would sometimes even be considered great. J.K. Rowling was able to create an interesting and suspenseful plot, likeable characters, and intriguing meanings and symbolism. There were moments when I was deeply engrossed with the wizarding world, moments when I chuckled out loud, and moments where I actually felt a little frightened. (I would say reading the books late at night contributed to my being a little scared. Reading about Voldemort coming back while sitting in a dark nursery with my sleeping son at 1:00am and using a flashlight to help me read was not one of my smarter moments). I would think about the books when I wasn’t reading them, which to me is one of the criteria for a great series. I am pleased that I now get all of the Harry Potter jokes and memes that present themselves to me as I explore the Internet. I will say that there are probably other books out there that can rival the Harry Potter series in terms of plot, creativity, and adolescent interest. There were points where I was comparing Harry Potter to Percy Jackson, and then thinking that it was an unfair comparison because the Olympians books were published much later.

Overall, I can understand why people migrated towards these books and accepted them as their own, and why the series did such a great job at helping to re-establish the fantasy genre. My only word of caution is to not assume that the Harry Potter series is the epitome of young adult fiction, as some people seem to believe it is. Although it remains to be seen if any other series can reach the heights of Harry Potter, there are certainly going to be future books that will give it a try, and a few may succeed.

Harry Who?


“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”  -Robert Frost

Life changes, and so do my plans for this blog. If you would like to know about my new goals, check out the revamped About page.




I have a shameful confession to make. I, Sara, a 10 year teaching veteran of middle school, has never read Harry Potter.  I know, it’s shocking, but I do have my reasons.  The books became popular when I was still in university, and while I was interested in the mania at the time I was too busy critiquing The West Beyond the West for my History 105 class to read for pleasure.  Then, when I had the time to read young adult novels, I chose to pick up books that weren’t popular or well-known.  After all, Harry Potter seemed to be so loved by the masses that I wouldn’t have to encourage kids to read it, and I wanted some less popular books under my belt that I could recommend to kids. In a small way I also liked the shock on students’ faces when I admitted my dark secret.  They always proclaimed that I was missing out on something important, and several even volunteered to loan me their book sets so I could find out what I was missing.  However, with the little free time that I have while my son is napping, I have decided that the time has come to pick up the books and immerse myself in the world of Hogwarts.  Maybe now I can find out what made the books so appealing in the first place, as well as finally understand the Harry Potter memes that keep bouncing around Pinterest.  After the seven books are read, I will be sure to give you a review.

Book Review: The Grim Hill Series


This spring Linda DeMeulemeester, the author of the Grim Hill series, paid an author’s visit to my school.  Because I didn’t want to just bring my students into an assembly without any background information about her books, I ran to the public library to see if they had her novels and do a quick read.  I had just meant to read the first novel myself, then read a couple of chapters to the students, and finally have them practice their reading strategies while at the same time learning more about the book.  I didn’t expect that I would get caught up in DeMeulemeester’s storytelling, or that I would average one of her books per day until I had read the entire series so far.  When I introduced the book to the students as planned, they felt the same way.  I ended up reading more than I had intended because the students kept asking for just one more chapter.  They then started to pick up the books to read for themselves, starting before the assembly but definitely picking up after the assembly.  Students and I started to have discussions about the series in our free time, which was another nice way to make a connection with the kids I teach.

DeMeulemeester has created a world where reality blends very closely with Celtic myth.  In the first book, The Secret of Grim Hill, Cat and her little sister Sookie have moved to Grim Hill with their mother after their parents’ divorce.  Cat has a miserable first day at her school, and would love to be able to afford the expensive tuition at the Grimoire private school.  When Grimoire hosts a Halloween soccer tournament, with the winning team being able to attend the school, Cat jumps at the chance to be a part of the team.  However, as game time draws closer, Sookie begins to display some otherworldly powers of her own, and Cat starts to realize that the myths of fairies and spells are very much alive in her town.  As the series progresses, Sookie’s powers continue to evolve, and start to get her and Cat into trouble.  Other characters are introduced, including Clive, Cat’s alternating nemesis and potential love interest.  One reason I enjoy the series is because of the Celtic myths.  I learned quite a bit about the legends of fairies, witches, and other mythical creatures, and I appreciated how this knowledge led to a better understanding of the plot.  I also liked how DeMeulemeester keeps the suspense going in her series.  As she discussed herself, each chapter ends with a small question or event, so the reader needs to keep going to find out what happened next.  This, along with the engaging characters, makes for a great fantasy series for kids to explore.

A continued list for my summer reading includes:

July 16th: Meet the Group of Seven, by David Wistow

July 17th: Lucy Maud and the Cavendish Cat, by Lynn Manuel

July 18th: Grim Hill: Forest of Secrets, by Linda DeMeulemeester

July 19th: My Story: Battle of Britain: Harry Woods, England 1939-1941, by Chris Priestley

July 20th: Never Work Harder than Your Students & Other Principles of Great Teaching, by Robyn R. Jackson

July 21st: Ida B … and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World, by Katherine Hannigan

July 22nd: Conspiracy 365: Book Two: February, by Gabrielle Lord

The Book-A-Day Challenge


I never seem to be able to find enough time to just sit down and read extensively.  Although it’s part of my job to read novels that I can recommend to students and find concepts that will further my professional development, other demands of my life often take me away from the leisure reading time that I enjoyed so much as I was growing up.  Perhaps that’s why I am so intrigued by The Book Whisperer’s reading challenge.  Her lofty goal, that she also presents to other bibliophiles, is to read one book per day over the summer.  The rules appear to be fairly simple:

• read one book per day for the remainder of summer vacation
• these books can be fiction, non-fiction, professional books, children’s books, young adult books, graphic novels, poetry books, picture books, etc.  Anything that allows you to read words on a page and gets some analytical synapses firing.
• You can set your own start date and end date.  Because I’ve already read 4 books since July 1st, I’ll make that my start date, and I’ll make August 31st my end date.
• You can space out your reading time.  For example, if you have a leisurely day in which you read three books, you’re covered reading-wise for the next two days.
• Post your book titles, and any reviews, on your blog, twitter, etc. so others can be aware for your progress.

I like the idea of holding myself accountable for finishing books that have been accumulating in my house for quite some time, and I think that I will become wiser once I complete this challenge.  So far the four books I have read are:

July 1st: Four Pictures by Emily Carr, by Nicolas Debon
• This is a graphic novel describing four periods of famous Canadian painter Emily Carr’s life.  I appreciate Debon’s efforts to make these time periods emotional for the reader.  However, perhaps because I have read Carr’s autobiography and have loved her paintings and writings since I was a teenager, I can’t help but think of how much he simplified these life events in order to create the cartoons.

July 2nd: The Warlock (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #5), by Michael Scott
• This is the fifth in a series of six novels, with the sixth novel coming out in 2012.  Twins Sophie and Josh Newman are given a prophecy, and battle gods from several different mythologies in order to succeed or fail in achieving their destinies.  The plot can be convoluted at times, but the way Scott ends his chapters and books with suspense keeps dragging me back into the series.

July 3rd: My Story: Pyramid of Secrets: Nebka, Giza, Egypt 2517 BC, by Jim Eldridge
• I’m teaching Ancient Civilizations in Grade 7 Social Studies next year, and bought this book because I thought it might be a good cross-curricular novel.  While I found the plot to be fairly predictable, it did an admirable job of explaining how the pyramids were built and how the farmers created life out of the desert.  The story is narrated through the eyes of Nebka, a 12-year old farmer who goes to build Khafre’s pyramid during the Nile flooding.

July 4th: The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles #2), by Rick Riordan
•I do find the mythology in this series difficult to follow at times, but I’ve decided that might be because it’s hard to tie together Egyptian mythology into one comprehensive story when the mythology itself is so fragmented.  However, Riordan continues to do a great job in creating interesting characters that I feel for.  He is quickly becoming my favourite author.

Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians



Three years ago I was teaching mythology as part of my literature genre curriculum.  A student walked up to me at lunch and handed me the first book in the Percy Jackson series (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief).  He stated that he thought this might be a good book to read for the class.  I started reading it myself during our Silent Reading time that day, and couldn’t put it down until I had finished it that evening.  The novel was so good, I decided to use it as a read-aloud a few months later when we would be studying fantasy novels.  As the class progressed through the book, I noticed something remarkable.  Students began to take the book out of the library to read ahead.  At this point the second and third books were published, and students began to bring in those books from both their school and public libraries.  When books were finished, students shared them with their classmates.  Soon the fourth book was printed, and although it wasn’t in paperback students were convincing their parents to buy it.  I heard Greek words like “Ergo!” and “Di Immortalis!” become part of their everyday conversations. One student told me that this was the first book he had ever finished that a teacher didn’t make him read.

I attribute the appeal of this series and the fervour my students experienced to Rick Riordan, the author of Percy Jackson.  A former middle school teacher, Riordan created a series that appeals to the imagination and sarcastic wit of young adolescents.  The main character, Percy Jackson, is a struggling student with dyslexia and ADHD who has been kicked out of every school he has attended.  We eventually learn that Percy is a demigod, and the son of Poseidon, as the Greek gods are real and are still affecting the lives of humans in modern society.  In The Lightning Thief, the first book of the series, Percy has to retrieve Zeus’ lightning bolt, and he goes with his new friends Grover and Annabeth on a cross-country quest.  Along with great references to Greek mythology updated for modern times (example: the protagonists get trapped in the Lotus Casino, an update of the Lotus-Eaters in Homer’s Odyssey), Riordan also provides Percy with a humour that his middle school audience would appreciate.  For example, as Percy comes face to face with Hades, and sees his robes decorated with the flickering faces of doomed spirits, he wonders “…whether the rest of his clothes were made the same way.  What horrible things would you have to do in your life to get woven into Hades’s underwear?”

The subsequent four books in the Percy Jackson series proceed in much the same way, where we are taken with Percy as he moves through his various quests.  We also see him evolve as a character, as he struggles with decisions regarding his destiny and the protection of his friends.  These themes provide another layer of thinking for students, as they form opinions regarding Percy’s and the gods’ decisions.  Rick Riordan’s website is a very useful resource for educators, even including downloads of teacher guides and discussion questions for the first three Percy Jackson books.

I have to mention that the Percy Jackson movie is nothing like the books, and those who have read the series will be quite disappointed by the movie.  After using The Lightning Thief as a read-aloud again this year, a few teachers and myself took our students on a field trip to see the movie.  The bus ride back to the school and the time before the dismissal bell was one long discussion of what should have been in the movie and why certain events from the book were left out completely.  One student at the back of the bus, who was already on the fourth book, kept calling out, “But keep reading the books!  Don’t stop!  The Percy Jackson books are great!”  When students show this much enthusiasm for a series, it is certainly worth a try to introduce it into the classroom.