Thursday, November 3, 2016

PAX by Sara Pennypacker

If you are a Global Read Aloud participant, you will be very familiar with PAX by Sara Pennypacker. If you are not familiar with GRA, check it out using the link above or on Facebook. You will find excellent ideas and discussion to use with your students for this book.

PAX is the story of a boy and the fox he has raised from a kit.  Peter has to go live with his grandfather when his father goes to war and he is unable to take PAX, his fox, with him.  However, not long after arriving at his grandfather's, Peter decides he needs to return to find PAX. His journey is full of adventure and misadventure. PAX is a story about friendship and love, but it is also about war and conflict.

PAX would be a great selection for a read aloud for middle grade students and will have an effect on all who read it. The novel features illustrations by Canadian Jon Klassen (author of the Hat books).

You can find an interview with Sara Pennypacker at this link. (It will take you to the School Library Journal website.  Wait after clicking the link as an ad appears, but it disappears soon and provides the interview with the author.)

If you loved The One and Only Ivan, you will probably like PAX. See what Ivan's author Katherine Applegate says about PAX.

You can vote for PAX in the current Goodreads Choice Awards 2016. It has been suggested as a potential Newberry nominee as well.

Leave a comment if your students have been reading PAX. I am curious to know how they liked the book.  It is a novel that requires discussion--I think readers will want to talk about many issues encountered within the pages of the book.

Need New Book Recommendations?

I have been very remiss in posting recommendations over the summer. My only excuse is I have been reading! The good news is I do have some great books to recommend.

Ms. Bixby's Last Day

One of the very best books I read this summer was Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson. See the book promo here:

Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The good ones. The not-so-good ones. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard. The ones you’ll never remember, and the ones you want to forget. But Ms. Bixby is none of these. She’s the sort of teacher who makes you feel like the indignity of school is worthwhile. Who makes the idea of growing up less terrifying. Who you never want to disappoint. What Ms. Bixby is, is one of a kind.

Topher, Brand, and Steve know this better than anyone. And so when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she is very sick and won’t be able to finish the school year, they come up with a plan. Through the three very different stories they tell, we begin to understand just what Ms. Bixby means to Topher, Brand, and Steve—and what they are willing to go to such great lengths to tell her.
John David Anderson, the acclaimed author of Sidekicked, returns with a story of three kids, a very special teacher, and one day that none of them will ever forget.

Here is my Goodreads review:

What a great middle grade read aloud. The three boys are in grade six so it would be perfect for a grade 6 class, but fine for a little younger or older. It is a laugh out load book, but a very tenderhearted story as well. I can't get the picture of Brand pulling a booger out of Steve's nose out of my mind, but I am trying very hard.
I love the Bixbyisms in the book and the references to literary figures (Atticus Finch) and poetry. Anderson provides a soft touch to spark curiosity and conversations about literature. I found the book to be a page-turner and I think students will as well.

I predict you will see this book on the "Best of 2016" lists.