Books + Reading = ?

November 28, 2012

So often I hear other educators saying “How do I incorporate reading in math class?” or “There aren’t any good books out there about math” and I’m sorry friends, but that’s just not true anymore. Are they few and far between? Well, maybe when you compare their popularity with literary fiction and other genres. but listen, engaging stories that incorporate and use mathematics are out there, you just need to be willing to tap into a few resources before you give up searching.


As a caveat, I hope you know that I understand that finding the time to look for books might not be easy, or fun per-say, but it is necessary. That being said, I encourage all you math-minded folks to get connected to some sites that are in-the-know about the latest and greatest books for young readers and find those math books!


So, the reason I bring this up, is not because I’m a math lover (for those of you who know I’ve always struggled with math) but because I can across a great new Top 10 List of Fun Math books written for Nery Books Club by Sue VanHattum. The books are listed beginning with those for the youngest readers to adult readers. VanHattum herself says “give it a chance. You’ll be glad you did.” Additionally, she two other resources for you to check out are listed at the bottom of her post. The first is her personal blog Math Mama Writes, and which is a cite that offers lessons, games, articles, and more. So check them out! And share these resources with those math-people you know, the next time they express discouragement.


You Are What You Read.

October 31, 2012

The saying is true. You are, in part, defined by what you read. Every time you read a book, whether you really enjoyed it or not, you carry some of that book with you, whether in the back of your mind or  on the tip of your tongue. Scholastic, being as great as they are, has a really cool link on their site called “Celebrity Bookprints.” First, let me explain what a book print is.

A bookprint is a list of five books that leave an indelible mark on our lives, shaping who we are and who we become. Therefore, a celebrity bookprint is pretty self explanatory. Scholastic has a list of dozens and dozens of celebrities who have provided their top five books that have left impressions on them. I thought that you all might like to check out the celebrity bookprints, because they’re pretty interesting, and I know I’m not a celebrity, but I thought I’d share mine with you. So here they are, in no particular order.

– To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

-Ashes In The Wind by Katherine Woodiwiss

-13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

-Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

-The Holy Bible (sorry it won’t let me insert the link for some reason)

I hope you’re inspired to create your own!!

Confession Time

October 8, 2012

A very good day!

I feel like it’s time for a confession. I don’t buy books at full price….ever. This does not mean that I don’t buy new books or current titles. Being a twenty-something with tons of school loans and minimal funds I cannot just walk into Barnes and Noble and shop off the shelves and tables for books at $20 a book. I am a thrifty shopper, in all regards. Clothing, books, home-goods, cosmetics, you name it, I rarely pay full price for it. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy hunting out the best discount stores where I can find great deals on brand new items; books especially.

The above receipt, as you can see, comes from a glorious day shopping at Ollies Bargain Outlet. This is one of my absolute favorite places to shop for books. The store has a large book department filled with everything from children’s books, to spiritual books, cooking, how-to, novels, non-fiction, history, biography, and clearance (as if the rest of the books weren’t cheap already!) I, however, tend to spend 20 minutes in the 8 foot section of Young Adult books. Here, I find all the books that will one day fill my classroom library. After four years in my undergrad studying literature I love going in and looking for authors I know and love, as well as finding titles of new books that have comments and reviews from other trusted authors and sources. This place is the best.

On that particularly wonderful shopping trip, I purchased 11 books at $1.99 and $2.99 a piece! The grand total being $25.73 with tax. As soon as I got in the car I whipped out a calculator (on my phone..) and began figuring out my savings based on the retail value of the books. The sub-total of the 11 books at retail value was $156.89 and the tax on those 11 books would work out to be $12.55 making the grand total $169.44!! Can you imagine?! Like I could afford that! I saved over $140.00. I couldn’t believe my luck. Or so I thought, that it was luck. Ever since this day, I faithfully go in and check out what’s new in the Y.A section at Ollie’s and almost inevitably come home with 4-5 titles.

My latest and greatest single find was a book I was eying on amazon. The Swipe book series by Evan Angler had been on my to-read-immediately list for a few weeks. I had books one and two of the series saved in my amazon wish list and was about to make the purchase any day as I could not stop thinking about the books. Each one was temporarily reduced to $9.99. Not too bad, I thought, until I made a spurr of the moment trip one day to Ollies. There I found Swipe (book one) for $2.99!! I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited! Additionally, I found four other books to purchase and left with (again) 5 new book titles. I’m dissapointed to say that I have not read the book yet. This semester has me going in so many directions there just hasn’t been time, however, I can’t wait to open it, and when I do, I’ll be grinning about my great steal.

As an aside, I also find great book deals at Big Lots! and amazon does run some great deals (you just have to watch for them on specific books.) Also there is a site called which is a good place if you don’t want to go out looking.

Finally, (since I know this is getting winded) check out the book trailer .

The book is out and reviews are extremely mixed. J.K Rowling has written a rather dark story for a new audience which has turned off many of her long-time followers, and at the same time, captured a more mature and life saturated group of readers. I have to say, I’ve become rather intrigued with this book from the buzz that is growing around the new and disruptive qualities that Rowling has explored. The characters of her novel are described as “real” and “raw.” Rowling herself says that not all of them have redeeming qualities.

I listened to Rowling speak about her book on NPR and I find her explanations of the book very refreshing. With magic and fantasy stripped away from the characters, the audience is left to deal with the vulgarity and offensiveness that surrounds the dark nature of real life, and unpleasant human experiences. Rowling taps into her life prior to fame that held her in a lower socioeconomic class and “a life of poverty” as she describes it.
Thanks to Rowling, and many other great authors, I have another book to add to my too-long list of books I MUST read. I’m highly anticipating my own reaction to this novel as I read and listen to the reviews of others. Go ahead and listen to the interview on NPR, it’s well worth it. You can hear the sincerity in her voice as she speaks of how liberated she feels after writing this novel. Especially at the end when she said this: “One of the ways in which I am fortunate is, Harry Potter set me free to write whatever I want to write.” You go girl! I look forward to reading The Casual Vacancy, and the yet to be published, by J.K. Rowling. Author Interview: J.K. Rowling

For me, beginning a blog takes a great deal of courage. I’ve never published anything before and the idea of putting my thoughts out there for the world to see is frankly, quite scary. For anyone that knows me, I am a talker. I’m not often found lost-for-words. I’m hoping this will give me something to work with as I start this blogging journey. Although talking and writing is not difficult for me, I don’t want to just talk (or blog) in vain. My hope is that I can find something valid to say, something that is worth sharing or spreading around.

Before I go any further, I guess I should start by introducing myself. My name is Marissa and I live in a small town in Upstate New York. I’m a Christian, and a huge family person. I have a small family and a small circle of close friends who keep me grounded and sane. I’m an avid reader and very passionate about reading and books. I love to swap books with friends, talk about books and authors, and I have a bad habit of buying dozens of discount books at a time which creates a bit of a storage issue. Secretly, I would love to join or host a book club, but I’m afraid no one would attend. I love food and wine, and chocolate (which is it’s own category for females) and I am trying to turn my desire to be a good cook into actually being a good cook. I’m still a work in progress. I love football, go Giants!, and one day, I want to be in Met Life Stadium watching the GMen play.I have two cats, one is an adopted 14 lb. orange and white whose name is Woody, named by his original owners after Tiger Woods (insert personal opinions about Mr. Woods) and the newest addition is a little grey and white kitten named Finnick, named after the Suzanne Collins character in the Hunger Games trilogy. We call him Finn, Finny, “No!” -for the many things he does that are bad, Superman cat- for the way he launches off the furniture, and “Get!” -which is what my dad is always yelling at him.

I could go on and on about all the things I like and do but I’ll wrap this up by telling you a bit about what it is that I believe I was gifted to do on this planet. Like I said in my “about me” blurb, I am just 8 months away from graduating with my Master’s in Literacy Education (grades 5-12) and I currently have a Bachelor’s in Education (grades 7-12) and English. I love to teach and it is a gift that I am proud to have. I have yet to truly hone my teaching skills and specific gifts within teaching, but the passion that I have for it is alive and thriving. I highly anticipate the day where I receive the call that I have secured a teaching position and begin my teaching career. Hopefully, that call isn’t too far away! So that’s all for now. Hopefully I will return to this blog next with a purpose for writing and it will be much less of me, talking about me.