2015 Rebecca Caudill Roundup: A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

diamonddesertKathryn Fitzmaurice’s A Diamond in the Desert is based on a true story, telling the tale of a baseball team at the Gila River Relocation Center, a WWII Japanese internment camp in Arizona. Twelve-year-old Tetsu Kishi is relocated there from California, along with his mother and younger sister, Kimi. His father has been detained for some time by the government for questioning, as he was a leader in the Japanese American community. Testu works with Coach Tanaka and the other boys in the camp to both create a field and field a team. The middle of the book includes a poignant sub-plot about Kimi going missing and contracting valley fever–and Tetsu’s guilt that is so strong he quits baseball for several months. However, when his father returns to the family and his sister starts getting stronger, Tetsu finds his passion for the sport once more.

Learn more about the Gila River Camp

Other 2015 Rebecca Caudill Reading Roundup Posts




It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/15/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Well, I did not finish a book–almost finished but not quite. I could blame it on a busy start to the school year and some after school meetings but the truth of the matter is that I did have some downtime and spent it surfing or watching TV instead. Not blaming the book either. Just need to renew my commitment to putting the time in again.

Currently Reading/Listening To (still):




2015 Rebecca Caudill Roundup: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

false princeHuzzah! The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, the first book of the Ascendance  trilogy, reminded me of all the the things I love about fantasy books. Sage is an orphan who has been plucked from the streets by a nobleman named Conner and forced to compete against other boys to find out who will best be able to impersonate the presumed dead Prince Jaron and save the kingdom from falling into the hands of an ambitious regent. Of course, there is much, much more to the story–including numerous twists and turns and breath-taking moments when you fear the worst will happen to Sage. And Sage is such a delightful protagonist–quick-witted, sharp-tongued, mischief-filled, and definitely more than he seems. It’s a must-purchase for middle grade readers, if you haven’t gotten it–and its sequels The Runaway King and The Shadow Throne–already. Don’t you love it when you can buy and read a complete trilogy and not have to wait for like what seems forever for the new installment to come out?

Anecdote (and SPOILER ALERT): The other day I was talking to an 8th grade boy who has burned through almost every fantasy series at my middle school library. I told him I assumed that he had read The Ascendance trilogy already, and he said it was a favorite of his. When I related how surprised I was by the great plot twist that Sage was really and truly Prince Jaron all along but that he had been in hiding, the student said he figured that at the very beginning of the book and it was kind of obvious but that it didn’t take away from him enjoying the book. So either my student is super sharp or I just lost a little bit of my edge on that one. Or both. Regardless, it was an awesome read for both of us :-)

Other 2015 Rebecca Caudill Reading Roundup Posts



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/8/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Book:

graduation-dayThis week I finished the Testing trilogy. Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau continued the story of Cia Vale and her quest to end the barbaric practices of the University, especially the Testing procedure itself. When the president of the Commonwealth gives her a hit list of key players who seek to protect and expand the Testing, Cia is warily moved to action. Throughout the book, Cia’s greatest challenge is knowing whom to trust, and the reader wonders about it just as much as she does. I have seen mixed reviews of this final book of the series, but I think it is very much in keeping with the first two books and events carry through to a logical and satisfying conclusion. One thing that struck me is that while Cia thinks through her actions and their consequences very carefully, she seems less reluctant to take violent action and even commit the ultimate act of murder than characters in similar works (Katniss, Tris, etc.).

Currently Reading/Listening To:

night_eternal rottersI’m taking time to read an adult novel, as The Strain TV series is amping up, and I want to have read the final book, The Night Eternal before the show catches up to it.

Rotters is still making my car drives very creepy. I’m about halfway through know, since I don’t have a long commute. My mom, who reads my blog (Hi, Mom :-) ) just finished reading the book and says it is very unsettling in print format, too (in case you were wondering).


random reads

September Random Read

I am once again late with this month’s Random Read, but less so than last month. In fact, I have not yet read August’s book as it was checked out by a student–a very reluctant reader who reject several books until the title and cover of Under My Hat caught her eye. I would rather she read it than meet my monthly goal. I can get to it when she has returned it.

rapturepracticeThis month, random.org gave me the number 97, and so I will read Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler. I made sure to check it out of the public library right away, but I was puzzled to find it in the fiction section when it is, in fact, a memoir. Here is the Goodreads summary:

When Aaron Hartzler was little, he couldn’t wait for the The Rapture: that moment when Jesus would come down from the clouds to whisk him and his family up to heaven. But as he turns sixteen, Aaron grows more curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn’t want Jesus to come back just yet—not before he has his first kiss, sees his first movie, or stars in the school play.

Whether he’s sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can’t be found in the Bible. He discovers that the girl of your dreams can just as easily be the boy of your dreams, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.

In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey from devoted to doubtful, and the search to find his own truth without losing the fundamentalist family who loves him.

2014 Challenges: August Progress

  • Goodreads goal of 125 books in 2014: 6 this month; 90 total
  • CORL 2014 goal of 25+ books from my “plan to read” shelf: 1 this month–Unwind by Neal Shusterman; 13 total. I still need to step up on this one!
  • Random Reads goal of 1 book per month: None this month–will read Under My Hat when a student returns it