Nothing Better Than Book Love…


I am a reader…I just love to devour books. One right after the other. Sequels and series… Books that are made into movies…books recommended by friends.

I love to chat about books- how other people felt about the characters, the setting, the twist they just didn’t see coming. I love to tell my students about the great book that I just can’t put down…

I love to fall in love with the characters- embrace their fights and frustrations, their hopes and successes.

I just can’t get enough!

Which is probably a great problem to have as a literacy teacher.

I enjoy sharing my passion with students- helping them pick books that I know they’ll adore. Seeing their eyes light up with excitement, hear their voices begging for “just five minutes more!” Finding a series that they stick to… huddling in a corner with me to discuss their heartbreak when its “all over.”

Most of my classes buy in to my strange obsession by way of read alouds. With the exception of one of my classes…my 7th graders. They are “too cool” for reading.

We have tried book after book this year…Projekt 1065, Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, Harry Potter (I have never been more disappointed that I couldn’t get this class to love Harry the way I do)! But, they just wouldn’t buy in. These books that have spoken so loudly to me, did not interest them in the slightest.

Until we came across this book…the one that changed it ALL for us. Code of Honor written by Alan Gratz. The beginning was rocky- they weren’t buying into the main character, Kamran, who’s older brother Darius is accused of being a Terrorist. A Persian family living in Arizona, Kamran was quickly thrown into turmoil as he fought to protect his name: at school, with the Department of Homeland Security, and later to a team of individuals who help him track down his brother.


My. Kids. Are. Hooked. HOOKED! Today, they literally begged and pleaded to keep reading. For us to devote our whole block to finishing the book. They were drying to know…

  • Was Darius really a terrorist?
  • Who, among their group, was a traitor? (You’ll have to read to find out…)
  • Does Kamran ever get of the DHS?
  • He Escaped? Will he be charged with a crime even though he shouldn’t have been kept there to begin with?
  • Is his brother in Iraq? Arizona?
  • Does Kamran REALLY believe his brother is still innocent?
  • Will they really let Kamran go with on their mission?

Of course I didn’t let them finish…I have to draw it out. Keep them hanging on, coming back each day…asking more questions, delving deeper into the characters, analyzing the events and synthesizing their thinking… I even heard them talking about the book later on in the day…in the hallway while walking with a friend…without even being told to!!!!!!

For the first time this year, my 7th graders are in love with reading. Just like me…

And boy, oh boy, does this make for one VERY happy literacy teacher!

Write. Share. Give.


18 responses »

  1. Fantastic post! There is nothing better as a teacher than the feeling of “getting through” to your kids. You had me at the beginning when you talked about your love for reading. My husband doesn’t get it when I can’t stop reading or even when I begin reading. He doesn’t quite share that love of reading, But you…you did and captured my interest. I thought you were going a different way when you began talking about your students. I felt my heart sink when you said you just couldn’t get your 7th grade class to enjoy any books. So sad. But just when I was feeling down, you brought me right back up and had captured me again. I was at the edge of my seat as you built anticipation with all the questions to which your students were dying to find the answers. And now…I have to read the book too! Sounds captivating. Thanks Samantha for piquing my interest!

    • Us book lovers are few and far between… I try SO hard to create them in my classroom! Code of Honor is absolutely fantastic! I’d be happy to send it your way when we are done! I read it in just one day… it is one of those books you just can’t put down!

      • That sounds fantastic. Yes – if you wouldn’t mind sending it my way, that would be great. I’m currently reading Angela’s Ashes. Have you read that yet? A little slow and aggravating at times, but I want to get to the end to find out what had become of everyone.

    • I have not read that book…I will absolutely have to add it to my ever growing book list! And I found an extra copy of that book in my classroom- I will send it through inner office mail tomorrow! Its a great YA read!

  2. LOVE this post! I envy that you get to read with multiple grade levels. I LOVE read alouds. I like the littles the best simply because I can be silly and they die laughing. I don’t know how well that would go over with 7th grade 😉

    • Oh trust me, 7th graders are not so different than the littles. We frequently enjoy sillyness (helllo cheesy jokes)- although sarcasm is more of their forte! 🙂

  3. Success! That’s what makes teaching so addicting–continuing to search for the connection. You did it! Isn’t that an amazing feeling? Savor it.

  4. I want, no NEED, to read this book! I love how much I can feel the love you have for reading (and for your students) in this piece. I am so glad that they are finding their love for reading as well!

  5. All it took was the right book! Now hopefully you have pulled them into the book lover’s world and they will never find their way out!! A great slice for a great moment. I hope you share this post with your students, as a way to show them how excited you are that they are excited! Great job! Although, I will be having a discussion about his whole Harry Potter situation!

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