Genre: Children’s/Middle Grade fiction
Summary: Matilda is born into a family that entirely different from her and often leave her to her own devices. She uses this freedom to grow her mind in incredible ways.
Most appropriate for: just about anyone.
Classroom library? yes.
Enjoyability: ★★★★★ (5/5)
I don’t know how I have gone 26 years without reading Matilda but now I’ve finally read it and I’m so glad. As a teacher, the beginning few pages include some teacher humor I especially enjoyed. The writing was charming and the plot kept me wanting to read more. However, as someone who has seen the movie multiple times, I was surprised by how exact the movie was to the book. This is both a blessing and a curse.
Fantastic and charming read.
Teachability: ★★★ (3/5)
While being a fantastic story, I don’t know that it’s one that I would invest time in for educational purposes - outside of giving it to students to help them cultivate a love for reading. I definitely think I’ll be obtaining another copy to put in my classroom for my lower readers.
Another way I think this book might be useful is to help ELL/ESL students read in English. Because the movie so closely follows the book, I could definitely see having students watch clips from the movie and then read from the book. Or vice versa.
My school also has thematic units and one of our units is “Self-Advocacy”. I could definitely see this movie being used as an example of that, as Matilda learns very early on that the best person to help you get what you want is yourself. She is constantly working to achieve her goals and figuring out what she needs to do to find her own success.
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the very first page of this book, you can feel the artistry, how carefully choreographed every moment is. Steven's worries, the baby, the wasps. Steven's desire for everything to be okay and safe and normal, and his efforts to grapple with the idea that imperfect things can also be cherished and loved was something everyone can relate to, while Steven's journey with the wasps leaves you questioning every page. Oppel has beautifully crafted a fantasy that is leaving trails of wonderings in my head that I'll be wrestling with for days.
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