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nerd teacher [books]

Joined 3 years, 1 month ago

Anarchist educator who can be found at where I muse about school and education-related things, and all my links are here. My non-book posts are mostly at, occasionally I hide on, or you can email me at [they/them]

I was a secondary literature and humanities teacher who has swapped to being a tutor, so it's best to expect a ridiculously huge range of books.

And yes, I do spend a lot of time making sure book entries are as complete as I can make them. Please send help.

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nerd teacher [books]'s books

Currently Reading (View all 14)

Picture Books (View all 120)

Middle Grade (View all 26)

2024 Reading Goal

40% complete! nerd teacher [books] has read 18 of 45 books.

C.S. Fritz: A Fig for All the Devils (Paperback, 2021, Albatross Book Co) 3 stars

An abused, grief-stricken, and impoverished Sonny has all but given up on life. That is, …

Liked what it attempted to do, but don't feel it actually succeeded in doing it well.

2 stars

I feel like this book failed to actually hit the notes it was attempting to hit. It wanted to work through abuse, death, and grief but really felt like it was forcing the wrong characters to learn lessons when they were meant to be the narrative devices through which the protagonist Sonny (and his family) were meant to learn.

Much of the exploration felt incredibly superficial, with Sonny just moving on through processing the abuses he endured. This isn't to say that there's one right way to process and deal with abuse, but there was nothing that actually made Sonny engage with what he experienced. In a good chunk of the novel, it was very much "tell don't show" or "show but gloss over."

Overall, it's an interesting attempt, but I left it feeling very unsatisfied. I was even left frustrated by the ending, which I think should've had consequences …

Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (2015, HarperCollins) 4 stars

And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by the English writer Agatha Christie, …

Still Interesting

3 stars

It's been a long time since I last read this book, and I remembered liking it. I don't think I caught all the ways in which the movie Clue either references it or uses it as a guide for their detective spoof before, and that was partially the reason for why I wanted to read it again.

I still very much like the idea that the point of the book is to target those who cannot be touched by the law or who haven't done something that can be considered "criminal." It really feels, particularly in an age where so many people in specific positions view themselves as untouchable because they're either "not doing something illegal" or the law refuses to do anything about them, like a concept we should be revisiting in our narrative fiction.

This novel is enough to bring me back to detective works, something which I've …

Eric Litwin: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons (2012, Harper) 4 stars

Pete the Cat loves the buttons on his shirt so much that he makes up …

Too Much Like Leveled Readers

2 stars

Leveled readers are books that are generally designed for new readers and English learners, which supposedly build language skills by making sure a book 'fits' a level. Personally, I find these leveled readers suspect, as they don't so much build independent readers but create stories that are generally dull for the sake of "being easy" and "using appropriate vocabulary."

This book reads like that, though it doesn't look like a traditional leveled reader because of the art. I've tried using this book with a range of young students, and they all say things that indicate to me that the book is 'speaking down' to them rather than treating them like actual readers. For example, a few kids who like repetition in books (and think it's fun because they can sing it like a song) find the repetition of asking them to do simple maths problems (4-1, 3-1, 2-1, 1-1) to …

Lauren Child: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Paperback, 2003, Candlewick) 2 stars

Lola is a fussy eater. A very fussy eater. She won’t eat her carrots (until …

I find it a bit troublesome.

1 star

I'm just going to focus on the thing that I find obnoxious: I don't like when people trick others into eating foods they openly state that they don't like. I actually think that indicates a form of abuse that we see as being acceptable, and I label it as abuse because it's explicitly ignoring the body autonomy that we should all have. Children, like all people, should have a right to determine what they eat and do not eat. Tricking them into eating things because you call them by another name is just... I'm not a fan.

There are numerous reasons a person would choose to not eat something. Some people find certain textures appalling, while others can't handle certain tastes. Others just aren't ready to try certain foods, opting not to eat them at that moment. And those aren't even all the reasons that people don't like and choose …