Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sugar and Ice

Sugar and IceTitle: Sugar and Ice 
Author: Kate Messner
Publisher: Walker and Company
Publication Date: 2010
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel 
Summary: Claire is a skater from a small town near Lake Placid.  She loves skating but is offered a scholarship after an Olympic-winner-turned-coach spots her.  She is excited that she has been chosen to train in Lake Placid and is up for the hard work but finds out dealing with the competition may be more than she bargained for.
What I Think: Reading Sugar and Ice and The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., which are both realistic fiction books by Kate Messner, made me realize how little I read realistic fiction.  I love science fiction - dystopian fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy.  I also read some books that I would consider to be in a teen issues genre because they deal with much more intense issues like gangs, rape, or death.  Both of Kate Messner's books I found to be full of good characters and real problems I think middle grade/early YA readers can relate to.  This book reminded me of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger and Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  All of these are realistic fiction books that I would recommend and are great examples of expert realistic fiction.
     One thing I love about Sugar and Ice is that through reading about Claire and her skating readers can learn about maple farms, bees, and the Fibonacci sequence!  It's was obvious to me that Messner is a teacher when I saw that she was able to incorporate these other elements while telling Claire's story.  (The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. is written in much the same way, you can see my review here.)
     One more element I really appreciate about Sugar and Ice is how Claire grows as a young woman.  At first she is nervous and quiet when it comes to interacting with her new coach and speaking up for herself.  By the end, she is sure of what she wants and isn't afraid to express herself and make good choices based on how she feels.  I love her as a role model for my students.  Besides that, she does have a "crush" in this book that I think readers will love but it's not what the story is about.  The story is about Claire and her growth as a skater and it doesn't depend on the boy...although he does make the story more interesting and does support her.  I'm sorry, I'm a sucker for strong female characters!  Go, Claire!
Read Together: 4 - 8 
Read Alone: 5 - 10 
Read With: Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger,  P.S. Longer Letter Later by Ann M. Martin and Paula Danzinger, The Naked Mole-Rat Letters by Mary Amato,
Snatch of Text: "It wasn't a conversation, exactly.  In a conversation, both people talk.  In the front lobby of the Northern Lights Rink, only Andrei Groshev talked.  Claire sat with her hot chocolate gripped in her hands and tried to listen, but her stomach was turning flips.
     'You are familiar with the Silver Blades Scholarship program, no?' he said.
     'No,' Claire said.  'I mean yes, I've heard of it.'
     'So you know why it is I wish to speak with you.  We have one slot left for this summer, and we wish to offer it to you.'
     He said more after that, but Claire's head was spinning faster than her skates ever had." (p. 11)
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Inferences, Making Predictions, Visualizing
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Expository 
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you had to speak up for yourself.  Write about a time in your life when you were too shy or too naive to speak up for yourself.  Explain how a skater might prepare for a competition or how another athlete or competitor might prepare for a competition.   
Topics Covered: maple farms, family, friendship, loyalty, competition, bees, math - Fibonacci, hard work, determination, trust, 
Translated to Spanish: No

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