Posts Tagged ‘YA literature’

As a ninth grade English teacher, I am constantly prowling for books that are well written, with a compelling plot to keep the reader hooked. JUMPING OFF SWINGS by Jo Knowles has proven to be one of those types of books that I recommend to students all the time. The author alternates chapters between four interlocking characters who are thrown together by one’s untimely pregnancy. There is no morality, no judgment, just an absorbing story with rich characters



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Like finding twenty bucks in a pair of pants, I was elated when I came across a free copy of “It’s Like This Cat, by Emily Neville. It is one of those elemental books from my childhood, which had kind of recessed in my memory.

I read this novel when I was in 5th or 6thgrade and I was very much aware that its themes were more mature and real-world than the sports books that made up most of my reading. This book really helped turn me into a more discerning reader, and even at that early age, I could start to evaluate a work and appreciate it for its stylistic choices. The New York City setting was fascinatingly vivid to me; and the protagonist’s first glimmerings of attraction to girls paralleled my own shifting thoughts.

However, that isn’t the only significance that “It’s Like This Cat” has for me. I have always felt that there are certain books that evoke a very specific time and place and I distinctly remember another time that I read it, sometime in the middle school years. I was having a radical mastoidectomy at Johns Hopkins, and was in the hospital for at least a week. One afternoon, a few days after the surgery, we were allowed to go to this little bookroom that they had in the pediatric ward. My roommate was a young black child, maybe seven, who was extremely shy and had few visitors. I remember he took my hand as we shuffled down the hallway and I found a copy of this wonderful book. I re-read it twice over the next couple of days. I know that my Aunt Anna, who came and sat with me quite a few times that week, and I would talk about him, worrying because he had no visitors.https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/7c/It%27s_Like_This%2C_Cat.jpg/180px-It%27s_Like_This%2C_Cat.jpgAnyway, that said, I have embedded a link to the book and hope you will read it. I teach ninth grade English, and I am curious if the book still holds up. Here are links to downloadable, audible, and online versions of this book.

Download various file types:


Audio files:


Online Version:


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