By the Book: Laurie Blake, Roosevelt Elementary

Laurie has been a media clerk at Roosevelt Elementary for almost five years. She is a former high school Spanish and Debate teacher, and has done amazing work using her teaching skills to get kids engaged in reading, both in the library and through OverDrive.

What books are currently on your nightstand?


Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I am reading A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman for my book club and The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands for our Battle of the Books.

What was the last great book you read?

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The last book that made you cry?

14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy. I was reading it aloud to the 6th grade classes to commemorate September 11th and was really close to losing my composure.

The last book that made you laugh?

I don’t think I laugh a lot when I read! I think there was a humorous scene that made me chuckle in Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald.

What kind of reader were you as a child? What childhood books and authors stick with you the most?

I was a, “hide in your room and read for as long as you can” reader. I first got hooked on the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, then it was the Nancy Drew series. Another series that I loved read was Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

What is the best book you were required to read as a student?


I think it was The Chosen by Chaim Potok. I was fascinated by this introduction to unfamiliar cultures.

What book did you hate reading as a student?

I was terrible about most required reading in school. I really couldn’t get through The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. However, I revisited it a couple of years ago, and I was able to understand and appreciate it- finally!

What is our favorite book to recommend to children?

It is so hard to narrow it down, so I won’t!

For children’s fiction, I find that I can’t go wrong by recommending the Beehive Book Award nominees– there are so many that I have enjoyed and recommend to students. Two Newbery Medal winners that I love to recommend are When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead and The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. I can now add Booked by Kwame Alexander to that recommendation as well!

For students who are transitioning into chapter books, I love to see their reactions to Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst.

Picture books that I enjoy and recommend are ones by Helen Lester- Listen Buddy and Hurty Feelings, the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems and the Journey trilogy by Aaron Becker.

If you could only bring three books to a desert island, which would you pack?

Probably my scriptures, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

11 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. I really enjoyed getting to know you this By the Book, Laurie. You have some great book recommendations. Thanks!!

  2. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It is hard to just find one book to recommend to students. There are so many good ones! I enjoyed reading about you Laurie.

  4. I just picked up Alexander Hamilton and starting it last night. That is a heavy read. I hope to finish it by the time the Broadway Production hits Salt Lake City. I would like to know what you think of it when you finish. I can read about 10 young adult novels to that one book on Hamilton. Hope I make it trough.

  5. Love, love, love Anne of Green Gables! I love the Beehive Award Nominees to recommend to students also, there is such a great variety of genres to choose from on their lists.

  6. I really love the book “When You Reach Me”. I recommended it to my granddaughter for a book report, we had fun talking about it together, I love the way the author brought out the relationships of family, friends and those from the past.

  7. Loved learning more about you!

  8. Laurie you are my twin! I loved reading the exact same books as you when I was a kid. :) And I remember loving “The Chosen” for the very same reason–I was so intrigued by reading about a new culture. This is fun learning about our fellow librarians!

  9. I really ended up liking the Blackthorn Key and recommend that as well as Crossover. Both great books.

  10. The Chosen is one of those books I read in high school that has just stayed with me. Still makes my favorites list every time.

  11. Love your book list to recommend, but I have never heard of “Listen Buddy and the Hurty Feelings. Also like you choice of what to bring to an island. I am finding I want to be on the deserted island with everyone, then we could share the books we want to bring.

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