Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Small as an Elephant

Small as an Elephant By: Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Jack loves his mother very much.  But on a camping trip that he is excited about he realizes his mother has left him. He spends a couple days at the campsite thinking that she is going to come back, she has a history of doing things that are strange. But after a while he knows she is not coming back. He makes a plan to find his own way to see Lydia the elephant.  He starts to walk, but then figures out he will need a way to get food and shelter. Along the way he does things he knows he should not, but he cannot get caught, and taken away from his mother forever.

I loved this book. It was such a sad story about a boy who knows that there is something that his mother needs to work on. But he cannot force himself to give up on her. He wants so bad to stay with her, knowing that it is not the right thing.  Jake shows such courage in this book in more ways then one.  Great read!

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-7696-4155-9

Sunday, April 27, 2014

When I Woke Up I Was A Hippopotamus

When I Woke Up I Was A Hippopotamus By: Tom MacRae and Ross Collins

This is the story of a boy and how he changes into different things during the day. As a hippo he is sluggish and does not want to get up.  At school time he is a statue, because he does not want to go to school.  His teacher calls him a monkey.  Just a cute rhyming book for younger kids.  This book would be a great book for a classroom writing lesson. Kids could chose what they are at different times and write about what they do.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-7613-8099-3

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I, Emma Freke

I, Emma Freke By: Elizabeth Atkinson

Emma does not fit, she does not like school and hates seeing her counselor.  Emma lives with her mother, who doesn't seem to want to be a mother, and her grandfather. She would love to know who her father is, but she doesn't.  Her best friend is Penelope, and one day Emma's mom gives her the best gift, she tells her she does not have to go back to school ever again.  That doesn't work out either, but Emma does get to go to the Freke Family Reunion, where she finds things aren't as bad as she thinks, and finally finds a place to fit in.

I loved this book.  I thought the character Emma was one that many girls could relate to. Not having a place to fit in and trying to find out what to do about it.  I loved how Emma was able to help another even though she was going through a hard time.
Perfect read for middle school girls. 

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-7613-5604-2

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Liesl & Po

Liesl & Po By: Lauren Oliver Illustrated by: Kei Acedera

Liesl is a sad girl who lives in an attic all alone. She was locked in there by her stepmother after her father died. Po is a spirit who is traveling between the Other Side and the real world. Will is an orphan who works for the alchemist. One night Po meets Liesl in her room, she asks him about the Other Side, and she then asks for him to find her father and see how he is. They find out that his soul cannot rest until his ashes are buried near Liesl's mother.  Will makes a huge mistake and mixes up a delivery. He must run away to avoid punishment. The three end up together on an adventure to bring peace to Liesl and they end up finding each other.

I loved this book. It was very well written, and had so much to offer. I thought that the stories of the kids finding each other was the best part. Each of them having so many sad things in their life, but being able to find the things they need. Perfect read for upper elementary and middle school readers.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-06-201451-1

Magnificent 12: The Call

Magnificent 12: The Call By: Michael Grant

Mack has a problem, he cannot stop getting in trouble. And he loves to stick up for himself against the bullies. One day he embarrasses a bully really well, and knows that he is in for it. But a man name Grimluk comes into Mack's life, he tells Mack that he is there to take his place, because Mack is part of an ancient group that is going to have to fight a terrible evil. Mack is shocked and isn't quite sure that he should accept his destiny.

This was a great read for upper elementary and middle school readers. Full of action and adventure, that real kids can enjoy.  It was nice that Mack was not your typical hero, as he had a lot of average qualities.  I am hoping that my 4th grader will enjoy this series.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-06-183366-33

Friday, April 18, 2014

Me and You

Me and You By: Genevieve Cote

This is the story of a pig and a rabbit that are the best of friends. They enjoy spending time with each other and want to be like each other. They wish for the other's gifts, the pig wants the rabbit's long ears, the rabbit wants the pig's button nose.  But then they realize that those are the things they like about the other, and being yourself is what makes each other special. I love this simple book about being you!

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-55453-446-3


Salvage By: Alexandra Duncan

Ava has only ever lived aboard the ship that her father is captain of. She knows nothing of life anywhere else.  She would love to be able to read and work to fix things aboard the ship, but that is not what girls are meant to do.  She finds out that she is to be married and is anxious to see whom to, and nervous to leave the ship she has always lived on.  When she finds out that she is to marry her friend, Luck, she is excited. But things are not what they seem, and Ava makes a mistake that changes her life forever. She escapes to Earth to survive, and finds that life on Earth is not easy either. She is able to find her way there, and the things she always thought were important become not so much any more.

This was a good read. Perfect for young adults. It was a great story of a girl who has to find a way to take care of herself, when those around her push her out. I found that her struggles to become who she is meant to be, true to anyone who is forced to grow up.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-06-222014-1

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Agate By: Joy Morgan Dey and Nikki Johnson

Agate thinks he is not a good moose, and that there is no use for him.  He is very sad, but loves his friends and thinks that all of them are very special for different reasons. We get to meet all these colorful friends like, Diamond the giraffe, Emerald the lion, and Peridot the porcupine. Each animal feels that they are not special, but in the end they realize that they each have their own gifts. Great read for elementary school because in addition to learning that you are all special, you learn all the great names of precious gems.  Loved it.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-942235-73-9

Ten Rules You Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus

Ten Rules You Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus
By: John Grandits Illustrated By: Michael Allen Austin

Kyle is scared to ride the bus.  But his big brother fills him in on the rules that he has to follow to make sure that he is safe on the bus.  This advice is definitely going to help him, but Kyle does not follow the rules very well and breaks every single one. This does not turn out as he expects though, and he learns that maybe his brother doesn't know everything.  This is a great book for any elementary age reader, and perfect for kids who have to ride the bus for the first time.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-618-78822-4

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Code Talkers

Code Talkers By: Joseph Bruchac

This is a novel about the Navajo people that became the code talkers during WWII.  It starts with their journey to the boarding schools where they were forced to give up their native language and ways to become more like the white people.  Some of the men and women went into the marines.  Because of their fierce loyalty and dedication, the Navajo people made very good soldiers.  When the United States needed a code to block the enemy from learning their plans they turned to the Navajo Marines to make a code that only the US could understand.

I really loved this book. I always find historical fiction intriguing.  It makes me sad the way we as a country treated people when we came to their land, and their homes.  I also found this story, told as a grandfather would tell his grandchildren fascinating. A young boy who has been treated badly by soldiers decides to fight for the country that tried to change him, and does a great job doing it.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 0-14-240596-5

Because of Mr. Terupt

Because of Mr. Terupt By: Rob Buyea

This book tells the story of Mr. Terupt's fifth grade class. We meet his students and they tell their side of the classroom story. Peter wants to make sure that he gets away with things because their teacher is new. Alexis likes to start the girl drama war. Danielle wants people to be her friend and hates being fat. The teaching style of Mr. Terupt finds a way to connect all the kids and changes the way they each think of school. But one day there is an accident that changes everything.

I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. I loved the way we got to know each student, and saw the class from their opinion.  As a fifth grade teacher, I always wonder how I come across to students. The way the accident plays out, and then the end of the book had me thinking hard about the whole story. What if something like that happened? How would students handle it?  Maybe the vision of my own students going through that made me think twice.  I don't know, it just made me sad.

I borrowed this book from a friend.
ISBN: 978-0-375-85824-6