Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Uprising By: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Bella has come to America to search for work to support her family at home. She is helped out by her cousin,  who finds her a job in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  Bella does not like the work that she has to do, and finds it hard and unfair.  But many people are in her position and there is nothing she can do about it.  When he cousin leaves her, and the women of the factory go on strike, Bella is truly lost.  She meets Yetta, who is leading the campaign against the mistreatment of the workers, and they become friends.  Each girl in this story is trying to find her own way, and make  a living under hard circumstances.

I thought that this was a great book about a very hard thing for women and immigrants in 1909. The way the story is told is art really, as you feel you are a part of the girls lives.  I found this to be a wonderful historical fiction story, with a terrific amount of information about the tread of women mill workers.  A perfect middle school read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-4169-1172-2

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane By: Neil Gaiman

As an adult, a man comes back for a funeral to his home town. He feels compelled to visit a farm where as a child, he met a girl. He drives to the end of the road, and sees a run down house. There is a woman there, who he remembers, and she tells him to go and sit by the pond while she makes him a cup of tea.  While sitting by that pond he remembers everything.  The story he remembers is not a good one, but one of a seven year old boy, who experiences events that are very scary.  He remembers the evil that hunted him, and how the girl, Lettie, and her mother and grandmother, helped save him.

This was a captivating book.  I know that my summary really only touches the surface of the events in the story, but there is no way to put into words the depth of the book.  I didn't put it down until I was finished.  What I really enjoyed was that the author created these events that the boy went through that were so traumatic, that you had to keep reading to see what was going to happen. And in the end, I still was surprised. Full of magic, and an understanding of how we deal with traumatic events in our life, definitely a must read. It has been a while since a book truly leaves me at a loss for words.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 9780062255679

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Freddie & Gingersnap

Freddie & Gingersnap How A Dragon Taught A Dragon To Fly By: Vincent X. Kirsch

Freddie is a little dinosaur, and he really wants to know what it would be like to have his head in the clouds like the rest of the dinosaurs. Gingersnap wants to fly and thought it would be easy, but it isn't.  She accidentally lands on Freddie, and they both don't know what to do because dinosaurs and dragons stay away from each other.  They chase each other and end up making friends, when each of them rescues the other at some point.  Freddie helps Gingersnap learn to fly, and Gingersnap gives Freddie a nice gift.

This is a great story about the unlikely friendship that helps each character grow in ways they didn't know they could.  I love both the characters, and the illustrations are great.  Just a really good book!

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-142315958-2

Friday My Radio Flyer Flew

Friday My Radio Flyer Flew By: Zachary Pullen

This is a short story about a boy who wants to fly.  He gets his Radio Flyer and goes around with his father, but that is not good enough, he wants to fly.  His father and him work to make his wagon an airplane, and he tries his best, but is disappointed.  He never stops trying and on Friday he flies.  A book about not giving up, that has great illustrations and a powerful message.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-4169-3983-2

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Mighty Lalouche

The Mighty Lalouche By: Matthew Olshan and Sophie Blackall

This is the story of a famous French boxer.  It tells how Lalouch was once a postman, but he lost his job when the electric car was first made and they didn't need walking postmen anymore.  Lalouche was a nimble person and so he started boxing.  He was really good at it and never lost, he missed being a postman though. So when his boss called and said that the electric cars were not working out he was all to happy to take his old job back.

This was a great book.  I love books like these that make nonfiction really interesting for kids to read.  And I like to have the chance to read books about people that I would never ever have heard about.  Great book!!

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-375-86225-0

Monday, January 20, 2014


Graphic Forensic Science: Corpses and Skeletons: The Science of Forensic Anthropology By: Rob Shone Illustrated By: Nick Spender

This is a graphic novel about forensic science.  It is quite interesting.  It starts by talking about crime scenes and dead bodies and then in graphic novel form studies cases where forensics were used to solve murder.  The first case is from 1889 in France and tells the tale of a missing man, who using forensics was found to be murdered.  In another case from 2005, a body is found and using clay they reproduce the face of the skull and are able to find out who the body is.  This book is quite fascinating, and perfect for upper elementary and middle school readers.
I borrowed this from the GATE department in my district
ISBN: 978-1-4042-1441-5

24/7 Science Behind the Scenes Forensics: Skulls and Skeletons True-life Stories of Bone Detectives By: Danielle Denega

This is an informational book about forensics and how forensic anthropologists to their jobs.  The first part of the book defines the job and the vocabulary that goes with it.  Then it describes three cases where forensic anthropologists were able to help solve mysteries.  I thought the case of the Hardin Cemetery Flood was interesting, the anthropologists had to use their knowledge to help identify remains of hundreds after a cemetery was flooded and the bodies uncovered.  With its pictures and being packed with information this is another great book.
I was given this book by a friend.
ISBN: 978-00-531-26225-2

Both of these books were great!  I really don't like the subject of dead bodies,  but these made forensics quite interesting. I find it amazing what people can do with science to find out how people died, and help to solve crimes. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It By: Susan Beth Pfeffer

Miranda lives a pretty normal teenage life.  She lives with her mom, her dad and his new wife are having a baby, and she is struggling with changing friends in high school. One day the world is told that there is a meteor headed toward the Moon.  Everyone is speculating as to if it is really going to happen, and on the night of the event the world makes a party out of it.  That is until the inevitable happens, the Moon is hit, and it tilts closer to the Earth causing world wide chaos.  Miranda and he family fall into a fight for their life and they don't know if they will survive the terror that they are now in.

This was definitely a page turner, and I didn't stop until I was done.  The way the book is laid out in Miranda's journal makes for a great read. I kept thinking, what if I get to the end and she dies.  The creepiness of the book also hit me, it was so real and made me think of what would really happen to the world we know if something huge like this really happened.  A great teen read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-15-206154-8

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Exile By: Anne Osterlund

Aurelia has set off on her journey to see the land that she is princess over.  She has gone with Robert and the palace guards. She does not like having the entourage, and wishes that she and Robert could just talk alone.  But when another attempt on her life occurs at the hands of these guards, Aurelia has to face the fact that she is not doing well.  As Robert and her are forced to run, Aurelia has to figure out what she wants to accomplish, and she knows she does not wish to give up the throne, that she has run away from.  She is not prepared in the slightest to fall in love, but she cannot imagine her life without Robert.

I loved this companion to Aurelia.  I really like the main character, and in this book we see that while she is a tough person, on the inside she struggles with everything.  As always I am a sucker for a great love story, and this book fits that perfectly.  The battle between both Aurelia and Robert in fighting their feelings for each other and the reality that they both know makes for a great read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-14-241739-3

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker By: Paolo Bacigalupi

Nailer is a ship breaker, he lives to salvage items off of broken ships.  His father is terrifying and only cares for drugs, and is violent. On one salvage mission Nailer and Pima find something they are not used to finding, a swank girl that is not dead yet.  Nailer decides that they will make a blood bond with her and help her stay alive until her family finds her.  This gets more difficult and Nailer has to think that maybe be Lucky Girl can help him find what he is looking for too.

I thought that this was a good book.  It dealt with a lot of deep topics, but the most important thing that I think it was about was loyalty.  The characters in this book were loyal to each other and that is not something that a lot of people have.  I loved how even though it was not the best thing for the character at times, Nailer remained loyal to the people that he made a blood bond to.  Great teen read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-316-05619-9

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Real Boy

The Real Boy: By Anne Ursu

Oscar lives with a magician and helps him by getting the things that he needs from the greenhouse.  He is told to stay in the cellar and not to interact with the people that come to the shop.  One day the magician is gone, and the magician's apprentice tells Oscar that he is going off and that Oscar needs to run the shop.  Oscar has a hard time, but the day gets even worse when the apprentice comes back to the shop dead. Oscar knows that something is going on, and he reads about it in the books he is forbidden to read. When things start to fall apart Oscar must work with the only friend he has, Callie, to solve the mystery of the bad things going on around them.  What he finds, he is not expecting at all.

This was a twist on the story of Pinocchio.  It was great.  I liked how Oscar had no idea that he was not a real boy, and that he figured it out on his own.  Oscar was a very difficult character to understand, because he had such limited experiences in the story, that when he was put into situations with other people, he had a really hard time talking with them and interacting with them.  I believe that kids will connect with Oscar because he feels like he is really different.  This author also wrote Breadcrumbs, which is another great retelling of a fairy tale.

I borrowed this from the public library

ISBN: 978-0-06-201507-5

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Phineas Gage

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science By: John Fleischman

This is the story of Phineas Gage. Phineas lived in the late 1800s and was involved in a terrible accident while doing railroad work.  While working his tamping iron is blasted through his head.  It shoots clean through and he survives, for eleven years!  This book describes how brain science was studied using this incident and just how Phineas was able to live after being in such a bad accident, even though he was not ever quite himself after. This is how an unlikely person becomes famous, by an accident.

I found this book completely fascinating. This story is amazing and the science behind how the brain works is quite interesting.  I think this is a perfect read for middle school and high school readers. While some of my fifth graders liked the idea of the book, most were not interested in reading the whole thing.

I borrowed this book from the GATE department in our district
ISBN: 978-0-618-49478-1


full-ride By: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Becca is not happy.  She has to pretend to be someone and cannot share her true life with anyone. Becca's father is in jail for embezzlement, and it destroyed their life.  Becca and her mom have moved and live a very hidden life.  When Becca tries to be normal and apply for a scholarship for college, things begin to unravel.  She finds out that she is not even the person she thought she was before, and that someone is possibly still going to try to find her mother and her.  The person they find is not the person they suspected and Becca comes up with a plan to beat this person at their own game.

This is a great teen read.  Becca is a character that is easy to like. She just wants to be normal, but spends her entire high school life lying to those around her. I like how the book changed into a thriller, I wasn't really thinking that it would go in that direction.  Great read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-4424-4278-8

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Aurelia By: Anne Osterlund

Aurelia does not know it, but she is in danger. There is a plot to kill her.  She is the heir to the thrown, and someone doesn't want her around.  When Robert shows up, she is confused and happy to see him. He finally gives in and tells her the truth, he is there to protect her and to figure out just who is after her. Together they set off to solve the mystery, and they find out much more that they did not know.

This was a great story.  I enjoyed that Aurelia snuck out of the castle and did things she wanted to even though she was told not to.  I thought the plot was great, because I really had no idea until it was revealed at the end who was plotting against her. Great read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-14-240579-6

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Boy on the Porch

The Boy on the Porch By: Sharon Creech

John and Marta have found a boy  on their porch.   He came with a note that says to take care of him, and that someone will be back for him when they can.  John and Marta are surprised and don't know what to do.  They take care of him the best they can, and ask around about if someone is missing a boy, but in their hearts they just would love for him to stay.  They give him everything they can, but one day a man comes and says that Jacob belongs to him, so the sheriff says that John and Marta have to let him go.  They are devastated, but they decide to be foster parents to other kids, each day waiting and hoping that Jacob will come back.

This was a great book.  It had such a powerful message about kids that need love and a home to stay in.  Many kids are in foster care now, and they need people that are able to take them in and give them love and support, while they are lost in the world.  I loved the ending, it made the whole book worth it.  Perfect for middle school and up.

I purchased this book at Barnes and Nobel.
ISBN: 978-0-06-189235-6