Monday, July 28, 2014

An Abundance Of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines By: John Green

Colin is not your typical teenager, he is brilliant but lacks social skills.  In his life he has dated 19 Katherines, but this last one has broken his heart. To help him get over Katherine XIX, Colin's friend Hassan suggests that they take a road trip.  They set off from their home and drive for a long time ending up in  Gutsthot, Tennessee, and meet Lindsay and her mom, Hollis.  They decide to stay and work for Hollis, all the while Colin is trying to get over Katherine XIX.  What Colin is able to find in this small Tennessee town just might save him.

This book was just another great one from John Green.  I love Colin's character, all the quirkiness, the sadness, and the abundance of facts. I think what really got me was that Colin may not have been like the other teens in his life, but he had so much more than them, it just took someone longer to find it.  I feel like that is real life, not the typical teen drama.

I purchased this book at Costco.
ISBN: 978-0-14-241070-7

I Am Malala

I Am Malala By: Malala Yousafzai

This is the fascinating and terrifying story of Malala, a young woman from Pakistan.  Malala was raised differently than the normal Pakistani child, because her father owned a school and felt that it was important for his family and children to learn.  Malala's father spoke out against the people in the country that did not think that education was a good thing.  On October 9, 2012, Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban.  They did not believe that she would live, but she proved them wrong in so many ways by living and then telling all about her story.

This was a book I will not forget.  To think that something that most people take for granted, caused this young girl so much in her life.  I cannot imagine living in a country where kids were not able to go to school, and where there is so much fighting and terror.

I borrowed this book from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-316-32240-9

Born of Decption

Born of Deception By: Teri Brown

Anna has just been given the chance of a lifetime, a part in a show in Europe. She is very excited because this also means that she will be closer to Cole.  When Anna comes to Europe, she is so excited, and nervous to meet the people in Cole's life. To make matters worse, other Sensitives in the area are starting to disappear.  While Anna has to focus on her job, Cole becomes more and more distant.  Anna feels that the Society should look in one area, and Cole does not agree. Anna has to find a way to keep Cole close, but solve the mystery her own way.

This was a great sequel to Born of Illusion. Anna's story continues on a path that I was not expecting.  What I really enjoyed about this part of the story was that Anna becomes very strong, she knows what she believes and will not let anyone tell her what to think.  Great young adult read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-06-218757-4

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Black Rabbit

The Black Rabbit By: Philippa Leathers

One morning Rabbit woke up and as he was walking out of his hole he saw a scary Black Rabbit.  The Black Rabbit would not leave him alone.  Rabbit tried everything he could think of to rid himself of him, but he couldn't do it.  Eventually Rabbit headed into the woods, and he believed he was safe.  But there are wolves in the forest, and now Rabbit has a bigger problem.  Black Rabbit comes to the rescue, and Rabbit knows that he now has a friend.

This book was super cute.  I loved the story and the illustrations. The fact that the Black Rabbit was just Rabbit's shadow was so funny. I know that any elementary reader will love this book.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5714-7

The Orphan of Ellis Island

The Orphan of Ellis Island By: Elvira Woodruff

Dominic does not want anyone to know his secret.  He hides it every day at school, but on one class trip it seems that he will have to share it.  His class is on a tour of Ellis Island, and the tour guide is asking everyone to share their story.  When it is Dominic's turn, instead of telling everyone he is an orphan and doesn't know anything about his family, he runs away.  Dominic finds a place to hide, and wakes up later to find that he is in the museum at night. Knowing he will have to wait for someone to find him, he walks around and listens to the recordings of the immigrants that came to Ellis Island, one recording gives him more than he asks for and he is transported back in time.

This was a touching book with a great historical base.  Dominic's story is so much like many kiddos today, and they will relate to it.  I thought the idea of him going back in time, and finding out what it was like for immigrants to come to America was a great story. Great read for upper elementary and middle school readers.

This book was donated to my class.
ISBN: 0-590-48246-7

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On My Honor

On My Honor By: Marion Dane Bauer

Joel isn't sure that he likes being Tom's friend. Tom always likes to do things that Joel is not supposed to do and is a little afraid of.  One day Tom convinces Joel that they should ride their bikes on an adventure.  Joel's father gives them permission, but has them promise not to do anything other than ride to the park.  Along the way, Tom decides that swimming in the river will be fun.  Although reluctant, Joel decides to join him, and challenges Tom to swim out to the sandbar.  Tom disappears, and Joel realizes that Tom has gone under.  He tries to find help, but by the time he does Tom is nowhere to be found.  Joel hides the information and tells a lie to the police and Tom's family. He is distraught with guilt.

I usually do not dislike any books. I wish I had not read this.  It made me so sad, I cannot imagine a boy whose friend has just drown, hiding it from the police and his family.  Not only because that is such the wrong thing to do, but because the guilt that that the child will carry for the rest of his life is unimaginable to me.  When I got to the end of the book, I was shocked and disappointed. It won a Newbery Honor and is based on actual events in the town it is based on, but I don't think that I will have this in my room.

This book was donated to my class
ISBN 0-440-46633-4

The Twenty-One Balloons

The Twenty-One Balloons By: William Pene Dubois

Professor William Waterman Sherman attempted to fly across the world with his twenty-one balloons. He was not successful and was found in the Atlantic ocean floating on his wreckage.  The world wants to know his story, but he is in no hurry to tell them.  When he does finally start talking he tells the tale of his adventures.  No one knows is the professor's tale is true or false, but they all know that it is one that they want to hear.

This was a quirky and fun story for the adventurous readers.  The contraption that the professor makes is out of this world, and unbelievable.  Written with the main character telling the story of his fantastic journey makes it even better and it reads as a nonfiction story.  Even though this story was written in 1947, it still is a great story for students today.

This book was donated to my classroom
ISBN: 0-590-56925-2

Marshfield Dreams

Marshfield Dreams When I Was A Kid By: Ralph Fletcher

This is an autobiography of what Ralph Fletcher remembers as a young child.  He was the oldest child and had 8 brothers and sisters.  He loved his small town, and all the things that his family did together. Fletcher recalls the bests memories he had as a child. This is a perfect book for a study of biographies, or authors.  Upper elementary students will have a great time comparing what it was like for Ralph to grow up and what it is like for them.  I loved the part where there is a girl in his class that always knows that his mom is going to have a baby before he does and she asks him, "Do you know the scuttlebutt?" 

This book was donated to my classroom
ISBN: 978-1-250-01024-7

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure By: Anna Walker

Peggy lives in the yard and does the same thing every day.  One day a gust of wind carries Peggy to a new place. A place with a lot of people, and none of them will help her find her way home.  Peggy has many adventures in the city, but is lucky to see some sunflowers, like the ones in her yard. Peggy follows them as far as she can, and is still not home. Her pigeon friends find Peggy and help her get the rest of the way. 

This was a cute story.  Elementary school children would love it, even the bigger ones.  Peggy is an adventurer, and it would help with a discussion on what types of adventures the kids would like to go on. The illustrations are beautiful in this book.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-544-25900-3

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Across The Universe

Across The Universe By: Beth Revis

Amy and her family have been frozen, and will be awoken in three hundred years to start a new colony.  As she is frozen she dreams on.  Elder has only ever known life on the Godspeed.  He is to take the place of Eldest when it is time, and is learning how to run the ship.  When Amy is pulled from her frozen sleep early, things start to change.  It becomes apparent that things are not what they seem on the ship, and the future they were all hoping for may not come true. Amy is going to fight for what she thinks is right, and to stay alive herself.

While I don't know that I really liked this book, I did  not put it down.  I was hooked on finding out the answer to the crimes that were being committed. I wanted to make sure that Amy survived, and wanted to see what she would do as she found out more and more.  I also so hoped throughout the book that Elder would make the right choices. Interesting book.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-59514-397-6

Friday, July 11, 2014

George's Secret Key To The Universe

George's Secret Key To The Universe
By: Lucy and Stephen Hawking

George lives a very different life. His parents do not believe in any modern technology, that includes even a phone, a dishwasher, and a washing machine.  All George really wants in life is a computer and he is saving his money for one, but knows it will be a very long wait.  One day George's pet pig escapes into the house of the neighbor, in his hunt for the pig, he meets his new neighbors.  They have what George really wants, a computer, and not just any computer, one that can take George to space! But others are looking for this computer too!

What a great read!! I cannot wait for my kids at home and school to read it.  With a fun imaginative story and facts about space it's a winner!  George's life is so different from all the kids I know, that I know they will love it.  And George's story continues in George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt

This book was donated to my classroom
ISBN: 978-1-4169-8584-6

Waiting For Normal

Waiting For Normal By: Leslie Connor

Addie really wishes that her life could be normal.  It really isn't though, her father died when she was little and her mother has just gotten a divorce from her husband.  Dwight is very nice to Addie and treats her as his own, but she isn't and so instead of moving with him and her little sisters, Addie is forced to live in the tiny trailer with her mother.  Mommers is not great at taking care of Addie and she spends a lot of time alone, but she makes friends with Soula and Eddie that run the gas station next door.  As Addie's mom continues to leave Addie for longer and longer, and Dwight moves away, Addie has to fend for herself, and she gets more and more lonely.

I loved this story, but it broke my heart. I felt so sorry for Addie, she really just wanted a family and know that she was loved and cared for.  She had so many in her life that tried to help her.  I wish every kid in her situation could have the heroes Addie had.

I was given this book.
ISBN: 978-0-06-089090-2

The Birchbark House

The Birchbark House By: Louise Erdrich

This is Omakayas' story.  She lives in her village and works along with the others.  She loves living in the birchbark house more than the cabin for winter.  When everyone in her village gets sick with smallpox, Omakayas does not, and she cares for those around her.   During her growing up she finds out many things about how she can take care of others, how she is connected to the land, and then how Old Tallow was the one who saved her from the village that she was orphaned in.

This was a great read for upper elementary or middle school readers.  It was true to the historic nature of the Native Americans it represented.  The story of Omakayas was a wonderful tale for any young person growing up and one that many could relate to.

I was given this as a gift
ISBN: 0-439-20340-6

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Maple By: Lori Nichols

When Maple was going to be born, her parents planted a tree for her.  Maple loved her tree and spent a lot of time around it.  The only problem was that sometimes a tree is not the best of friends, as it cannot throw snowballs with you and she tried to give her tree someone to play with.  One day a new little tree appears in her yard, and Maple becomes a big sister.  She loves and takes care of her sister, Willow, and they both love to lay underneath their tree.

This is a simple, wonderful story perfect for any age reader.  The illustrations were beautiful.  Lovely book.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-399-16085-1

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Escape From Memory

Escape From Memory By: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Kira's friends think it would be fun to hypnotize her at a party.  She agrees, but what happens is more than she expects.  She starts getting memories of a time that she doesn't know about in her life.  Determined to get the answers her mother will not get her, Kira sets off to find them.  But when Kira's mother disappears, and a strange women who calls herself Aunt Memory takes Kira she knows something is wrong.  Aunt Memory takes Kira to a strange place Crythe, and tells Kira that it is where she is from.  Luckily for Kira her friend Lynne somehow managed to sneak along for the trip, because they are going to need all the help they can get to escape.

I love Haddix's books, and this one was no different.  I was instantly drawn into the story, because it was so strange that I knew something was up.  The relationship between Kira and her mom was a strange one, and the way her mother acted about everything was off.  As soon as Kira went with Aunt Memory, I knew bad things were going to happen, as who goes with strangers.  Great teen read

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-4424-4602-1