Sunday, May 29, 2011

Life, After

by Sarah Darer Littman
Ages: 14+

Dani's aunt and unborn cousin were killed in a terrorist attack.  Since then, everything in her life in Argentina begins to crumble including private school, boyfriend, loving family, etc...  Dani's family finally decides to escape the United States when there is nothing left in Argentina.  Dani tries to start fresh, but adjusting to a new culture, learning a new language, and living in a small apartment is difficult.  America is not all is cracked up to be.  Dani is able to make friends with an usual boy named Jon and it changes her life.

I really enjoyed this book because it gave me great insight into students who have moved to the United State trying to adjust to everything that is different.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Hundred Dresses

By Eleanor Estes
Ages: 10-14

Wanda Petronski is a poor Polish-American girl that wears the same faded blue dress to school everyday.  Her classmates, Peggy and Maddie, laugh at the dress and Wanda claims to own one hundred dresses. This outrageous and obvious lie becomes a game, as the girls in her class corner her every day before school, demanding that she describe for them all of her dresses.  After Wanda has moved unexpectedly, Peggy and Maddie discover the truth about Wanda.

This cute book addresses the theme of bullying and judging a book by its cover.  Peggy and Maddie get to know about Wanda and realize they were not nice to her. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Hunchback Assignments

The Hunchback Assignments (The Hunchback Assignments, #1)
by Arthur Slade
Ages: 13+

A mysterious Mr. Socrates saves Modo from a traveling freak show as a boy.  He is trained to be a first class secret agent for Permanent Association.  Finally, at the age of 14 he is able to have his first assignment in London.  Modo investigates the disappearences of several children.  While using his shape-shifting gift, he discovers The Clockwork Guild (a secret organization).  During his mission, he teams up with another young agent, Octavia Milkweed.

What a unique modern adaption of Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Modo is a character you really fall in love with.  This book is about the dark underground of London in the Victorian era.  Arthur Slade is able to keep the topic kid friendly in the setting.  I enjoy the book and recommend it for readers who enjoy secret agent books like Alex Rider series.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Racing the Sun

by Paul Pitts
Ages: 8-14
Brandon Rogers is a 12 year old American Indian and self-proclaimed underachiever.  His father had left his heritage behind during college and Brandon had grown up in suburbs.  Brandon just wanted to a regular kid.  Then, his grandfather moved off the reservation into the bottom bunk of Brandon's room.  Brandon finds it difficult to deal with chanting at night and getting up before the sunrise to run. He learns the importance of embracing his heritage without giving up the new.

The book is a great insight into the southwest American Indian culture.  It is an inspiring story about a young boy learning about his background.  A grandfather wanting to share his story and a father than learns a lesson about how to love the new and old ways of life.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Little Red Pen

written by Janet Stevens and illustrated by Susan Stevens Crummel
ages: kindergarten through 4th grade

The Little Red Pen is working so hard to correct a mountain of homework. When she asks the stapler, scissors, eraser, pencil, and highlighter for help they all say, "no!" When the Little Red Pen becomes so exhausted with work, she falls into The Pit of No Return (the trash can). Will the school supplies learn to work together to save the Little Red Pen?

Run, run, run to get this from your local library or bookstore. This is quite possibly the most creative and clever take on The Little Red Hen that I have ever read. We have read this book enough that we have some parts memorized. Sisters and long time corroborators Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel have crafted a truly delightful story. Although there are numerous speaking parts and a somewhat complicated plot, it is just plain fun for everyone.