Monday, October 16, 2017

Five Charming PIcture Books

I have had the privilege of reading several children's books lately. Unfortunately, until tonight I had not had time to write their review.  Here is a handful of the books I have read recently.

Lulu and Lainey...a French yarn by Lois Petren
I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

First, let me tell you how beautiful the watercolored pictures are in this book. It enhances the charming story of a young girl named Lulu who loves to visit with her grandmother. When they are together they knit. One day Lulu takes her favorite ball of yarn with her and loses it in the park. This is a cute book that children will love. They can try to predict what happened to her ball of yarn and then read the book to find out what adventure her ball of yarn had.

If You Was Me and Lived in Cuba by Carole P. Roman
I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

For me, this book was very personal. I was introduced to the Cuban culture when I married my first husband. Reading Carole's book was like going home. The food and celebrations were taught to my children. I am still close to Popi we lost Mami a couple of years ago. She would visit family in Cuba every few years and then tell me all about her trip to her former country. Carole gives the reader a look at the lives and the cultures of the people of Cuba.

Oh, Susannah, Things that Go Bump by Carole P. Roman
I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Susannah has been invited by her best friend to attend a slumber party at her friend's house. As much as Susannah would normally love to spend time with Lola, a large part of her doesn't want to spend the night. Lola lives in a very old house that makes all kinds of strange noises. Lola's brother Kai loves to tease Susannah. He tells her the house is haunted. This story reminded me of ghost stories I would tell my sisters and cousins scaring everyone including myself. We lived in a 100-year-old house. Susannah learned that children often fear the unknown when there truly is nothing to fear.

Oh Susannah, It's In the Bag by Carole P. Roman
I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Susannah is having a terrible day. She didn't complete her homework because she didn't understand it. As her day goes on more things pile up. She handles things b cramming them into her backpack and ignoring them. susannah learns a valuable lesson. She learns you can't avoid unpleasant things . you must face them and if needed ask for help. Now if I could only get my middle school kids to understand this.

Navy Seals For Kids H.A.L.O - Eric Z
I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

My students love Eric Z's books. They are middle school students who love to learn about many of the things Eric writes about. They just don't want to read 300 pages to get the information. This book gives readers a look at the Navy Seal's job. The books take you from the planning of a mission to its completion. It has actual pictures which makes it even more appealing.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

I Am Sleepless: Sim 299 by Johan Twiss

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own,

In some ways this book reminded me of the Ender’s series, because the hope of success in the war are children. However, that is where it deviates. The powers in charge have used human babies and injected them with something that often kills the baby. If they are lucky the serum works and they become one of many  species with specific gifts. Aiden is a freak among these freaks. He has two gifts. When they are in the pit practicing against each other he is suddenly able to meld his two gifts together. In this way he is able to anticipate his opponent’s moves and win.  This creates some enemies.  Each of these “gifts” comes with a defect. For Aiden the defect is he never sleeps. I loved that these species had identifiable characteristics. Aiden has the gift of a vibrant and a puzzler. He has green hair and gray skin. Most vibrunts are blind, but he is not. He also has the gift of a puzzler where he can figure complex things out.
They get the shakes and usually can’t sleep. Aiden is the youngest person to make it through most of the simulators. He is currently in sim 299. Three of his rivals end up with an invitation to that sim. They enter to seek revenge. They end up needing each other. Dixon is an agulator who can change the density of his body. Zana is a Mek. She is blue and although she is a dwarf, her engineering genius holds lots of promise. Unfortunately they usually sabotage their own work.  Aiden has two other friends  that help him . They all become like family.  But things are about to take a twisted turn. Someone doesn’t like what is happening and enters the game to shake things up.

It took me a little time to get the different type of characters straight and understand their gifts and defects. Once I understood it, I loved it. The world this author has created is beautiful.  It seems it is a simple world and then you realize how complex it is. The plot is fairly complex as well. There are a lot of hidden secrets. I loved the book so well that I bought the second book. I am really looking forward to reading it.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Principal's Underwear is Missing - Holly Kowitt

Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Humor
Source: I purchased a copy.

What happens when sixth-grade nobody Becca Birnbaum accidentally injures the richest and most popular girl in her school?  A rocking good time happens. This is probably the funniest book I have read in a long time.  Becca is one of those uncoordinated, trying to find herself in the big world of middle school sixth graders. When she tries to get a volleyball over the net and inadvertently bounces it off the ceiling and into an eighth grader who ends up breaking her arm, you know you are in for an interesting time.  Maybe I found it so humorous because I teach middle school. I understand sixth graders and how they are trying to fit in. In Becca's place, she also happens to be one of the rule followers, a natural nerd.  The eighth-grade girl she injures is a very rich, very spoiled, very popular girl with drop-dead looks that she knows how to use. Selfie earned her nickname because she likes to take selfies of herself.  I kept wondering how things would turn out since you had complete opposites suddenly forced together.  To try to make amends for injuring Selfie, Becca agrees to get something from the principal's office. Unfortunately, the wrong bag is given to her and that begins the adventure. Selfie and Becca try to return the bag only to discover that the item in question is missing. To make matters worse someone wants to use that item in a prank.  I learned what I see here at my school all the time. No matter what rung on the social ladder students are on, they all have the same insecurities and feelings. There are so many underlying lessons to be learned in this book. It is done with humor and in such a way that you can't help but love reading the book.  This is an author I most definitely must put on my shelf.  I will soon have a review of her book  "The Loser List". I took great pleasure in telling my students they could not read the book until I finished it.  Our day of reading was wonderful.  I highly recommend any books by this author.