Monday, November 29, 2021

Once Upon a Time by Sheryl Green

Genre: Informational writing

Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Chapter 1 gets you right into the writing. The author of this book gives ten writing prompts and then does something wonderful. She asks two or three questions about the prompt to help move the writer forward. That is one thing my students often struggle with. They choose a prompt but don’t know how to move forward.

Chapter two deals with moving forward when you get writer’s block. She offers a lot of hints and tips to help you with this problem. Then you get ten more writing prompts.

Chapter three dealt with the elements of a story. You know what I am talking about. You create a world, and then populate that world with characters you have created.  Then you are given more tips and finally ten more writing prompts.

Chapter four is where the real work begins. You’ve written a story and this chapter teaches you how to make it better through editing and revision. This of course is followed by more tips and then ten more prompts.

This book is beneficial for children and adults alike. I can see me using this in my classroom at school. I highly recommend this book

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Beyond Invisible by Marjorie Jackson


Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own

Genre:  Middle Grade, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

Every now and then a book comes along at the perfect time. This is the sequel to the book "Being is Better". In the second book Missy is still trying to help her mother put her life back together. She is also crushing on her best friend's brother.  Her best friend Amber is still fighting to get her seizures under control.  Both of them have entered high school.  Missy is once again "strongly encouraged" to visit her father. She agrees to do this only if her best friend Amber can come with her. Her father agrees. Things are very tense between Missy and her father. Amber is there to help Missy keep her cool. This is especially important when they meet someone very important to her father; his girl friend.   While visiting her father they walk around town and stop into a yogurt shop. It is here that Amber meets the boy of her dreams, "Dev".

From this point forward you know as you read that things aren't quite what they seem.  Missy is still trying to find out what argument her brother Frankie had with her dad. This is the argument that sent her brother off into the military where he was killed.  Maybe with Amber, and her brother Mase's help they can solve this puzzle and figure where all of the other characters fit in.

This is a book of hope. We get a look at Missy's father and what a first class jerk he is. For kids who have gone through a family divorce and their life has been turned upside down, it shows them there can be a silver lining for them.  I am thrilled to put these two books on my shelves. May it reach out and touch so many lives.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Miraculous "A Whale of a Tale" by Walter Rouzer


Genre:  Middle Grade Fantasy

Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review The opinions expressed here are my own.

Anyone who knows me as a reader knows I read books for two reasons. The first is because I love reading books of all genres and levels. The second is to pass on great books to my students.  This is one of those books. Hailee is a character I want my students to get to know. Why? I teach middle school and that is the most difficult time for most kids. Kids can be really cruel during this period of their life to others who are different.  Sometimes that cruelty, even though wrong is brought about by fear and a lack of understanding. That doesn’t justify it. It only explains why some kids are cruel when they see others who are different.

Hailee is born with physical issues as well as being mute. She is delivered by a veterinarian at a zoo who agrees to keep her because her parents reject her.  Trust me, the veterinarian is not really being kind to Hailee.  Hailee is put on display in the zoo like one of the animals. She is called the “Mushroom Monster”.  You would think that as she grows up she would be depressed and down.  Hailee is not this type of person. Mr. Higgins the zookeeper teaches Hailee that all beings have worth.  Hailee uses these lessons to help not only herself, but the animals around her. That is what I love about this story and this author. He created a character with a survival attitude full of hope. As sad and depressing as the story is at times it is also full of hope and a message about showing empathy and kindness.  Well done.