Saturday, October 3, 2009

Two Great Books

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 267
Source: Library

Amanda and Leo were born on the same day in the same hospital. A coincidence? Maybe. Was it coincidence that finds them at the same party place to celebrate their children’s first birthday? This coincidence leads to a friendship that has them celebrating all of their birthdays together until their tenth party. Amanda overheard Leo saying something to his new friends about her. With her feelings crushed, she leaves the party and goes home. That was the end of their friendship. A year later as they prepare to celebrate their 11th birthdays separately, something strange happens. Amanda finds out about Leo’s party and realizes that many of her guests have brought gifts and dropped them off at her party to attend his. When it is all over she goes to bed only to wake up the next day to find it is her birthday again.

In a story that reminded me of the movie “Groundhog Day”, Amanda discovers she is not the only one living the day over. Leo has the same problem. Together they must find out why this is happening to them and figure out how to fix this or else it will be their eleventh birthday forever.

This was a quick and easy read for me. I enjoyed it very much. I was reminded of the fragility of friendship. At that age it tends to be very easily broken and at times just as easily fixed. The author did a great job of making her characters very believable and the story line carried you along with not gaps. I know many of my students would love this book. I will gladly recommend it to them.

Also Known as Harper by Ann Haywood Leal
Publisher: Henry Holt
Pages: 246

Source: LibraryFifth grade is tough enough without taking on the problem at home. Harper Lee Morgan is no stranger to problems at home. Her father who drinks too much has left the family. This has forced her mother to try to find extra work. It doesn’t matter how hard she has tried, their landlady want all of the back rent or wants them out. To make matters worse the landlady lives next door and her snotty daughter, Winnie Rae is one of Harper’s classmates. She seems determined to put Harper down as often as possible. On the day Harper learns about the poetry contest her world comes crashing down. It seems that her family must continue to pay for her father’s mistakes. Homeless, Harper, her mother and younger brother must find a way to survive. The lessons she will learn and the people she will meet will strengthen her in ways she would never expect..

Ann Leal took the reader on the bumpy ride with Harper and her family. I found myself so angry at Winnie Rae’s family that I actually thought about what should be done to them. The lessons in this book were not thrown in your face yet they were there and I believe that anyone who reads this book will see them. This is definitely a book to be recommended.

The opinions expressed in these review are mine alone and do not represent the views of the panel.

1 comment:

  1. Sound amazing!!! i'm going to have to check this out!!!