Showing posts with label 2022. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2022. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Blessed by Kandi J. Wyatt

 


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

I thought the first book in this serieswas awesome. This one topped even that one. The book progressed in a way I was not expecting. New bonds are made, an old threat returns. A kingdom must change hands due to a prophecy. At times I sat on the edge of my seat wondering if the character would make it out alive, of a situation the author put them in. This is one of those books you need to set aside time to read because you won't want to stop once you start.  There are many more to come in this series and I can't wait for them to come out. I definitely recommend this book.

I absolutely love the character of Hest. He is honest, yet we see his fear. He is a loyal friend. I love the other characters as well. They are flawed yet well developed. I would never want to read a book where all the characters are perfect. Even in fantasy we want to feel some realism. As I have said before about Kandi's books, her world building is out of this world. I felt I was in this world. I could visualize it. I love her writing about dragons. There is something both beautiful yet terrifying about them. She makes them seem so realistic. 

I have not yet figured out how she creates her own languages for her characters. My most favorite thing about her books is that she brings her faith into it, yet is is not done in a way that is preachy at all. I have not found any of her books that I have not liked. She is a very talented author.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Heroes of the Quest: An Impossible Team by Mirja Camphausen



Genre: Children's Early Reader
Source: I received a copy from the author through StoryOrigin. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Let me start out by addressing the illustrations by Aurora Paulina Kay. This illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. Having great illustrations always helps with the story. It is obvious that this illustrator truly understood the story.

Mirja Camphausen has crafted a wonderful story. She has placed four animals you would not usually throw together into a team who must complete a quest to receive their diploma from the Quest Academy. You have a mouse who has been an outsider at home for so long that he feels that he has to be the master of everything. He sets out to lead this quest. Then you have a giraffe who claims an oracle told her she would be a great adventurer. However, she has no confidence because she can't read. You have a slug who has created a way to be heard. She perserveres eventhough most count her out because she is so slow. This character reminded me of the quote, "slow but steady wins the race." Finally you have Robert. The mouse calls him a pig, yet he describes him as having fur and claws on his feet. You don't find out until the end what kind of animal he really is. 

The story shows that no matter what our flaws are, we can overcome anything if we put our all into it. It also demonstrates that we can't judge people based only on their flaws. It shows redeeming qualities in each of these characters. I have already sent an email to our media specialist recommending this book for our school.  I highly recommended this book to schools and parents.



 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

That Thing in the Sky by Christopher Francis



Genre: Upper Elementary, Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy from StoryOrigin. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I really enjoyed this book. You have two ten year old children on their way home from school when they see something in the sky. Suddenly there is an explosion and black things dropping from the sky. A neigbor working on his farm is watching as well. They realize there is something in the haystack and go to investigate only to be chased by the strange broken horned, octopus looking alien. Both are kidnapped and place high up in a tree for the night.  Just what do the aliens want with them? Why are Bailey and Margaret so sure it doesn't mean them any harm?  

Christopher Francis has created an alien that on one hand is terrifying, yet you can't help but like. You start out scared, then you feel for the creature and want to help it.  He has left the end of the story nicely concluded, yet set up in case there is another one coming after it. (hint, hint)   I have not found a single one of his books that I didn't love. He does a great job with the setting.  I grew up on a farm in Indiana so I could picture the country setting he described.  When they first see the thing in the sky hovering over the silos and the cows acting strange I was taken to the night we saw a strange, quite hovering disk with lights all around it float over the trees along our driveway and hover over our hogs. The pigs were squealing like crazy. Like these kids I was scared, yet curious.  Then it just disappeared. No harm was done to our pigs. Every book I have read by this author has taken me back to my childhood. I believe that is why I love them so much and why I highly recommend them.


Monday, June 27, 2022

A Wonderful Series by Christopher Francis

 The Dream Catcher Series by Christopher Francis

Genre: Elementary, Fantasy

The Dream Catcher Series is based on a group of Dream Catchers whose job is to enter the dreams of children and help turn their scary negative dreams into something that is not scary, but fun and positive. There are five books in this series.

 



The Dream Catcher Rescue Squad: The Fear of Falling 

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

 In this first story we are introduced to Paisley a young Dream Catcher on her second assignment and Destiny her trainer. How she handles this assignment will determine whether she becomes a member of the Dream Catcher Rescue Squad.  This assignment is a young girl named Abigail who has a fear of falling. When they enter her dream they find her on a rope swing hanging on a thin branch over a high cliff. It is their job to help her change her fear into something positive.  One thing I really liked was at the beginning Paisley tells you the origin of the Dream Catchers and how humans often make dream catchers to hang in their room. I thoroughly enjoyed this story as an adult. I can only imagine how my grandsons are going to enjoy it.

 

 




The Dream Catcher Rescue Squad: The Basement
Source: I purchased a copy

Paisley has made it onto the Dream Catcher Rescue Squad. Destiny will continue to be her trainer until she had completed 200 assignments. Then Paisley will get to be a trainer.  The child’s fear in this story is a fear of going to the basement. Paisley learns it isn’t the basement he is afraid of. He is afraid of the toilet in the basement. I felt sorry for Bailey. He couldn’t use the bathroom upstairs because it was being remodeled. He imagined the toilet downstairs as being alive. One thing that was different was that Paisley failed in her mission and had to go back.  I keep trying to figure out how they will solve each kids nightmare but haven’t been successful in solving it before the Dream Catchers do.


 



The Dream Catcher Rescue Squad: The Fear of being Lost
Source: I purchased a copy

In this story Paisley and Destiny have a new job and her name is Trinity. In this story the first thing we learn is that they have a set up team that does things like open windows for them to slip into the house. Trinity’s nightmare is that she gets lost and can’t find her mommy. It doesn’t help that every time she has the nightmare and wakes her older sister up, her older sister decides to scare her the next day.  Each of these characters who have nightmares must learn a lesson to deal with what scares them. Such a subtle way to teach a valuable lesson.

 




The Dream Catcher Rescue Squad: Scary Noises
Source: I purchased a copy

Oscar is the Dream Catcher Rescue Squad’s newest job. Oscar is afraid of things during the day and during the night. They enter the dream hoop and shortly thereafter they see Moon Drifters. Moon Drifters steal good dreams and keep them for themselves. The Dream Catchers have got to show Oscar what is making the strange noises and shadows in his house before he wakes up. Who will win this one the Dream Catchers or the Moon Drifters?  This one resonated with me a lot. Growing up in a house that was over 100 years old made falling asleep difficult. I heard every creak and groan and saw shadows everywhere. As an adult I still jump at noises I hear at night and have to fight to not let my imagination run away with me.

 




The Dream Catcher Rescue Squad: The Fear of School
Source: I purchased a copy

Maslyn is the squad’s newest job. Before I say anything more I have to comment on the way the Dream Catchers get around. They have hair propellers. That is just the coolest thing. Not only that but I just learned that they have the ability to shape shift. Paisley and Destiny notice that Maslyn isn’t in bed yet. They fly around the farm and watch the parents. Dad is busy on his combine and mom is busy taking care of all of the animals. Maslyn’s dad comes in to get Maslyn ready for bed. She doesn’t want to go to sleep because she doesn’t want to go to school the next day. She has to give a presentation and she is scared.  This is a nightmare I often had as a child. It is something that as a teacher I still struggle with. I had no dream catcher squad to help me. I had great administrators who pushed me out of my comfort zone and stood there to support me.

 

Final Thoughts:

Oh my gosh what a wonderful series. The author has touched on fears not only kids, but also adults have. We have read about the fear of heights, falling, public speaking, scary noises or getting lost. These are perfect for younger elementary students. I will definitely recommend these books to our school media specialist. I believe my grandkids are going to love a copy of these as well.

I have read a multitude of elementary age books by this author and loved them. The illustrations are wonderful.  If you have a middle grade child or young adult you might want to check out his books for older children. Please check back here as I will be reviewing  five more books for the older population. This is definitely an author you need to check out.


Friday, June 24, 2022

Sin Series Books 1 – 3 by A.I. Nasser




Genre: Adult, Horror
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing. The opinions expressed here are my own.

 

Book 1 - Kurtain Motel

I will say that this is definitely not the book to read during a storm at night. After car trouble Patrick is picked up by a priest and due to a storm they stop at a creepy motel. The setting was a perfect setup for this story. The “guests” find themselves plagued by their deepest sins. Something wants them to confess these sins. If you really want to creep me out then add in spiders. They are my biggest fear. This is told from multiple points of view.  I happen to be someone who likes this. I don’t think I would ever want to be in a motel like the Kurtain Motel.  This is just the first book in his Sin series so it ends a little bit differently than I liked, but set things up to make me read the next one. If you love creepy books then this book and this author is the one for you.

 

Book 2 - Refuge

Okay, book 2 of A.I. Nasser’s Sin series is just as creepy as the first book.  Three people have escaped the Kurtain Motel. They end up in a town called Refuge. I am a strong believer that names in books are often a story in themselves. It made me wonder why the author would name the town Refuge. Just when they think they have their lives returning to normal the creep factor is turned up once again. We still have a theme of “confessing their sins” running throughout this series. This author knows how to make everything about his book creepy. Definitely one of my favorite horror authors. Now on to the third book in this series.

 

Book 3 - Purgatory

Patrick and Jimmy have been on the run since they left the Kurtain Motel. They are trying to find Jimmy’s mom who was possessed by the evil that haunted them at the motel. They find themselves in a town called Darville. Something is definitely wrong in Darville. Evil lurks there.  Once again those creepy spiders make an appearance. All I kept thinking as I read this series is that it would make an awesome movie, spiders and all. I do feel that the series left me with some unanswered questions. Was that enough to make me not enjoy the story?  Definitely not. I need to check some of the other books by this author. But please, check out this trilogy, you won’t be disappointed.


Monday, June 20, 2022

The Whispering Storm: Respecting Mr. Ravi by Christopher

 


Genre: Upper-Elementary

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

I have enjoy this book which shows Alex Thomas trying to help his school janitor. I have noticed throughout the books that take place in Timpleville, that Alex has a respect for Mr. Ravi. Mr. Ravi is a great mentor to Alex. In this book he realizes that everyone including the principal treats Mr. Ravi with little respect. Alex has plans to change that. If you have read any of the books involving these characters you quickly learn that what Alex plans doesn't always come out the way he expected.  This is a quick read.  It addresses issues of bullying and respecting others.  Another great book I can't wait to introduce to my students.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Meeting Henry Greenfield by Christopher Francis




Genre: Upper Elementary
Source: I received a copy from StoryOrigin to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Alex Thomas has started sixth grade in the worst way possible. He has found himself partnered with the new kid, and gotten himself on the radar of the biggest bully in Timpleville. If I had been introduced to this author earlier I probably would have looked at the order of books. I know some of them are middle grade and some are upper elementary books.  There is a carry over between them. I have already read “Remembering Kaylee Cooper” and “Alex Was Here”. Both of these books are about the main character in this book. In this book Alex has just started sixth grade. His best friend has moved away and his brother has moved on to high school. Then Alex is paired up with the biggest and newest kid in the school, Henry Greenfield.  I was happy to see how the character of Henry had changed from the book “There’s an Ogre-Beast in the Playground”. It is a small change but that is what we want to see in a book. If not the characters feel flat. I think I am loving these books because I teach middle school. For us this begins with sixth grade. I know a lot of places still have sixth grade as elementary. I see the pecking order that is shown in this book and understand what the characters are going through. It is an awkward time for kids. Christopher Francis has done a wonderful job of capturing this in his books. I have to say well done. I have somewhere between 10 and 12 more of his books to read and think I will read and review at least half of them before I move on to other books. After all, why deviate when you have such good books?

Friday, June 17, 2022

There’s an Ogre-Beast in the Playground by Christopher Francis



Genre: Upper-Elementary
Source: I received a copy from StoryOrigin to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.



I loved this upper elementary grade book.  Being different is tough. It is even tougher when someone is there to always point out those differences and make fun of you. Henry is that boy. He is a six foot tall fourth grader with red hair. Everyone, including the teachers bully him in some way. He doesn’t like being different. It isn’t until an ogre-monster comes to the school that Henry realizes that sometimes being different is okay.


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Alex Was Here by Christopher Francis

 


Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: I purchased a copy

I enjoyed this second book by Christopher Francis. The characters were familiar. However, as the story progressed we watched them change for both the good and the bad. I teach middle grade and so this story depicted sixth graders quite well. Alex and Daisy in the first book "Remembering Kaylee Cooper" had to help the little girl return to her parents at Screaming Ridge. Unfortunately, this event created more havoc at Screaming Ridge. It seems a portal was opened and the whole of Timpleville found themselves in danger. The way the author chose to tie this all up was genius. This is the third book I have read by this author. I currently have five others to read. I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Remembering Kaylee Cooper by Christopher Francis

 





Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Ghost Story
Source: I purchased a copy

I have to say I am really enjoying my summer selection of books.  Christopher Francis is a very talented author. His story about a young boy who is being followed by a young and annoying girl made my day today. Kaylee inadvertently trips Alex in the Cafeteria one day at school. This created a mess on him, his friends and landed him in the principal's office.  She follows him everywhere.  As the story goes on we are introduced to Daisy, the girl Alex has a crush on. He also is best friends with her step-brother Henry. Then we are introduced to the school Bully Damian and his side-kick Jared. Madelyn is a new girl in school. During Their Mythology class they are discussing urban legends. She tells them one about the house on screaming ridge. She tells them about the family that lived and died there.  This set a whole lot of things in motion. The fact that Alex almost drowned in the river has caused him to react differently to things.


This is a ghost story, but not the creepy, don't go in the house kind of story. This is the story of a ghost who doesn't realize they are a ghost. This is a story of those who have had contact in one form or another with ghosts or who have had near death experiences. This is one of those stories that will keep the reader reading from beginning to end. The characters are believable, the setting is well thought out. Christopher Francis is an author who definitely knows what he is doing.  I purchased his books in ebook format but will definitely be purchases paperback copies for my shelves this year.

Monday, June 13, 2022

The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown





Genre: Horror, Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: I purchased a copy

India Hill Brown has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I purchased this book after reading "The Girl In the Lake.  I love a good ghost story.  The difference between other ghost stories and the type that this author writes is the historical message.  Her characters are African American.  Her ghost stories came about because of an injustice. In the case of this story, Iris and her neighbor and best friend Daniel break the rules and go out the night of the first snow. To make matters worse they sneak into the forest across the street so their parents won't see them. What they end up finding while making snow angels is a grave of a young girl named Avery. Now Iris is being haunted. The grave is that of a young girl who was buried in a segregated cemetery. Avery doesn't want to be forgotten. That is why she is haunting Iris.  

If you think this is a long gone issue think again. Iris knows what it is like to be forgotten. She is the captain of her middle school's step team.  Her mom notices on the TV news her middle school and all the club captains being recognized. That is, all except her and her step team. It seems that they are always being forgotten. Emails just seem to get lost. I know for a lot of people who are white like me they often don't see the big deal in this. I do. I have never understood why people feel they should judge other's worth based on their skin color.  I am aware there are many African American Cemeteries that have been run down, forgotten about, or evern worse. bulldozed away to make room for other buildings.  I like the fact that this author isn't afraid to to address these issues. If there is one thing I hope her books do for the kids who read them is spur them into noticing these injustices and working toward a solution. I look forward to many more books by this author, and I look forward to putting them into the hands of my students. Awesome book!

Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Girl in the White Van by April Henry




Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Mystery
Source: I purchased a copy

I absolutely love this author’s books.  She takes young people and puts them in situations that are a nightmare in themselves.  Savannah is a young girl who is kidnapped. She is taken out to an old trailer where she finds Jenny. She is another kidnap victim and has been held for ten months. Savannah and Jenny are completely different. Savannah takes Kung Fu and so she fights back.  Jenny seems to have just given up until she meets Savannah.  As they try to escape knowing the danger the tension is brought to a whole new level. Just like in her book, “The Night She Disappeared” the author has given us a character in Savannah that is willing to fight back. This action keeps the story moving forward. I love how her characters are strong girls, or girls who find the strength to do what they didn’t know they could do. I had to wait until the summer to read this because my students handed it from one to the other.  I can make sure to get this book into the hands of my students.  


Saturday, June 11, 2022

Where She Fell by Kaitlin Ward






Genre: Young Adult, Adventure
Source: I purchased a copy. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This was one of the stranger books I have read. I had actually started it last year and never finished it. Today was as good as any day to finish it.  Eliza is not very out-going. She and two of her friends go down near the swamp. When her friends leave her to take a picture outside a cave she walks on. Suddenly she finds herself falling through the earth.  Eliza is found by a group of people who have fallen down as well. They’ve not been able to find a way out so they have formed a colony.

Eliza learns many things about herself while she is underground. She learns to be more assertive. She learns what true friends are. The friends she had on the surface were not true friends. She learns you can’t just sit back and wait when things take a wrong or bad turn. Sometimes you have to step up and go for what you want or what you know you should do.

For me I felt the ending needed a bit more. It was like watching a movie build up to the end and then you want to know what happened next, but never find out.  I will still recommend this book to my students and others who like adventures and young adult books.




Friday, June 10, 2022

The Lake Never Tells by Alex Tully

 


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

I won this book from LibraryThing a while back and finally got the chance to read it. I am sorry I waited so long. I sat and read it through in four hours. I will definitely be looking for more work by this author. I couldn't sleep and got up at 5AM and started reading this book. I am so glad I did.

Zoe and Patrick have about five years difference in their ages. They are like sibling. They live in the same trailer park. Meredith is Zoe's best friend, the daughter of the local sheriff and tormenter to Parker. Ethan is the rich kid who spends his summer at the lake with his twin sister and divorce attorney parents.

All of these kids have issues. Zoe's mother wants her to call her Debbie instead of mom. Zoe is okay with this because she has pretty much raised herself. Her mom drinks and parties with Zoe's friends. Parker lives with his grandmother since his mother died.

Ethan is recovering some something that happened to him the year before. That is the main reason they are at the lake. He still has to see his psychiatrist each week. Together these kids join together as friends and help each other deal with things that have happened to them in the past.

Then Parker finds a dead body on the beach and things really take a change.  I loved the relationship between Parker and Zoe. They truly did act like siblings.  I enjoyed Ethan's attitude. Where Parker and Zoe envied the things that Ethan and his sister own, they soon realize that no matter how much money you have everyone has problems.  Parker's grandmother Shirley was the glue that held them all together. You just didn't see it until farther into the story. I definitely didn't like Zoe's mom and didn't care for Zoe's best friend Meredith. The author did a great job of making them unlikable.  Through the eyes of these kids we learn that when it comes to people, no matter hat your financial situation, people act the same. You have your good people, your weak and needy people, your selfish people and your just down rotten people. The only difference as my dad would say is the size of their toys.  I highly recommend this book. Although I could have done without the F-bomb, it wasn't used so much it took away from the book. If I was going to criticize anything it was the repetitive way the author switched from one character to another. I probably would not have noticed this a few years ago until it was pointed out I had done this with my own first book.  Still it didn't annoy me to the point of taking away a star in my rating. Like I said, I look forward to sharing this book with my students. It is definitely recommended for the older students due to some language and situations. However, I consider it a must read.


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Catherine Dickens: Outside the Magic Circle Heera Datta



Genre: Historical Fiction

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

 

I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t wait for Christmas to come to watch “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. After reading this book my feelings toward the author have been tainted.  While I saw him as a wonderful and successful writer, I never knew who he was. To understand who he was you must understand the Victorian time period he lived in. 

Imagine you have married the man of your dreams only to have him blame you for everything that he doesn’t like in your marriage. Imagine your young sister who lives with you to help you with your children, suddenly sides with your husband.  You are removed from your home, while your sister and your children stay with your husband.

This is for the most part a fictionalized account. We know for a fact that Charles Dickens was separated from his wife. We also know that even though he wrote terrible things about her. She kept her mouth shut. Part of this I believe was because she loved him, and part of it was because that is the way things were handled during this time period.  Women pretty much had no rights.  She was publicly humiliated through his writings. Up until her death she pretty much kept quiet. Yet she made sure her daughter received letters Charles had sent her to be sent to the Smithsonian. It was her way of letting the world know he really wasn’t all that bad.  She believed this until her death. Maybe that is what helped her survive this situation.

Even though this story took place in the 1800’s this could be anyone’s story today. I believe that is why it is such a good book. It is so applicable to present time.  A great book to be read by anyone wanting to know more about the real Charles Dickens.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Wild River by Rodman Philbrick

 Genre:  Middle Grade, Adventure, Realistic Fiction

Source: I purchased a copy


    One thing I really enjoy about Rodman Philbrick's books is the reality of them. So many authors who write for middle grade students create an ending that is satisfying yet often lacking. In Philbrick's books characters are injured, go through hardships, catastrophes, and yes, some of them even die. They have to fight for survival. 
    In this book five kids are chose to go on a white water rafting trip as part of their school's new "Project Future Leaders". Their two guides on this trip don't get a chance to teach them much about survival. On their first day they change their entry point into the river. They are unable to get their satellite phone to work so they have not been able to call anyone and let them know of their new location. They raft down the first leg of the river, make camp and get to know each other. Sounds like a nice story so far doesn't it? Each of these kids have things the others don't know about them. Some of them are fears, some of them are cover ups for hurts they have experienced. In the middle of the night they are awaken by their two guides and told to run to higher ground because the dam has broken. They are pushed to the top only to watch their guides washed away. Now they are on their own.  That is where I will end my summary. 
    These kids show what they are made of. They show who they are in desperate times. They show what it means to build friendships and rely on each other. My husband looked at me and asked, "You're done with that book already?"  when books are as good as this one is you can't help but read it straight through. I can't wait for the school year to start so that I can put this in the pile for my first week activity that introduces students to my large collection of books.  This is definitely on the top of my list of loved books for this year.


Sunday, June 5, 2022

Teaching Children Responsibility

 Below are four children's picture books that are wonderful for Pre-k  and up. These cute stories have wonderful lessons to go with them.



It’s Not My Fault by Michael Gordon

Vigbert is an alien from outer space. He likes playing with his friend Austin. The problem is when Vigbert breaks or spills things he lies about it or argues about whose fault it is. This book is all about standing up and taking responsibility for your actions. A very cute way of teaching the youngest child how to do just that.

 


It’s the Rules by Michael Gordon

This cute book teaches children the importance of following rules. It shows how they keep them safe and keeps chaos out of the way. Michael Gordon has chosen rules that all children must follow and given the important reason for doing so.

 


When I Lie by Michael Gordon

Heidi has been telling lies to her parents. At first it seems harmless. As she goes along her stomach is upset and she doesn’t feel well. She fears she will get caught. Sure enough she does and her parents sit with her and explain why telling the truth is a big deal. Once again the author has put his characters in a position that most very young children will find themselves in at one point or another. A great source for teaching young kids about the importance of telling the truth.

 


I Didn’t Do It By Sarah Read

This is another example for young children about learning to take responsibility for their actions. Each time Sophia is caught doing something she should not be doing the adult in her life gently corrects her. A nice way of teaching this to kids.


Saturday, June 4, 2022

The Girl In The Lake by India Hill Brown

 




Genre:  Middle Grade, Mystery/Horror
Source: I purchased a copy

Celeste and her brother Owen are spending the summer at their grandparent's lake house along with their cousins Daisy and Capri.  Celeste is not interested in spending tine at the lake. She can't swim. She failed her swim test. Her brother Owen loves the idea of swimming since he passed his test. He is not interested in hiking with his grandfather. He has a fear of mountain lions. He doesn't know if there are any, but why take a risk?  Daisy is the kind and courteous one but she fears storms. Capri is a lot like Celeste. She fears failure.  Will these four learn to face their fears? What does a ghost who looks like Celeste have to do with everything that is happening at the lake house?
I bought this book for my classroom from the book fair. Before I had a chance to take it home and read it a student asked to check it out. I ended up buying a second one and taking it home so that I could read it. I just now got around to it.  I now know why my students kept telling me I needed to read this book. I read it in under three hours. It was that good.  Great mystery/horror story. Kept me on the edge of my seat.   I highly recommend this book.

 


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

My Name is Layla by Reyna Marder Gentin


Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

This last Friday was my last day at school. Our principal told us to make sure we took time for us. Then he called me out in front of everyone. He told me he had talked to my husband about finding a way to make me not focus on work. Yes I admit I have a problem letting school work go. However, after two years of covid teaching I needed a break. I told him I had a stack of books on my couch waiting for me.

This book was one of them I had not been able to get to earlier due to covid teaching.  As a middle school teacher, this book really resonated with me. I see students like Layla every year.  A lot of them fall through the cracks and are never diagnosed with a learning disability. I try to be a teacher who works for each and every one of them.  Layla wants so hard to do better in school. She wants the approval of her mother who works the night shift as a nurse.  She has the support of her older brother Nick.  No matter how hard she tries her undiagnosed dyslexia makes her feel bad about herself. It is her English teacher who believes in her and recognizes her disability that turns things around.

This should be on every classroom shelf. It is true to life. Middle school students will be able to identify with the character and most importantly the events that take place in school and at home.  The fact that Layla is able to find help will give hope to those who struggle, and may just encourage those teachers who aren't real sure how to help a student.  I applaud this author for creating a book that needs to be read by teachers and students alike.

 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Little Wanderers: The Everlasting Seasons by I.K. Silver





Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Once I started this book I couldn't stop reading it. Snowy is  a very small dwarf. He lives in a village where it snows all the time. He hates the cold. One day he decides he is going to leave. He packs his things and heads off to find the village of Origenem where there is supposedly a buried treasure. He read about it in a book.  On his trek he meets another dwarf who mistakes him for a young kid. Korkoro takes him home with him. Snowy stays for a while before deciding to join Snowy on his trip. The two encounter talking cats, a castle where everyone eats nothing but maple syrup, a wizard and a village that is cursed.  This was such an interesting book that I couldn't stop reading. I read it from beginning to end in one sitting. I can't wait until the next book comes out so I can continue to read the adventures of Snowy and Korkoro.