Showing posts with label April 2023. Show all posts
Showing posts with label April 2023. Show all posts

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Student Saturday: Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm


Student Reviewer - Sophia A
Genre:  Middle Grade, Graphic

In the book "Sunny Side Up", there are many characters, but the main character is Sunshine Lewin; but people call her Sunny. Her grandfather is Patrick Hearn, but Sunny calls him Gramps. Sunny has an older brother named Dale Lewin, and she also has a younger brother, Sunny is ten-years-old. Everything in this book takes place in Florida and Pennsylvania during 1975-1976.

This book is constantly changing the setting. For example, a couple of pages would take place in 1976. Then it would change back to 1975. I found this really confusing. The book starts off with Sunny going on a plane to Florida to stay with her grandfather over the summer. She's constantly getting flashbacks of moments and memories (mainly bad ones) with her older brother Dale. She doesn't seem to enjoy her time in Florida because there aren't any kids her age where her grandfather lives. She somehow ends up meeting a kid her age, and they have a lot of fun together. 

I can relate to how Sunny feels. I have two older sisters. One is twenty years old, and the other is fourteen. They both do really bad things, which causes them to be on bad terms with our mother. I haven't seen or heard from one of them in over two years. The other one never talks to me unless she wants something like money.  Overall, I love my sisters as much as Sunny loves her older brother Dale.

Friday, April 21, 2023

The Altruism Trial by Christopher Francis


Genre: Upper Elementary, Middle School, Science Fiction
Source: Purchased

Riley Pickering is a young man who thinks of no one but himself. He behaves as if the world owes him everything and exists for him alone. What was funny about this is that I see kids like this in my classroom every year. Some leave middle school for high school the same way they entered school. They believe they are the most important person to exist and everyone else exists to do their bidding. In this book Riley receives a package with an unassembled plane. He makes his parents put it together. When the day comes to display their project he is called first. He steps into the plane and starts it up. He has read no instructions so he doesn't know how to fly it. The plane takes off and he crashes into an island. Here he meets two other kids who are just like him.  The story is all about change. But can Riley learn or be willing to learn important lessons to get off the island?  Like all of the other books this author has written, I loved this book. They are not only fun to read, but they are also full of life lessons.  I highly recommend all of his books.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Stoneway by Christopher Francis


Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Supernatural, Realistic Fiction
Source: Purchased

For the first time reading a book by Christopher Francis, I found myself crying. This was probably one of my favorites of all of his books. Maybe it is because I am a teacher and see the effects of bullying at school. This last year was particularly hard on a couple of students. I tried really hard to be there for some of them. It is one thing to have a teacher in your corner and another to have true friends stand up for you. That is what this book is truly about. Yes there is a ghost in this story. He is there because his ties the bullied to the bully. He makes an appearance to get help. This is not a ghost story. I have read reviews about this book that thought the "ghost story" was lacking. Because a ghost appears it doesn't mean it is a scary ghost story.

The author did a great job of keeping the story flowing and letting us see how the characters changed over time. Does everyone change? No, just like in real life not everyone changes. I read this as an ebook. I have since purchased it for my classroom. That is how good I feel this book and its message is. Well don Mr. Francis, Well done!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Trapped in 1867 by Christopher Francis


Genre: Upper Elementary, Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Source: Purchased

A boy, a girl, a class assignment, and a time machine. Guari and Ben have been paired up for a class assignment. They are to research how Ottawa has changed over the past 150 years. What better way to research the assignment then travel back in time? Ben doesn't believe Guari. He is unaware that her father, a scientist has an actual time machine in their basement. What happens when they land in the middle of the winter?  This was a fun book to read. They face freezing to death, wolves, fires, all to try to get the best grade on the assignment. Can these two become friends? Why is Ben so mean to Guari all the time. It gives a realistic look into the history of Ottawa, Canada, while creating a fun storyline.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

You'll Get Through This by Max Lucado


Genre: Christian, Inspirational
Source: Purchased

I read this book at a point where I truly needed it.  Max Lucado took the story of Joseph, sold into slavery by his brothers and shows us how Joseph kept hope during the most turbulent and trying times of his life. He breaks the story down into major points and shows us how Joseph's attitude toward God and his faith is what got him through it all. This doesn't mean that Joseph never got depressed, angry, or felt despair. Those are all human emotions, and he was human. However, he chose not to stay in those emotions. I recently went through a trial in my life. A friend gave me scripture. Then another friend mentioned several songs she had heard and told me to look at the lyrics because she thought of me when she heard it. Then I opened one of the sites that makes book recommendations to me and there was Max's book.  The minute I started listening to the lyrics, stepping out of the way to let God take control, I felt relief. Like Joseph I chose not to let my situation define me. I chose to let God show me how he would work it to his good. Sometimes that good is to be worked only in our own life.  I had reached a slump and needed this lesson. I love how god puts things in our path when we need it.  Definitely a must read.

Monday, April 17, 2023

The Hills be Shaken by Michael Stewart


Genre: Adult, Thriller
Source: Purchased

I loved this book so much I read it twice.  Mose as an engineer reminded me of author Del Shannon. He not only writes books but he is an engineer, specifically dams.  I loved the character Mose. I loved he kept saying, "I'm just an engineer." The fact he was able to take the info he had and use the knowledge from his career to help him was so spot on. I think something else I really like was that there was so much you could learn about engineering from reading this story. For a lot of people who read this, it may not have mattered at all. I love a book that has just enough info to teach me as well as having a plot so tight to keep me reading non-stop.  this is the first time in a long time that I have actually read a book through twice, back to back. I was able to picture the town.  Lots of twists and turns. I never expected the ending.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Spike: The Penguin With Rainbow Hair by Sarah Cullen, Carmen Ellis

Genre; Children’s Picture Book
Source: Purchased

I absolutely loved this book. I loved it so much I read it to my husband. He laughed and said I was being a teacher. However, he loved it as well. I am a sucker for stories that rhyme. They did a wonderful job with that. The story is of a young penguin born with a tuft of rainbow colored hair on top of his head. His parents are so proud of him and name him Spike. Spike is not fond of his hair and tries everything he can to make his rainbow colored hair go away. The lesson to be learned is that we are all different and we don’t need to be the same to fit in. This is a wonderful book to teach such a wonderful lesson geared for the youngest of children.

The Illustrator,  Zuzana Svobodova is a wonderful artist. The colors she chose are soft and colorful, except for his bright tuft of hair. The penguins are cute and cuddly. I kept thinking that I would love to have a stuffed penguin who looked just like Spike. I personally think it would be a beautiful addition to go with the book. I will still share this with my grandchildren. They love reading them even if they are older and read on their own. It is all in how you present it to them. Highly recommended to parents, grandparents and teachers.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Student Saturday: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Student Reviewer:  Malia W.
Genre: Elementary, Middle Grade, Adventure

" I couldn't possibly", said Despereaux, backing away form the book.  "Why? Um," said Despereaux. "It would ruin the story." You see this might not seem like much but Despereaux was always the odd one in his family, but from this point on ...everything would start to go downhill. To me he had an emotional intelligence that the other mice did not - it made the reader feel more connected to him but for the mice in thebook, he wasn't normal -- that wasn't normal. Regardless of that when Despereaux said he couldn't possibly because it would ruin the story it reminded me of myself. There's often times I want to tell my friends something but then I don't because I'm afraid it would ruin our friendship.

You know when you were little and your mother might say "I'm disappointed in you" yeah, well I'm starting to think that's just a mom thing. In the book Despereaux's mother gave birth but all the other mice died except him -- and even he was so frail that she said he would die like the others. "All that work for nothing," said the mother. She sighed. "It is so sad. It is such the disappointment." Disappointment was something she said often, it was her favorite words.Sometimes it makes me wonder if it's my mom's favorite word too. There was just this time where my mom would always say she's disappointed in me, little me didn't reallyunderstand why at the time but Ido do now. I guess much hasn't changed since I still make selfish-idiotic choices that give my mother al the rights to be disappointed in me - to give everybody that right in fact. It often makes me wonder why people like me, still have faith in me. 

"But his existence was cause for much speculation in the mouse community," You know that feeling when you're the odd one in the family or on the side lines in the friend group? I think that is what this quote feels like. Like the guild-eating, self-conscious that's telling you that whatever you're thinking is 99.iiii% correct. When you feel like your existence is something to question, not just for you but for others too. It's almost like everybody you know and consider your friend starts to blur out and blend in with the darkness and start to questions why the even became friends with  you and why you're even here. Though in Despereaux's case, it was worse, even so he ignored it all and just did him. Sometimes I was ore like that instead of focusing on what others think about me.

This small book has so many lessons to teach and I highly recommend it.


Sunday, April 9, 2023

A Long Way From Home by Laura Schaefer


Genre:  Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Source:  I won a copy from LibraryThing. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Abby Monroe has just moved to Florida. Saying she doesn't want to be there is an understatement. Her mother works for SpaceNow and she never gets to spend much time with her. Her mom seems like all she is interested in is making sure her daughter follows in her footsteps.  Abby only wants to go back to Pennsylvania and her friends. Then she meets two young boys, Bix and Adam. They need her help. They need a place to hide out and food. They need her to believe that they come from the future. Abby agrees.  Things seem to be more difficult than she imagined. Bix and Adam are in her time trying to locate the exact time and place that Adam's sister will arrive. This is important for Adam's sister and all of this time period.  

I loved this book. We learn why Abby's mom is so caught up in her work. We learn why Abby's mom and her aunt have not spoken in years.  We learn the real underlying reason they moved to Florida. The twists and turns kept me reading non-stop. The lessons learned by all characters and what the author's message was to readers is what made this book so wonderful.  I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book.

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Student Saturday: Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga

Student Reviewer Alicia M.
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Novel in Verse

Jude is a girl from Syria. She was very interested in American songs, actors, and movies. She has black hair and black eyes. She had a very close relationship with her friend Fatima. they have close birthdays and similar intersts. She also shares interests with her older brother Issa.

Violence starts to breakout in her city, Allepo. Her family begins to worry when Issa, Jude's older brother moves to a violent city. Jude finds out her mother is pregnant. Soon after, her mother tells Jude they are going to move to America. Jude struggles to adjust to the "American way" of living. She feels left out and weird when she goes to school. She tries to build a relationship with her cousin Sarah. Jude started her period so she had to wear a hijab. She feels prouder and she feels included in school. Her younger sister is born and that was a sign of hope to her.

If I was Jude I would have felt the same, but I would've handled things differently. If I was homesick I would have told someone so I could have comfort. I recommend this book to anyone who feels bad  about their culture, looks, and religion. Being different shouldn't be a bad thing. This book shows the struggle of a teenage girl trying to fit into a new environment. It encourages people to do things that intersets them no matter looks and culture.