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

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Snake Food by Kristin Fulton

Genre:  Middle Grade, Adventure
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing

Theo and Olivia's parents are suddenly called away to Africa to help after an earthquake. Olivia and Theo's summer plans are changed. They will be spending their summer with their great-uncle Hazelsmith. They have never met this uncle. Their father tries to tell them how much fun they will have. He relates the fun times he had with his uncle. Arriving by train, their uncle never picks them up. They take a taxi to his house, where a grumpy-looking housekeeper meets them.  She shuts the door on them and returns a few minutes later with another man who claims he is their uncles lab assistant. Something doesn't seem right. They tell the kids that their uncle has gotten forgetful and has sailed his boat to Florida. When they meet the young man who mows the grass they are told not to listen to anything he says because he is a liar.  Something is definitely not right and they must figure it out quickly.
This was an, on the edge of your seat page turner. I loved it.


Monday, February 27, 2023

Henry Bingle’s Transformation: A Fable for all Ages by Kristin Fulton

 Bingle does.
Genre: Middle Grades, Traditional Fable
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing

When Henry Bingle is thrown from bed by an earthquake. He claws his way out from under a stack of debris that has been accumulating in his room for a very long time. He grabs the first things he finds to wear. When he leaves for school he realizes how weird he looks and decides to skip school. Besides, everyone already laughs at him and calls him names. He heads down to the river only to find a Nixie. This little elf needs his help. His family is trapped inside their home by the debris that careless people have thrown along the river. All of it was shaken loose by the earthquake. Henry helps the elf and then helps clear the debris from around the tree. He agrees to come back each day and help clean the mess around the river. It's funny he's never realized how much garbage Hogville has along its riverbanks. He goes home, and after cleaning his own room passes out waking up in the hospital. The bump on his head he received when the earthquake knocked him out of bed was more serious than they all thought. When he is finally released form the hospital he decides to make it his mission to clean up his town. His elf friend predicted he would do great things.  Read this wonderful story to find out all that Henry Bingle does.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Ravens by Jackie Jacobi


Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing

Warning: This book is about speaking up about sexual abuse.

This is probably one of the hardest books I have read in a long time. Charley, Brynn and Joss are best friends. They have formed a group called "The Ravens". They had two other friends who have been banished from the group. Charley has them dabbling in witchcraft to try to help Brynn's mom who has cancer. But friendships are tested when Brynn tells something to Charley that she doesn't believe. Brynn is scared she will be banished from the group like their two former friends so she recants what she has said. Joss knows deep in her heart that Brynn did not lie to Charley the first time. She has decided she must try to make things right not to hurt Charley but to help her.  Her actions almost have catastrophic consequences. Her stupid, yet brave attempt to fix things open Charlie's eyes to the truth. But can knowing the truth fix things between her and her friends?    One of the best, yet painful books I have read. I could identify with Brynn. I was that shy girl who like Brynn recanted a statement out of fear of losing the love of those around me.  This is a must read book about speaking up when you don't feel strong enough to speak up.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Student Saturday: Bitter Melon by Cara Chow


Student Reviewer: Nadya Perez
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Monday, February 13, 2023

Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings


Genre: Middle Grade, Realilstic Fiction
Source: I own a copy

One of my students invited me to reread this book. I am so glad she did. I purchased this book many, many years ago and didn't remember the story. We have three middle school boys, Brady, J.T., and Digger. They have been best friends all of their life. J.T. helps his father with their chicken farm. Digger often helps his dad haul gravel or run heavy equipment. Brady is a crabber like his father.

When the farm next door to Brady is sold, a lot changes. Digger become angry. His ailing grandfather had to get rid of his farm and he sees the new family as rich people who don't care about anyone or anything. It is this anger that  will come to haunt them all.

Mr. and Mrs. D'Angelo and their young son Ben have built a large mansion on the property once owned by Digger's grandfather.  Brady has babysat Ben and thinks he is an awesome kid. Ben loves his hampster Tiny Tim and his lego's. He is a very bright young child and Brady loves this about him.

While at school one day, Brady is called to the office with all of his things. His father is there to meet him and tells him he needs his help. Mrs. D'Angelo and her son are missing out on the water. Brady is very familiar with these waters and goes to help. He finds young Ben and keeps him alive all the way back to where the rescuers are. But did he do enough.

This book is about tragedy, about finding yourself after a tragedy. It is about family and coping with family issues.  It is about friendship.  Most importantly it is about doing the right thing.  I don't want to say anymore as it will give away too much. I do highly recommend this book along with a box of tissues.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

They Came For the Heart by Christopher Francis


Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: I own a copy

In this final book in this wonderful series we see Sheldon come up against Rennick once again. The author, who has taken us on this wonderful dystopian journey ties up all of the loose ends. In a world where aliens came and healed the sick, then turned on humanity, we learn that things aren't always what they seem. We see people willing to sacrifice themselves for those they love. We see them have to make tough choices. We see the resilience of the human race. For me the biggest take away from this series is that no matter how bad situations became, you always had those who fought for what was right. You had those that carried hope within them no matter what terrible things happened to them. You had those who knew that people could change no matter what horrible things they had done in their past. For me this series was a book of hope. Well done!

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Student Saturday: I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster by Lauren Tarshis

Student Reviewer: Langdon B.
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction

This book is based on the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. “I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster: is about Hugo and his family taking a four thousand mile journey across the ocean to save his four year old sister Gertie. While living in Africa she contracted Malaria and had become very  sick and needed to go back to America. Tis trip was no vacation to  Hugo. He was worried for his sister. Because he had always wanted to fly on the Hindenburg he was amazed he was finally flying on it. Once on the Hindenburg Hugo and his family dropped off their bags and explored it.  While exploring, Hugo found a girl his age named Marty. They became good friends and talked about their adventures around the world. They talked for hours and even met each others’ family. The next day at breakfast Hugo, Marty and their families sat together and chatted about all sorts of things. A Nazi officer walked through the dining room. Everyone froze in fear as he started talking about how a U.S. spy had stolen a top secret Nazi document and was now on the Hindenburg. Marty’s Dad, who rode on the Hindenburg regularly said they had seen no spy activity but would be on the lookout. The Nazi said something in German and left. I feel everyone should check this book out, especially if they wat to read the end.

All in all, “I Survived the Hindenburg: is a short read for all ages. It’s an amazing story based on a true event in history, meaning you’re reading a good story and learning at the same time.

Friday, February 10, 2023

First Graders Rule

Wikimedia Commons


I work in a K-8 IB school. There are benefits to having Pre-K through 8th grade in one school. I teach Grades 6, 7, 8. Today we had a treat. We were visited by a first grade class. The students had  created PowerPoint presentations about honey bees. They then presented these to my eighth grade students.  I love this for many reasons. The first graders take this so seriously. The eighth graders learn a lot from the first graders. They are impressed that the first graders know how to cite their sources and create a slide that has a bibliography. We end it with honey tasting. There are advantages to having a husband who is a beekeeper.  I have provided  the three presentations our first graders created. They need to be watched in the order below. See how awesome our first graders are

Hazen's Video

Diego's Video    

Jayceona's Video   

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Salt by Helen Frost


Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: I own a copy

I have loved all of Helen Frost's books. This one was a little more special to me. I grew up in Indiana.  I lived on a farm until we moved to Florida when I was fourteen. One of my favorite past-times along with my sisters was looking for arrowheads on our property. Helen's book about a friendship between a Native American Family and a white family was hopeful and hard at the same time. What do you do when you hear rumblings of war? For James and his family who have a trading post outside the fort, they continue on the way they have always gone. They trade with the Indians, who are their friend. James best friend is Anikwa, a young boy of the Kekionga, a part of the Miami tribe.  He too has heard rumblings of war.  Many of his people have decided they will side with the British if it comes to war. 
I felt so terrible for James and his family. James had to witness his friend Isaac's hatred for the Native Americans. He really has no basis to his hatred, which makes it all the more tragic.  As I read and saw what each side did I wondered if Anikwa and James could remain friends.  You will need to read the book to find out what happened.

Monday, February 6, 2023

47 Days Annette Oppenlander


Genre: Middle School, Young Adult, Biography
Source: I purchased a copy.

 Near the end of World War II, Hitler knew he was losing. This did not stop him from continuing the fight. When man power was dwindling, he reached out and drafted the Hitler Youth. These were young school boys. Helmet and Günter were best friends. They receive their draft notice in school and are required to report within one week to Marburg. They were told there would be no transportation and they would need to find their own way there. Günter goes to find Helmut. He tells him he doesn't plan to go. Helmut agrees. If they are caught they will be shot on the spot as traitors. Günter's father went to ward almost five years earlier and his brother left last year. This will leave his mother and younger brother all alone. Günter and Helmut start walking, slowly, deciding they will hide out in hopes the war will end before they actually get there.

     This story is the true story lived by the author's grandfather Günter and his best friend Helmut. It is a quick read, yet a hold-your-breath type of read. I worried the entire time I was reading about what they were going through.  I hear our youth today complain about such simple things when kids like Günter and Helmut had to worry about war, being killed, starving, freezing to death. It made me think about what was going on in Ukraine right now and how those children are living something similar. This should be in every middle school classroom. This is a definite must read

Sunday, February 5, 2023

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter


Genre: Young Adult, Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: I purchased a copy

    This is actually a reread for me. I purchased this book when it first came out. A friend at school told me about it because the author was a friend and she knew I reviewed books.  I absolutely loved it. However, I somehow forgot to write my review. To do it justice I reread the book. It was just as painful the second time around. 
    Cassie doesn't trust anyone to love her. Her mother is abusive both physically and mentally. She finally has Cassie put in a mental institute until she is eighteen. Cassie leaves there and heads off to college where she tries to rebuild relationships and make new ones. Sometimes the past just won't let go and like powerful waves will continue to drag you under.
    Unlike many books that start out like this, Cassies gives us hope things can change for the better. She gives us hope that relationships can be renewed. You can never go back and undo the damage that has been done. You can choose to move forward and forge new relationships, even with those who broke up that relationship. Cassie is a courageous character. What you read is raw and make you evaluate the realtionships in your own life.  This should be a must read for teens everywhere.


Saturday, February 4, 2023

Student Saturday: Count All Her Bones by April Henry

Student Reviewer: Sophia H.

The main character is Cheyenne. She is blind, has a service dog and a bodyguard named Jadra. Her trouble begins the night Griffen Sawyer sole a car, and accidently stole Cheyenne who was in the back seat. He panicked and took her home where is father held her for money. Griffen helped her escape. Now his father is awaiting trial. Griffen's father won't give up so he has his henchmen capture her again.  This time he doesn't want money, he wants her dead. Will she survive? What about Griffen?

This book is similar to a lot of real-world events. For example, a blind Portland girl named Heather Wilson was kidnapped when she was in the back seat of her mother's car and it was hijacked. I recommend this book to anyone 11-100 years old. It is great for a light night read. The best in my opinion.