Showing posts with label Realistic Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Realistic Fiction. Show all posts

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Pain Less Ordinary by L.V. Pires

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

From Goodreads
Becca's life is anything but ordinary. 

At fifteen, she's already experienced her share of pain. With a mom who drinks too much, a revolving door of father figures, and struggles at school, Becca wonders if she'll ever have a chance at a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane is her little sister, Chloe; that is, until her mother's breakdown leads to her sister's disappearance.

A PAIN LESS ORDINARY follows Becca as she figures out life on her own while searching for her family and her new role in the world. 

In this powerfully moving novel, L.V. Pires explores Becca's struggle with abandonment, drug abuse, homelessness, relationships, and how pain connects her to others.

My Thoughts

This is an amazing book.  I kept thinking that Becca could be any one of my students. The problem is I could name some of them who have been in a situation similar.  As I was reading this story I thought back to two years ago when a student came and talked with me. She was extremely depressed.  She lived with her aunt and her mom was trying to re-establish contact. She didn’t know how to feel about it. Her mom had been an alcoholic and a drug user.  She and her younger sister, who was two years old,  were always hungry. Her younger sister tried to open the open the oven door. The stove was propped up in the back and was unstable enough it fell on her crushing her. This young girl spoke of trying to lift the stove off of her sister. She spoke of trying to wake her drunk mother up and hearing her mother blame her.  I had not thought of that until I read this book. There are so many Becca’s out there. Their story is just as heart-wrenching.  Yet there is hope for them. Sometimes it comes from the unexpected.  In this review, I am not going to speak more about the book.  This was one of those that caused me to make a connection to real life. Enough said.  I would highly recommend this book and will purchase it for my shelves at school. Like I said, there are other Becca’s out there or people who know Becca’s and they need to read this story.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Edge the Bare Garden by Roseanne Chen

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Source: I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

My Thoughts
Agnes has never fit in. She has accepted this. She is bullied. When she finally reaches her breaking point, she takes matters into her own hands. She starts a blog where she starts telling secrets she knows about those who have tormented her. However, as things usually happen, things get out of hand. I would start the reading of this book by asking my students to answer the question; is it ever okay to seek revenge? What are some possible consequences of taking matters into your own hands?

I have decided to promote this throughout my school. This is a book that needs to be in each of my department’s classroom. As a middle grade English teacher I definitely could see this happening to any of my students. I have seen some of the things they post online to each other. It is so easy to be so nasty to each other. Teens today don’t consider it is the same as walking up to that person and saying it to their face. The major difference is that online, it is open for anyone and everyone to see. It becomes very public. They detach themselves from what they have written.  I understand why Agnes did what she did. However, I think she could have handled things differently. Once something is out there online, you can’t take it back.  This comes with questions in the back which help out the teacher.  Every parent should read this with their child or along with them to facilitate those all important discussions.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Knights of the Square Table 2: Dear World

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

From Goodreads:

Empowered by their experiences while stranded on an island, six teenagers set out to right the wrongs in the world.
When unconventional--and illegal--methods get them into trouble, they find themselves on the run.
A story of hope and adventure.

My Thoughts:

In the first book we are introduced to a group of kids who all belong to a chess club. They crash on an island. In this book, things have changed. They have decided to live on the island. In this book we have a theme of communication running throughout and how important it is to listen to each other. With the type of characters this author writes, meaning believable and deep, this would be a book everyone would enjoy, with a message everyone should hear. As always, Teri has provided both a story to entertain and learn from. If you haven’t read the first one you really need to. Then you need to check out her third book in the series.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Two Books by Carolyn Gold

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

No one wants to move away from their friends, but that is the dilemma that Rusty Larsen faces. On the night of his biggest game he breaks his leg and ankle. That doesn't stop his parents from moving him halfway across the country to Connecticut. When they pull up in front of the most dilapidated house Rusty has ever seen, he's sure from the looks of it that it comes with a resident ghost, and he is right. This ghost isn't malevolent. He just wants them out of his house. The question is, can Rusty makes friends with the ghost? What about school? The book is full of quiet adventure, a little bit of history and some very funny antics. Mix that together with a kid who just wants to make friends in his new school and you have a book everyone will love.

I had not heard of this author before but I really love her work.

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

When the author asked me to review her book Ghosts Don't Do Homework I was all in. I love ghost stories. It doesn't matter if they are scary or funny. I've always loved them.  When I opened the package she had sent me another of her books as a gift. I am so glad she did. Dragonfly Secret is the story of a family who has their grandfather living with them.  Nathan and Jessie love having their grandfather live with them. On a visit to their aunt's house it becomes clear that their aunt believes their grandfather needs to be sent to a nursing home to live.  There are several things I need to say here about the characters. The author did a wonderful job of fleshing them out. The aunt and her daughter are snooty, have money and are not very likable. Nathan, Jessie, their grandfather and their mother are more down to earth type people.  The grandfather helps out so that his daughter can work and raise her two kids.  The grandfather owns an old farm.  Their aunt thinks it should be sold.  I immediately thought that she was in it for the money. I won't tell you if that is true or not.

On the way home from their aunts house, they stop at the old farm and look around. When they get home they see a lady talking to the neighbor, whose cat is in their flower bed. The lady is a social worker that the aunt had contacted to come out and determine if their grandfather should be sent away. He is angry and when he goes to wash the car he sees a dragonfly. Upon closer inspection they realize it isn't a dragonfly, but a tiny fairy.  Now they have a problem. They must try to save this fairy and at the same time they must keep this knowledge from the social worker. If she thinks their grandfather believes in fairies then she might send him away.

The story is full of real life problems.  I love this author's work and would gladly read other books written by her.

Author Bio from Amazon:
Born in New Mexico, Carolyn Gold grew up everywhere. Moving nearly every other year as her father followed a career in the Air Force, her life was filled with a wide variety of people and places, from Turkey to Labrador, Wisconsin to California. Her books reflect compassion, tolerance and curiosity, sadness and joy, and a deep love of nature. Her first book, Dragonfly Secret, was published by Atheneum in 1997 and nominated for the Sunshine State Young Readers' Award Program. She now lives in Idaho

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Knights of the Square Table by Teri Kanefield

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

From Goodreads:
Meet the Knights of the Square Table, San Francisco’s all-star chess team.
On their way home from a tournament in Europe, their plane makes a forced landing on a remote island in the North Atlantic.
Part survival story, part crime novel with a twist, here’s what happens when six teenagers act on their optimism and attempt the impossible.

My Thoughts:
Teri Kanefield is one of my new favorite authors. I have loved everything I have read that she has written. The story starts out very dramatic.  The Knights of the Square Table, a chess group is on a plane when it begins to experience problems.  The plane crashes on a snowy island about 200 miles off course. The brief description of what people were experiencing on the plane was so realistic that I felt I was on the plane as well.  The adults on this plane aren’t much help.  It is up to these chess champs to keep them all alive until they are rescued.  This is not the only problem they must solve. There is a problem of global proportion they must work on as well.  Like all of her books there is usually something to be learned.  I love the idea that my students will be able to see through this fiction that they can make changes in the world. After all, in our IB school we teach them to to be global students. I believe our students would be able to identify with these young people.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Genre: Upper Elementary, Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Source: I own it

From Goodreads:
From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes an incredible story about how not fitting in might just lead to an incredible life.

Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his had with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet and falls down with laughter over a word like "Jabip." Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He does't know he's not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff's differences show that any name can someday become "hero."

With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy's individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixt grade--making this a perfect classroom read--and watch his character develop, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs.

My Thoughts:
Out of all of Jerry Spinelli's books, this is probably one of my very favorites.  We get to know the protagonist as a young child who is anxious to learn. He sees learning as wonderful.  When the teacher told him how much time they would be in school he loved it.  I think that was what made me fall in love with Donald Zinkoff. His quirky behavior told me that in the right hands he would come out on top  Unfortunately, as a teacher I've seen some like the one he had who didn't like him because he wasn't quite as smart as other ids. She honestly thought Donald did things because he was trying her patience on purpose.  He was branded a loser but didn't realize it until he got older.  When that reality hit him it crushed him. However, when the book ends and Donald does something than many would see as heroic in his attempts would brand an example of what a loser he was, I always asked my students how they saw him now. It is funny that 99% no longer so him as a loser. Why?  You really need to read this book.  I try to start off my year reading this book to and with my students.  I want them to understand that I have no losers in my class Everyone is different and therefore when we embrace those differences then everyone can be a winner.  This is a book I am always recommending and will continue to recommend.  It is one of my favorite yearly rereads.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When the Music Stops by Patty Eger

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

I loved this sequel to 84 Ribbons.  After her injury Marta returns home.  At first she just hangs out around the house, most days in her robe.  She still has an issue with diet pills.  Steve has been a big support throughout this whole thing.  He is still supportive when she makes a mistake that could ruin their relationship.  Marta’s biggest issue is trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.  Before the accident she thought she had her whole life mapped out before her.  Now she is so confused.  What starts out as helping her mother at the dance studio, turns into so much more?  Will this be what it takes for her to straighten out her life?  When she meets the parent of one of her students she feels conflicted.  Will she still stay with Steve, or will her life take her down a different path?  At times I felt annoyed at her indecision.  I think I felt that way because I am a person who has a difficult time making decisions. Once I’ve made the decision the commitment is there 110%.  I know this is how Marta felt. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those who love the world of dance or love to read about the world of dance.  This book didn’t focus on Marta’s dance so much as her dance with life changes. An excellent book.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dancing to the Flute by Manisha Amin

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

From Goodreads
“Kalu picked up the flute by his side and started to play. The sound was deep and full, as if he were translating his thoughts into music. It stayed in the air like dust floating on the sunlight, and each note held the promise of something not quite spoken but maybe heard in the darkness of a dream.” 

 Abandoned as a young child, Kalu, a cheeky street kid, has carved out a life for himself in rural India. In the quiet village of Hastinapore, Kalu has also found friends: Bal, the solitary boy who tends the local buffaloes, and Malti, a gentle servant girl, who with her mistress, Ganga Ba, has watched over Kalu since he first wandered into the small town. 

One day, perched high in the branches of a banyan tree, Kalu chooses a leaf, rolls it tightly, and as he’s done for as long as he can remember, blows through it. His pure, simple notes dance through the air and attract a traveling healer, whose interest will change Kalu’s life forever, setting him on a path he would never have dreamt possible and testing his belief in himself and his sense of identity. 

Rich in texture and atmosphere, Dancing to the Flute is a heartwarming story of a community’s joys and sorrows, the transformative powers of music, the many faces of friendship, and a boy’s journey, against all odds, to become a man

 My Thoughts

Take a trip through rural India. Learn about it culture and especially its classical music. Meet Kalu, a young boy who lives on the streets. To survive he runs errands.  It was hard to imagine that there could be anyone worse off than he was. Kalu has a friend named Bal.  I was sickened to learn his family sold him.  He had even less than Kalu had. Kalu had a talent that helped him improve his life.  He was gifted at playing the flute.  This ability  gets him noticed. It also is what helps him get an education.  As he travels we are shown the sights and sounds of life in rural India.  The descriptions are so vivid you get the image in your head and it stays with you. Just because he is discovered doesn’t mean trust comes easily to him.  Hope is something he tries to hang onto, but it is difficult when there has been so much pain in a small life. A great book from many aspects, learning about India and its classical music, learning about the lives of those who are on the lost rung of the caste system. I’ve heard stories from some of my Indian students, but this book brought it so much clearer.  A great book to read and learn from.  I recommend you read the book to see just how his life was changed and who it was that helped bring about that change.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Two For Joy by Gigi Amateau

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

When Jenna's grreat-great-aunt Tannie breaks her ankle her mother becomes worried about her.  Tannie lives on a large farm and has chickens.  She has traveled all over the world and is a very active person. Jenna's mom is a nurse and knows how fragile her great-aunt's bones have become since she has gotten older. She and Jenna decided to have Tannie come and live with them.  They prepare the house and try to convince Tannie she needs to move in with them.  They go to bring her back over Spring Break and are able to convince her to move.  She sells everything and moves in with them.  But, it isn't as easy as just having someone move in with them.

I was able to relate to this simple book on such a large level.  My mother lives with us.  At first it wasn't so bad.  She was very mobile and did a lot around the house so it felt like we all just lived together and shared the responsibilites.  Then one day while we were gone she slipped and fell and broke both feet and her ankle. She is very resistant to some of our suggestions when we know it is for her best.  In a lot of ways she has given up doing things we know she can do.  As Tannie and her mom found out, there is a very delicate balance that has to be struck for everyone to live harmonioulsy.  This is a great book to read any time, but especially if you have an older loved one who must come and live with you.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Genre: Young Adult Realistic Ficiton

Student Reviewer – Elizabeth

I don’t know why, but I really could connect to this book. The whole time I felt bad for Hannah Baker, the girl who killed herself. Suicide. She swallowed pills. Deadly pills. She could take life no more because of school and friends and home. But, before she died she recorded seven cassettes, thirteen tapes (each side approximately) to tell each person (thirteen of them) why they were involved in making her commit suicide. I wouldn’t recommend this to people who like light stories because this is not one.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Student Saturday: Crazy Dangerous - Andrew Klavan

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Student Reviewer – Elizabeth

This book was hands-down absolutely amazing. One of the best. This story has a plot twist at every corner. This book is an emotional rollercoaster. My eyes were wide open at the plot twists. I gasped at the surprising things, and I felt like I was there. I really enjoyed this book. It was about a kid named Sam Hopkins. He is a fairly normal kid, until one day in the middle of running; he gets slugged by three thugs. They teach hi things and eventually he realizes what he is doing is wrong, and when he tries to get out of it, a murder case suddenly is involved. Then there is this girl who has a “mental disease: and Sam thinks she is some crazy prophet… as you can see it is really hard to describe. So, you’ll have to read the book to find out. I would recommend this to the action packed mystery lovers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Clearing Up a Backlog of Reviews

Sorry I have been missing from action for the last couple of weeks.  Some medical issues, coupled with the last weeks of school have put me behind. I had these typed up but never got around to posting them.   With only eight more days of school left I am now playing catch up.

A Flag for the Flying Dragon by Carole P. Roman
This is another Captain No Beard Story.  Captain No Beard is off on another voyage with his crew.  Each of them is doing their chores. Linus the lion polishes the lamp to light their way. Matie the goat cracks coconuts for them to have a snack, Hallie swabs the deck, Cayla stuffs torn up burp rags in the ships cracks  and Mongo was in the crows nest with the newest member Zach.  Mongo didn’t want him there because he was too little and couldn’t talk yet.  On top of all of these problems the captain has been unable to find a flag for his ship The Flying Dragon.  How will he unite his crew and find a flag?  Read this wonderful book where a young boy and his friends use their imagination along with the toys in his room to find adventure.

The Disappearing Dolphins by Jennifer Kelman
When twins Jackie and Kevin take a trip to the beach, Kevin is sure that  it is going to be a special day.  As he and his sister build a sand castle he thinks he sees a dolphin in the water.  A little while later he sees them again,  Every time he sees them he tells his sister who just can look up in time. For this reason she doesn’t believe her brother.  Suddenly there are five dolphins playing in the water. Kevin gets so excited. His sister looks up just in time to see them.  But, for Kevin this isn’t enough he wants to do more for them.  Read this wonderful book to find out how Kevin helps his new friends the dolphins.

Battle of the Grandmas by Anthonette Klinkerman
What happens when three grandmas send the same gift to their granddaughter? A battle to find the best gift happens.  She is flooded with all kinds of gifts.  They just keep coming until she can’t take it anymore.  What she wants more than anything else is to have her grandmas spend time with her.  I loved this book because as a grandma I know how we often compete to get our grandkids the “best” gift.  I hate to admit that I have been guilty of this.  The other great thing about this book is the illustrations and the illustrator.  The illustrator for this book is a young man named Justin Acquavella.  He is a senior in high school.  This was a wonderful addition to his art portfolio for art school.  This young man has a lot of talent as does the author who is also a teacher.   This is a book every grandparent should read. I loved that it was based on a true story.

Harold & Louise Troll Trouble by Maria Kercher

 This was a wonderful story. Louise receives a toy dragon that she names Harold.  When she goes to sleep that night, Harold grows real big.  He takes Louise to Dreamland.  In Dreamland Harold and Louise meet a King who is sad.  He has been told a terrible troll is bothering one of his villages.  Louise says they will help him.  When they arrive they find the troll is the one in trouble.  The villagers don’t like him because they think he is ugly.  There is actually more to this troll than meets the eye.  A visit to a fairy queen will have unexpected outcomes.  This is a wonderful book. 
The author of this book is a teen who created this story as a creative writing assignment.  She not only wrote the story, but she illustrated it as well.  Her mother, author Kristine Kercher published it for her.  Maria has plans to create many more adventures for Harold & Louise.  I for one am looking forward to reading them.

The Growing Up of Princess Eva by Rhoda Feuer
Princess Eva is a very positive Princess.  She loves the way her land is beautiful and joyful.  Her father the king wishes he could give his family and people more, but his is a poor kingdom.  One day a man arrives and speaks with the king.  When he is finished the king has more riches.  He has given a piece of land to this man to create an Aerodome.  He tears up flowers and trees and chases off the animals.  Eva realizes that the level of happiness goes down.  She wants to find supreme happiness.  She meets a bird named Harry.  He tells her about a place where one can learn to fly.  She wants to go there.  He tells her he will return within a year and if she hasn’t found her true love he will take her there.  She finds her true love, but her father won’t let them marry.  He is listening to Gustav who owns the Aerodome.  Harry takes Eva to Madame Hardy’s flying school.  Here she will learn to fly.  When she returns home will she be able to save her kingdom?  This  was a great fairy tale.  It came at the right time as we were working on fairy tales in my classroom. Definitely proud to put this on my shelves.

Discover the Jungle with Bangle the Lion by Aleksandra Godfrey
Bangle the lion cub wants a friend who will play with him and do what he wants, when he wants, again and again.  He tries out several friends and becomes disgruntled until he learns he has to BE a friend to have a friend.  This is a great story for teaching about friendship.

Raru’s Gift by Mike Kazmark
This is a wonderful story about the gift of adoption.  Raru has 14 wonderful puppies. The month before her husband a search and rescue dog rescued a lost puppy and ended up dying.  She’s trying to raise the puppies on her own.  After attending a wonderful barbeque at Buddy and Betty Blue’s house, Raru begins to feel sick.  She goes to the doctor and learns she’s going to have more puppies.  She doesn’t know what to do. But Grandma does and she tells Raru her plan.  This is dedicated by the author to the mother who provided a child to their own family through the gift of adoption. This would be a wonderful way to bring up the topic of adoption.

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness  by Tricia Springstubb
Genre: Children, Middle Grades, Realistic Fiction
I received and ARC to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Cody has her whole summer ahead of her.  She is supposed to go to camp but her campground is found to be a toxic wasted dump.  Her brother Wyatt is her hero and in love with a girl named Payton.  Mom is trying to move up in her she selling job and dad drives a truck long distance.  With camp for her cancelled Cody makes a new friend named Spencer.  He is staying with his grandmother and having fun with her cat called Mew-Mew.  Cody is one of those bubbly people who chooses to see the glass half full. Can she pull everyone together when her brother faints at doctor camp, her mother is being watched for a promotion, The girl his brother likes becomes her babysitter and Mew-Mew disappears?  This is a short quick read.  I really enjoy this author’s work. I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to read this book .

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Student Saturday: Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Student Reviewer: Alexia
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Flipped is about a boy named Bryce. His family is new to the neighborhood. While they were putting their furniture in their new home, this girl named Juliana couldn't wait to meet the new family that's moving in. Juliana liked Bryce and Bryce didn't like Juliana. But, then over the years Juliana liked Bryce les and Bryce liked Juliana more.

I really liked this book because I think it is a good book on how the author describe the characters in tehbook and about how school drama goes. I liked Juliana and her family, Bryce, Grandpa and all the free spirits. They don't realy care what people think of them and I liked how they handle family situation.  I liked how they said "the choices you choose now will affect you in the future." I really liked this quote

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Retaliation by Yasmin Shiraz

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

From Goodreads:
Violence runs rampant on the streets of Washington, DC, and on one seemingly quiet day, the Odom family finds its world destroyed when seventeen-year-old Tashera is brutally attacked by a group of high school girls. 
Retaliation exposes the corrupting existence of violence in our communities and the retaliatory measures families go through to protect themselves and their children.

My Thoughts:
This could have been ripped right out of the headlines of today's newspaper.  Tashera is a seventeen year old high school girl who is attacked while on her way home.  She is jumped by three girls she goes to school with.  She doesn't know why.  Her mother is very angry. The streets have already claimed one child. Her son Kahlil was paralyzed while running with a gang. Her oldest son has gotten out and become a lawyer. The problem is that the violence doesn't stop here.  They each find a way to retaliate for what was done to Tashera.  This is a problem in a lot of inner city areas.  The circle of violence just keeps going around and around.  However, as realistic as this book is, it leaves you with a feeling that there is always hope. The author has even included conflict resolution tips at the end of the book.  This would be an excellent book to be read aloud in the classroom.   I have been lucky in my life and career to not have experienced this situation.  However, last year I had a student who wrote a poem in which he expressed his biggest fear is dying in a drive-by shooting. This is something that happens often in his neighborhood.  If this book can be used to give even one student hope then it is most definitely worth the read.  It is a book I highly recommend.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Student Saturday: Heat by Mike Lupica

Student Reviewer: Elizabeth B.
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction

I really, really, really enjoyed this amazing book. This was definitely a turn around for me on my opinion of the author. This was an amazing story and plot because it was about this boy who loved baseball and he was living with his only brother and both of his parents died and they were keeping a secret. I would recommend this book to all sports fans, but especially baseball fans. It might be a little hard to understand because it was confusing because there was a lot of baseball language.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The (Almost) Perfect Guide to Imperfect Boys by Barbara Dee

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

I really loved this book.  Finley and Maya are best friends and eighth graders. They have been studying boys all year.  They have even kept a notebook of their observations. They call it The Amphibian Life Cycle. They have basically divided boys into three categories. The first categories is called Tadpoles.  These are the immature boys who still do and say dumb things that seem so elementary.  The next category is called Croakers.  These are the boys whose voices are beginning to change as are they.  They are no longer tadpoles but aren't up to the final category yet. The third and final category is called Frogs. This is when boys begin to talk intelligently to girls and see like they are more mature and prepared for high school.  As in all schools you have the mean kids, in this case the "mean girls". What happens when the mean girls get hold of the notebook and share it with everyone?  Disaster.  
I've thought about this book a lot. When we return to school I want to introduce the book to my classes.  To be fair I want to read just a little bit of it.  Then I want to to have my students write a very short essay on how they see the opposite sex and if they believe the girls were justified.  I loved the way the last few chapters went. It proves that in middle school the boys and girls are both trying to figure each other out. They are both confused.  I believe this book will give my students and middle school age kids everywhere a look at how similar they all are and may make them think about ways to handle situations like this.

Want to learn more about the author then click here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Student Saturday: The Secret Gardent by Francis Hodgson Burnett and Margaet DeKeyser

Student Reviewer:  Edgely J.
Genre: Middle Grade Realistic Fiction, Mystery

This book opens with a sour-looking girl who is about to experience a sad tragedy with her rich and spoiled family. She finds herself going far away from India to England to live with an unknown uncle of hers who lives in a big manor on a large moor. She never sees her uncle whose wife had died ten years before. She finds that there are may mysteries within the manor. Why are many of the rooms locked? What is that cryng she hears at night? Why is one of the grdens locked? Are all of the flowers dead? Where's the key? through the poer of friendship, nature and curriosity, Mary uncovers all of the mysteries. I would recommend this book to readers who like realistic fiction and mysteries.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Student Saturday: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen

Student Reviewer: Ella S.
Genre:  Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

This book opens up with Terra saying what she looks like. Terra has a port-wine stan birthmark on her cheek. She has had surgeries but they never work. along the way she has an incident with this boy and ends up liking him, but she hiding something form him. this was a really good book. It was cool to read about how some people reacted if something was different about them.

One thing I really loved is how you could see Terra's pros and cons. I think that's great, because you can see everybody different. I can't wait to get other kids to read it and I hope they like it too.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Student Saturday: Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher

Student Reviewer: Dylan S.
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction

I finished reading the book Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher. I had seen this book in my elementary school but just never bothered to pick it up and read it. I think this book was excellent and it owuld be funny if it happened to me. It is about some kids all in the same class that come to school and they do't have a teacher! So, the class decides to try to survive the school day without a teacher. Will they make it or will they get caught by aother teacher?  Read the book to find out! I had a connection to this book, because on the last day of school it feels like we don't have a teacher because we just played games. I really enjoyed this book and I recommend you read it too.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Student Saturdays – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Here we go again.  This is the first student review of the school year.  Please respond, but also remember these are written by sixth graders.

Student Reviewer: Yazmin A.
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

Do you know what it’s like to love a book so much you cry when you’ve finished with it? Do you know what it’s like when a book is so good you finish it in a week? That is how it was and how I felt when I read The Fault in Our Stars. It’s beyond spectacular. Mrs. Stiles, I remembered one time you said you were interviewing a girl and she abandoned a book, and you asked her why. She said because it was boring. You asked her how far she had read and she said the first page. A girl said The Fault in Our Stars was boring. But, really if you dig down deep you’ll find the gold. In the book there is this girl named Hazel, she has cancer and she goes to this support group called the Literal Heart or Jesus. Anyway, she meets this guy and ends up spending a lot of time with him. I don’t want to tell you what happens, a lot though. Let’s see, she has this book she loves called the Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Huten. She feels as if the book was written about her. Well, if I tell you anymore I’ll spoil the story. I love this book and if it were not the library’s book I would keep it. This book makes me appreciate life. It touched my heart and put me to tears. I would recommend this book to anyone, except younger children, because the book cusses a lot. Also, if you haven’t already seen the movie, the book is better. The movie leaves out a lot of key information. If I could rate The Fault in Our Stars I would give it five stars.