Thursday, March 23, 2023

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Source: I own this book

I think I am drawn to books with characters who are on the autism spectrum because I have a grandson who is on the spectrum. I have taught many students that fell somewhere on the spectrum and it has been a pleasure. I was even more thrilled to see that I can keep this book on my shelf.  If you don’t know what I am talking about go back and read my posts for January 19 and March 20.

I love the main character in this story. Rose has what I call autism quirks. She loves homophones. If you don’t remember what they are they are words that sound alike but have different spellings and different meaning. An example would be “write/right, or the title rain/reign”.   I have met parent’s like Rose’s dad who don’t understand or want to understand their child’s “condition”. Often they are in denial that their child is different, or they blame someone else for their child’s condition. In Rose’s case she is often left at home while her dad goes out drinking.  Then there is her teacher.  I wanted to scream at her and ask why she was a teacher.  I have loved teaching every autistic child I have had. I have learned so much from them.  Rose has an ally, her Uncle Weldon. He is more like a father to her than her on dad. Of course she has her best friend in the world her dog Rain, who goes missing. Rain was a stray her dad brought home to her. This book is emotional and hard to put down. I would definitely recommend it to my students if for no other reason to help create empathy in them. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab


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

Yea! This is a book I can keep on my shelves at school. Especially since this is another that one of my students told me I needed to read over Spring Break.  I have always loved ghost stories so this was perfect for my very first Victoria Schwab book. Yes, I will have to go back and check out her other books.  We have Cassidy, the child of Ghost Hunter parents.  The funny thing is they are clueless that their daughter can talk to ghosts. Her best friend Jacob is a ghost. Cassidy had a near death experience when she drowned. Ever since she can pull back the veil betwee the two worlds. Cassidy travels  to Scotland for the filming of her parent's show where she meets Lara. Lara seems to be just like her. 

Since I have a very bad habit of getting overly excited and spilling all the good things in a story, I will stop right there. I'll let you read all about her wonderful adventures in Edinburgh, Scotland. Let’s just say that this is not the end of Cassidy’s story. The author has two other books in this series and I will soon be reading and reviewing them. They too are in our system and can stay on my shelves.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor


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

This is one of those stories that will tug at your heart strings. This book is an emotional roller coaster. It deals with death, grief and how each person handles it differently. Phoebe and her sister have a ritual they have secretly performed for years crossing the river. This time things go wrong and Okalee drowns. What happens after that is terrible. Phoebe feels guilty about it. Her mother becomes very depressed. A kid at school spreads rumors about the drowning that push Phoebe deeper into her guilt. We see the toll it takes on her. She stops singing, she doesn’t report the bullying. At some point Phoebe decides to talk to get some help. If this book does nothing else but reach out to a student reading it and teach them that it is okay to talk to someone when they have a problem, then it has done more than provide a good read. We need more books like this in our schools and on our classroom shelves. Unfortunately, this is a book I can recommend to students, but can’t have on my classroom shelves. Our media specialist has not read and approved it and is no where else in out district’s schools. It therefore had to be pulled from my shelves. Don’t think I won’t tell my kids what a wonderful book it is