Monday, February 19, 2007

Take it to the Beach

Barham, Lisa A Girl Like Moi: The fashion-forward adventures of Imogene, 265 p. Simon Schuster –

After maxing out her AmEx and failing to make payments, Imogene finds herself having to take on an internship in New York, in order to pay off her bills, instead of flying off to Paris with her best friend. A fabulous boy and a catty co-worker turn Imogene’s summer upside down as she tries to remain tres chic with absolutely no cash.

 A fun, fluffy Devil Wears Prada rip-off for the teen set that is perfect for reading while tanning this summer. Does not resort to the crassness of so many other teen novels and yet is full of fashion buzzwords. Already in paperback!


Give a Boy a Gun

Vaught, Susan Trigger 290 p. -

Language: PG; Sexual Content: G, Violence: G - This book is about a kid who shot himself but did not succeed in his attempted suicide. He has major brain damage, and most of the kids at school see him as the new "freak." The book is about his struggle and journey to go back to school for his senior year and trying to figure out why he did it.

 I enjoyed reading this book. It was really well written considering it is in first person. It might be a little harder for seventh grade students and below, but I think it is well worth the time for older students. I would recommend this for school libraries.

 MS, HS, ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: JH

 What I enjoyed most about this novel is that it shows the danger of spinning little problems out of control – making them so important that they overwhelm everything else. -Cindy

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

I am Woman.. Hear me roar

Klein, Lisa Ophelia 328 p. Bloomsbury - 

Everyone thinks that they know the story of Ophelia, from Shakespeare's Hamlet, but this beautifully written book takes everything you think you know and turns it on its head. 

Klein has written an engaging book that adds depth and dimension to the recent trend of rewriting Shakespeare. Even if you haven't read Hamlet, you will enjoy this book. A must read for anyone. 


Monday, February 5, 2007

The cruelty of children

Mackall, Dandi Daley Larger-Than-Life Lara 151 p. Penguin – 

Laney’s fourth grade class is stunned the day that Lara, the fattest girl they have ever seen, walks into their classroom. This girl is so fat, that she needs a special desk. Lara’s parents have instilled her with a healthy sense of self-esteem, but she is hard pressed to keep her chin up against the unreasonable prejudice of her fellow students. 

This book will make you cry and it should be read to every child every single year. 


Voices from Vienna

Glatshteyn, Yankev Emil and Karl 194 p. Roaring Brook (Holtzbrinck) – 

Emil and Karl are best friends in the city of Vienna at the start of World War II. Through horrible circumstances, both young boys are left orphaned and without family to take them in. Their little eyes see many of the cruel atrocities carried out in the name of Christianity upon the bodies of Austria’s Jews. 

The amazing thing about this book is that it was written in 1940, in Yiddish, so that the Jewish children of America could know what was really going on in Europe. I am amazed that it hadn’t surfaced in English before now. 


Student's Choice

Warner, Sally Twilight Child Pages: 211 pgs. Penguin - 

Eleni is a girl from Finland who was born at twilight, and given a special gift to see and talk to creatures normal humans can't. Leaving Finland Eleni makes knew friends, goes through many hardships, and learns more about her gift. 

I had a lot of fun reading Twilight Child, and would gladly recommend it to anyone who asks for a good book to read. It educates the reader- including me- with some Finnish words slipped in here and there, as well as provides non-stop entertainment. I really enjoyed it! 

MS, HS – ESSENTIAL Student Reviewer: JH

Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon - ESSENTIAL

McCutcheon John Christmas in the Trenches PICTURE BOOK Peachtree – 

Christmas Day 1914, the two armies of World War I exit their trenches and meet in the middle to celebrate the day during a spontaneous truce. Although these actions did not stop the war, it left a feeling of hope in the hearts of each soldier who participated. Also included is a CD of the original song that McCutcheon also wrote. Having been to Flanders Fields myself, I call tell you that this is an important part of the WWI story. This subject should be fit into the curriculum anywhere it can – English, Geography, Music, Art – wherever. 


Terrier by Tamora Pierce - ESSENTIAL

Pierce, Tamora Beka Cooper: Terrier 563 p. RandomHouse – 

Beka Cooper has always wanted to be a Dog – a peacekeeper in the realm or Tortall. Now she is a Puppy, assigned to the two greatest Dogs in town, learning her trade in the mean streets that she grew up in. Only her persistence, ingenuity and ability to make unlikely friends will save the town from two terrible threats. 

Another exciting tale from Pierce’s well-crafted world. The page count is high, but it is misleading, as the words are really big. When printed in paperback, I would be surprised if it topped 200 pages.