Hi book friends!
I've been on a bit of a change of pace book kick ever since I got a few awesome recommendations from Penny Kittle at a recent conference. When she recommended this book I knew I had to get it. I'm not really a history fan but I find The Holocaust so important and horrifyingly engaging that I knew I would enjoy reading this book.
The Nazi Hunters is about a group of Jewish spies (who are also Holocaust survivors) who are on a quest to hunt down and bring to justice a Nazi war criminal. Throughout the book I was on the edge of my seat -- will they do it? Is it him? Will he slip away again? Will this really work? THE SUSPENSE! I talked about this with The Martian and I dare say I felt even more suspense in this book. I also love spy and action movies so this fit in very well with that love-- even better that it's a true story! I finished this book in about three days and I told every kid who asked me about it that they HAD TO READ IT.
I think this is a wonderfully approachable way for middle schoolers to learn about The Holocaust--it definitely provides some level of detail to give you a sense of the absolute horror of that time BUT, since its main focus is on capturing the Nazi war criminal, it's not overwhelming like in a lot of Holocaust literature.
One of my favorite things from this book is that it includes documents and photos from the time period. The author did excellent research and it really shows here. I just think multi media in a book gives it so much depth and life, which you might remember from my review of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
You would LOVE The Nazi Hunters like I did if you like. . .
-SUSPENSE! Action! SPY STORIES!
- a great, quick read!
Okay, tell me you'll AT LEAST give this one a shot! I'm trying to convince everyone to read it. Read on friends!
Hi book friends!
Are you ready for a great, different book? I'm always on the lookout for "boy books" and when the great Penny Kittle talked about this book at a recent conference, I pretty much pulled up Amazon and ordered it that minute. This one did not disappoint!
Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly is about a boy named Arlo who recently and tragically just lost his mother. His sister, Siouxsie, has a degenerate disease and really relied on their mother. Their father has lost his way. Arlo turns to tricks and speed on his dirt bike and a drone video game to deal with everything. Arlo gets so good at the drone video game that the U.S. government takes notice and tries to recruit him to fly drones for him ( teen boy fantasy, am I right? ).
In the dirt bike trick, dare devil, drone flying, video game loving, teen boy way, it's for sure a boy book BUT I loved this book. Yes, I read a wider range of books than most teen girls and it's not for everyone, but a major theme in the book is also how Arlo and his family try to cope with the loss of Arlo's mother. This part of the book I found really relatable. This loss, as well as a few other conflicts in the book, force Arlo to figure out who he really is and who wants to be so it's a coming of age novel as much as anything else. Dealing with loss and figuring out who we are -- that's relatable and what I loved about this book, which is partly why it reminds me of The Sky is Everywhere. They're very different books but this, to me, is like boy version of that book.
You would love Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly like I did if you like. . .
coming of age books
dirt bikes or drones, of course
books about grief or moving on
a good read!
I was pleasantly surprised by this one and I think you will be too!
Hi book friends!
You've probably already seen the movie ( which I haven't! ) BUT this was a great book. I originally bought it for my dad for Christmas last year because so many people had recommended it. I'll start by saying that my dad and I have very different reading tastes so it took me a while to get around to reading this one. It's intensely packed with science and I'm definitely not a science person ( as an aside, when my husband and I were friends he had to help me through Chemistry, which was a science class I actually enjoyed ). So, I was intimidated by this book and almost gave it up at the beginning BUT I'm glad I didn't!
In case you've been living under a rock like I have, The Martian is about one very unlucky guy named Mark Watney, who, in a freak accident, gets left on Mars, alone, and has to attempt to survive until help arrives, if it arrives. There were a lot of things I loved about this book but here are the biggest two: One, Mark is funny. Totally my sense of humor--witty and dry and entertaining and sarcastic. Even during all of the science blah, blah, blah, the author made Mark funny and entertaining so I didn't mind! ( I will be honest and say I skimmed, assumed, and skipped over a lot of the science, though! ) Two, THE SUSPENSE! Will he make it? Won't he make it? Is this the moment that messes everything up and irrevocably decides his fate? Now? Now? NOW?! You'll have to read it to find out and that's certainly one of the things that kept me going ( even though I thought I knew how it ended! ).
You would like The Martian if you like. . .
(mostly) realistic fiction
humor, witt, sarcasm
books that are movies
perhaps a different kind of read for you too!
Books make great Christmas, Hanukkah, and holiday presents!
Hi book friends!
In my classes we've been reading Orbiting Jupiter for the Global Read Aloud, which has been a fantastic experience. When I looked at the book choices for this year, I noticed All American Boys right away. First of all, I love the cover but I also love that the book is very relevant to an important issue in America right now. All American Boys is about two boys, Rashad and Quinn, who become part of a situation that ignites racial as well as police and citizen tensions.
Rashad is a black teenager who plays basketball and is being constantly lectured by his father to do the right things and be a good citizen. So, it's a complete shock to him when, just after changing out of his ROTC uniform and into his baggy pants, he's shopping in a store, a woman trips over him, and a nearby cop assumes he's stealing.
Meanwhile, Quinn happens upon the scene and watches the officer violently arrest Rashad. He later realizes that, even worse, Rashad is a basketball teammate and the officer is none other than Quinn's best friend's older brother who has acted like a father to Quinn after Quinn's father died serving his country. Quinn is left confused and spinning trying to figure out what is right and wrong, what racism really is, and what it means to be loyal.
You might love All American Boys as much as I did if you like. . .
a book that is truly relevant to today's world and current events
stories in dual perspectives
a book that makes you think
or even a change of pace.
I loved that we got both boy's stories, that they intertwined, that the characters were incredibly complex and real, and that even the "victim" and "aggressor" weren't treated as such. The authors ( love that it's two authors! ) took a complex issue and dealt with it honestly -- not over-simplifying or jamming a lesson down your throat. It's a book that makes you think about the world and yourself. I highly recommend it!
Have you read it? Are you into it? Do you want me to just skip ahead and tell you what I think of it?
I loved it.
I know, bold! I will say this: I had very low expectations of this book. Let's keep in mind a few things:
1. This was NOT written by J.K. Rowling so if you're expecting another Harry Potter then just stop.
2. It's a PLAY, so not your typical book.
3.After such a long time and so much fandom, it's pretty hard to live up to anything fans might be expecting, and I don't think the authors were trying to do that. This is something new; I think it should be read as something new.
4. The reviews from other people? Not so great. I think because of the first three things.
Okay! With all of that said, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is about Harry's life twenty years after the last book. ( Can I just assume you've all read all of the original HP books? If not, there will be spoilers--you've been warned! ) It took me a while to remember many things about where we left off, like that Harry is married to Ginny, Hermione is married to Ron, and Snape is actually a good guy. So, you might want to brush up on your HP knowledge before you dive back in.
So, it's about Harry ( and Ginny, Hermione, Ron, and Draco's ) life 20 years later but mostly about Harry's youngest son Albus. Albus doesn't love being the son of the great Harry Potter and doesn't get along with his father. Harry is old and tired and ( gasp! ) flawed in this book, which I'm guessing is why a lot of people don't like it. He's not the one great wizard anymore, but honestly I don't think Rowling painted him that way either--he's always been flawed, conflicted, humble, and definitely had/ has some of that survivor's / hero guilt going on.
What I liked: I think the authors actually did a (surprisingly) good job of honoring who the characters continued to be nineteen years later. We all grow and change, especially in nearly two decades, and I think this book reflects that while also staying true to who the characters were at the end of the series. Also, surprisingly, I really liked that Draco Malfoy played a big part in this book. I know that how he's portrayed in this book is pretty different from the other books, but, again, it's been nineteen years and we all grow up and move on. What may not have been appreciated by others was one of my favorite parts. Lastly, and this maybe is a spoiler even though I'm being intentionally vague, just like the other HP books, the problems were solved by a group of people ( no one can do it alone! ) and with smarts + love. The kid in me who secretly read HP while I should have been sleeping was just so totally happy reading this book.
What I didn't love: I wasn't a fan of Hermione in this book. I think she got boiled down; there wasn't as much wit, fire, and impressive smarts like the other books. She kind of got turned into "Ron's wife" and that was annoying; I wish she'd played a bigger role. I also didn't love it as a play--that's just a reader preference and I'm not used to reading plays. I actually thought this would be a bigger problem for me but I adjusted to it quickly and didn't find it irritating to read in this format. I just would have preferred the greater detail I think a novel can provide.
So, you would love this book too if you like. . .
*Is saying Harry Potter too obvious?
*Adventure and mayhem
*magic, wizards, and cool stuff
*Sequels / series books
This book reminded me of why I love books. I read it I think in less than two days and it was the perfect summer read -- so fun and nostalgic and good all on its own at the same time. Please, tell me you'll give it a chance? Let me know in the comments if / when you read it!
Hey book friends!
How's your week been? We are in the midst of, as one of my teacher friends calls it, a month of Sundays. I'm not saying it's the end of summer ( never! ) but the new school year is coming fast. I'm excited but also nervous ( of course! ) and have a lot of work to do to get ready. We've also been doing birthday advent around our house since David's birthday is at the end of the month--and on my first day back at work, sadly. I've been doing something fun or giving David a small gift every day, which I've done as Christmas advent for years, but this year I wanted to try doing it for his birthday, too. I'll do a post on that next month if you guys are interested!
Onto the book!
Stand Off is the sequel to Winger. I would say it's one of those sequels that if you haven't read the first one then you really won't get the second one. Sure, you could read it but it wouldn't be very good. Both books are about a boy named Ryan Dean West who, in Stand Off, is a 15 year old senior. At the opening of Stand Off, Ryan Dean is still struggling with what happened at the end of the first book ( which I will NOT spoil for you--you know how I feel about that! ).
One of the absolute best parts about both Winger and Stand Off is the voice the author gives Ryan Dean -- he is a very funny, very typical 15 year old boy who is struggling with self-image, relationships, school, and of course hormones. The author uses a lot of internal monologue to give us insight into Ryan Dean, as well as his comics, which are fantastic.
It took me a little while to get into Stand Off because I felt it started a little slow--BUT since I loved Winger so much, I knew it would be worth sticking it out so I did. Although I feel the author could have cut out a bunch of material in the beginning, I loved how the characters evolved in this book and it didn't just feel like a "Winger 2.0." I literally laughed out loud at parts of this book ( LOVE it when that happens! ) and definitely cried in parts of the book, too. Stand Off is about personal growth and reflection while also telling of ridiculous teenage boy adventures.
You would like Stand Off if you like books that are . . .
about self discovery
about character growth
"boy books" ( though, I'm not a boy and I think girls can appreciate these books, too! )
Stand Off also reminded me a bit of Paper Towns or The Abundance of Katherines so if you liked either of those then you would probably like Stand Off. I had a few students this year who never considered themselves readers finish both Winger and Stand Off, even though they are longer books, and love them so if you're hesitant, give them a try; I think you'd really enjoy them!
Have a great weekend everyone!
"'Have you really read all those books in your room?' Alaska laughing- 'Oh God no. I’ve maybe read a third of ‘em. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read.'" -John Green