This will be the first book I teach as a student teacher, and I'm excited about the lesson plans it inspires. While certainly not Avi's best work, it'...moreThis will be the first book I teach as a student teacher, and I'm excited about the lesson plans it inspires. While certainly not Avi's best work, it's still an interesting experiment in multi-format (journal entries, school memos, dialogue) for a younger set. It's not a book I'd recommend necessarily for pleasure reading, but I anticipate my class enjoying using it a school book, since I'm going to let them debate.(less)
For those of you who don't know, I have a rule that I neither buy, check out, borrow or otherwise read books whose sequels h...moreDO NOT READ THIS BOOK.
For those of you who don't know, I have a rule that I neither buy, check out, borrow or otherwise read books whose sequels have not been published. I just get too darn impatient for the continuation of the series.
Well, I did not realize that Skin Hunger is a trilogy. Yes, it says so right on the book. Yes, I really can read. But I didn't. Big mistake.
Skin Hunger tells two stories, alternating chapter to chapter between the two. The first is the 3rd-person narrative of Sadima, a young woman with the ability to talk to animals in a place and time in which such magic is strictly forbidden. The second story is the 1st person account of Hahp, a second son sent to wizarding school, centuries after Sadima.
Skin Hunger is not like The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which has a sequel but is a perfectly complete story in its own right. It's not even like Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, in which each book does a respectable job of tying up a few plot lines before moving on to the next volume.
Instead, Skin Hunger introduces the two storylines, as well as the four main characters: Sadima, Franklin, Sommiss, and Hahp. These are difficult enough to learn, with the back-and-forth points of view. Indeed, it takes at least a third of the book, if not more, to even understand why there are alternating points of view. For a 350 page book, it's too confusing; it may be more appropriate for the 1000 page novel that the trilogy will become.
Then, just as you settle into the flip flopping and characters and their possible motivations, the book ends. The story doesn't end; in fact, I thought I'd maybe purchased a misprinted copy. The reader is left with more questions than answers and with severe annoyance at the abruptness.
Still, Duey's book won Newbery honors, probably because of her original concept and well-paced writing. I am definitely looking forward to the second volume Sacred Scars, but I strongly encourage you to wait until the third book (as yet unwritten) is released before diving into the trilogy.(less)
Kira-Kira tells the story of two Japanese-American sisters in mid-20th century Georgia. I appreciated the perspective and information of the challenge...moreKira-Kira tells the story of two Japanese-American sisters in mid-20th century Georgia. I appreciated the perspective and information of the challenges these families of ethnic minority had to face, but what I loved was the interplay between the sisters. It was that relationship that connected with my heart, and left tears streaming down my face at their challenges. It's a pretty quick read for an adult, very emotional, very informative. A great book to give as a gift to a mid-grader or to read with your own.(less)
I read Catherine Called Birdy, a Newbery Honor Book, about ten years ago, and while it was interesting it wasn’t quite captivating enough for me to wa...moreI read Catherine Called Birdy, a Newbery Honor Book, about ten years ago, and while it was interesting it wasn’t quite captivating enough for me to want to read anything else by Karen Cushman. Still, when The Midwife’s Apprentice showed up on Paperback Swap, I figured I’d give it a try.
A Newbery Medal book, The Midwife’s Apprentice tells the story of a girl with no home, no parents, and no name. One frosty night, she find warmth sleeping in a dung heap. The next morning, Jane Sharp, the village midwife, discovers the girl, who becomes the midwife’s apprentice. The girl works long, and hard, beyond the point of survival to a place where she thinks and learns and ponders and chooses a name for herself. Her only friend is Purr, a cat she rescues from being drowned by the same boys who torment the girl apprentice. Eventually, she is challenged to deliver a baby in the midwife’s absence, and her future begins to both unroll and unravel.
Karen Cushman has graduate degrees in Human Behavior and Msum Studies. She has a long-standing interest in history. She says, "I grew tired of hearing about kings, princes, generals, and presidents. I wanted to know what life was like for ordinary young people in other times."
This book showed off Cushman’s strengths to their full advantage. Her writing is sure-handed, with lots of showing and not too much telling. She fully brings the reader into a medieval village without overusing words and explanations. The story of The Midwife's Apprentice incorporates realism without fatalism, spirit without warrior-heroics, and a truly empowered character whom readers will love. (less)
I ordered "Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" from PaperbackSwap.com, as an afterthought. I had never heard of it, but it had the Newbery, so I th...moreI ordered "Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" from PaperbackSwap.com, as an afterthought. I had never heard of it, but it had the Newbery, so I thought I'd try it out.
Oh, my. I can't recommend this book enough. The writing itself leaves me speechless. The characterizations, the excellent balance of action and introspection, the dialogue are all completely flawless.
Then there's the story - a tale of a small Maine town at the turn of the 20th century, and the 13-yr-old minister's son who has just relocated there. Although he wants to move back home to Boston, he meets a girl just his age named Lizzie. Their friendship defies everyone's expectations, and changes his entire life.
The backstory of the race relations is true; the rest is fiction, but it seems like the quiet, deft tale handed down age to age, hand to hand. It's truly a brilliant, lovely piece of literature.(less)