Think you can stop an attack with a well-timed soliloquy? Can you pin an opponent in place with a paperclip twisted into a scatterclip? Can you paint...moreThink you can stop an attack with a well-timed soliloquy? Can you pin an opponent in place with a paperclip twisted into a scatterclip? Can you paint yourself invisible?
At age thirteen, Alex Stowe would say all such things are impossible. To be creative in Quill, means to be given infractions. Infractions lead to being labeled Unwanted. At the annual Purge, all the young Wanteds are sent off to university for further training. The Necessaries are set aside to perform more menial roles in society. The Unwanteds are sent to the Death Camp by the Lake of Burning Oil.
While his parents are Necessaries, that has little bearing on Alex Stowe's future. He knew he would be Unwanted by the time he was ten years old. While his identical twin Aaron is eager to leave everything he knew behind for his Wanted future, Alex boards a rickety bus, his final words spoken. Death awaits him and the other young teenagers from his area at the end of the ride.
Death Camp isn't anything like Alex expected. It's not just a desolate piece of ground. That's only the cover. Instead, it's a concealed community filled with Unwanteds. For years, the mage Marcus Today has faked the deaths of the Unwanteds and secreted them away in Artime. There they can learn to use the creative talents that sentenced them away from Quillian society in the first place. In Artime, these talents can also be used for magic.
Tubes transport people from place to place in Artime. Living chalkboards spread messages back and forth. Instructors may be other humans or they may be magical creations such as Octavia, the octogator that teaches Alex his art. Living statues protect the grounds, such as grim Simber the flying cheetah. Everyone has a private instructor in addition to the basic group lessons. Artime is a place of wonder and of training.
While there is much about his new home to love, Alex also finds much frustration. When his new friends and other peers move on to magical warrior training, he alone is denied the training. Feeling like a failure and tired of the magical pranks pulled on him by young Lani, Alex withdraws. Miserable, he turns to dreams, dreams of rescuing his twin from Quill because Alex knows something no one else does--Aaron too once drew in the mud and it was Alex who paid for Aaron's 'crime.'
Part dystopia, part fantasy, the Unwanteds is a book I'll want to visit again to see what else Lisa McMann adds to this world. The second book is due out in 2012.(less)
This story could be used in connection with social studies, transportation or even math (distance and time). Everything the girl from 1846 had to deal...moreThis story could be used in connection with social studies, transportation or even math (distance and time). Everything the girl from 1846 had to deal with makes what the contemporary character has to deal with seem really trivial.
I liked some of the pictures where the two are visiting the same place at the same time, such as Chimney Rock and Independence Rock.(less)
An interesting glimpse into the life of Eliza Scidmore, the woman who campaigned for Japanese cherry trees to be planted in Washington, DC. The book d...moreAn interesting glimpse into the life of Eliza Scidmore, the woman who campaigned for Japanese cherry trees to be planted in Washington, DC. The book depicts Eliza's uncommon travels, her involvement with the then new National Geographic Society and what happened to the first group of cherry trees sent by Japan. The softness of the illustrations adds a sense of time.(less)
Teams representing Stanford and Berkeley came together to play women's basketball before a crowd of 500 rowdy fans. The only men at this game were a j...moreTeams representing Stanford and Berkeley came together to play women's basketball before a crowd of 500 rowdy fans. The only men at this game were a janitor and his assistant. The women on each team were assigned different sections of the court to play. Successful baskets were awarded only a single point. While Fouls still gave players a chance at a basket, much was different at this first intercollegiate women's game.
The game is shown through the eyes of Agnes Morley, one of the players on Stanford's team. A ranch girl at heart, Agnes's mother sent her to Stanford in hopes of making her a lady. Instead, she ends up on the Stanford women's basketball game. While the Stanford team is used to playing in front of everyone, the Berkeley team insists that they don't play outside where the men can see.
Matt Collins's illustrations bring to life the energy and emotion of the game in rich detail. The author's note explains more about Morley's life as well as the varied accomplishment of her fellow players. A timeline at the back details how women's basketball developed and changed over time. Educators will appreciate the resources suggested at the end of the book.One use for this book would be to have students compare basketball today with how it was played in the 1890s as well as changes in equipment and uniform.
Did you know Queen Elizabeth of England had her horses' tails dyed to match her own red hair? Have you heard that men tried cleaning their wigs by bak...moreDid you know Queen Elizabeth of England had her horses' tails dyed to match her own red hair? Have you heard that men tried cleaning their wigs by baking them inside loaves of bread? Classical music was once called "longhaired" music because of how the composers and musicians had unfashionable hair. All sorts of animal waste was used to try and encourage hair to grow. Some people even put live birds in their hair!
With Big Wig author Kathleen Krull has created a nonfiction picture book filled with wild and wacky facts. The more disgusting facts about hair and how it was treated are sure to appeal to upper elementary students. Many of the issues behind these hair styles, such as revolutions, popular movements and class conflict make this a good selection for older students as well. The back of the book includes 'hair extensions' that go into more detail about the different historical times. I laughed to read that George Washington gave people who wanted locks of his hair strands from his horses instead. (less)
This is a beautiful nonfiction picture book biography of Chilean poet and activist Pablo Neruda. I love how the English and Spanish words intertwine i...moreThis is a beautiful nonfiction picture book biography of Chilean poet and activist Pablo Neruda. I love how the English and Spanish words intertwine in the art.(less)
This book did an excellent job of mapping out the exploration of the causes behind the decreasing population of golden frogs in Panama. I liked how it...moreThis book did an excellent job of mapping out the exploration of the causes behind the decreasing population of golden frogs in Panama. I liked how it went into causes that effected populations elsewhere and dismissed how those couldn't be the case for this group of frogs (For example, looking at water pollution, climate changes, etc). It also showed different experts working together to find the cause. Once it was discovered that it was a fungus, scientists had to hurry to learn how to make artificial environments the golden frogs could survive in and then race to find noninfected frogs to remove to these environments.
Photographs, maps and microscope views make this a visually appealing book. This would be a great title to look at the spread of invasive organism, cause and effect and more.(less)