I normally don't like the Tommy and Tuppence books, but I loved this one; definitely one of my favorite Agatha Christie books. Not the typical whodunnI normally don't like the Tommy and Tuppence books, but I loved this one; definitely one of my favorite Agatha Christie books. Not the typical whodunnit either....more
One of my latest curiosities is Pablo Escobar, and when I saw that my favorite writer wrote an account of his hostage-takings, I had to read it. I couOne of my latest curiosities is Pablo Escobar, and when I saw that my favorite writer wrote an account of his hostage-takings, I had to read it. I could not put the book down, and now I have a new fascination: Colombian politics....more
Al is a West Side janitor who, along with his dog Eddie, is greatly dissatisfied with his hum-drum life. One day, a bird hears them complaining and snAl is a West Side janitor who, along with his dog Eddie, is greatly dissatisfied with his hum-drum life. One day, a bird hears them complaining and snatches them away to his home - paradise (Birds of Paradise, get it? clever). Al and Eddie live it up in paradise but soon realize that all the pampering is getting old; then one day they discover that they are slowly transforming into birds themselves. This sends them into a tizzy; they never wanted to lose themselves on the way to finding happiness. They fly away, back to their West Side one-bedroom apartment, where they learn to find joy in the little things of life and never forget their lesson that happiness is what you make of life....more
This is the true story of the family who tended the cemetery at Gettysburg during the Civil War - obviously, before it was called the Gettysburg CemetThis is the true story of the family who tended the cemetery at Gettysburg during the Civil War - obviously, before it was called the Gettysburg Cemetery. It's a touching tale about a mother and three young boys who give the dead their final resting place while their father, the real cemetery keeper, is fighting on the Union side; it's also about the way they restored order and peace to this resting place and buried soldiers after part of the Gettysburg battle was fought there on its grounds. The illustrations in this book were absolutely vivid and gorgeous....more
Do you want to know why Sarafem always leans toward multicultural children's books? Well, she thinks it all stems from the day in second grade when shDo you want to know why Sarafem always leans toward multicultural children's books? Well, she thinks it all stems from the day in second grade when she found this book in the library and decided she wanted to be African, because being white was so frickin' boring. Every day, she showed up at school making some sort of attempt to prove that she was an albino African who was just adopted into her painfully white family. One day a neighbor down the street humored her and let her borrow some of his kente cloth, which she wore to school. It fell down to her waist while she was playing on the jungle gym and she went from Ashanti to Masai in like two seconds. Another day she wore giant hoop earrings and strung keys on them to make her earlobes stretch so far that she practically ripped them, and she wore so many necklaces that her neck stiffened to giraffe-esque heights for several days afterwards. Yet another day she showed up with lipstick and powder smeared all over her face according to some sort of tribal custom somewhere, probably in a Revlon village in Arkansas, but the point is, she tried, okay? Then in music class she tried so hard to get the entire class to beat on their drums and tambourines like Africans that she got sent to the principal's office, and don't even get her started on when she tried to teach the class what she believed was an authentic Zulu dance routine.
Luba was a Jewish woman in a concentration camp who was only kept alive because she was a nurse and could tend to the guards when it was needed; thisLuba was a Jewish woman in a concentration camp who was only kept alive because she was a nurse and could tend to the guards when it was needed; this book tells the true story of her heroic actions to save children from certain death.
Luba discovered a group of 54 children who had escaped death because the guards, assigned to drop them in a forest and kill them, couldn't bring themselves to do it and just abandoned them there. Luba heard their cries and took them into her barracks, where she convinced the other women to keep her secret while she cared for them all. Luba used her good standing with the guards and staff of the camp to gather food, blankets, first aid supplies, and other necessities for their survival. For many months she cared for them; at the time the British army arrived to free the prisoners she had only lost two of the children to typhus. This in itself was a miracle; Bergen-Belsen was the camp Anne Frank died in, also of typhus, just weeks before liberation. B-B's conditions were so terrible that typhus was rampant and many thousands were so ill at the time of liberation that they died soon after they were freed. ...more
I picked this book up last night, thinking I'd read a chapter or two before bed, but it was so good from the start that I couldn't stop until I got toI picked this book up last night, thinking I'd read a chapter or two before bed, but it was so good from the start that I couldn't stop until I got to the very end. Among The Hidden is about a boy who is a prisoner in his own home because he is an illegal "third child" in a time when the Population Police mandate that families can have no more than two children.
One day while spying on his neighborhood from his secret room, he sees a girl staring out the window of the house next door - a house with two boys after everyone in the house has already left for the day. He is so lonely and desperate for friendship that he risks his life to go to the house and meet her. The rest of the story is about the bond they form, and their dreams to someday be able to live their lives out in the open. The ending of the story, without giving it away, is inevitable but poignant and is the crowning touch to a riveting tale....more
This is the first in a trilogy of books set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It is written by Theodore Taylor, author of The Cay. Everyone knowsThis is the first in a trilogy of books set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It is written by Theodore Taylor, author of The Cay. Everyone knows I'm overexuberantly proud of being from this ass-backwards countrified redneck state, and maybe some people know that the Outer Banks are my favorite part of the state, and that The Cay happens to be one of my favorite kids books, so you probably wouldn't be surprised to know that when I saw this book I was so excited I almost peed my pants! Hurrah!
So anyway, Teetoncey is the name given to a girl that is the sole survivor of one of the islands' infamous shipwrecks. The word is island-talk for small, methinks a variant of teensy-weensy. How about these tangents, folks?!!? Moving on, Tee is taken in by an island family and the book is about her bond with them and overcoming the trauma of the accident. The story itself is just plain excellent, and heartwarming, and all that stuff we always say about well-written children's books. But what I like most about it is that it really captures the spirit of the islands; it really is not a stretch of the imagination to believe that a community there would come together to protect and love this little lost girl. It makes me want to drive up there this week and play with some wild ponies....more
I have misgivings about this book being 5 stars; however, I was so captivated by it that I couldn't debate it. This is a biography of the artist ChagaI have misgivings about this book being 5 stars; however, I was so captivated by it that I couldn't debate it. This is a biography of the artist Chagall (obviously). His young life was not so extraordinary, other than his gift for painting, but it was still captivating because it wove a sort of dream-like vision of why he created the fantastical pieces that he did. Once the text passed through his childhood and into his adulthood, I thought it lost some of its magic, which was odd because that was when he got out of his small town and began to see the world.
My main concern with the book was also what drew me in the most. The author of this book is also its illustrator, and she creates breathtaking mixed media collages of Chagall's life that utilize bits and pieces of his work. While I found her work stunning and could hardly focus to read the words on some pages for want to take in every detail of the picture, I thought that the work should really be a medium to introduce young readers more to Chagall's work rather than hers. Particularly as the story starts to detail Chagall's adulthood, she does a better job of utilizing his pieces, but in the beginning I had to really look for something more than just his influence in the depiction....more
I confess that I have always avoided Kipling because I find The Jungle Book to be completely obnoxious and can't bear to give him another chance. HoweI confess that I have always avoided Kipling because I find The Jungle Book to be completely obnoxious and can't bear to give him another chance. However, one of my students yesterday left this in the classroom and I picked it up out of curiosity. I love this book! This is a story about the chances you take for love and how one can protect their families when called upon to do it. It's reading level is 6.4 but I think even very young children will enjoy this tale....more
Ellis interviews children growing up in wartime Israel and Palestine about their lives and their three wishes for themselves. It is enlightening to reEllis interviews children growing up in wartime Israel and Palestine about their lives and their three wishes for themselves. It is enlightening to read their stories and hear their perspectives, trying to understand them based on the information their families and society have given them. Some children speak of hope and hopelessness in the same breath. Children who have never met anyone outside of their own ethnicity fear difference because their parents tell them to. Children with beautiful smiles talk of peace while simultaneously spouting hatred. The rich say the poor don't give them enough, and the poor just want a home and a family but can't have it. Every child knows someone who has been shot or blown up. Children who don't have to speak out against prejudice and hatred and try to do beautiful things in a broken land.
It is eyeopening to see what these children live with every day, and while listening to their stories you start to understand how we shape our children with our love and our fears, and how even young people can make a difference....more