I found this book fascinating. It dealt with many different topics from stuttering to racism in the South and definitely shows the power of others in helping a young person find his/her voice (and in this book, that is a literal statement). I loved how it was written because although our narrator wasn't very vocal in his life, he loved writing and found his voice through his writing. It is through this art that he is able to tell his story. It is also quite interesting that though he is writing his story, he withholds his name until the very end because he has trouble saying it himself. He is referred to mostly as "Little Man" throughout the book.
But, by far, my favorite thing about this story is all of the characters our narrator gets involved with when he begins his paper route. First is Little Man's first crush, a pretty young wife who likes to drink and who Little Man cannot figure out. Second is a homeless man who bullies Little Man out of some of his possessions and is haunted by his past. Third, and most importantly, is a Merchant Marine who shows Little Man that there is more out there and that he can be whomever he wants to be. It is through these different adults that our narrator really starts to become his own.
In the classroom, this book would be a great discussion start about many different topics. Since it is historical, it gives a different perspective into many different topics including television and racism. Vawter also writes this novel with a great voice and makes interesting choices with punctuation that would be interesting to talk to students about.
Snatch of Text: p. 11 (simile), p. 101-102, p. 108-109 (poetry) Mentor Text For: Voice, First Person Point of View, Grammar, Simile, Making Predictions, Contractions (p. 30), Poetry (p. 108-109) Writing Prompts: There are some unexpected players in this young boys life that he would have never thought would affect him the way they did. Think of someone in your life that you thank for helping, influencing, or changing you and write them a thank you letter. Topics Covered: Candide, Voltaire, Speech Pathology, Baseball, Alcoholism, Anxiety, Infidelity, Genetics, Fathers, Heidegger, Existentialism, Segregation, Linguistics, Language, Race Relations, Faith, History of the Alphabet (p. 64-65), Myths (p. 66), Television (p. 44) (less)
Marinating on this one. Many thoughts. Specifically on the ending. Need to put into words.
I love how slow this book happens. It is like a pot of boiling water. It started out cold and then got warmer before it began boiling. This book is not a Twilight romance of love at first site; it is a true romance about getting to know each other and realizing that first impressions aren't always correct.
Told in Eleanor and Park's point of views, you get a 360 degree picture of the intensity of feelings that are happening. It is also through both of these point of views that you get to know both characters quite well and not just one side of the romance. The only negative is that I felt that both sides were only partially explored because of the two points of view. I wanted to know more about Eleanor's past and I wanted to understand more why Park's dad was disappointed in him. However, I know that if the story was only told by one of them, the whole story would not have been told.
My only issue is the end. It is what kept me from giving it 5 stars. I cannot talk about it here as it is spoiler, but I wish it had slowed down and matched the pace of the rest of the book. I know there are many that disagree with me. After finishing I had a couple discussions on Twitter with tweeps who had finished the book and they all disagreed with me. But, as @katsok pointed out to me, "Books belong to the reader", so I am sticking with how I feel. I would, though, LOVE to talk to Rainbow about the ending because I am so intrigued to learn about her decision making.
In a high school classroom, I could very much see parts of this book being used as a close read. I took many notes while reading specific sections that had amazing author's craft and descriptive language. A good discussion could also be had by looking at how Eleanor and Park dealt/felt about a situation. It would also be so interesting to discuss how the romance of Eleanor and Park would be different in the 21st century vs. 1986. I'd also recommend this book for a classroom library purchase because there are going to be some romance fans out there that will eat this book up. (less)
So beautifully written. One of those books that you want to tell everyone to read because it is so literary and lyrical. While reading, I felt I had to keep stopping to take notes because I had so much I wanted to share with you all. In a way, Aristotle & Dante reminded me of John Green in that way. His characters are so intelligent, the voice so pure and mesmerizing, and the story so enthralling- all aspects of a literary young adult novel. I am not surprised at all of the awards that Aristotle & Dante took home from the ALA Awards as it deserved each and every one of them (Stonewall Book Award, Printz Honor, Pura Belpre Author Award). I know this seems mighty gushy, but I just really fell in love with this novel.
There was so many passages throughout that could be used for exemplar pieces of writing (specifically while reading I picked up on the literary devices, characterization, and voice) and can be used to practice reading strategies. The only thing I worry about is the teen appeal for this novel. I could see students thinking it was pretty slow because it is more character-driven than plot-driven. It is about Aristotle & Dante growing up and finding themselves (once again, reminds me a bit of a John Green Novel). Though I can see students who give it a chance being as touched by the book as I am.
Mentor text for: Characterization, Voice, Descriptive (p. 19 et al.), Compare/Contrast (p. 20), Dialogue, Literary Devices, Vocabulary, Literary writing, Metaphor (p. 261 et al.)
Topics: Poetry (Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams), Philosophers, Literature (Heart of Darkness, Grapes of Wrath, Sun Also Rises, War & Peace), Art History (Mexican Art, Edward Hopper), Comics (p. 19), Identity of 2nd Generation American Immigrants, Light Pollution, Mental Health, Teaching (pgs. 67, 165), Anger, Counseling, PTSD, Survivor's Guilt, Sexual Identity, Puberty, Family Secrets, Hate Crimes, Loyalty, Love (p. 247 et al.), Vietnam, Spontaneous Creative Writing (p. 21 et al.), Guilt/Shame, Family
Writing Prompt: Aristotle & Dante love to make up stories about the people on the bus (see p. 21); go and sit outside where you can people watch and spontaneously write short stories about a handful of them.
"The war changed him. I was born when he came home. Sometimes I think my father has all these scars. On his heart. In his head. All over. It's not such an easy thing to be a son of a man who's been to war. when I was eight, I overheard my mother talking to my Aunt Ophelia on the phone. "I don't think that the war will ever be over for him." Later I asked my Aunt Ophelia if that was true. "Yes," she said, "it's true" "But why won't the war leave my dad alone?" "Because your father has a conscience," she said. "What happened to him in the war?" "No one knows" "Why won't he tell?" "Because he can't."" (p. 14)
"I felt alone, but not in a bad way. I really liked being alone. Maybe I liked it too much. Maybe my father was like that too. I thought of Dante and wondered about him. And it seemed to me that Dante's face was a map of the world. A world without darkness. wow, a world without darkness. How beautiful was that?" (p. 56)(less)
*Each of us deals with our teen years differently, but I am sure that we all either know (or were) the teen that made some bad choices. This is a book about a teen much like these kids. It is narrated by his older brother and one of the story lines is about our protagonist, Tate, trying to find his own path, but the main story line in Under the Bridge is about his brother, Indy. As a teacher, this one tore at my heart strings because it is definitely a story of a good boy gone bad. Many times throughout the book, I saw how an adult could help this boy, but nothing ever changed. Because of this, too, I immediately think of many readers who would bond automatically with Indy because of this. Michael Harmon's characters are very realistic and I think connections would be made quickly and even if the reader did not see themselves in Indy, they may in Tate or they probably know someone like the two of them. As soon as I finished, I knew exactly what reader needed to read this book and I asked his mother if it was okay if he did- she graciously agreed, thanking me for finding a book that hopefully her son will connect to and learn from. It is books like this one that shows me how important it is to have some gritty novels out there. What I did learn from this book- "There are different ways to do the right thing." And I'll never forget it.
Read Together: Grades 10 to 12
Read Alone: Grades 9 and up
Read With: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Slam by Nick Hornby, Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli
Snatch of Text: "At three-thirty in the morning, I'd been reading for over 7 hours, rapt with attention as I scrolled through my brother's words and stories until I was brain-dead with fatigue. I hadn't even gotten to his novels. The last short story I'd read, his most recent, went deep, and I knew it was about him. He'd made it fictional, but I could see right through his words and straight to how he felt about the world and school and us and himself. It wasn't sad or depressing or funny or disturbing, but all of them put together. Forty-one pages of my brothers feelings about life." (p. 93)
"Night skating is one of the coolest things to do in the world. With everything still and quiet but for your wheels rolling on the pavement, it's like skating in a dream. The glow cast from streetlights and the emptiness of the city either freak you out or make you feel like the pavement and rails and sets were made just for you." (p. 191)
Mentor Text for: Voice, Characterization, Suspense
Writing Prompts: When was there a time that you made a wrong choice and someone else had to help you realize the mistake you made. What was the mistake and who helped you?; At what point do you think that Indy chose to go down the path he did? What do you think he could have done differently?
Topics Covered: Skateboarding, Death, Drugs, Suicide, Choices, Anger, Story Writing (Narrative), School Counselors, Values, Parents, Goals(less)
What I Think: This book was one of the quiet books with a strong, young female protagonist. The story is written beautifully and accompanied by lovely drawings. Tilly is trying to come to terms with all of the changes in her life and she ends up finding comfort in a garden that she goes to alone, becomes the most magical at night, and is only visited by a girl who disappears as soon they say goodbye. It is through this garden and Tilly's dreams that she begins to heal and feel more comfortable in her new home and with her new situation. While reading, I had no trouble finding read-aloud sections, teachable moments, and places that could be paired with other excellent books. Tilly's story will be a great resource in the classroom and will find a home in many a children's hands.
Read Together: Grades 3 to 6
Read Alone: Grades 4 to 7
Read With: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Hound Dog True by Linda Urban, Ida B by Katherine Hannigan
Snatch of Text: "Tap tap tap . . . Dad was busy in his study, typing at the laptop. Tilly listened. The taps made a sort of pattern, a rhythm, as if Dad was playing a tune instead of writing a story." (p. 25)
Mentor Text for: Point of view, Descriptive Writing/Imagery, Editing/Revising, Narrative, British Dialect, Mood
Writing Prompts: On pg. 1 & 11, the author chose to have the story told from the fox's point of view. Rewrite these scenes from Tilly's point of view imagining what you think she was doing.
Annie and Rew have only vague memories of their father who died triumphantly and don’t remember their mother at all who decided she didn’t want to be a mom. They now live with their grandmother who suffers with an agoraphobia-type disorder. Some days she rarely leaves her room leaving Annie to be in charge of the household, her brother, and any tough decisions including lying to her social worker. This has lead to Annie having to grow up faster than other 11-year-olds. Most of her days, she spends time with her brother near the zebra forest telling stories and reminiscing about their father and the adventures that he would have taken if he was still alive. Though, like in all of our lives, one moment can change everything and with a rattling, stuck backdoor Annie and Rew’s lives will never be the same.
Sometimes you come across quiet novels that aren’t being talked about in the mainstream that are very entertaining and well done. This is one of those books. It starts out quietly with amazing stories being told between Annie and Rew and great character development. Then the plot twist changes everything! And the suspense, emotion, and background story really starts to build.(less)
I want to be friends with Hattie. She has so many qualities of a strong woman that are admirable - spontaneity, passion, hard-headedness and, of course, brains. Luckily, by the end of this book, you feel like you are friends with Hattie. To be perfectly honest, I did not feel this strongly about Hattie after the first book. I liked her, but in this book you really get to know her even more. And although she is in a new city with a new supporting cast, her old friends are not forgotten and we get updates about them throughout the book. This makes it so that Hattie Ever After is definitely a sequel to the first Hattie book, but it can also stand alone which I love. What makes this book even better, is that it is written by an amazing author who makes a young girl's journey so vivid and enchanting that the reader feels that they are with Hattie. The most impressive aspect of Larson's writing is the voice which she gives Hattie specifically through the letters that she writes, the articles she creates, and the journal entries she keeps. These parts of the novel are also great mentor texts to use with students.
Read Together: Grades 5 to 9
Read Alone: Grades 6 and up
Read With: Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson, Our Only May Amelia and The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm, Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm, Around the World by Matt Phelan, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Snatch of text: "First impression might lead one to think that a newspaper morgue was as quiet as... well, as a morgue. Not that I know about that firsthand. But I did not think of "my" morgue as quiet. Even in the wee hours, a symphony of sounds reverberated throughout this place. First heard was the thwup as one weighty volume was slid from its shelf, followed by the satisfying thump as it was placed on the library table. Then the whisk-whisk refrain of pages being turned enhanced the concerto." (p. 91)
Mentor Text for: Imagery, Background Knowledge, Voice, Letter Writing, Article Writing, Predicting
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you trusted someone who betrayed you. Explain what trust means to you and how someone gains, loses, or re-establishes trust.
Although this book is not all completely appropriate for the classroom, such a wonderful portion of it is. David Lubar's humor radiates off of the pages and although much of it is very specific, you YA and Kid Lit lovers and teachers will love much of it. I also loved how he set much of it up. Most stories were set up with an introduction followed by a hilarious list. For example, he has a list of renamed books that have no chance of being banned, a list of "knockoffs", book and TV mix-ups, the next wave of edgy books, and more while in the kid lit section there are lists of Halloween books, horror cross-overs, and weird author pairings. In the other sections of the book, there are a smattering of other stories that can be used in a classroom as well like Poe humor, little-known literary facts, kids writing FAQ and high school humor. Many of these shorts will be great conversation starters and would be wonderful as read-alouds in the classroom. **Thank you to David Lubar for providing a copy of his ebook for review**
Read Together: Varies by story; primarily 6 and up
Read Alone: Varies by story; primarily 7 and up
Snatch of Text: "Think about it - a team named after a poem. But not just any poem. This poem was written by the man who invented the detective story, the man who gave us tales of such horror that they've become classics in the genre. The Ravens won their first game this season. They lost their second game. But I'm a loyal fan. I won't desert them. But I'm hoping that they won't stop with just the name change. There is so much more potential if they stick with the Poe theme. So, as the number one fan of the Ravens, I'd like to suggest that they adopt the following ideas: Forget about a digital time display on the scoreboard. Use a huge clock with a pendulum. For extra excitement, install a pendulum over each end zone. Every player should grow a black little mustache." (Kindle Location beginning 566)
"Don't you just hate having your day interrupted to deal with a book challenge? Whether it's in the form of a shouting parent, a sign-waving picket line, or a smoldering pile of burning books setting off the sprinklers in the YA section, there's nothing like a protest to put a crimp in a peaceful afternoon spent monitoring Internet surfing or helping ninety-six eighth graders find information about some obscure prehistoric trilobite that nobody except their teacher has ever heard of. It might seem as if every book is going to offend some group. But that's not the case. There are some books that nobody could possibly object to. They are ban proof. It is our pleasure to provide the following list. Where the Mild Things Are — To help his parents cope with the stresses of life, a teen crosses the country in search of the blandest food, tamest tourist spots, and least-threatening people. He stays in the right lane throughout the book. Boy Meets Buoy — kids go for a swim. There is no horseplay, body contact, or Speedos. All characters remain in safe, shallow water throughout the story." (Kindle Location beginning 1935)
Mentor Text for: Allusion, Puns, Word Play
Writing Prompts: After reading "Mean"- In your life, what are some things adults say that really means something else?; Research a banned or challenged book. Why was it banned? Write a letter to a challenger stating why you think the book should not be banned.
Topics Covered: YA Literature, Kit Lit, Banned Books, Editors, Careers, Idioms, Prequels and much more(less)
*Oh my goodness! So much is going on in this novel and all of it is good.
First, suspense. The book starts off right away with a murder. It is very Alex Rider-esque because it isn't until a bit later that you figure out how this murder fits into the story. However, by beginning that way, the author sucks you into the story and already gives you a reason to want to keep reading. Then as you read through the story and Archimedes gets himself farther and farther into the murder-mystery at the center of the story, the suspense builds and at a certain point I just could not stop reading.
Second, history. There is so much history in this book! First, it is taking place in 2nd century BC Egypt when the Ptolemy family is ruling thus a tumultuous time because Greeks and Egyptians are both trying to live peacefully together. The Romans are also becoming part of the mix. Our characters are from all three nations. Second, part of the story is about Alexander the Great and has us look back at his reign. Although the book begins with an historical background index and maps, I found myself on Wikipedia many times throughout the reading because I wanted to know more about the fascinating things that were being shared with me.
Third, science. Archimedes is known for being a leading scientist in classical antiquity and this book shares with us some of the principles, inventions and theories he had. I was worried at first that the science aspect was going to seem forced, but I found that it fit perfectly within the story and just added to it. Also, the author made sure that all of the items discussed are actually findings of Archimedes thus are historically accurate as well.
Fourth, mythology. I love mythology. And this book has the best of both worlds as it discusses Greek and Egyptian mythology.
And there are other reasons as well: action, mystery, and culture. See, as I promised- a lot of stuff going on and all good. This book is very much worth a read and will find some readers in fans of Rick Riordan.
Snatch of Text: "The solution became clear when Ptahhotep laughed at him and told him not to drop the crown in the water. "By completely immersing the wreath in this bowl of water, an amount of water equal to the total volume of the crown will be expelled. This large plate," he pointed to the alabaster plate underneath the bowl, "will collect the water that spills." ..."The water that spills onto the plate will be poured into this glass beaker, which will measure the volume of the water, and at the same time, the volume of the gold wreath." Archimedes' hand moved to the measuring scales. They were the same bronze scales the men were using to weigh gold when he and Berenike first entered the palace." (p. 89-90)(less)
I went back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, but I ultimately picked 4 because the topics and theme of the book resonated with me. First, why I finally picked a 4- A BOOK ABOUT BOOK CENSORSHIP!!!! (And it is on our side, not the other.) How awesome is that?!?! This book is a love letter to books. It shows how important books (and book choice) are to teens and all readers. Now, the reason why I almost gave a 3 is I do agree with a couple statements on here that the book seemed to be written for adults- it is definitely a book that some middle schoolers & teens will enjoy, but I see the primary audience as parents, librarians and teachers. Even the cover looks like an adult book to me. Also, I felt like the focus was often on the adults in the story- I wish I knew Neil better, but I really know the librarian and Danny's mother. I also felt bad for Danny after he gets sent to military school, but he seems to be quickly forgotten except a few mentions. I would have loved to see more of him. Now, I will book talk it and it may find an audience in my classroom because they are obsessed with graphic novels- if that happens, I will come and amend my post :) (less)
This is one that I will not forget. I think this novel will connect easily with a wide variety of people. First, May feels an anger that many pre-teens and teens probably feel and the way she describes it is the best I've ever read in a book. The feeling of being a tea pot that is boiling is a perfect analogy to rage that is hard to control and unwarranted. Something so small can make you feel so angry and then it gets out of control. In the novel, May works on controlling it and matures so much throughout the novel. It is such a powerful thing to read about.
May's family situation is also unique. Her mother left her and she lives with a father who works too much and often ignores her and with a grandmother who locks herself away ever since her mother left. Many readers will connect with the (lack of) family situation that May has. May also struggles with keeping friends (mostly because of her temper) and that is a tough thing for all preteens and teens. Specifically trying to be and keep a good friend.
It will also connect to all of my teacher friends because of the importance of May's English teacher in the novel. I love that not only does May evolve in the book, but that Miss Movado does too. She has realizations that many of us probably have had during our teaching and is striving to make a difference in a young student's life as we all aim to. You may not like her too much at first, but just as May realizes things about herself, Miss Movado does too. It is another powerful thing to read about.
AND it is a great resource for the language arts or English classroom just as a mentor text for talking about poetry or writing. The book touches on many English class topics such as: Imagery, Personification, "The Raven", "Harlem", Writing, and Poetry.
I will say, like Miss Movado preaches in the book, don't judge a book by its cover. The cover (and description) of this book do not do the book justice. First, May is a 13 year old girl, not 12 as the description says and not 9 like the cover portrays. Also, she doesn't go on a fire escape to dream and she doesn't have a cat. I think the cover is going to drive away readers who need this book. (less)
This is one of those books that makes me proud to be a teacher. Students like Travis is the reasons why I became a teacher and I hope that I am a teacher like Mr. McQueen who ultimately changes Travis's life. And not only is this book a love story to good teachers, it is a love story to books and the written word. But it is also about grief and family and fitting in. I think the quotes below will really show you the power of this book:
"McQueen stepped in front of the room. 'I'm supposed to teach you how to take the standardized reading tests so you won't be the child left behind. But because I'm subversive' -he turned and wrote the word on the board as he talked- '(look it up if you don't know what it means, and it will be on the vocabulary text next week), I am actually going to try to teach you a passion for the written word.'" (p. 9)
"Grandpa always said a good dog needs work, and the night Travis's mom went to the hospital and didn't come back, Rosco found his job. Travis's dad died in an accident three months later, and then Rosco forgot all about being anyone's dog. He became Travis's mom and dad and a couple of brothers thrown in. That's what Grandpa said." (p. 37)
"I couldn't eat because the book made me cry so hard, I couldn't even breathe. Connie said to keep reading and keep breaking, like that was easy. Tears and snot just about came out of my butt, I cried so hard. After I finished the book, Connie fixed up a spot in the study room with a pillow. I told her __ being dead is like a long-fingered claw that keeps scratching at my heart. She said she knows that claw. She said grief is a rough ride but the only way through it is through it. Then she told me to take a nap. Liesel the book thief was tough. I 'm not tough. I'm not anything." (p. 171)
"I've been thinking about the whole sitter-upper thing that McQueen talked about from The Book Thief. The madre is not a sitter-upper. She's a lier-downer. But Travis is a sitter-upper. If it wasn't for him, I would have turned into a lier-downer after __ died. Or for sure after Sylvia ___. I don't want to be a lier-downer. Even if I never get out of Russet for my whole life. I'll be a sitter-upper waitress if I have to." (p. 217) (less)
What a beautiful story showing the wonders behind books. Now adding this to my goodreads shelf, I learn there is a short film and app as well- WIN! De...moreWhat a beautiful story showing the wonders behind books. Now adding this to my goodreads shelf, I learn there is a short film and app as well- WIN! Definitely going to become part of my classroom. (less)
Summary: August, Auggie, has never been to school. It isn't because he never wanted to, it was because he never could. After being born with an almost unknown birth defect, he has had over 25 surgeries in his short 10 years of life. Now, after a time of surgery-free life, Auggie's parents have decided that it is time for Auggie to go to school. As a 5th grader. Which is the first year of middle school. As Auggie's dad says, it is like leading a lamb to slaughter and the ride that Auggie goes on is a roller coaster of emotions.
What I think: There are certain books that while you are reading, you wish that you could share it with every person, adult and child, that you know. This is one of those books. It is almost too hard to explain because of how wonderful it is. It is a book that will make you want to be kinder to every person that you meet. It is already a lesson that I try to teach my students and a book like this will assist me in showing them how words and actions can affect another person.
Although August is amazing and you cannot feel for and love his character, there are 2 other characters that made this book for me. First, Summer. She shows that there are 10 year olds that are still loving and thoughtful. The other is Mr. Browne. I love his precepts and how he teaches his class. What a way to make students reflect about their lives and to think deeply.
"I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an XBox. Stuff like that makes me ordinary. I guess. And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go... My name is August, by the way. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." (p. 1)(less)
I’ll be honest—I had a really hard time writing a review of this book. I just don’t know if I am going to be able to do it justice. It is one of those books that as you read, there are so many good things and so much you love, and you know that it is something so special. Even now, as I sit here, I don’t know what to say. I know that I wish that it was more appropriate for middle schoolers so I could share it with more students, I know that it is a book that everyone should read, and I know that it is a book that I am glad to be sharing.
The Fault in our Stars is not only an emotional and funny book, it is beautifully written. As I read, I knew I wanted to mark quotes for a review, but it was hard to find a page to not mark.
John Green has a way with words. If you have read anything by him, you know what I am talking about. I think what makes this book even more powerful is that it is a combination of John Green’s voice and a deep, amazing story. Put the two together, and you get a masterpiece.(less)
Historical fiction fascinates me. I specifically love how you can be dropped in a place and time during history and you can learn about it through a character's story. Often times it is a time and a place that is not often talked about and My Brother's Shadow is no exception. In this story, we get to see WWI from the point of view of the "enemy". It shows that you cannot generalize an entire nation of people no matter how horrible the decisions of the government.
I also learned so much about the socialism movement in Germany at the end of WWI that I did not know about. The risks that Moritz's mother takes to stand up for her beliefs is something that is almost so hard to grasp- reminds me of the civil rights movement here in America. I also didn't know that it was partially because of this movement that the hatred for Jews spread throughout Germany.
And then behind all of this history, there was a wonderful story of Moritz and his journey. His journey to support his family. His journey to find love. His journey to find a career. His journey to find himself. Through these journeys, some tough questions were asked- What will you do to survive? Where does your loyalties lie? (less)
I can't decide about this one. While reading I really liked it. It was funny. I liked Charlie's tips. I knew that my kids would connect with Charlie b...moreI can't decide about this one. While reading I really liked it. It was funny. I liked Charlie's tips. I knew that my kids would connect with Charlie because they are all either reluctant or struggling. I also liked that Charlie was surrounded by readers including a really amazing teacher. Throughout, I felt that the book was almost using reverse psychology to actually show why reading was so important including having Charlie's book completely contradict all of Charlie Joe's tips for not reading and based on Charlie's "moral" the book did; however, Charlie himself doesn't change! I think the book teaches the importance of reading, but I wish it had done it by having the protagonist as an example. (less)
Jack Gantos knows how to weave humor into a great story, even the weirdest situations, and Dead End is no exception. Meet Jack. He is 11 years old, has chronic nose bleeds and just got grounded for the summer. Thank goodness Miss Volker, his neighbor and native Norveltener, needs his help writing obituaries for the newspaper since her hands are too arthritic to write. This new pairing of odd friends causes for Jack to have a very unpredictable summer indeed!
One of the things I loved the most about this book were the characters. I don't know how based in fact they were, but they were what made this book great. Jack is a unique boy (though to me, he seems like a pretty typical gifted boy) who is aiming to please and is curious about everything. Mr. Spizz is a crazy old man who is the town gossip. Miss Volker is a feisty lady who just calls it like she sees it. And his parents are always feuding and putting Jack in the middle (causing many of the conflicts of the story). They were what moved the story along- you had to know how the lives of these characters would resolve.
I also love how the book is a mixture of humor, history and obituaries. It takes place in the 60s and the feel of the book brings you to this era. Also through Jack's constant reading of history, Gantos gives "mini-lessons" in Cleopatra & Antony, the Incas, the Aztecs, the atomic bomb and many other times in history. Lastly, I loved the obituaries that were included. They were written so well and would be a great activity to do in class.
Overall, this book was well-written, funny and had great characterization. A great read. (less)