This was a very tough book to read. I thought I’d be able to sit and read it all in one sitting, but I couldn’t. As a mother and a teacher, I love children, and it truly saddened me to see the situations that these children are in.
Fortunately, as an American, very few wars touch our lives. Unfortunately, our news doesn’t focus on many of the tumultuous conflicts that are active throughout the world, so we have become detached from reality. Our students are even more detached. That is why this book is important. It puts it all into perspective and really makes me feel and think. We rarely look at the humans that are being affected by the wars, we always focus on getting the bad guy. This book puts faces to the people, specifically the children, being affected every day. I found it very interesting how the author set up the book. You can tell she is a photojournalist because it is set up to give information in the most impactful way....more
What I think Ms. Rosengren does so well in this book is tell a real story with a piece of history as the backdrop. This is a Cold War/Cuban Missile Crisis story, but that isn’t what the book is all about. This book is about Joanna, her family, and her best friend. Her characters are very real and show the real emotions that must have been running through so many peoples’ veins during this tense time. Because of how well this book is crafted as a narrative within a historical time period, I believe it would be a great introduction to this time period for middle grade readers. Many will have never heard of the Cold War or Cuban Missile Crisis, so learning about it through Joanna’s story is perfect. ...more
An intriguing historical fiction novel which looks at World War II from a Japanese-American in the Philippines. This book taught me so much, but alsoAn intriguing historical fiction novel which looks at World War II from a Japanese-American in the Philippines. This book taught me so much, but also kept me reading because of the twists and turns. At the end, I do still have some questions I wish were answered in the book, but overall a satisfying ride....more
*Told in a very matter-of-fact tone and style, Hanna's story does not hold back from the horrors of the Holocaust and shows how one piece of good luck*Told in a very matter-of-fact tone and style, Hanna's story does not hold back from the horrors of the Holocaust and shows how one piece of good luck can change your life. (I am glad the name was changed for the US release. Much more about playing than boys.)...more
Overall enjoyed this memoir GN. The illustrations are striking and the story is important and worth sharing; however, I wish that the story had been fOverall enjoyed this memoir GN. The illustrations are striking and the story is important and worth sharing; however, I wish that the story had been fleshed out more, the conflict was a little more suspenseful, and the timeline hadn't jumped around so much....more
Whoa. Wiles's ability to mix nonfiction with a fascinating piece of historical fiction is just brilliant.
Revolution is a perfectly-crafted look at one of the toughest times in American history. What Wiles does is truly delve into the emotions felt during the Freedom Summer and some of the smaller actions that may not have made the history books. One of my favorite things about Wiles’s Sixties Trilogy books is that she includes historical resources throughout the book that truly puts the story in context. The primary sources/stories and other embedded pieces of history really show that the narrative she has created is not truly a work of fiction. It may include fictional characters, but the setting, the feelings, the conflict, the time period, the history–those are all fact.
Revolution couldn’t work without the Sunny and her cast of characters though. This book could have gone terribly wrong if the voice, thoughts, and feelings of our protagonist were not so believable since Wiles was having us learn about such a tumultuous time through the eyes of a child. However, no need to worry about that because Sunny is perfect. She is easy to connect to and seems true. My favorite characters are those around her that push her and help change her: Annabelle, Jo Ellen, and Ray. Annabelle is so patient, truly loves Sunny, and has some of the best lines in the book; Jo Ellen is so head-strong, forward-thinking, and intelligent; and Ray is just crazy but also overwhelmingly brave.
I am part of an informal Twitter book club, and our June read was Revolution. Deborah Wiles even stopped by to chat with us! If you are interested in reading it, I archived it here. Warning: There may be spoilers if you haven’t read the book. Some of my favorite quotes from the chat that truly show the impact of the book are:
“What a brilliant idea Deborah Wiles had with these books–to embed all of the history.” -Carrie Gelson
“Sunny’s story hit my heart.” -Michele Knott
“Countdown and Revolution are like…seeing beyond the headlines.” -Cheriee Weichel
“So hard to read how something you think people could do (register) but couldn’t because of effects (lose job, name in paper, etc.)” -Michele Knott
“It took Sunny witnessing the civil unrest to grow up and realize how to accept her own life.” -Kellee Moye
“There is so much about the Civil Rights Movement that seems like it should be easy, but ignorance stops it.” Kellee Moye
“Immerse as much as possible.” -Deborah Wiles, referencing part of her research process
Favorite quote from the book: “Everything is connected. Every choice matters.Every person is vital, valuable, and worthy of respect.” pg. 361...more
George O'Connor is a master at making mythology accessible and interesting. In this Ares focused retelling of the Trojan War, we see a more humanizedGeorge O'Connor is a master at making mythology accessible and interesting. In this Ares focused retelling of the Trojan War, we see a more humanized side of the blood-thirsty god of War. My students who are fans of the other books of the series, will definitely enjoy this one as well. (Also, if anyone questions if graphic novels are complex or not, they should read this one!)...more
In the world of anthropomorphic books, Trevor Pryce's and Joel Naftali's Army of Frogs is definitely holding its own. This action-packed adventure aboIn the world of anthropomorphic books, Trevor Pryce's and Joel Naftali's Army of Frogs is definitely holding its own. This action-packed adventure about Darel, a not-so-ordinary frog, and the war he finds himself in the middle of is going to be a huge hit for fans of Warriors, Seekers, Guardians of Ga'hoole, Wolves of the Beyond, Silverwing, and Redwall. What does make this series stand out even more, though, is the AMAZING illustrations! You should read it for the story, but you HAVE to read it for the illustrations. *3.5 stars*...more
My Review: Matt Tavares's four superbly crafted biographies take a look at the life of each man, but as more than a baseball player. We learn about their childhoods, where they came from, and their dreams and hopes. Each book includes aspects of the history surrounding them including the Depression, wars, and racism. Additionally, these books are crafted beautiful with lyrically written prose. These books are must reads for lovers of baseball, history, and biographies in general.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I was lucky enough to be asked to write a teachers’ guide for each of these books. For each book, I created discussion questions and activities (including cross-curricular activities). I plan on using this guide in my own classroom with the books in a lit circle type of setting. Each group will be given one of the biographies, will complete the discussion questions and activities, and then become experts on their player before presenting. These biographies are asking to be in classrooms, and I hope the guide helps show how they can fit into a language arts/reading class.
What a hero! It is always so amazing to learn about the surprising heroes during war and other tough times. Stubby is an amazing animal. He overcomes more than most humans will ever encounter. This story is inspiring and also informative about how animals can really change the game....more
I knew about the fighting in Beirut, but as it happened when I was very young and is not often discussed, I didn’t know much about it. This graphic novel memoir is an inside look at what it was like to live in Beirut during the fighting. The black and white illustrations are so unique and very much capture the tone of the book....more
I thought that this book was such a great way to talk about the start of our country. It has fun infographics and illustrations that hold the attention that goes along with chronological information....more
This is a special book. First, because of the characters who tell the story. K.C. is a young girl with learning disabilities which have caused her to hate reading, writing, and school. Nawra is a refugee in Darfur who continues to have an optimistic view of the world even after she has been surrounded by horrors that I can’t even imagine. Both of these girls are not represented very often in books, and they are both so important to know. Through this book, the reader gets to see the intensity of the situation in Sudan and refugees’ power in overcoming however they can. They also get to see the brilliance of students with learning disabilities. There are so many students in our school just like K.C., and too many of their peers would judge them by their struggles instead of by their heart and soul.
Second, this book is special because of the way the author is able to intertwine these two stories in a flawless way, and a way that keeps the reader engaged in both stories simultaneously. Third, the lyrical writing of Whitman makes this story not only interesting and important, but also beautiful to read. Last, the power of this book lies in the book, and how the book will change those who read it....more
World War II is the most infamous war and it is taught to all students at some point in their career. They learn about Pearl Harbor and the Atomic Bomb and the Holocause and Hitler, but way too often what happened here in the US is not discussed. All of the Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of the US (62% were US citizens) were interned because our fear overwhelmed us so much that it was the only solution that seemed plausible. I felt that the fear that was felt after the Pearl Harbor bombings is very similar to what was felt 12 years ago today.
Barbed Wire Baseball does discuss the internment camps, but I think that the theme of this book is not about the camps but about how a love of something can turn a poor situation into something else if you are determined.
The story is just one part of the book. What moves it to a higher level is the author and illustrator. Marissa Moss has someone captured the tone of the story. It begins with hopefulness then to hopelessness and finally back to joyousness. Her ability to manipulate the tone throughout makes the story touch the reader even more. Yuko Shimizu’s illustrations are done with a Japenese calligraphy brush and ink adding to the connection the reader will feel with the story. Just beautiful....more
I am fighting inside about how to rate this one. This book is loved by many, many people who I respect and this is one of the times where I felt a bitI am fighting inside about how to rate this one. This book is loved by many, many people who I respect and this is one of the times where I felt a bit of peer pressure to love a book. But I really struggled between a 3 and 5 star on this one.
Let's begin with the obvious: the writing is beautiful. It is obvious why this book won literary awards. I found myself stopping to take notes about mentor text snatches of text often. The twists and turns of the story definitely takes the reader on a ride and I can see why many people say they want to reread the book after they have the whole story.
However, MAN the book is dense. I fought all the way through. I never thought about giving up because I always wanted to know what was going to happen, but I found that I could only read for a short while. Many people said that at part 2 they really got into it and I agree that in part 2 many very interesting things are revealed, but I felt I was into it the whole time, it just took a while to read it no matter where I was in the book.
I don't know if I am explaining this well... It reminded me of reading many of the books I read during my literature degree. The brain power that is taken to digest, analyze, understand, and enjoy some literary books are at a different level than others.
Teaching thoughts: Allusions to- Shakespeare, mythology (minotaur), Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, A Little Princess, Wizard of Oz, Dickens Mentor text for: Point of view (57-58 et al.), Personification (108) Topics: Green man, Orwell, Green flash, Orwellian socialism, Fears, Kipling, World War II, French Resistance, Nazis, Interrogation, Planes, Weapons Snatch of text: p. 68...more