This is a quick read about an important topic of being your own person. Individuality. The main character, a teenage girl, comes to a new school and d...moreThis is a quick read about an important topic of being your own person. Individuality. The main character, a teenage girl, comes to a new school and does the impossible--ACTS LIKE HERSELF! Of course, this astonishes her fellow classmates. Who actually acts like themselves in school? Isn't the whole point to be someone your not to protect yourself from having people get to know the real you, which you fear no one will like? After all, isn't it easier to be rejected for who your not rather than for who you are? Perhaps I shouldn't bring sarcasm into the picture. My point is that being yourself is an impossible task for many students, especially those coming into a new school in which they don't have any friends. This story portrays that challenge and also illustrates how choices related to it can affect student's lives. At any rate, I would recommend this story especially for teenage girls. Teachers: see Jerry Spinelli's website to create a Stargirl Society (encouraging kids to be themselves).
I read this book at the beginning of the school year and wanted to reread it because I am planning on reading the other two stories. I was quickly rem...moreI read this book at the beginning of the school year and wanted to reread it because I am planning on reading the other two stories. I was quickly reminded of just how simple and yet brilliant this story was - Jeff Kinney recently appeared in Time Magazine's issue of the top 100 most influential people IN THE WORLD (!!!) and as you read through Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you'll quickly understand why. He's created a character (Greg Heffley) that just about every middle school kid will be able to relate to. Greg deals with overbearing parents, overwhelming teachers, underappreciative classmates, unwelcoming bullies and unpredictable daily experiences.
I know from firsthand experience that this book has generated more laughs among middle school boys and girls than I've seen from any other book or author. The accompanying illustrations are hysterical and Greg's experiences are easy to laugh at and appreciate. If you're looking to get reluctant readers to read something or enthusiastic readers to read more, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a must-read. Lower-level reading that causes higher-level interest in reading books.(less)
"People are always telling kids to be themselves, but either they didn't mean it or they didn't tell you how to go about doing it when everyone was tr...more"People are always telling kids to be themselves, but either they didn't mean it or they didn't tell you how to go about doing it when everyone was trying to push and pull you into line."
8th grader San Lee is once again the new kid in town. He's moved from school to school so many times he doesn't even know who he is anymore. There are so many cliques and labels to choose from at school, he loses track. It doesn't take him long to fall in love with a gorgeous, guitar-playing classmate. What will San do to win the girl's affection and to establish himself as one of the school's most mysterious and, therefore, most popular kids in the school? Well, for starters, he pretends to be a Zen master who thrives on Indian-style meditation, a multiple of bizarre Zen techniques and spiritual ramblings. With his Zen master image, he quickly wins first the curiosity and then the love of the girl of his dreams and the admiration/jealousy of his classmates. But how long can he keep his Zen lies going before the non-Zen truth is revealed? And just how much will his lies cost him? In the end, here is one question readers might ask: "Is it easier to act like someone we're not or to just to be who we really are?" As many students know, the answer isn't as obvious as it may seem.
Personally, I thought "Zen and the Art of Faking It" was a good story but "Drums Girls and Dangerous Pie" was a GREAT STORY! In fact, it is exactly because Drums Girls and Dangerous Pie was SO good that I wasn't as impressed as I read through Zen and the Art of Faking It. Still, author Jordan Sonnenblick is a promising writer for today's student readers: quick-witted, fast-paced and full of laughs. While he can come across as a bit corny at times, he does seem to understand many of the challenges middle school students face in their daily lives. He is also able to take many of those not-so-fun problems (dealing with school work, teachers, parents, divorce, crushes, etc.) and turn them into fun-to-read stories.(less)
“Wait.” Hassan looked down at the paper again, and then back at Colin. “Universally? You’re claiming this...more“Love is graphable!” Colin said defensively.
“Wait.” Hassan looked down at the paper again, and then back at Colin. “Universally? You’re claiming this will work for anyone?”
“Right. Because relationships are so predictable, right? Well, I’m finding a way to predict them. Take any two people, and even if they’ve never met each other, the formula will show who’s going to break up with whom if they ever date, and approximately how long the relationship will last.”
If you enjoyed the above excerpt of John Green’s trademark thinking-outside-of-the-box wit, then you’ll probably enjoy reading his second novel, An Abundance of Katherines. I sure did.
Colin never had any academic problems at school – he was a child prodigy with a brilliant IQ and a promising future (at least, from an intelligence stand-point). However, he has had a major deficiency with girls at school. In particular, girls named Katherine. In fact, he had dated 19 girls named Katherine – and every last one of them dumped him! Although Colin’s ex-girlfriends-named-Katherine have often dumped him with mean words (“You don’t need a girlfriend, Colin. You need a robot who says nothing but ‘I love you.’”) and in vicious ways (his 3rd grade girlfriend dumped him because “boys are gross”), Colin is still convinced that there’s a mathematical solution that will solve his dating woes. As he deals with his latest heartbreak (inflicted by the high and almighty Katherine XIX) he continues working on perfecting his “love graph” in hopes of one day finding himself in a normal, long-lasting relationship.
Meanwhile, Colin’s best friend Hassan is determined to get Colin out of his slump. Together, they take a road trip that neither of them will ever forget. Along the way, the two of them find love in unusual places, come to see their lives from a much different perspective (Nowheresville, Tennessee style!), and go on a hunting trip in which they find themselves becoming the hunted! Throughout the story, school-goers will easily relate to the sometimes happy-go-lucky, often confused-as-can-be, and always unpredictable-to-a-fault lives of these teenagers.
Colin himself asks a valid question: “What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable? How very odd, to believe God gave you life, and yet not think that life asks more of you than watching TV.” With that in mind, be sure to read An Abundance of Katherines soon because – like his first book, Looking for Alaska – plans are already in the works to make a movie out of this story. I enjoyed his first two books so much that I can’t wait to read his third and most recent novel, Paper Towns. (less)
"Cap is like a space traveler who just landed on Earth and left his guidebook on the home world! Is it...moreA 2009-2010 Sunshine State Book for Grades 6-8.
"Cap is like a space traveler who just landed on Earth and left his guidebook on the home world! Is it possible that he believes bullfighting is a sport we play in middle school?"
Cap Anderson was raised and home-schooled by his grandmother on a farm faraway from any of modern-day society's common pleasures (televisions, shopping malls, movie theatres, etc.). When his grandmother winds up in the hospital, unable to care for him, Cap winds up moving into a new town. He's forced to attend 8th grade public school at "C Average Middle." As soon as the new kid arrives on campus, the popular guys on campus were quick to target Cap for pranks and mistreatment.
"Popularity has nothing to do with the truth." The quest for popularity is a strange one. Sometimes it seems the kids that try the hardest to become popular dig themselves into a social hole, while the kids that care the least about popularity often find it landing right in their lap. What will happen in Cap's case? Will his sheltered upbringing wind up being his downfall, or will his lack of experience serve him well? One thing is for sure: readers will have fun finding out!
This fast-paced story is told through the eyes of many characters, each of whom come to think of Cap as being so different than anyone they've ever met, and yet, so the same. If you read and liked Jerry Spinelli's "Stargirl," then you will also enjoy reading "Schooled."
“After Oscar died, I was so depressed that I thought about crawling into a hole and disappearing forever. But Rowdy talked me out of it. ‘It’s not lik...more“After Oscar died, I was so depressed that I thought about crawling into a hole and disappearing forever. But Rowdy talked me out of it. ‘It’s not like anybody’s going to notice if you go away,’ he said. ‘So you might as well gut it out.’ Isn’t that tough love?”
In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, you will find full-time absolute truths about human nature. If you read it carefully and with an open mind, you may be struck by just how silly us humans are – for instance, why we universally struggle to simply be ourselves and why it’s so hard to accept others exactly as they are. One must wonder: why can’t more people embrace that while we’re all so different on the outside, we are so very much the same on the inside? Oh, but that’s not even scratching the surface of humanity’s troubles, is it? Just figure how much we stand to learn from the diary of Junior – whose family features an alcoholic father who would rather buy whiskey than a Christmas present, a mother who reads constantly but can’t escape ignorance, a detached sister who lives in the basement, a beastly best friend who defends him one minute and punches him the next. As if his unstable family isn’t enough to keep him busy, he has to deal with living on an Indian reservation (“the rez”) filled with people (including his teachers) who wish he had never been born to begin with (in fact, he almost wasn’t, but that’s another part of the story). Junior then faces a whole new set of challenges when he leaves the reservation to attend an all-white school. Brace yourself for ignorance and racism at its worst! And so it somehow continues to go with the world around us...
Just be yourself. Three simple words when, used together, become a most complex task – especially in the daunting years of a teenager - but keep in mind that adulthood offers no guaranteed exemptions, either. If you’re having a hard time accepting yourself or others around you - or if you are just looking for one good laugh (or cry) after another – then pick up this book and be ready to learn some lessons about how to tackle real-life problems like a part-time Indian. If the words aren’t entertaining enough for you, then you’ll love the accompanying cartoon illustrations.
After finishing the first book, I couldn't wait to dive into the next one. It didn't take long for Greg Heffley's life of toilet-papering bullies, rep...moreAfter finishing the first book, I couldn't wait to dive into the next one. It didn't take long for Greg Heffley's life of toilet-papering bullies, reputation-killing rumors, exhilirating video games, annoying book reports and unbearable big brothers to pick up where it left off. Rodrick Rules was as entertaining as the first book and left the reader craving more.
I'm convinced that these Wimpy Kid books are as addictive as Twilight and can reach a wider range of readers. Advice to reading teachers: if all else fails, reach for the Wimpy Kid! Then again, even if everything is working, reach for the Wimpy Kid. Your students will LOVE IT! I can't wait to read The Last Straw! (less)
Greg's back with another round of laughs for Wimpy Kid readers. Have fun as Greg's diary-formatted, illustrated workshop on how to deal with middle sc...moreGreg's back with another round of laughs for Wimpy Kid readers. Have fun as Greg's diary-formatted, illustrated workshop on how to deal with middle school life continues. Struggling with that 4-page paper that's due tomorrow and you haven't started? Don't worry, Greg's got your back! Having trouble tolerating intolerant siblings? Just follow Greg's lead! Brainstorming ways to win over the love of your life on Valentine's Day? Well, at least Greg will show you what NOT to do!
Kudos to Jeff Kinney for writing what is surely one of the most entertaining series of books available at the middle school level. Will The Last Straw be his last? Let's hope not. We've laughed too much to stop now!(less)