Jason is a bright 12 year old. He's a budding writer. And he is autistic.
An honest look inside the mind of an**spoiler alert** donated from book fair
Jason is a bright 12 year old. He's a budding writer. And he is autistic.
An honest look inside the mind of an autistic child and the loving family struggling to connect with him, readers will be reeled into the story line quickly. Jason strikes up an unlikely friendship with a fellow writer online. He's learning how to navigate the uncertain path of friendship (is it more?) with his girl friend (is she a girlfriend)? But when their paths might cross at a yearly writing conference, all bets are off. What will happen if they DO meet? Will "PhoenixBird" be disappointed in him?
This timely book (the rise in autism nationwide is being echoed in our school) is a welcome addition for the voice of many who seemingly have no one to speak for them. I particularly enjoyed the honest look at how autism directly affects the family. I especially liked the ending and how Jason seemed to finally accept himself for who he is.
An impressive collection of solid writers penning tales about the most awkward year in anyone's life...some told better than others. Readers will recoAn impressive collection of solid writers penning tales about the most awkward year in anyone's life...some told better than others. Readers will recognize themselves on at least one of the stories no matter how old they are. Brief biographical information follows each story showing proof to an insecure young audience that, see, I survived that year---and you will, too....more
**spoiler alert** I was doubtful when I picked up Kathi Appelt's book, despite so many trusted readerly friends urging me to do so. Her Underneath was**spoiler alert** I was doubtful when I picked up Kathi Appelt's book, despite so many trusted readerly friends urging me to do so. Her Underneath was one of the few books I abandoned in recent years, and I couldn't sell it to any of my student readers (though one marked it as her cornerstone book of the year). But with so much attention being given to Keeper, my summer reading wouldn't be complete if I didn't turn the pages on this one. Sadly, as I began reading, I found myself thinking it would rate just as Underneath did: in the "abandoned books" shelf. Oh, how wrong I was.
There is so much right with Appelt's book. Her story builds slowly, adding important tidbits of information to the reader bit by bit. The clever way she zig zags back and forth from the present to the past builds real muscles for younger readers, and creates a sense of interest and drama that wouldn't be present otherwise. The intense love that Signe felt about Keeper and Dogie made me fall in love with all three of the characters. Even BD the dog and Captain the seagull had distinct personalities fleshed out as the book ran along! I loved the wonderful mix of genres, and how not until the end of the book does the (younger) reader realize the magical elements were merely a figment of a ten year old's overactive imagination. But isn't that what life should be about? We should hold onto the magical elements no matter how old we are, like Mr. Beauchamp and his dutiful one-eyed cat(s). Appelt's Keeper is proof that family, no matter how it is formed, is a keeper.
Sadly, I do have one concern about this magnificent book. Although I have placed Keeper on top of my middle grade son's stack of books to be read, I do have a sense of worry when I think about adding it to my own fifth grader's bookshelves. Initially, I listed Keeper as a possible read aloud. I know now, after having read it, that I would not. But would I put it on the shelf of my classroom? My heart says, "YES!" My fear holds me back. It saddens me that I have even an ounce of fear about parent complaints where Mr. Beauchamp and Jack's relationship are concerned. According to respected reviewers, the recommended age ranges from 8-12. But still, I worry. To me, love is love. To the world it can be an area of great discord.
Gems: -Sometimes knowing how long you had to wait for something made the waiting easier. (p. 82) -The entire four page explanation of how Dogie knew he loved Signe. -"an invisible spider of worry crawled up her spine." (p. 184) -He frowned, then found a dishcloth and covered it. It reminded him of the way people cover a person's face after they've died. Sadness inched its way up his fingers. (p. 311) ...more
This beautifully written story about the political and social injustices of Burma is a hard-to-put-down page turner. Written in two parts from two difThis beautifully written story about the political and social injustices of Burma is a hard-to-put-down page turner. Written in two parts from two different viewpoints with an epilogue and additional information about the history behind the country afterwards, Bamboo People will surely enlighten the reader about social injustice. I particularly liked the "what would you do" part Mitali Perkins put to her young readers at the end. ...more
Caitlin is suffering. Her brother has just been tragically stolen from her. With Devon gone, Caitlin must figure out what life will look like with jusCaitlin is suffering. Her brother has just been tragically stolen from her. With Devon gone, Caitlin must figure out what life will look like with just her grieving father to care for her. This would be challenging for any eleven year old child. But Caitlin isn't JUST a eleven year old girl. She's a gifted artist with Asperger's in search of closure. What she doesn't know is that the people who can help heal her wounds are those she would least expect.
With the proliferation of students on the spectrum appearing in our classrooms, Erskine's Mockingbird is a much needed peek into the mind of those we seek to most understand.
"Life is special. You mean...it's not just me who's special? It's all of life? Yes. I guess the good news is that everybody has to put up with being special because everybody is alive." (p. 204)...more
Sweetheart has Texas written all over it: County fairs, quincaneras, crawfish boils, cowboys, FFAs, and hardware stores. This light read is perfect faSweetheart has Texas written all over it: County fairs, quincaneras, crawfish boils, cowboys, FFAs, and hardware stores. This light read is perfect fare for my girls, who are sure to gobble up both the story and its wholesome message. ...more
Sophie is eagerly anticipating her tenth birthday, keeping her fingers crossed for a baby gorilla. But the stars aren't aligned and it seems her largeSophie is eagerly anticipating her tenth birthday, keeping her fingers crossed for a baby gorilla. But the stars aren't aligned and it seems her large family is too busy to notice what she REALLY is hoping for. Soon-to-be-driving brother Thad celebrates his sixteenth birthday days from Sophie's, and she fears his dreams of a car will overshadow her own birthday hopes. Nora, her fourteen year old sister, has moved out of her room and is preoccupied with friends and boys. And Sophie's younger brother and sister keep her stressed parents running when they aren't worrying about finances. So will her double-digit birthday shake out to be the way she envisions it?
Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley is a great read for the girls in my fifth grade class. I can see many of them identifying with Sophie and her friends in many ways. Trying to fit in, making the change from elementary thinking to middle school thinking, and being comfortable in your own skin will certainly speak to my tweens. Although I found Sophie's desire for a gorilla to be far-fetched, my girls won't bat an eye. The book's conclusion was clever and not the typical "happy ending." ...more