This is my favorite of the Wimpy Kid Series so far. In it, the self-absorbed Greg relays his adventures during what his mom terms "The Greatest SummerThis is my favorite of the Wimpy Kid Series so far. In it, the self-absorbed Greg relays his adventures during what his mom terms "The Greatest Summer Ever." Readers soon find out that the summer is nothing near great, but Jeff Kinney makes the mundane funny.
Reluctant readers will enjoy the non-traditional format and font. The simple drawings add a lot to the story....more
I am filing this book on my favorite young adult books shelf. This is one of those books that come around rarely and profoundly affect you as you readI am filing this book on my favorite young adult books shelf. This is one of those books that come around rarely and profoundly affect you as you read it. An Australian story that translates to any teenager, the book is a coming-of-age masterpiece told through the convergence of two generations. The story is realistic fiction filled with an abundance of tragedy, however, the book is beautifully written with a little magical realism thrown in throughout Taylor's dreams. The reader develops a deep love for these characters, internalizing Taylor's growing sense of self and clinging to her new hope and love. The book is full of tears and hard realizations (and a continuing frustration at how little the adults trust the teens with information), but simultaneously develops the type of friendship that is forever and a sense of extended family that all of the boarding school kids desperately need. This book is another example that the Printz Award Committee really knows outstanding books for teens! I am excited to read other books by this author....more
This book is about Haitian homeless children trying to survive in a street colony. When a church builds a place for them to stay, they think their lifThis book is about Haitian homeless children trying to survive in a street colony. When a church builds a place for them to stay, they think their life has changed, but the building is burned down. They rebuild and start a radio station run and narrated by children which is heard internationally. The back of the book includes an author's note about the real children, pictures of children that live in the home, information about Radyo Timoun (Children Radio), and a brief history and cultural context by a writer who was born in Haiti, Edwidge Danticat.
The illustrations are watercolors that show enough detail to get the reader to feel for the children without exemplifying the extreme poverty in which they live....more
This short book packs in a lot of discussions of disequilibrium as the daughter of immigrant parents' struggles to negotiate both her teenage AmericanThis short book packs in a lot of discussions of disequilibrium as the daughter of immigrant parents' struggles to negotiate both her teenage American identity and the traditional values of her Pakistani-Muslim family. The quick narrative just gives glimpses of the culture battles with a strong central theme of self-acceptance. None of this story is necessarily new and I wish the discussions about race and assimilation were more developed, but the main character's pessimism lends a genuine teenage voice. I like that the book fights the expectation of an American happy ending while still ending the story so that the character is happy.
I would love to read a sequel about the main character's first trip to Pakistan as she explores her parents' culture....more
A quick read that deals with grief and justice. I liked the plot line that centered around a community poker game even though I didn't really understaA quick read that deals with grief and justice. I liked the plot line that centered around a community poker game even though I didn't really understand the explanations of how the game was played. The sleazy Mr. Abbot reminded me of several people I have met in real life and I was rooting against him. ...more
Narrated by two of the side characters from book one and book two in the trilogy, Just Another Hero focuses on teens getting there life back together.Narrated by two of the side characters from book one and book two in the trilogy, Just Another Hero focuses on teens getting there life back together. Kofi has a full ride to MIT but becomes hooked on drugs and Arielle finds herself isolated by her controlling step-father as well as her own mean legacy from the first two books.
While the book is entertaining and is written in the ease of teen vernacular, the two main characters are the weakest so far. I don't believe them. Kofi's descent into drug dependancy (because he can't handle his flaky parents anymore) and his miraculous (and somewhat unbelievable) sobering seems forced. And Arielle's inner voice is nothing like her character from the last two books. Gone are the snide remarks, sexual innuendos, and self-absorption (which is supposed to be explained away when we learn about her home life) replaced with a generic girl who we are supposed to feel sorry for because she lost all her friends.
The ending of the book which centers around a school shooting seems tacked on since we are not able to get to know the shooter throughout the book or understand his obvious mental illness. While this definitely wrapped up the trilogy and I am glad all of the characters are heading off to outstanding colleges, it didn't have the heart of the second book, November Blues. ...more
I love books that can't be categorized easily. While this book has a young African American anti-hero and could be called urban lit, there is also magI love books that can't be categorized easily. While this book has a young African American anti-hero and could be called urban lit, there is also magical, dare I say fantastical, or even spiritual element to the character of the mysterious Kelly. It is a great mix that shows that Walter Dean Myers has not lost his touch for relevant writing or his ear for street slang.
A modern version of "It's a Wonderful Life" but with an edge, I could not put down this story about drugs and bad life decisions because of the underlying message of hope and redemption. A quick read, I highly recommend this book (although not for the prude-at heart, there is cursing, violence and drugs)....more
This is a good story, but I think it could have been better written and described. The message of overcoming adversity and participating in institutioThis is a good story, but I think it could have been better written and described. The message of overcoming adversity and participating in institutions that are closed off to you because of a disability--in this case, deaf people learning to be musicians--is inspiring. The story centers around Lee who is a jazz piano player who steadily goes deaf and can't keep up with the other musicians. He thinks that music is over for him, but he learns sign language and with some of his deaf friends begins to make music through sign language. At least I think the band operates through sign language, that is never made clear.
The illustrations are bright and simple paints....more
This is a really touching story about a young African American boy who becomes friends with an elderly Jewish woman who has lost her husband. The boyThis is a really touching story about a young African American boy who becomes friends with an elderly Jewish woman who has lost her husband. The boy brings her a kitten for company and she becomes the catalyst for the story. But, the beauty is the unlikely allies of Larnel and Mrs. Katz.
The book also addresses how both Jewish people and African American were discriminated against in American history as well as how both populations were enslaved at one time.
The book is sprinkled with Yiddish words and Larnel learns about Passover from Mrs. Katz....more
I thought this was a cute and simple story in the tradition of transitional level books—just enough plot to keep the book interesting, spunky characteI thought this was a cute and simple story in the tradition of transitional level books—just enough plot to keep the book interesting, spunky characters, and a variety of everyday events. I liked Ruby’s character because she stood up for what was right and had enough self-confidence to make sure she was noticed for herself, not just as the little sister of the Booker brothers.
I also really liked the positive portrayal of a tight-knit African American family where both parents have an active role in raising the kids, the siblings support each other (for the most part), and all of the characters work hard to do well in school and excel at extra-curricular activities beyond just sports. These characters and this story fight long-held national stereotypes about the African American family unit. The fact that there was also a strong teacher of color who was well liked by the students also makes me happy. I look forward to reading other installments of the booker’s antics.
I think this book would best be utilized in small group instruction or as an independent read. ...more
This book seamlessly transitions to nine different basketball games happening between children in different countries to make it seem like one game is This book seamlessly transitions to nine different basketball games happening between children in different countries to make it seem like one game is being played around the world. The readers see basketball played in New York City, Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, France, Serbia, Turkey, Nigeria, and China.
The illustrations are in a loose graphic novel style using bold colors in acrylic on canvas. This book would be an excellent introduction to graphic novels and a strong independent read for a transitional reader who still needs heavy picture support.
The authors and illustrators also provide a map of the world with the settings of the story identified, a glossary of the foreign words that are used, and directions on how to play the basketball game "Around the World."
The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because it uses a lot of specific vocabulary that would only be understood if the reader already knows or plays basketball. The terminology could be front-loaded or the reader could use the picture support to guess what is being described, but only a basketball player would understand all of the text.