A phenomenal book about overcoming adversity, self-preservation, and the healing power of love set in England in World War II. The audio version, narrA phenomenal book about overcoming adversity, self-preservation, and the healing power of love set in England in World War II. The audio version, narrated by Jayne Entwistle, was incredibly poignant--giving Ada an honest, strong, and powerful voice....more
Salamanca Tree Hiddle (otherwise known as Sal) recalls her cross-country road trip to Idaho with her grandparents to see her mother. During the trip,Salamanca Tree Hiddle (otherwise known as Sal) recalls her cross-country road trip to Idaho with her grandparents to see her mother. During the trip, Sal recounts the story of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom. Sal moved to Euclid, Ohio, after her mother left the family to travel to Idaho, and met Phoebe. The girls quickly became friends despite Phoebe’s constant worries about messages that are left at her door and a “lunatic” lurking around their house. Phoebe’s suspicions intensified after her mother suddenly disappears. Eventually, Phoebe learned the secret behind her mother’s disappearance. Sal’s story is “hidden behind” Phoebe’s and during the course of her journey to Idaho, Sal comes to term with the loss of her own mother.
This bittersweet book makes readers think deeply about life. Young adults will be able to relate with Sal as she comes to terms with her relationship with her father, her friendship with Phoebe, and her feelings for Ben. Readers will also consider their own relationships—friends and family—as they read about the parallel lives of Sal and Phoebe. Finally, the death of a parent is an issue that concerns many readers—young and old. Walk Two Moons is a touching portrayal of a young girl’s attempt to deal with loss and find solace....more
Jonas lives in a perfect society where everyone is educated, employed, fed, sheltered, and clothed. There is no dissent or disagreement. When the commJonas lives in a perfect society where everyone is educated, employed, fed, sheltered, and clothed. There is no dissent or disagreement. When the community’s children turn twelve, they are presented with their “Assignment,” which will determine their future. Jonas’ apprehension builds as he is named the Receiver of Memory, the most important job in the community. In this role, he will be the recipient of the community’s collective memories. The Giver transmits these memories and experiences to the Receiver. Jonas is able to see the truth behind the community’s stability.
There are several themes explored in this book. One of the main themes is growing up. Lowry discusses the importance of the ceremonies marking each year of the children’s lives. The children gain more responsibility until they turn twelve, when they receive the assignment that determines their future. Another main theme of the book is conformity and all that entails. Lowry explores what is gained and lost when people decide to put society before self. Other themes explored include family, attraction, and friendship.
Readers are forced to consider how they would react if they, like Jonas, were given access to hidden truths and experiences that change they way that they view life. In addition, many young readers (especially middle school students) struggle with the same emotions and feelings encountered by Jonas—apprehension, anxiety, excitement, sexual attraction, and loyalty. As a result, they are able to make personal connections to the book....more
The year is 1975 and ten-year old Ha lives in Saigon, which is on the brink of collapse after the Americans have pulled out of the Vietnam War. Her faThe year is 1975 and ten-year old Ha lives in Saigon, which is on the brink of collapse after the Americans have pulled out of the Vietnam War. Her father is missing in action, and her family struggles to get by. The family manages to escape as Saigon falls, and begins a long, arduous trip to the United States.
Like Ha, Thanhha Lai's family fled Saigon and was sponsored by a family in Alabama. This semi-autobiographical story is told in free verse and the sparse words and structure combine for a powerful tale. Like many immigrants from war-torn countries, Ha is forced to leave behind the familiar. However, we see the strength in the family and Ha blossoms like her beloved papaya tree. ...more
The endearing story of the Watsons—an African American family living in Flint Hill, Michigan, in 1963. The episodic format of this book is narrated byThe endearing story of the Watsons—an African American family living in Flint Hill, Michigan, in 1963. The episodic format of this book is narrated by Kenny, the middle child, who introduces his family in a variety of vignettes from his brother’s intimate experience with a side-view mirror to meeting his best friend Rufus to his father’s purchase of an Ultra-glide, a record player for the car. After Byron disobeys his parents one too many times, the family embarks on a road trip to visit their grandmother in Birmingham, Alabama. This trip forever changes the family’s life after four young girls are killed in a church bombing.
Author Christopher Paul Curtis depicts the Watson’s family life with wit, humor, and honesty. Curtis delves into the complexities of relationships between siblings. This can be seen, especially, in Kenny’s relationship with Byron who is sometimes cruel and teasing to incredibly sensitive. He illustrates the difficulties in growing up through Kenny and Bryon’s triumphs and tribulations. Discrimination and prejudice are also explored through the Watson’s travels from Michigan to Alabama and the church bombing in Birmingham. Curtis adeptly deals with this subject in the book, and provides a powerful epilogue about discrimination in the United States and the Civil Rights movement. He compels readers to consider the unfair treatment of others and take action against any type of discrimination. ...more
The story of a poor sharecropper’s family. Sounder is the family’s trusted coon dog whose bark “filled up the night and made music as though the brancThe story of a poor sharecropper’s family. Sounder is the family’s trusted coon dog whose bark “filled up the night and made music as though the branches of all the trees were being pulled across silver strings.” In order to feed his family, the sharecropper steals some food. As a result, he is captured. As the sheriff’s posse takes the father to jail, ever faithful Sounder tries to help his master, and is shot as a result. The boy—the sharecropper’s eldest son—struggles to help his father, heal Sounder, and assume more responsibility in his father’s absence.
The book is heartbreaking from the harsh poverty of the sharecropper’s family to the extreme loyalty of Sounder to the father’s criminal sentence to the injury that befalls the father as he works on the chain gang. This is juxtaposed with the bittersweet—the boy growing up and fulfilling his dream to learn to read and become educated. The book forces the reader to consider all of the themes the book explores—loyalty, family, poverty, and discrimination....more