This tale of love, hope, and forgiveness begins with the birth of a mouse, who is different from all other mice. The unusualNEWBERY WINNER 2004 FICTION
This tale of love, hope, and forgiveness begins with the birth of a mouse, who is different from all other mice. The unusually tiny hero can think past hiding from humans and his next meal to the extraordinary feats of reading, listening to music, and loving the princess. Sitting at the foot of the lovely young Princess Pea is the ultimate no-no that sentences Despereaux Tilling to the rat-infested dungeons. The story also follows Roscuro, a hate-filled rat who dreams of living in light. We meet Miggery Sow, a slow-witted girl frequently hit on the ear who longs to be princess. Before long, the characters' lives meet, but not everyone can live the life they dream of.
I was immediately drawn into this story. Despereaux is such a lovely character that I wanted his dreams to come true. He had a simple love of stories and music that I can relate to and I wanted his family to wake up and feel it, too! I momentarily felt sorry for Roscuro and Miggory, but they soon lost my love. I particularly loved the way each of the separate stories met, showing how seemingly unrelated lives work together. I also enjoy how the author addresses the reader, even instructing them at times. I wonder how many readers looked up perfidy like she requested....more
Some kids are just more cool than you can easily described. A kid transforms into an urban legend. That's the case with Jeffrey MagNEWBERY WINNER 1991
Some kids are just more cool than you can easily described. A kid transforms into an urban legend. That's the case with Jeffrey Magee. Sure, his life is tough. He's an orphan who ran away from his guardians after years of being ignored. He's homeless. He has a knack for getting into fights. But he's also able to make friends with just about anyone, he's the fastest runner most people have ever seen, and he doesn't seem to have a fear in the world.
This is a fun book. I like the tone of the book- the way I'm just one more person in on the story. Maniac seems like a cool kid to know, too. I liked how easily Maniac could slip into the families, regardless of his race (in a town where that's a big deal).
Favorite part: Describing Grayson learning to read. ...more
Its a cute story. I was trying to figure out how it fit into the movie sequencing, but gave up after I quickly realized that it doesn't fit with the PIts a cute story. I was trying to figure out how it fit into the movie sequencing, but gave up after I quickly realized that it doesn't fit with the Princess Diary movies at all. I like it. Its fun, a little obsessive, and quirky!...more
An infant barely escapes a horrible murder that has consumed the rest of his family. He wonders up the hil**spoiler alert** NEWBERY WINNER 2009 FANTASY
An infant barely escapes a horrible murder that has consumed the rest of his family. He wonders up the hill to a graveyard, where the ghosts who call it home help save the boy from "the man Jack" and agree to adopt the boy. Not knowing the child's name, the ghosts decide to call him Nobody, Bod for short, because he looks like nobody but himself. Though they have been long dead, Mr. and Mistress Owens take the role of Bod's parents while Silas, the only one among the inhabitants able to leave the graveyard, becomes Bod's guardian. Growing up in a graveyard has its challenges, like making friends, as well as adventures such as falling through a ghoul gate. As Bod grows up, he learns that the man Jack is still searching for a way to finish the murder spree that he started.
For most of this book, I was hooked. I liked Bod and found him easy to bond with. I also loved the variety of characters he lived with and loved the twists placed in the story. I probably would have rated the story higher until the end of the book. I don't mind having an open ending most of the time, but this story gave little warning that the end was near. Sure, the boy was aging, but its like suddenly he's kicked out of the only home that he's known. I didn't pick up on any subtle hints that the end of his graveyard life was ending, except the lack of pages left to be turned. I also found myself disappointed that he completely lost the ability to see any of his family. I appreciate the fact that he needed to grow up and enter the real world, but I wish some of his familiar life could have followed him in the shadows.
Neat quotes: “Of all the organs,” said Nehemiah Trot, “the tongue is the most remarkable. For we use it both to taste our sweet wine and bitter poison, thus also do we utter words both sweet and sour with the same tongue…”
[Talking to Silas about people who commit suicide] “Does it work? Are they happier dead” [Silas] “Sometimes. Mostly, no. It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.”...more
Joyful Noise is a collection of poetry about insects that was designed for two people to read out loud. The poems feature a vNEWBERY WINNER 1989 POETRY
Joyful Noise is a collection of poetry about insects that was designed for two people to read out loud. The poems feature a variety of bugs such as book lice, crickets, and honey bees. The illustrations enhance the poems.
This is a fun set of poems. Though I'm not usually attracted to insects, I find myself enjoying the poems. The thoughtfulness of The Digger Wasp touched me and I find myself chuckling at the mischievous water striders.
This book is currently a book study in my 8th grade class. It is an approachable way to include poetry to a group of kids that tends to be nervous with the genre. We are using it as a way to look at developing character, setting, and other aspects of writing in fun, easy ways. ...more
Gilly Hopkins is stuck in the foster system. She bounces around from house to house, building her defenses every time she moves1979 NEWBERY HONOR BOOK
Gilly Hopkins is stuck in the foster system. She bounces around from house to house, building her defenses every time she moves. She doesn't want to meet another family that can disappoint her; she wants her mother- the one who sends letters saying how much she loves and misses Gilly. But moving in with Mrs. Trotter and William Ernest teachers her more than she expects.
While the book left me feeling sad and frustrated with the lives of foster children, I enjoyed it. Gilly's guard is transparent to readers, even though she feels like she is the baddest kid on the block. I love Paterson's use of similes in this book.
NEAT QUOTE “She smiled all across her face at Gilly, like the ‘After’ in a magazine diet ad--a ‘Before’ body with an ‘After’ smile.”...more
Jonas lives in an ideal world. Everyone is well behaved. Families are perfectly matched. There is**spoiler alert** NEWBERY WINNER 1994 BANNED/CENSORED
Jonas lives in an ideal world. Everyone is well behaved. Families are perfectly matched. There is no pain. Everyone is equal. When he turns 12, however, Jonas receives his work assignment as the Receiver of Memory. This new job changes the world as Jonas knows it. He quickly learns that the world he knew as ideal was anything but. Jonas learns that his once comforting idea of being "released" is merely a lethal injection. There is a world full of color that he didn't even realize before. The lack of choice becomes a stifling life that both Jonas and the Giver know they must escape. They devise a plan to help the citizens of the community find memories and share the burden of memory.
I've been told for years that I needed to read this book. I had just never got around to it until now. With the excuses out of the way, I opened the book and was both pleases and let down. As frequently happens when someone is in love with a book, I had high expectations- maybe higher than most books could reach. It took me a while to get interested in the community and their ideals. I found myself getting caught up in minor details, like being called "a twelve" instead of just saying he was twelve. In the end, the book brought forth a strong emotional reaction, making me thankful for the memories I have, the ability to see color and hear music. I had no idea before I went to log the book that it was part of a series. Time will tell if I pick up more of these books, but I enjoyed rediscovering the simple pleasures in life as Jonas saw them for the first time.
This book is frequently challenged because the community relies on euthanasia/suicide to maintain a perfect society. In my opinion, the book does not glorify these acts, but shows it as horrifying. Newborns being killed for population control hardly seems like a good idea before or after reading the book. Rather, I think that it can help students think about social issues and the cost of perfection. (After all, Jonas takes on the burden of memories of war and pain so others don't have to think about it.) It be a springboard for young adults to form their own opinions and discussions with peers and adults. As with all challenging subject matter, though, I think the book lends itself to talks between parents and children. "Suicide Book Challenged in Schools" USA Today 7/20/2001 http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/20... ...more
The Westing Game is a classic whodunit mystery. Sam Westing recently died. It is up to his heirs to figure out who killed him. The pNEWBERY WINNER 1979
The Westing Game is a classic whodunit mystery. Sam Westing recently died. It is up to his heirs to figure out who killed him. The problem is Sam Westing wasn't close to any of these people. Their motivation is not familial love, but loads of money. The heirs are paired with their new neighbors and given a handful of clues to solve the mystery. Of course they must complete their task before time runs out while avoiding the murderer (someone amongst them) and bombs going off throughout the building. For me, this story was only OK. I really wanted to like it, but I had trouble getting emotionally involved in the book. It took me a long time to figure out that there were just too many characters for me to feel a connection with. As a result, I felt a connection to none. The style of the writing was neat, though. There are many great descriptions throughout the book.
Favorite Quote: "The heavy charms on Sydelle Pulaski's bracelet clinked and clunked as she raised a full fork and flourished it in a practiced ritual before aiming it at her open mouth."...more
We all know Lincoln as our 16th president, famous for abolishing slavery. In this book, readers get to experience LincolnNEWBERY WINNER 1988 BIOGRAPHY
We all know Lincoln as our 16th president, famous for abolishing slavery. In this book, readers get to experience Lincoln a little more personally, beginning from boyhood and continuing through his assassination. This was a well done biography. I enjoyed looking at the pictures and appreciated how the captions reminded readers that cameras at the time were slow so they pictures were posed and stiff. That's especially important for younger readers to remember. I did get a little frustrated about halfway through the book. It seemed like the focus shifted from Lincoln to the Civil War in general. Lincoln's views were often missing for pages at a time. By the end of the book, though, I felt like I had an idea of why Lincoln was such an interesting man. He was modest, failed but kept trying, and was a charismatic person. I found it interesting that he thought his Gettysburg Address was one of his lesser speeches. I have always admired the simplicity of the speech, especially compared with the presentation that preceded it.
Favorite New Fact: "His speeches were seasoned with wit and humor, and he could boil down the most complex issue to its simplest terms."...more