You may have heard of Anne Frank, the girl who went into hiding with her family during World War II because they were Jewish, a race of people the Naz...moreYou may have heard of Anne Frank, the girl who went into hiding with her family during World War II because they were Jewish, a race of people the Nazis were treating cruelly and murdering. But did you know that Anne Frank was not the only child who spent time hidden away during WWII?
Each chapter of this book is a true story of stealing away in secret as a child in order to survive the war. The narratives are haunting: most of the authors were separated from their parents and siblings, some moved around to dozens of homes, others were abused by the families who hid them, and all found that the time they spent in hiding changed the courses of the rest of their lives, not always for the better.
These stories are riveting, but they are not easy to read. If you got through The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and are looking for similar fare, this is an excellent choice for you.
Within a couple pages of the front cover, Alvin has already stripped down to his birthday suit in the airport security line and emptied the highly sus...moreWithin a couple pages of the front cover, Alvin has already stripped down to his birthday suit in the airport security line and emptied the highly suspicious contents (you know, knives, lighter fluid, etc.) of his PDK onto the x-ray conveyor belt. And the rest of the book continues in typical Alvin fashion, all the way to the high rises and air pollution and ancient history of Beijing to visit his relatives.
Alvin is just as lovable across the globe as he is in Concord – but you’ll be thankful you don’t have to travel with him.
Alvin returns for a bout with his latest foes: a sympathetic pregnancy (which mostly involves him eating a whole lot while his mom's pregnant), a burg...moreAlvin returns for a bout with his latest foes: a sympathetic pregnancy (which mostly involves him eating a whole lot while his mom's pregnant), a burglar in Concord (who steals his life savings from his class's PDK), and hockey (for which he is the goalie because he fills up the whole goal).
Alvin devotees will be satisfied with his latest "allergies" and antics.
The sequel to 2011’s Newbery-winning Dead End in Norvelt is just as laugh-out-loud wacky as the first. Jack teams up again with old Miss Volker, the l...moreThe sequel to 2011’s Newbery-winning Dead End in Norvelt is just as laugh-out-loud wacky as the first. Jack teams up again with old Miss Volker, the last original old lady in Norvelt (now appearing to be approaching senility in fits and starts), and this time they’re on a road trip to catch a murderer whose MO is poisoning old ladies with Girl Scout Cookies. Just one teensy problem arises on the way: they’re not exactly certain who the murderer is, or what to do when they catch him (or her)…
Along the journey they have to contend with a fall into a septic tank (but I thought it was a bomb shelter!), Miss Volker’s stiff claw hands (only viable when she heats them up), Jack’s constant nosebleeds (strong enough to break through Miss Volker’s “cure” from the first book), and a couple of folks who seem to be after them with intent to kill.
There were a handful of moments when I lost the storyline for a couple paragraphs because the narration was a little bit confusing. But the bizarre situations, the Miss Volkerized historical mini-lessons, and the outrageous, dark humor were all there. Don’t expect to find yourself in Norvelt again…but definitely prepare for another wild ride at the hands of Jack Gantos.
Eugenie and her parents believe that some people are inherently better than others, which is why they have to run for their lives from the chaos of th...moreEugenie and her parents believe that some people are inherently better than others, which is why they have to run for their lives from the chaos of the French Revolution. When they and other nobility arrive in America with the promise of a safe and luxurious new life, they are alarmed to find that their village has not been built. Perhaps, they think, everything will be better once Queen Marie Antoinette arrives.
Local Quaker families, including Hannah and her father and brother, have moved to the area to help build and to assist the French nobles. They believe that all people are equal, no matter how much money or status they have, no matter what color their skin is.
Through the cold, inhospitable northeastern winter, Eugenie and Hannah deal with illness and suffering in the village. They also realize that despite having been raised with very different ideas about how to treat other people, they both abhor the brutality the marquis shows to his black slaves.
The two girls find a way to cross the language barrier and cook up a plan to free the marquis’ slaves. But when the time comes to take action, will their boldness and courage be enough to overcome centuries of belief about inequality?
This is top-notch historical fiction. If you’re a Karen Cushman fan or if you like to find out about nearly-forgotten slivers of history, pick this one up.
Albie is almost everything, but not quite the best at anything. He’s not all that smart, but he can’t blame his bad grades on a learning disability. H...moreAlbie is almost everything, but not quite the best at anything. He’s not all that smart, but he can’t blame his bad grades on a learning disability. He isn’t particularly good at chess, like his friend Erlan, nor does he excel at sports or art. No matter how much he studies, he can’t seem to get more than three or four words right on his spelling test.
Even though he struggles to live up to his parents’ strict expectations and gets bullied at his new school, Albie’s fifth grade year is full of new people who encourage him to be fully Albie. An artsy nanny, a girl at school who hardly ever speaks, a best friend whose family stars in a reality show, the owner of a coffee shop, a corny math teacher, and sometimes his own parents…all of them see and love Albie for who he is, even if he’s still trying to figure out who that might be.
It may not sound like much of a story, but this is a really good book. I’m keeping an eye on it for the Newbery.
The most notable event on Armani’s horizon is her tenth birthday party, which is only a few days away. But as a swelling hurricane approaches her home...moreThe most notable event on Armani’s horizon is her tenth birthday party, which is only a few days away. But as a swelling hurricane approaches her hometown of New Orleans, the birthday celebration begins to get overshadowed by a sense of unease, then panic, then desperation.
Over the course of a few short days, Hurricane Katrina redefines what it means to Armani to turn ten years old. Instead of parties and presents, she is swept up in a whirlwind of tragedy and fear that seems too much for a kid. And instead of just getting one year older, she has to grow up all at once.
If you like drama, intensity, honesty, and improbable courage, you’ll want to read about Armani and her family’s Hurricane Katrina experience.
With the absence of their parents looming large, Molly and Kip need any money they can get. So despite al...moreWARNING: This book is SO. CREEPY.
And so good.
With the absence of their parents looming large, Molly and Kip need any money they can get. So despite all the locals’ warnings about the spooky Windsor mansion, they convince the family there to hire them as housekeeper and groundskeeper. Molly also looks after the little girl, and Kip – whose dependence on a crutch makes him an easy target for bullies – tries to avoid conflict with the family’s cruel son.
But something strange is happening. A tree is growing into the house. The Windsors seem to be getting more and more ghostly as time passes. Even Molly looks paler. And then there’s the mysterious forbidden room at the top of the stairs. What is Mr. Windsor dragging out of there in the middle of the night? But the most terrifying unknown is the shadow that prowls about the house at night, going into each bedroom and leaving behind a trail of dead leaves. Who is he, what does he want…and what will he do to get it?
Soon Molly and Kip find themselves in the middle of a horror story. The Windsors are already wasting away, with no gumption to help themselves. Molly and Kip must find out how to stop the night gardener…before he puts an end to them all.