We've all encountered a time in our lives where we wished we lived a completely different lifestyle. Those of us who grew up in the city, often wished...moreWe've all encountered a time in our lives where we wished we lived a completely different lifestyle. Those of us who grew up in the city, often wished for a quiet calm farm life. Reversely, those of us who grew up in the country often wished for the hustle and bustle of never-sleeping city life. "My Louisiana Sky" is a novel about the latter.
"Some people in Siatter say Momma and Daddy should never been allowed to get married because their different. Folks around here c all it retarded, but I like 'slow' better." Tiger lives in the swamp land of Louisiana with her mentaly deficient paretns and grandmother. As Tiger grows up, she becomes more aware of the fact that her parents are different. Tiger is introduced to social situations and strives to fit in at school. Her parents love her, however, are not able to provide much help in the social area. Tiger would do anything to move to the big city of Baton Rouge with her aunt. When Tiger's grandmother dies, she is given this option. Tiger is forced to decide to move into a life that she has always dreamed of or stay with her parents that love her.
Be advised: The following review reveals certain aspects of the novel that some readers may wish to discover on their own.
I enjoyed reading this novel. I think everyone can learn something from Tiger about family loyalty. We are given a young girl who is coming of age and faced with some tough obstacles. She could have ditched her "retarded" parents and led a more successful life with her aunt, however, she took the high road. I Tiger's choice demonstrated great maturity. More than anything this is a novel about self-discovery and family love.
As a future teacher, I could incorporate this novel into my classes. I think it is important for students to see a positive example of a girl who is striving to make the right decisions. I think students should be introduced to these positive role models throughout their reading history. I could see teaching this book as a prelude to a cultural unit. Such a unit would require students to analyze thier heritage and lifestle. Seeing where Tiger came from and her proud feelings toward that place would help students see that there are positive aspects to every walk of life. Seeing this example would persuade them to empathize with their classmates, seemingly different pasts. I think students in middle school would enjoy reading this novel. It would be a great complement to a cultural unit.(less)
"The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help." This is a line from Steve Harmon's...more"The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help." This is a line from Steve Harmon's journel during his stay in prison. "Monster" is the story of young Steve Harmon's experience in jail and in the courtroom. Steve is on trial for being an accessory to a robbery/murder. In this book, the reader gains Steve's firsthand experience in a prison cell. During his stay in prison, Steve begins writing a film script about the trial. The book alternates between his personal journal and his film script. The reader encounters the fears and emotions that a person who is facing a prison sentence experience while being tried. I didn't really enjoy reading this book. I wasn't able to identify with the main character at all. The author never portrayed the actual robbery in the book, so as a reader, I didn't know who to believe. This made it very difficult for me to "root" for Steve in the trial. I didin't find him a reliable narrator at all. I found myself just reading the book, because I had to for class. I know that Myers has won many awards, three for this book. However, I did not enjoy his writing style at all. I found it confusing how he jumped from scene to scene throughout the book. It took me a while to figure out who each of the characters were because they were not clearly explained at the beginning of the novel. Sometimes this approach works. However, in this novel, I felt that it did not work. I would not teach this book in a classroom. I think a story such as this one dealing with a youth on trial would be beneficial to some students, however, I have read other stories that are more teachable. I wouldn't force my students to read a book that I had trouble making it through myself. (less)
I must say that when I began reading this novel, I had to force myself to step out of my realm of comfort. Normally, I am not a big fan of Sci-fi, alt...moreI must say that when I began reading this novel, I had to force myself to step out of my realm of comfort. Normally, I am not a big fan of Sci-fi, alternate universe stories. However, I found something much more in Unwind. Neal Shusterman was able to combine the life stories of several loveable, piteable, and even relatable characters with the theory of a futuristic world. I felt that Shusterman did a wonderful job of intricately combining these plots and demonstrating how they were all related to each other in some way. Into the first three or four chapters, I fell in love with this novel. I found myself wanting to read more and more of the novel, until it was midnight and I had to be up at 5:00 the next morning. Immediately upon its completion, I wanted to go back to the beginning and read it all over again.This book contained stories of love, friendship, values, and even human sacrifice. I am still shocked at how well Shusterman was able to put everything together in such an enjoyable novel. I really think that young adults would enjoy this novel. It was interesting and had a scientific effect, yet, it also contained the dramatic story that others readers crave. I would reccomend this to a student in my high school class. However, I would not teach this novel to a whole class. While I found the novel interesting and rewarding, I do not think some of the graphic content i.e. "unwinding surgery" would be suitable for all students. I feel that this novel would be able to open students eyes to an alternate idea for a world. This could teach them to not take the freedoms and privilages that we have in America for granted. I also think it would be interesting to gain a student perspective on the authors choice to switch points of view throughout the chapters. We see the story through many of the characters eyes. This allows the reader to recognize the biases that often lie in first person narration. It would really be intersting to hear a student's perspective on this technique. Overall, Unwind was an interesting read that I would definitely enjoy reading again. (less)
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" is a story about Junior, an Indian living on a reservation in Spokane Washington. Junior is born wit...more"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" is a story about Junior, an Indian living on a reservation in Spokane Washington. Junior is born with many medical problems that he continues to suffer thorugh throughout the story. Despite his own medical problems, he must deal with an alcholic father and mother. Junior is tired of the education system he must deal with on the reservation. He decides that he wantst to make something of himself and enrolls in an all-white school that is nearby. Junior is riduculed by his family, friends, and even new school mates. However, he is determined to succeed and make something of himself. Throughout the "diary" Junior deals with many hardships such as losing his grandma, losing his Dad's best friend, and losing his sister. All of the afforementioned deaths were alcohol related. Junior must deal with these losses in addition to working toward success at his new school.
I'd like to start off by saying that I rarely do not like a book. However, this book was different. I found it extremely difficult to finish the 230 page novel. With each turning page, I developed more and more of a dislike toward the main character and the events in his life. I found Sherman's lifestyle to be dull and boring. I was not able to develop any sort of interest in the character or what was happening to him. From the very beginning, I got the impression that the character felt sorry for himself and wanted others to feel sorry for him as well. Besides going to the new school, with a better education system, Junior did not try to do anything to better himself or his family. It seemed like every other page of this novel was filled with a sob story and a plead from Junior to feel bad for him. That completely ruined the book for me. However, I trudged through the novel and forced myself to finish it. Once completed, I did not even feel a sense of accomplishment. I felt as though I had just observed the life of a teenage boy and had not even learned a lesson from it. At the end of the novel, Junior's parents and tribe were still dealing with alcoholism and Junior still felt sorry for himself...big finish.
Needless to say, I would not teach this book in an English classroom. I was not able to find any educational value throughout the story. I also feel as though some of the content (i.e. language, alcohol use, and graphic descriptions) would not be appropriate material to expose my students to. I would not reccomend this book to either my friends or my students. (less)
What would you do if you were told you were going to die in a year? Would you immediately sob to all of your family and friends and make them feel sor...moreWhat would you do if you were told you were going to die in a year? Would you immediately sob to all of your family and friends and make them feel sorry for you? Would you run to your lap top and Google the newest and most innovative forms of treatment? Many of us have not thought about what we would do in this situation. I think it is safe to say that this would be tough to deal with, at any age. Try dealing with this news at the age of 18. Ben Wolf is a young talented athlete, ready to embark on his senior year of high school. When getting his routine sports physical, Ben receives the news that he has a terminal blood disease. His odds don't look good. The doctor gives him a year to live. Ben immediately decides that he wants to live his last year of life to the fullest, without treatment. This means keeping his diagnosis a secret from his family, friends, and coach. This book is filled with interesting and funny experiences Ben has as a normal senior boy, while he is hiding the biggest secret of his life. I absolutely loved this book! It was not at all what I expected when I first picked it up. I was expecting to read the story of a boy who is diagnosed with a disease and takes the necessary treatments and spends a whole year living life to the fullest, while saying good bye to the ones he loved. I did not get that story, for the most part. Ben did live his life to the fullest. He set forth to accomplish certain goals, and in some ways he accomplished those. His illness gave him the excuse to try some things he had always wanted to try. He was now able to do these things fearlessly. I think this way of life is one that we can all envy. Everybody has a Dallas Suzuki in their lives. The attractive, popular co-ed, whom you know will never give you the time of day. Ben does not let his illness get him down. He takes a shot with her and is successful. His story is heartbreaking, at times. But also, uplifting in the same way. I found myself rooting for some miracle that Ben would be healed of his illness. However, as with life, those miracles do not always happen. I think this story was able to show me that sometimes it is best just to take life as it comes and not try to alter it to fit our wants and desires. As a future English teacher, I would definitely want to teach this book in one of my classes. I would probably teach it to an eighth grade class or a freshman class. I think many of the issues that the book deals with would be perfect for that age group. It is also the age group of the main character. The students might be able to relate better to Ben Wolf. I think Crutcher provides an interesting outlook on life through the character of Ben . This story would allow my students to take their thoughts on life and death and family values to the next level. It would get them thinking about their future and what they can do to prepare for it. I also think this book would teach my students that there is not always a happy ending, in life. This book would provide young readers with literary as well as life lessons. I would enjoy teaching it in a classroom. (less)
"Here's what I know about the realm of possibility-- it is alwys expanding, it is never what you think it is.Everything around us was once deemed impo...more"Here's what I know about the realm of possibility-- it is alwys expanding, it is never what you think it is.Everything around us was once deemed impossible...And yet, every day we each do so many things that were once impossible to us." This book is filled with poems straight from the mind of teenagers. These twenty or so youths write many poems about pressing topics on the mind of teenagers everywhere. The subjects of their work include: teenage love, peer pressure, homosexuality, smoking, alcohol, and peer rivalry. I think this is an expert compilation of poems that encompass a wide range of topics.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was easy to relate to some of the poems, remembering my teenage years. I really enjoyed Levithan's collected works from different perspectives. I thiought he offered a fresh approach to a collection of poetry.
As a future English teacher, I would enjoy teaching this book to my students. I think it approaches many of the topics that my teenage students will have to deal with on a daily basis. These poems would hopefully give them the insight on such topics from another point of view. I could easily teach this book as an introduction to a poetry. Hopefully, providing the students with works of poetry written by students such as themselves would spark their interest in the subject. The topics of these poems relate to many other works created that are part of the high school curriculum. (less)
We all know what it feels like to be the odd man out. I'm sure there has been a situation or two in everyone's life in which they feel like they have...moreWe all know what it feels like to be the odd man out. I'm sure there has been a situation or two in everyone's life in which they feel like they have no friends or nowhere to turn. This period of time for Melinda came at a young age, probably one of the most awkward times in an adolescent's life. Melinda is entering high school and finds herself friendless. The beginning of the story describes Melinda's old friends and some fun times they had together, however, one event changed all of that. One summer event changed her life and Melinda has no drive or desire to do anything or talk to anyone. Her life seems to be going down the drain, until an art teacher, Mr. Freeman is able to help her realize what she is missing and teaches her a life lesson.
I rated this book a 3 for many reasons. I thought it was slow to start, however, I kept reading simply to find out what was going on in this young girl's life that caused her disinterst in it. I found the plot to be confusing, at first. Melinda repeatedly referred to a summer party as being the breaking point in her friendships and populartiy. I, as the reader, knew something happened at that party, but did not know what. Early narration led me to believe that there would be a big revelation in which the autor revealed what occurred at the party. However, there was not. The party's events simply showed up in a paragraph toward the middle of the story. This was disappointing.I had expected this to be a major breaking point in the story, however, it was just another event the plot. However, being the reader that I am, I continued to finish to story. I was surprised by the ending. I was glad that Melinda was able to do what she did.
The old adolescent complaint of, "when will I ever use this?" came to mind while reading, Speak. Reading this story from the aspect of a future teacher, I was able to learn a great deal. Melinda provided some insight into the mind of students who are sitting in class. The character was blunt in her opinions of the teachers lessons. For instance, her English teacher placed too much emphasis on symbolism, without teaching the importance. I think, sometimes it is difficult for teachers to realize that their students do not understand why they are learning things. Melinda's reaction to this lesson made me realize the importance of explaining to students my reason for teaching what I am teaching.
Being a future English teacher, I would not want to teach this book. I felt that it dealt with important topics that adolescents should understand. However, I do not feel that the format was appropriate or beneficial for students. In order for students to learn something from a story, I feel that they should feel close or empathize with the main character. I did not feel this connection to Melinda. I think the content is important for students to be aware of and learn from. However, I do not feel as though they would benefit from this particular story. I don't think students would be able to connect with melinda. I also think that students would be confused reading this story, like I was.
Overall, I had mixed feelings about this story. I felt that it dealt with an important topic and it was interesting to see Melinda's reaction to these events in her life. However, I was not able to connect to Melinda and I often found the story confusing. (less)
How do gender roles influence the way we are raised? I think this is a question that many people do not think about. A little girl will wear dresses,...moreHow do gender roles influence the way we are raised? I think this is a question that many people do not think about. A little girl will wear dresses, play with dolls, and wear makeup. A little boy will strap on overalls, play with trucks, and be an efficient mechanic. These are common gender roles that we place on our children. These are roles that we feel our youth will be most comfortable carrying out. I held a great deal of creedence in these roles, until I read Luna. I knew about "transgenders," and often stared at them upon an encounter. However, I never really asked myself, why? Why do they do this? How do these people feel about themselves to want to transition? I never thought about any of these things until I read this book. Luna was able to give me the perspective that I needed. I was introduced to the life of Liam. A boy who felt like he was a girl born in a boy's body.Liam was raised a boy, playing with "boy" toys and having a father who encouraged participation in sports. He suffered through these times. However, at night, he was able to transform into the person he really was- a skirt wearing, makeup loving girl. Luna gave me an insight into many of the feelings that Liam was feeling in regards to his transformation. I was also introduced to the life of Regan. Regan offered insight on what it is like to be a member of the transgender's family. She went thorugh many of the trials and tribulations that Luna did...and also many more.
I enjoyed reading this novel. It was able to give me insight and perspective into a life that I knew litttle about. I think this book was able to reinforce the lesson to not judge a book by its cover. It is important to get to know people and understand what they are going through before making judgement.
I found this book to be a valuable read. However, I would not teach it to a class. I think that the idea of a transgender is important for students to know about. However, I think this book would be too radical a pick for most young readers. I would keep this book on my classroom shelf, in a high school classroom. (less)
"The name of the mission. In Ladie's We Trust" Frankie is a fourteen year old girl who attends one of the most prestigious prep schools, Alabaster. Fr...more"The name of the mission. In Ladie's We Trust" Frankie is a fourteen year old girl who attends one of the most prestigious prep schools, Alabaster. Frankie has just finshed her summer of freshman year and has changed. She has "grown up" over the summer and has transformed into a pretty, socially acceptable girl. However, she can not get over the stereotype by her family and friends that she has grown up. Her family still refers to her as "bunny rabbit." At school, she is starting to fit in with the "cool" crowd, thanks to her new boyfriend, Matthew. However, even this crowd views her as Matthew's little sophomore girlfriend. Matthew himself treats her like a kid by correcting her grammar and ditching out on her dates. Frankie has had enough! She must do something about this treatment and prove to everyone that she is not the little naive girl they think she is. After some investigating, Frankie finds out that many of the senior boys are part of a secret all male club known as, "The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds." Frankie secretly infiltrates this club and organizes numerous pranks. The book is filled with hilarious incidents of Frankie demonstrating her girl power through an all-male group. The big question is...will she be able to prove her maturation to her peers and family? Will she stand up for women's rights everywhere?
I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought the incidents were funny and I enjoyed seeing a young girl's character made out to be so intelligent. It was interesting to see how Frankie was able to prove her intelligence through her "control" over the boys. I think many young adults can relate to this book as they try to find thier place in the world. It is about those in-between years when you are not quite an adult, however, you are not quite a kid either. I would reccomend this book to my friends who were looking for an enjoyable novel that is a quick read.
As a future teacher of English, I could see reading this novel with my students. I would not make this book a lesson, however, I would reccomend it to my students. I would even like to hold a literature cirlce with them about this book. I think it would be interesting to gain their perspective on Frankie and women's rights. This book could easily be a step towards a powerful women in fictin unit.I could see my students really gettting into Frankie's pranks and pursuit of power. (less)
With so much hype surrounding this book, I was excited to read it. Most of my friends have read it and I've heard many good reviews. I could not wait...moreWith so much hype surrounding this book, I was excited to read it. Most of my friends have read it and I've heard many good reviews. I could not wait until this semester was almost over so that I could read Hunger Games. I don't know if it was that hype or simply my taste that made me not absolutely love this book. I like it and thought that it was interesting. However, it was not one of those "can't put down until 1 in the morning" novels. I must say that for me, the book started off a bit slow. However, once Katniss was actually dropped into the arena for the Hunger Games, the book picked up pace. It is the ultimate battle of survival that these kids were thrown into. They needed to live off the land and kill off other members of the games to survive. I think Katniss adjusted well to her situation, given the intense circumstances. This is not something that I would be good at. Another aspect of this book that I did not like was the fact that it reminded me of so many other pieces that I had read with a similar plot. "The Most Dangerous Game" and "The Running Man" come to mind. I think these other works encompass many of the same ideas and lessons that Hunger Games strives to deliver. I think that I could teach this book in a classroom. I would gear this toward late middle school years. many of the students would be enthralled in the action of the games, while trying to wrap their head around the idea that Collins is proposing. This book could be paired with the previously mentioned pieces to give the students the ability to compare and contrast the ideas. (less)