This entire series is fantastic! Even though the online game may be over, it is well worth reading the series. This is sure to become a series that is...moreThis entire series is fantastic! Even though the online game may be over, it is well worth reading the series. This is sure to become a series that is in reprint for decades to come.
With each book written by a different children's author, we experience different writing styles and their "take" on the story. Yet clearly the team worked closely together, because all except book 2 maintain the protagonists personalities and character traits (see my concerns with book 2 http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/3... ). However, even this book gives parents and teachers something to discuss with their children and students, helping them become good discerners of the written word.
The full collection provides traditional and classroom teachers, babysitters, and kids on vacation lots of opportunity to explore the entire world. While reading each book, check out some of the fun websites I've found http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/3... (see activities). I cannot say enough about this series, and I donated my entire set to my local elementary school library!(less)
This first book in the series set the tone for those to follow, and Riordan set the bar high! After reviewing against character education criteria htt...moreThis first book in the series set the tone for those to follow, and Riordan set the bar high! After reviewing against character education criteria http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/3... , I found it to be exemplary. The brother and sister protagonists are soooooooo realistic and yet never taken too far to be degrading. They are imperfect but learn lessons and grow in wisdom, precisely what good kids lit should demonstrate. Riordan’s writing gives us an action-packed read that readers of all ages and abilities will enjoy. Chapter lengths make it usable for classroom or lunchtime reading. While the publisher gives some aids and activities on their website, these were narrowly focused and, unfortunately, missed the tremendous opportunity to tie together curriculum units across subjects with this series. Needless to say, I jotted those down as I read and put together lists for each book 1-10: http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/3... .There are too many fun activities to tie into reading this series to be ignored!(less)
Don’t let the size of the book fool you (544 pages), much of this story is shown to you rather than told to you. It is one of my all-time favorites fo...moreDon’t let the size of the book fool you (544 pages), much of this story is shown to you rather than told to you. It is one of my all-time favorites for any age although really geared towards the 9-12 year old; I’ve given a lot of thoughts about it in my evaluation against our character education criteria http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/H...
A seasoned illustrator, Selznick captures the emotions in silent movie style. This is a mystery about an orphaned boy living in Paris in 1931. The book opens with the protagonist attempting to steal, however, the boy eventually gets what he needs through honesty and hard work. Lacking a family, orphan Hugo Cabret longs to learn more about his father's death in hopes that he may have left him a last message or that he may find some connection to his father. Hugo also attempts to find out the secret of the mechanical man on his own, however, he finds that he cannot do it without the aid of his friends who eventually help him to find closure.
It is difficult to even begin describing the book: engrossing history-mystery, full of life lessons appropriate to age of reader, aesthetically profound. And as usual, as I read all sorts of uses for the book by parents and teachers came to mind too http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/h... .It is an excellent gift, classroom, library, living room, and under-the-bed-next-to-the-flashlight book! (less)
This is an excellent treatment of modern folklore, which we recommend for ages 10-14 but certainly fascinating for younger advanced readers or older,...moreThis is an excellent treatment of modern folklore, which we recommend for ages 10-14 but certainly fascinating for younger advanced readers or older, reluctant readers too. http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/h...
It brings forth visions of when those who lived along and worked the lakes and rivers in past centuries spoke of its magical properties, and of forests full of trolls and fairies. Helgerson successfully invokes feelings of nostalgia amongst his readers similar to reading a Mark Twain story but without as much southern slang, a modern-day touch which may make it more appealing to some readers. The writing style is easy, fluent and interesting, building in fun quips such as when Claire tries to see inside her own eyes: “I crossed my eyes for a look at myself”. Between the antics of Claire, Duke, and the trolls, plus character’s telling tales of the past, this book has one adventure after another and is sure to hold your attention. You’ll resist the urge to shout hooray too!
Reading through it, I couldn’t help but brainstorm numerous ideas for teaching activities or just fun things to do with the whole family reading this together http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/h... It is good, ol’ fashioned, wholesome and exciting...an enjoyable book for all ages that I highly recommend! (less)
My daughter introduced me to Selznick’s work and I hope it never goes out of print! His illustrations and story line are fantastic. Evaluating it agai...moreMy daughter introduced me to Selznick’s work and I hope it never goes out of print! His illustrations and story line are fantastic. Evaluating it against character education guidelines was simple http://www.litland.com/reviews_9-12/b...
This title should sound familiar to parents belonging to the Baby Boomer and Generation X eras. Younger parents may recognize it as well, particularly anyone with a love of classic film. It is a take-off of the name given to the famous actor, Lon Chaney, who was known as The Man of a Thousand Faces because of his versatility in portraying such as variety of characters. Selznick skillfully takes us into the life of a boy who wants to be just as versatile as Lon Chaney; to always be in disguise and not be recognized. He is mesmerized by the mystery, excitement and danger of real life monster sightings and classic horror flicks.
Get ready...August is the month most families take vacations and it’s coming soon. What book are you tossing into your luggage? Try Bleeder: A miracle...moreGet ready...August is the month most families take vacations and it’s coming soon. What book are you tossing into your luggage? Try Bleeder: A miracle? Or bloody murder? Excellent mystery about the murder of a priest famous for his stigmata. Written for adults but acceptable for older teens. See the review against education criteria http://ow.ly/5iZYt and our blog commentary http://ow.ly/5j004
Written for adults, older teens will also appreciate the rich context within which Desjairlas situates his mystery as well as his multi-faceted characters. The protagonist, a religious skeptic, ends up knee-deep in a possible miracle—or hoax? Criticism and misunderstanding of Catholicism are treated realistically and given intellectual critique. In contrast to authors like Regina Doman who integrate classic literature with a poetic effect, Bleeder is equally intellectual but for the philosopher rather than the poet. However, rather than a heady treatment, we are entertained with continuous theme tying Aquinas to Aristotle in the self-talk and dialogue of characters. This gives it practical application to every day life (great for school assignment). A standard ethical process for decision making is provided that leads to the truth.
Teen readers should already have a foundation in their family’s own faith beliefs with which to contrast to the secular myths and Gnostic views portrayed by antagonists in the story. Excellent choice to share, book clubs, youth and college campus ministries, and vacation!
I was pleased to finally get around to reading book 2. And wow! It immediately takes the reader into an assault and robbery of a girl on a train with...moreI was pleased to finally get around to reading book 2. And wow! It immediately takes the reader into an assault and robbery of a girl on a train with subsequent chase through early morning New York until, just in the nick of time of course, she finds sanctuary... in a sanctuary! Thanks to Doman’s almost poetic writing, the scene is far beyond normal. “The church stood a silent soldier against the slow destruction of the night.”
Slowly we are introduced to the characters both new and old. We know from book 1 they were bright, well-read, and funny in an intellectual way. Now the portrait of each is filled in with greater depth. Those familiar with book 1 wonder why Blanche isn’t telling these monks her history with “their church”. Doman’s style takes us in-and-out of past conversations, transitioning between past and present, moving between sets of characters so slowly we begin to understand the current situation that Blanche, Bear and Fish find themselves in.
Mystery with a touch of romance, our characters again are faced with realistic decisions. The underlying theme in this book is discernment. Good to share between friends or for a mother-daughter read. See our evaluation against character education criteria http://www.litland.com/reviews_15up/B... and enjoy!(less)
I usually don't review books for younger readers but as the daughter of a long line of carpenters, this intrigued me. Sweet and simple, it fills the c...moreI usually don't review books for younger readers but as the daughter of a long line of carpenters, this intrigued me. Sweet and simple, it fills the child with hope and shows the difference just one person can make by doing a little bit every day. Great for preschools, kindergartens and libraries too! http://www.litland.com/reviews_HM/Big...(less)
Love your family and hate them at the same time? Ever imagine what it would feel like to just disappear from life? Awakening is for you. The author ha...moreLove your family and hate them at the same time? Ever imagine what it would feel like to just disappear from life? Awakening is for you. The author has done well in creating the feeling and frustration of a parallel existence for Ronni, our main character. Added to that are the occasional references to Frank L. Baum’s the Wizard of Oz. Yes, Ronnie is definitely not in Kansas anymore!
Thirteen-year-old Ronni is transported to biblical times, which is oddly strange & familiar at the same time. An even paced adventure with a touch of romance, Ronni struggles with realistic issues facing teens in friendships, choices, family strife, and a lack of vision for her own future. Once transported to the past, her attempt to fit in as a Jewish girl is told to us in a manner that creates a most authentic presence, given to us in motion by motion detail, and allows us to feel we are present in the scene.
Because of that, in addition to being just a good read, it would be a good choice for teachers/homeschoolers to add to your class booklists for literature and history. Read it in your book club or youth ministry and talk about the issues she faces. Our review against character education criteria can be found at http://www.litland.com/reviews_10-14/... with directions to the authors many helpful aids too. (less)
Astro’s story is heartwarming and the illustrations are fabulous. The story helps us to understand why his life events turned out as it did, and yet i...moreAstro’s story is heartwarming and the illustrations are fabulous. The story helps us to understand why his life events turned out as it did, and yet it is neither boring nor drawn out. Books like Astro the Steller Sea Lion are important to a child’s moral formation. The people in the story deal with difficult issues of how to best help Astro. As the entire book is focused on providing loving care as best possible to God’s creation, it shows children how they can do the same and helps them develop empathy for others. They learn to see their role in the world as caretaker, through which they innately connect with the sacred around them.
The publisher has loads of activities for traditional and homeschool classroom use too. We’ve evaluated it against our character education criteria http://ow.ly/5fIiR . With fun activities in the back of the book, we also recommend it for road trips and family book clubs or reading hour. Enjoy! (less)
“Is it a boy’s book or a girl’s book?”, I wonder. Neither...it is a fun book! And even the book tells us “...fun does matter. It matters a lot.” So ne...more“Is it a boy’s book or a girl’s book?”, I wonder. Neither...it is a fun book! And even the book tells us “...fun does matter. It matters a lot.” So next I wonder why this book is fun. Why is it different from the numerous adventure stories in the bookstore today? I’ve decided because it is true, sincere and pure fun. It is not the facade of fun had at the expense of the dignity of the characters or the reader. It’s the real thing. Without being “preachy” in any way, the author has taken us into a series of adventures but did so through the minds and hearts of these four main characters. Along the way, there are important life lessons learned. See our evaluation against character education criteria http://www.litland.com/reviews_10-14/... .(less)
How do we form good character? Keeping in mind that pretending is practice for real life, books fill our minds with examples of virtue and honor. A fu...moreHow do we form good character? Keeping in mind that pretending is practice for real life, books fill our minds with examples of virtue and honor. A fun book for classroom reading grades 6-10 is Prince Andy & The Misfits, wherein a 16-year old discovers he is a Prince in a magical kingdom. It is easy for the reader to place himself in the middle of the action, and yet enough twists and turns to the storyline to hold interest too. Great for older or reluctant readers, advanced younger readers, families, book clubs, teaching, homeschool, Christian & Catholic readers.
A real plus is that the book includes a code to download an audio version from the publisher website. Think beyond iPod mania: before Apple engineers were born, teachers were using audio books to help children learn to read, pronunciate, and improve vocabulary. For our full review and commentary, see our criteria evaluation: http://ow.ly/5ytmS (less)
A complex novel of abuse, recovery, mental illness, inclusion, murder, mystery, activism, Faith! The craziness of those first years experienced when y...moreA complex novel of abuse, recovery, mental illness, inclusion, murder, mystery, activism, Faith! The craziness of those first years experienced when young adults leave their nest and venture into the outer world of college life, whether as newbie freshmen or advanced graduate students. Unlikely friendships as the strong nurture the weak with Kateri mentoring Donna in her mental illness, and Rose guiding Fish through abuse recovery. Fish’s loyalty to Rose, taken to the extreme, becomes unforgiving. But then self-denigration turns into enlightenment and hope.
Going beyond stereotypes, the dialogue paints a clear picture of the misperceptions held by non-Christians against Christians, countered with a realistic portrayal of the passionate young Christian student. The story draws us into the issue-filled, and often polarized, setting of college life. Woven therein are pieces of logic to help the reader refrain from being “sucked into” an erroneous view (a refreshing break from the hidden agendas found in common literature today).
By far more intense than the previous two books of the series, Waking Rose deals with mental illness, inter-relational tension, physical and sexual abuse and the resulting gender identity conflict, healing same-sex attraction and developing healthy authentic relationships. All of this is taken within the context of arson, stalking, kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder, with each character’s strengths overcoming their weaknesses. Stylistically, the entire book is presented in back-and-forth fashion between His and Her views, making it appealing to young men and women alike. Rather than a romance novel, it is a realistic portrayal of the breadth and depth of emotions commonly experienced amongst the college-aged today. See our full review and evaluation against character education criteria at http://ow.ly/5BUfK (less)
When is a book a child’s book? When is it adult fiction? And when does it fall into that nebulous in-between category of teen/young adult? In times lo...moreWhen is a book a child’s book? When is it adult fiction? And when does it fall into that nebulous in-between category of teen/young adult? In times long past, the age of the character hinted at the story’s audience. But this book, written for adults, has an 11 year old protagonist. Hmm...
Well, you'd need to read my full review at http://ow.ly/5muag to hear how I've determined its audience. When looking for a book that is fun and demonstrates some virtues too, this is the one! The main character Flavia, in spite of her precociousness, is well-meaning in intent, continuously judges right vs. wrong, and shows contrition for bad choices. It is a story with clear demarcation of good and bad, while being aesthetically rich in beauty, history, humour and adventure. Great for book clubs, classroom lit analysis, the publisher does have a reader’s guide available http://www.randomhouse.com/book/17186... An excellent, uplifting read and highly recommended! Be sure to read our review against character education criteria at Litland.com too! http://ow.ly/5mu9m(less)