Perfectly pitched rhymes and warm illustrations make this an ideal preschool read-aloud! While the verses introduce diverse modes of transportation (pPerfectly pitched rhymes and warm illustrations make this an ideal preschool read-aloud! While the verses introduce diverse modes of transportation (piloted by a diverse cast of kids), the refrain makes it clear which mode is the winner for this crew: "...the bus is the best. The bus is for us." This wonderful ode to public transit will resonate with city kids or long-distance travelers for whom the bus is their chariot to parts both unknown and familiar....more
Stunning illustrations illuminate the pages of this beautiful biography of a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke the Cuban taboo against female drummStunning illustrations illuminate the pages of this beautiful biography of a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke the Cuban taboo against female drummers. YES, you read that right. Even tapping your hands on resonant objects was once off-limits to the ladies. If that's not reason enough to read this book, it should be!...more
Wonderfully fun story of a girl who suffers a few bruises, both on the roller rink and in the friendship arena, but learns how to come out on top. KidWonderfully fun story of a girl who suffers a few bruises, both on the roller rink and in the friendship arena, but learns how to come out on top. Kids in both elementary and middle school are going to LOVE this delightful new addition to the graphic novel canon. It's perfect for fans of Smile, Drama, Sisters, El Deafo, and Babymouse, but don't let anyone pigeonhole this (or those others!) as "girl books" -- there is plenty enough here to engage readers of any gender, plus solid advice on the topics of being a good friend AND being a good daughter (I love the mom in this book!)....more
As I sat, elbows on desk, thinking about how to compose my review of this literary marvel, I suddenly realized I'd been absentmindedly hugging Echo toAs I sat, elbows on desk, thinking about how to compose my review of this literary marvel, I suddenly realized I'd been absentmindedly hugging Echo to my chest - which kind of says it all. I formed an emotional attachment to this book as I was reading it, just as I did to its characters. With a deft hand, Pam Munoz Ryan has crafted a beautiful and richly rewarding story that reads with a seamless ease. A lyrical ode to music, hope, love, siblings, and family, I found it engrossing, deeply satisfying, and wholly accessible. This is a book I want to press into the hand of every kid I meet and encourage every family to read together. It's also classroom teaching gold: peopled with engaging characters, rife with topics for discussion, and filled with rich fodder for history lessons. Not just a best book of 2015 - a best book, period....more
I wanted to love this book but ultimately felt that it kept hitting the same note and striking the same tone with such even an even pace and so much cI wanted to love this book but ultimately felt that it kept hitting the same note and striking the same tone with such even an even pace and so much consistency that I grew a bit bored. The tension and discomfort were drawn out too long for me, and I ultimately put the book down without finishing it. I can see recommending it to kids who are patient readers and like dramatic tension, but for me personally it missed its mark....more
This superb graphic novel (the first in a series) takes readers inside the Civil Rights movement, where they follow the personal experiences and learnThis superb graphic novel (the first in a series) takes readers inside the Civil Rights movement, where they follow the personal experiences and learn the motivations of John Lewis, who was in his early twenties when he became a leader of the movement. This is a thoughtful, well-organized book that's perfect for use with middle school and high school students. I can't wait to read Book 2!...more
A wonderfully honest story about love, friendship, and personal discovery. I did have a few quibbles, though -- the biggest being that Ari's characterA wonderfully honest story about love, friendship, and personal discovery. I did have a few quibbles, though -- the biggest being that Ari's character was slow to come into focus for me then slipped out again toward the end (largely because the pacing shifted dramatically at a time when it shouldn't have). It took a long time (about 100 pages) before his voice became real and knowable to me, but once it finally clicked into place I was fully drawn in by his self-reflections and his relationship with Dante, in all its messy, beautiful complexity. The middle 200 pages of this book were near perfection. I just wish I'd been as believing of the first and last bits.
One of my favorite things about this novel is the evolution of the adults in the book. Both boys have parents who are wonderfully well-intentioned but realistically flawed. Watching them grow and change alongside their sons was deeply satisfying. (But that's certainly not the way I'd handsell it to a teenager!) ...more
Eleanor & Park is, in the TRUEST sense, a love story. It's a book about absurd love, absent love, heartbreaking love, betraying love, and (finallyEleanor & Park is, in the TRUEST sense, a love story. It's a book about absurd love, absent love, heartbreaking love, betraying love, and (finally) life-altering love -- the kind that feels so thrilling, fulfilling, and utterly all-consuming that you're afraid to even consider the possibility of it lasting. Most importantly, it's about REAL love, between two seemingly real people.
I'm hard-pressed to find any real flaws in the way Rainbow Rowell has drawn these two characters, or the way she's painted the others around them. They are about as real and multi-dimensional as actual people I've known, and it's that fact that really won me over and drew me in.
You *want* real, GOOD people to get over the kinds of sh*t that life throws at them, and you want the same thing for Eleanor. You *want* real people to get up, get out, move on, get help, get better, get over it -- and you want the same thing for her family (stepdad and father excluded). And you also *want* the world to be filled with families as good-hearted, well-intentioned, and wonderfully imperfect as Park's.
The magic of this book lies in its ability to make you, the reader, crawl inside the skin of its characters and fully inhabit them for the length of their story. I found myself wanting to physically harm a couple of characters in this book -- an instinct that books (and, thankfully, life) rarely arouse in me -- and openly hug several others. It was an emotional roller coaster ride, but the highs and lows were believable and the plotting thoughtfully restrained.
There is, in fact, relatively little that happens in this book. Two teenagers fall in love and deal with their own everyday sh*t until the sh*t hits the fan. That's pretty much it. But the realism of that experience, and the nuanced beauty that accompanies it, makes their journey so visceral, so memorable, and so REAL that it's easy to see why so many readers are falling under its spell.
I loved this love story, and it's one I think we'll still be talking about several years from now. Think John Green (witty teens) meets E. R. Frank (gritty, sh*tty situations) only... more real.
Give this one to fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. OR anyone who came of age in the 80's. Unless they're fans of Hall & Oates or Foreigner....more