The world is an awfully big place, and it can be hard to make sense of it all. In his latest book, If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Ideas andThe world is an awfully big place, and it can be hard to make sense of it all. In his latest book, If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Ideas and Numbers, nonfiction author David J. Smith comes to the rescue by providing context for hard-to-fathom facts. He uses everyday objects and concepts that students can easily grasp in order to make the leap into higher-level thinking and comprehension.
Imagine, for instance, that the planets were different kinds of sports balls. Based on their size, which planet would be the big exercise ball? Which one would only be a small baseball? Imagine that all of the world’s water was represented by 100 glasses. How many glasses would have clean drinkable water? How many glasses would represent the ocean?
If is a great example of what smart children’s nonfiction can look like. The facts are fascinating (even to adults!), the presentation is simple and helpful, and the accompanying illustrations are gorgeous to look at. Especially given the Common Core curriculum’s shift towards informational text, it’s nice to see authors who are willing to present information in a new and exciting way.
Read alike: If the World Were a Village, by David J. Smith
This review originally appeared on ABookandaHug.com...more
A lot of girls dream about their wedding day—the dress, the celebration, the groom, the happiest day of their lives—but that’s not how it is for SudasA lot of girls dream about their wedding day—the dress, the celebration, the groom, the happiest day of their lives—but that’s not how it is for Sudasa. How could it be, when she is being forced to marry a total stranger at the tender age of 17?
In the year 2054, one child policies in India have led to a huge disparity between the genders. Within the walled world of Koyanagar, boys are a dime a dozen. Only one girl exists for every five boys, and it’s essential to the government that all viable females marry and try to produce as many daughters as they can. In order to be sure that the country’s young women are choosing acceptable mates, boys are chosen to compete in a series of tests that determine who will earn wives and security and who will be sent to an early death defending the walls that keep them protected from the rest of the world.
It’s Sudasa’s turn to preside over the Tests. Over the course of three days, it is her duty to award points to the five boys who are forced to endure different challenges to win her hand, and she recounts her experiences in lovely verse.
In alternating chapters, older readers are treated to the thoughts of Contestant Five, an impoverished farm boy who is competing for Sudasa against his will. While most boys are desperate for the rare comforts that a wife can provide, Contestant Five is planning to use his competition as a chance to escape Koyanagar and find his long-lost mother. Meeting Sudasa throws everything off for his plans, though. Rather than the vapid spoiled girl he expected, he finds a gentle beauty with a love of poetry and some subversive ideas of her own.
5 to 1 puts a terrific spin on the dystopian genre, and Sudasa and Contestant Five are wonderful characters who will intrigue older readers as their paths become intertwined and their lives become forever, irrevocably changed.
Read alike: The Selection by Keira Cass; Matched by Ally Condie
This review originally appeared on abookandahug.com...more
Inspired by their trek to the house that inspiredWuthering Heights, Samantha Ellis and her friend debate the merits of classic literary heroines. WhatInspired by their trek to the house that inspiredWuthering Heights, Samantha Ellis and her friend debate the merits of classic literary heroines. What begins as a Cathy Earnshaw-vs.-Jane Eyre discussion soon becomes something more as Ellis decides to delve into her favorite books to examine other heroines.
Part memoir, part literary analysis, How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much is a charming romp through the classics and how Ellis has related to them during different stages of her life. I was acquainted with most of the heroines featured in the book, and I’ve also added a few others to my neverending to-read list thanks to Ellis’s work. Revisiting the March sisters, plucky orphan Anne Shirley, tempestuous Scarlett O’Hara, floundering Franny Glass, storyteller Scheherazade, moody Esther Greenwood, and headstrong Lizzy Bennet was like reuniting with old friends.
Ellis marks her life by the books she has read, and she provides her readers with a glimpse into her own life as a Jewish Iraqi Londoner playwright as she also examines what makes her favorite leading ladies tick. As she grows up, she searches for role models between the pages and finds plenty to admire and to question on her journey. In the end, as a thirty-something who still hasn’t quite figured it all out yet, she begins to let go of her idealized female characters in favor of finding her own way.
As a librarian and avid reader, I love books about books and am pretty much the target audience for How to Be a Heroine. Of course, I was much more drawn to chapters that featured books that I had read before and was less into the ones that I couldn’t relate to as well. Even through those sections, though, I wanted to stick with Ellis. She is fresh and funny and just as much a bibliophile as I am. I would love to sit down and talk books with her, and she’s already got me feeling inspired to reread some of my old favorites…and some of my old enemies too.
Wuthering Heights, I may just appreciate you yet. Maybe....more