This book was ok. It was good. The author tells a realistic story of teenage boys growing up fatherless and the implications of it. They have troubleThis book was ok. It was good. The author tells a realistic story of teenage boys growing up fatherless and the implications of it. They have trouble trusting each other even though they are best friends. There is definitely a good lesson in this book and I would recommend it to middle school boys as well as girls. ...more
Amazing story! I sat down to get started on this book and ended up reading the entire story in 3 hours. This story is very realistic and written fromAmazing story! I sat down to get started on this book and ended up reading the entire story in 3 hours. This story is very realistic and written from the point of view of the children who's mother was killed by their father. The author did an excellent job at painting a clear picture of what kids may think about and feel when dealing with this situation. A must-read!...more
SUMMARY The novel opens as Jack turns five. Jack has never been outside of Room and although he and Ma have access to a TV, Jack believes that everythingSUMMARY The novel opens as Jack turns five. Jack has never been outside of Room and although he and Ma have access to a TV, Jack believes that everything he sees on the screen is make-believe: as far as he’s concerned, Room is the entire world. He’s happy enough with his lot, however, because he doesn’t know any different; Ma keeps him entertained, and he has her undivided attention. Their days have a structure, with time to sleep, a time to eat, to play, to watch TV - even a time for lessons. (And at night, which is when ‘Old Nick’ sometimes visits, Ma keeps Jack hidden away.) But now Jack is five, and Ma tries to explain to him that - contrary to everything she’s told him previously - there is a world beyond Room. Jack finds the concept impossible to grasp, but when Old Nick cuts the power supply to Room, Ma realizes their situation is even more precarious than she had previously thought. She decides they have to act, and comes up with an escape plan. For Jack, however, freedom is an alien concept, for Ma, too, life on the outside requires many adjustments; not least, the two have to learn how to live together in a world full of other people.
THEMED READING: The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time by Mark Haddon
CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS: I would use this story to discuss the concept of "the truth." I would use it along with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and pose the question to students: "Do you think Ma made the right decision not telling Jack the truth about their situation, how would their lives have been different?" I would also have discussion of this same question as related to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas."...more
Jazmin, an African American teenager who lives with her older sister in a small Harlem apartment in the 1960s, finds strength in writing poetry and keJazmin, an African American teenager who lives with her older sister in a small Harlem apartment in the 1960s, finds strength in writing poetry and keeping a record of the events in her sometimes difficult life. Two of the major literary elements in this book are the point of view and the setting. The point of view of this book is first person. The book is actually Jazmin's journal, so the entire novel is told through Jazmin's perspective. Through the eyes of this 14-year-old girl the reader sees what Harlem in the 1960's was like. In reading this book it is as if the reader is actually picking up someone's journal and taking a peek.
Age Level: 10 and up Grade Level: 5 and up
Awards: Coretta Scott King Award for Author Honor (1999)...more
This is the first book of Nikki Grimes' that I have ever read and I loved it. "Bronx Masquerade" gives teens a whole new perspective on not only the iThis is the first book of Nikki Grimes' that I have ever read and I loved it. "Bronx Masquerade" gives teens a whole new perspective on not only the importance and enjoyment of literature and poetry but also the identities of individuals in a multicultural society.
Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Awards: Coretta Scott King Award for Author (2003) Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2005)
Themes: African American literature & culture, the Harlem Renaissance, poetry, slam poetry, tolerance, self-expression, race
Curricular Connections: Bronx Masquerade provides a great lead-in to study the Harlem Renaissance. The book’s poetry fever actually starts as a reaction to a unit Mr. Ward teaches on the Harlem Renaissance. Thus, this book, with its modern poetry, will serve well as scaffolding for reading the poetry of Langston Hughes and his contemporaries. It could also serve as a lead-in to a unit on poetry or African American literature. After studying Langston Hughes, we could watch the new film version of A Raisin in the Sun and talk about “dreams deferred” and the African American plight in the 20th century (if students are willing to talk about it)....more
I really enjoyed reading this novel. In fact, it was just way too short; I wanted more. I purchased this book without realizing that it was a sequel.I really enjoyed reading this novel. In fact, it was just way too short; I wanted more. I purchased this book without realizing that it was a sequel. Part one is titled "Joseph" and I hope to read it soon. This story was all about a teen boy trying to find his own way and let go of his need to "father" his drug addicted mother who's boyfriend is responsible for murdering his favorite cousin. The story is very realistic and teens would definitely be able to relate the themes in this book. I recommend it!...more
In the form of a graphic novel, Geoffrey Canada tells his own true story of struggling to break out of the streets in which survival meant dowSUMMARY:
In the form of a graphic novel, Geoffrey Canada tells his own true story of struggling to break out of the streets in which survival meant downplaying one's intelligence while the choice of weapons escalated and the deaths of friends became commonplace. I think students will be fascinated by this book from beginning to end. Many students will identify with the events and ideas in this book. The South Bronx is not really that far from some of their personal experiences, or from the world they witness in newspapers or on television. Geoffrey tells the story of how his mother taught her sons to go out into the street and defend themselves, about the tale of the knife that injured Geoff's finger and why he kept the scars, about his return to the place he wanted so desperately to leave, and by the end of the book about the fates of his friends. I really enjoyed this novel.
GRADE LEVEL: 5th and UP
Students can write an essay comparing the incidents in the first chapter of "Fist Stick Knife Gun" with the incidents in "The Street," an excerpt of of Richard Wright's "Black Boy." The essays are read and discussed in class....more
SUMMARY: A story about drug use, violence, and second chances.
AWARDS: ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers for Top Ten (2010)
CURRICULASUMMARY: A story about drug use, violence, and second chances.
AWARDS: ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers for Top Ten (2010)
CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS: Writing Get students thinking about their own past and present by writing letters to themselves. Students can write actual letters, or create an e-mail that will be delivered to them in the future at FutureMe.org.
SUMMARY: Yolen is pitch-perfect in her delivery of this tender tale of the friendship that blossoms between an elderly white woman and an African AmeriSUMMARY: Yolen is pitch-perfect in her delivery of this tender tale of the friendship that blossoms between an elderly white woman and an African American girl. Miz Berlin is well known in her neighborhood for the long and slow walks she takes around the block each evening. Mary Louise can't help wondering about the odd lady, who seems to be talking to herself as she passes by. The two form a poignant bond that sustains Mary Louise even when Miz Berlin's walking days come to an end. Dedicating her story to her real-life grandmother, Fanny Berlin, Yolen adopts first the voice of the grown Mary Louise, who narrates the tale in flashback, and then interpolates the voice of Miz Berlin. I absolutely fell in love with this story!
CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS: Using the two-page overview of Miz Berlin’s town at the front of the book, make a map of her walk: Have students construct a simple map, showing landmarks and using directional indicators. Next, students will describe the landmarks and cultural features of Virginia and compare these with Chicago....more
Summary: This graphic novel, based on real life events, is a tragedy. The protagonist in this story, Yummy, is an 11-yr old male, but seems to be an olSummary: This graphic novel, based on real life events, is a tragedy. The protagonist in this story, Yummy, is an 11-yr old male, but seems to be an older teen or person in young adulthood. This story is an absolute true example of what many of our youth today are faced with. Hence, this graphic novel is both educational and enlightening. Robert "Yummy" Sandifer's life and death are told through comic book layout. The illustrations are text are both pertinent and grab your attention from the very beginning. The author, G. Neri, used several sources, including public records, media reports, and personal accounts, to recreate the story with some fictional events to fill in missing information. Yummy was raised by parents who frequented jail and abused their children. Yummy ran the streets with a Chicago gang known as the Black Disciples until his untimely death at the young age of 11. In 1994, on Chicago's South Side, Shavon Dean, and 14-year old girl, was killed by a stray bullet during a gang shooting. Her killer was Yummy. The novel recounts Yummy's three days on the run from police and his own gang.This story is well-written, emotional, and informative. I loved the drawings in this book. I think the illustrator caught so much emotion in the facial expressions, and his pictures, at times, said conveyed more than words could have. You won’t quickly forget this story. Highly recommended.
Awards: Coretta Scott King Award for Author Honor (2011)
Curricular Connections: I would use this book to talk to students about gangs posing questions like: Why do kids join gangs? What motivates Robert "Yummy" Sandifer to join the Black Disciples? ...more
SUMMARY: Based on the author's great aunt, Arizona was born in a log cabin. All her life she dreamed of visiting far-away places. She became a teacherSUMMARY: Based on the author's great aunt, Arizona was born in a log cabin. All her life she dreamed of visiting far-away places. She became a teacher and never left the area, but taught several generations of children to share her dreams.
CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS: This story would be good for teaching students about characterization and finding proof in a story....more
SUMMARY: When young Libby is caught in a lie, she feels better admitting the truth, even though she's punished double. It is the first time she has lieSUMMARY: When young Libby is caught in a lie, she feels better admitting the truth, even though she's punished double. It is the first time she has lied to Mama, and as far as she is concerned, it would be the last. "From now on, only the truth," she decides. But in her commendable attempts to tell "only the truth," she is tactless and cold.
THEMES: Compassion Honesty Tact
CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS: Language Arts Ask students to write a poem about honesty. As a starter, tell students that they can include Mama's words as lines in their poem. Other students may prefer to write a story about a time that they told the truth and hurt someone's feelings, or when someone told them the truth and hurt their feelings....more