I found this to be very readable and engaging. Once I got started, I didn't want to read any other book. And when I wasn't reading, I was often thinkiI found this to be very readable and engaging. Once I got started, I didn't want to read any other book. And when I wasn't reading, I was often thinking about the group and what might happen to them on their long trek. The fact that it is a true story is a testament to the endurance and strength of human will and the hunger for freedom when it is taken away. Highly recommended....more
Steve Sheinkin did an amazing job with this book! What a great example of nonfiction for young adults. I found it to be very readable and completely iSteve Sheinkin did an amazing job with this book! What a great example of nonfiction for young adults. I found it to be very readable and completely interesting. He gave enough information to help me understand the details, but not so much that I got bogged down. He also did a great job at helping me to keep all the scientists, spies, politicians, and other characters straight. I kept thinking of details from The Green Glass Sea while I was reading this. Now I really want to read Sheinkin's The Notorious Benedict Arnold....more
This was an interesting read, but the grandpa was so very unpleasant that he nearly ruined the book for me. I also didn't always like Robert, but hisThis was an interesting read, but the grandpa was so very unpleasant that he nearly ruined the book for me. I also didn't always like Robert, but his character flaws were understandable and did add some interest to the story. I really felt for Abel Hoffman, the German artist. This wasn't a top favorite, but worth reading. It was a Scott O'Dell award winner for 2001....more
I continue to be impressed with Tomie dePaola's detailed memories of his childhood. I was interested to learn in his note at the end that he had someI continue to be impressed with Tomie dePaola's detailed memories of his childhood. I was interested to learn in his note at the end that he had some help from home movies that his parents took. Still, the level of detail shown in this series is impressive - and even more so because they are simply and clearly written and perfect for young children. It's as if he is able to completely put himself back into the role of young Tomie.
This book is particularly powerful because it takes place from the time that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor to the end of that year - which I believe is the shortest time span of any in the series so far. I loved how many of the adults in Tomie's life helped him to understand what was going on and feel a little better, even though, as he says in the title, he was still scared. And yet it isn't all dark. There is some humor here as well. ...more
Wow, what a powerful story! In the beginning I had to get used to the writing style. I had a hard time picturing the characters or getting pulled intoWow, what a powerful story! In the beginning I had to get used to the writing style. I had a hard time picturing the characters or getting pulled into the story. But once I gave it a chance and let myself get pulled in, I stopped missing all those details that the poetic writing style leaves out. There are plenty of details given, just not the same way that a book written in prose has them. Once I got started, this felt more like a journal than a series of poems. I liked it a lot once I thought of it like that. By the end, I loved this. The characters felt real - even the pink boy who is a bully. This definitely deserves its Newbery Honor! Highly recommended....more
This is a fascinating account of the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds. I don't believe I had ever heard of her before, but she was quite the hero! She had bThis is a fascinating account of the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds. I don't believe I had ever heard of her before, but she was quite the hero! She had been disguising herself as a man for three years before the Civil War started, so she was very good at it when she signed up to fight as a soldier for the North. This includes details of her work as a nurse and her first mission as a spy. I would have continued to enjoy this even if it had gone on and on with details about her life - it all sounds fascinating (based on details from the author's note). But I'm glad it isn't any longer than it is because I plan to use this in a library lesson next year during patriotic week.
This includes an author's note, an artist's note, a glossary, an author's bibliography, an artist's bibliography, and two photos of Sarah Emma Edmonds. I loved getting to see what she really looked like - both as a woman and a man.
I was also very interested to learn of Sarah Edmonds' memoir about her time as a soldier. I bet that would be a fascinating read!...more
It took me quite a while to get caught up with the characters and their stories, but once it happened, I was hooked! At that point, I didn't stop readIt took me quite a while to get caught up with the characters and their stories, but once it happened, I was hooked! At that point, I didn't stop reading until I reached the end. There were times when I felt like I was there with the characters sharing what they experienced.
Now I see that this is just the first of NINE books! I'll be waiting until I have a large chunk of time, but I will definitely be reading more in this series.
The authors had the characters tell me what I should be learning from these experiences a bit more than I wanted, but not so much that I was annoyed while I was reading. In fact, some of the "teaching" bits were very memorable, so I guess I shouldn't be complaining about them. Here is one of my favorites:
We all began exactly alike, like lumps of coal, maybe in different shapes and sizes. The fire and the pressure of hatred consume some men until they consume others around them in a white-hot fire. And others, trapped in the same fierce pressure and terrible heat, become diamonds to glisten in the hand of God. To shine bright when the blackness is all around, to find love when others are burning in their hatred [is] the essence of God.
Wow. It was a strange coincidence reading another book right after Wonderstruck that also takes place in two separate time periods but with interestinWow. It was a strange coincidence reading another book right after Wonderstruck that also takes place in two separate time periods but with interesting connections between the two stories in the book.
Several years ago I made a point of reading all of the Newbery winners. Since then, I've never waited so long to read a new one when it was announced. I've had this sitting in my to-read stack for months and months, but it never called out to me. I just wasn't sure I would really like it all that much. I finally decided it was time and past since the next winners will soon be announced. And now I'm ever so glad I finally pulled it out of the stack and read it!
It took a while for the characters and the stories to grab me. I never had a hard time picking it up, but I also didn't have a tough time putting it down. But somewhere in the middle, I'm not even sure when it happened, I was sucked in - hook, line and sinker. I only realized it when I got to the end and I was crying and thinking about the characters in the book like they were real people. When I finished, I wanted to start the book all over again and read it a second time knowing the connections and the surprises in the story. This would be a fabulous reread.
This isn't a book that will have universal appeal to all children. It's a little long and takes its time getting to the point. But I can see it really appealing to those who like great female main characters and those who enjoy historical fiction. Not every reader is looking for short and sweet, light and fluffy. Offer this to those children who like to read books with a little depth and fabulous characters.
I really enjoyed the author's note at the end telling which parts were based on real events and real people. The town of Manifest itself is based on a real town in Kansas where the author's grandparents grew up. I'm sure that's part of why the characters feel so much like real people.
I'm not going to say much about the storyline itself. You can read elsewhere for that. I'm just going to say that if you like historical fiction and quiet stories with great characters who feel like real people, then you should definitely read this. 4.5 stars....more
What a touching, true story! I'm not sure I would be able to read this one aloud to a class without some tears. I love the photos of real items througWhat a touching, true story! I'm not sure I would be able to read this one aloud to a class without some tears. I love the photos of real items throughout the book and the letters, tracings, and photos on the endpapers. The author's note adds a lot to the story. Very nice!...more
I loved this one. It made me feel very nostalgic for one of those perfect childhood days that you know you will always remember. The relationship showI loved this one. It made me feel very nostalgic for one of those perfect childhood days that you know you will always remember. The relationship shown between Lizzie (Lois!) and her father who has just returned from the war also adds a tender touch to this wonderful picture book. This reminded me a bit of Jane Yolen's Owl Moon.
I'm not sure if younger children would really appreciate this. It's one of those picture books I believe would work best with older children. This is definitely a picture book that I, as an adult, found very touching. I loved the picture of young Lois at the end in her oversize plaid hunting shirt!...more
This is really a remarkable idea for a history book. Genevieve Foster explains in clear, simple language and nice, short chapters the events and peoplThis is really a remarkable idea for a history book. Genevieve Foster explains in clear, simple language and nice, short chapters the events and people that were noteworthy in George Washington's world - which includes leaders of countries, scientists, soldiers, inventors, philosophers and many others around the world. Each chapter begins with an illustrated two-page spread introducing the people living and the events that took place during that particular time in George Washington's life.
It took me a while to make much headway through this book. I think it was partly due to the short chapters and the switch to a new topic or person with each chapter. It was too easy to read just a chapter or two and then find something else to do or another book to read. Also, I was expecting to read a bit more about George Washington and his life. He is included, of course, but it feels like during much of the book he is merely the device to introduce other people or events. But as I continued to read, I was captured more and more with the events and the flow of history. I enjoyed Foster's explanations of the historical context of events and the reasons behind many of the political decisions made. I was particularly caught up in her descriptions of the French Revolution. And, of course, I did learn a lot about George Washington himself. I wish the book had a bibliography or an explanation of Foster's research for the book. I would love to know how many books she read or consulted in her research.
This won a Newbery Honor award in 1942. Was it a popular book with children back then? I don't know, but I'm sure it didn't hold a candle to another Newbery Honor that same year: Little Town on the Prairie. This would be a great book for students to gain some perspective on history during George Washington's life, but I think it would be a hard book to sell to most students these days. I will soon be reading Foster's Abraham Lincoln's World which also won a Newbery Honor. 3.5 stars....more
There's always room for another book telling the story of a Holocaust survivor. This is a particularly nice one for young adults. It isn't too long orThere's always room for another book telling the story of a Holocaust survivor. This is a particularly nice one for young adults. It isn't too long or graphic, but still doesn't pull punches in sharing the experiences of 15-year-old Jack Mandelbaum.
Jack survived his time in concentrations camps for several reasons. He made good friends who gave him good advice and who helped him to laugh and keep his optimism going through his darkest days and moods of despair. His family was also a huge factor. He had a burning desire to survive so that he could be reunited with his family. He also made several key decisions. He decided, based on advice from a friend, that he would not take what was happening to him personally. He would treat it like a game in which he would outlast the Nazis. Also, he would not complain, but would act respectful, be likable and cooperative, and as good of a worker as he could. He chose not to hate the kapos, the guards, or the officers. He felt that the negative emotion of hate would consume energy that he needed for survival. He said, "In spite of all the terrible things that happened to me, I did not allow Hitler to make me feel less than human. I had been raised well and I knew who I was. My strategy was not to allow myself to hate. I knew I could be consumed by hate."
After all of that, with good decisions and some luck, Jack survived the concentration camps. The sad part is that of the 80 people in Jack's extended family, only five survived. None of his immediate family survived.
Because of the way Jack chose to live during his concentration camp experiences, he has some very wise advice for the rest of us. He says:
One thing people wonder is why the Jews did not defend themselves, why we were like lambs led to the slaughter. In truth, many Jews fought back bravely. But the Holocaust was so well planned that we were overwhelmed. It started with little acts of racism and discrimination and eventually led to the murder of millions of innocents. We thought the European people would rise up out of basic decency and defend us. Some tried, but not enough. We must never think the Holocaust cannot happen again.
This one definitely lives up to its title - especially the "adventures" part. Homer gets into one adventure after another without even a space for breThis one definitely lives up to its title - especially the "adventures" part. Homer gets into one adventure after another without even a space for breath in-between. I enjoyed some of the adventures more than others, but all in all I think this is a nice addition to the Newbery Honor list of historical fiction war stories. 3.5 stars....more
Wow. Just wow. This is going to be one of those books I can't write a proper review for. I just now finished it and I'm still on that world, with thosWow. Just wow. This is going to be one of those books I can't write a proper review for. I just now finished it and I'm still on that world, with those characters, feeling overwhelmed by it all. I waited a long time to read this because I knew it would just engulf me - and I wasn't sure it would all end well. How could it? I already know from the previous two books that Patrick Ness doesn't pull his punches. And this deals with huge issues such as war, power, leadership, personal relationships, community relationships, father-son relationships, loyalty and love. If those issues are to be properly explored, properly FELT, how can things end well? And I was right. There are terrible, horrible, awful things that happen. But there are also some wonderful, joyous, amazing things that happen. I am glad I finally read this. Now I want to go back and read them all again. I want to read The Knife of Never Letting Go again knowing how it all ends....more
If you don't know much about Walt Whitman, this book is a great starting point! It will also make you want to learn more - or at the very least you wiIf you don't know much about Walt Whitman, this book is a great starting point! It will also make you want to learn more - or at the very least you will want to read more of his poetry: "O Captain! my Captain!" This would be a great book for introducing Walt Whitman to older students, or as a companion book in a unit about Abraham Lincoln or the Civil War. Barbara Kerley's text and Brian Selznick's illustrations work hand-in-hand to tell the story of Whitman's life. Don't skip the author's and illustrator's notes at the end. They really add a new dimension to the book. Also, longer excerpts of several of Whitman's poems are included at the end. This definitely deserves its Sibert Honor award....more