If you're not familiar with The Best Political Cartoons series, it wouldn't be a bad idea to familiarize...more
by Gary Varvel; Indianapolis Star.
If you're not familiar with The Best Political Cartoons series, it wouldn't be a bad idea to familiarize yourself with these books. They're great primary source reading that gives an outstanding overview of the political discourse and climate of the United States during the previous year.
So, since this is the 2013 edition, it deals with the 2012 election, Syria, the economy, Iran, Obamacare, Islamic Extremism, ect... Social issues include marriage equity, surveillance, guns... There's a lot. 2012 was a big year. They all are, right?
The books do a great job of presenting all sides. They have cartoons that are obviously left, obviously right, obviously centrist, and cartoons that are simply pointing out the facts - like this one by Bob Gorrell:
I don't see this as a dig against Republicans or Democrats as much as pointing out the common perception that the Republican base was having a hard time rallying around their candidate.
And a lot of the cartoons (like the one that introduces this review) dealt with issues that we all agree on - what's happened (and is happening??? Where's the coverage gone???) in Syria is abhorrent. As was the Aurora shooting, or the Penn State scandal. ...It's not to say that the book didn't include cartoons that dealt with those issues once they became politicized - it did. But it included them all.
Each image gives plenty to think about, and its an added value that we can compare them as well. Or take them as a whole. For instance, as abhorrent as the Penn State scandal was, to me, most of the cartoons point that there was a rush to judgement before all the evidence was in. Maybe I'm biased, but I have read the Clemente Report - which was done by James Clemente - a (maybe the) FBI agent in the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit - and specialized in child sexual victimization. And I've also read The Berlin Report - done by Frederick Berlin, an expert in child pedophilia. I mean, when I say expert... he's an associate prof at Johns Hopkins, he's got a Ph.D. in the field, and an M.D. to boot. Both of these reports came out after all of the cartoons (and the media hoop-la) on Penn State.
Maybe there wasn't a rush to judgement, but when I can read an entire section of cartoons which were drawn before all the information was in, and which cost a lot of people - not the least of whom were the victims who may end up seeing the wrong people punished for the crimes perpetrated against them - it gives me pause. What can I say? Do I blame the cartoonists? No. Emotions were high.
I'm not sure how this got off on a Penn State tangent - especially when there are much bigger topics to tackle: Syria, Iranian Nuclear Physicists being assassinated... I guess I just let my emotions get the better of me. But with these cartoons we can look at any of those topics as a whole, as individual cartoons, look at a couple and compare them...
The book is worth buying - especially if you're a teacher.
*I'm allowed to use these images for a number of reasons: They're in the context of a review. They're already freely available online. They're adding value for the original artist. It's non-commercial. If you're the artist, and would like to give me permission to use your work, I'd love to put "used with permission" underneath.(less)
It's rarer still when I award 5 stars to two books in a row.
I knew very little about Benedict Arnold. I knew he was a traitor who had been a war hero. I also knew he liked his eggs a certain way - with Hollandaise sauce or something. (Just kidding. I'm not sure why Eggs Benedict have that name. But it could be because they're betraying eggs by pretending to be something else, right? Right?...)
Arnold's one of those guys I should have learned more about early on - or else he's someone I did learn about - but then forgot about as well.
At any rate - I know plenty about him now. The story is incredible. I mean, it strains belief. How could this guy turn so fast? There have to be some conspiracy theories out there...
Definitely another one worth reading. Fantastic.(less)
Cancer cancer cancer, cancer cancer cancer cancer. Cancer cancer cancer cancer. CANCER! Cancer cancer cancer cancer? Cancer cancer. (view spoiler)[God...moreCancer cancer cancer, cancer cancer cancer cancer. Cancer cancer cancer cancer. CANCER! Cancer cancer cancer cancer? Cancer cancer. (view spoiler)[God? (hide spoiler)] Cancercancercancercancercancer... Cancer.
"Cancer," cancer cancer.
"Cancer?" cancer cancer, cancerly.
"Cancer cancer cancercancer."
(view spoiler)[What is the religious outlook here? Mocking? Endearing? Are we grateful for the literal heart of Jesus? After all, they kept going back. (hide spoiler)]
Cancer cancer CANCER cancercancercancercancercancercancer Cancer. Cancer. Cancer. (view spoiler)[And what of definition? Should cancer define us? Or blindness? Or being homosexual? Or our occupation? Teacher? Lawyer? Firefighter? Author? Politician? Cancer? (hide spoiler)] Cancer cancer.
Cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer (view spoiler)[And sex? (hide spoiler)] cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer (view spoiler)[And youth? (hide spoiler)] CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER.
(view spoiler)["This book is a work of fiction. Neither novels or their readers benefit from attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story. Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the fundamental assumption of our species. I appreciate your cooperation in this matter." ...Bullshit. (hide spoiler)]
Cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer.
(view spoiler)[You make that claim, that it's a work of complete fiction. That trying to figure out whether there are facts in the story will "attack the idea that made up stories matter" yet in the very story we just read - - - we see a story: An Imperial Affliction... the story that mattered more than ANY other story to Hazel Grace. An Imperial Affliction, a story of fiction, written from the experiences of Van Houten. It still mattered. (hide spoiler)]
Cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer.
(view spoiler)[Besides, the warning was already in the book. Why put it in twice? The author doth protest too much, methinks. It's almost as if you want us to go looking for Esther Earl - the person to whom you dedicated the book. The person with Grace for a middle name. And a first name of Esther, star. But, I'll honor your wish and not go digging around. I won't insert back-story that's not there. But there is one there. And it only strengthens the book. And we both know that. (hide spoiler)]
Cancer cancer; cancer cancer! Cancer = cancer cancer cancer. Cancer? Yes, cancer. Cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer. Cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer cancer Cancer cancer (view spoiler)[Some people with cancer enjoy trips to Disney World. Donate to Make-A-Wish HERE - seriously... go ahead and donate $25 or $50 bucks. You may not have the money, but neither do these kids. (hide spoiler)] Cancer cancer cancer cancer.
My brother recommended this book to me, and I finally got around to reading it. I have to say, it's caused me more trouble than I anticipated because...moreMy brother recommended this book to me, and I finally got around to reading it. I have to say, it's caused me more trouble than I anticipated because there are others around me who are upset that I haven't recently read any of the books they recommended to me.
*Ahem* You know who you are *Ahem*
I'm fairly certain he recommended the book because it's his legs on the cover of this edition. I'm not 100% on that, but close. I'm going to call him for a picture of his legs to prove it to you. For real. Those jeans. Those shoes. That posture.
The book was good. A little weird at times - given that it was trying to tackle blind patriotism and voyeurism at the same time... Yeah... a little weird. But it was good.
It reminded me a lot of Avi's book, Nothing But the Truth. Both deal with kids who question whether saying the pledge is a good indicator of how much we actually love our country.
Some good news? The US is moving up in the world. ...Although, I bet the rankings came out before the NSA disclosures. Changes? I'm pretty sure the changes will be: People working for the NSA/CIA/FBI/Illuminati/ETC are no longer allowed to disclose what's going on. YEAH! I'M TALKING TO YOU SNOWDEN! AND ASSANGE! AND ELLSBERG! AND MANNING!
Hopefully I won't get in trouble for posting this review online. PRISM - you know I love you.(less)
One of my students gave me this book to read because it deals with Social Studies stuff, the main character's wife is Croatian and I lived in Croatia...moreOne of my students gave me this book to read because it deals with Social Studies stuff, the main character's wife is Croatian and I lived in Croatia for quite a while, and there was no AR quiz for it, so... could I maybe make one?...
No problem. And make one I did. I checked it out on www.arbookfind.com and didn't see a quiz about a month ago... but I just checked again and... a quiz is there.
Oh well. He'll get more points from their quiz (17) I would have given 12 to the book.
We're living in a time of polarizing extremes when it comes to politics. Is it the worst it's been? I don't know. We haven't seen one senator caning another in a while, but who knows what the future holds.
Empire looks at the United States on the unsuspecting cusp of a second Civil (or Revolutionary depending on who you talk to) War. There are lots of reasons people would argue that it can't/won't happen here, but Card makes some valid points that given the right scenario a spark can catch.
It’s easy to think that in a Civil War pitting red states against blue states there’d be no Mason/Dixon, no geographical distinction – and therefore we’d have an unfightable war. Just because we had that distinction last time doesn’t mean we’ll need one this time. Card points us to Rwanda where the Hutu and Tutsi were mixed geographically throughout the country. I may point out India, where right after they gained independence they crashed into a civil war based on religion – the Muslims moving to Pakistan, and the Hindus moving into India. There were general geographic distinctions (like red state/blue state) but they were also deceptive.
The book made me think through a lot of possibilities and whether or not we were really there. It made me go back and read The Federalist #10. It made me watch the highlights of this guy’s rally... books make me do a lot of things... in those regards, it was a good book. But I didn’t think it was Card’s best writing. There was a lot of dialogue, there were a lot of snippety facts thrown in that I loved as a Social Studies teacher, but I’m not sure how much the average middle schooler/ high schooler would be able to pick up. (Hong Kong v. China v. Taiwan; Farsi v. Arabic; Croatians and Serbians;... you know, passing references to a lot of facts...) There were some mistakes in the text as well (minor though they be...) For instance on page 321: “The only U.S. military ************** or ********** in ************ were ************** and ********** ... and then the ************...” But he forgot about the guys flying the planes. (Sorry, I didn’t want to spoil it, but I also don’t want the accuracy of this book review to come into question – as has in the past. A year from now if some punk kid who thinks the book deserves 5 stars and not 3 comes on here and says, “What are you talking about? Mistakes in the book... there are no mistakes... now you know... take that fictional punk kid...) Maybe it’s minor, and maybe that’s the only one... but I felt like there were a couple places that didn’t really mesh up.
What can I say? It made me think. Do I need more than that from a book? (less)
Once again Language Arts teachers, this book is a good reason why you should refrain from equating protagonist with “the good guy.” While Helikaon (Aeneas) is definitely the protagonist and definitely a guy, there are many instances throughout the book where the term “good” does not apply to him. While the author does an amazing job of getting the readers to feel sympathetic towards him, he is at times a butcher.
I’ve read few books that I’ve felt were paced this well. I didn’t have wait forty pages between peaks in the action, but it wasn’t like I was running along a flat high elevation plateau though either. The action was constant, but it was also constantly built and developed.
I don’t know enough about the Greeks and Trojans, their myths and their histories. It’s been years since I’ve studied that stuff. One of the great things about globalization is that with a shared global culture (to some extent) most people have had some exposure to the stories. You don’t need a deep background historical knowledge to enjoy this book. I’m betting you’ll like it as it is.
I’m hesitant to put it on my middle school/ junior high shelf as there is pretty extreme violence in several places. It’s obviously (like Hunger Games for example) been toned down, and could have been made gratuitous... but I’m not sure I could recommend it without feeling a little guilty. At least it’s being marketed to the older Young Adult crowd... (less)
In an abundance of Holocaust literature, (and media in general) this book takes a step forward and sets itself apart from the rest.
Corrie ten Boom nar...moreIn an abundance of Holocaust literature, (and media in general) this book takes a step forward and sets itself apart from the rest.
Corrie ten Boom narrates the story of WWII Holland. How the Dutch thought the war wouldn't come to them, but how quickly it came anyway and how the occupation changed everything. She describes her brother bringing home a beaten Jew on the evening of the family watch shop's 100th anniversary.
They open their home as the titled Hiding Place.
What strikes me is the resolve of everyone involved. There is no whining or complaining, but rather a simple taking of life as it's given. This goes for both Jews and Christians in the story. As is true in all Holocaust stories, it is amazing what people can deal with. But, the joy in the lives of those (Jew and Christian) involved in this story is truly remarkable.
Sometimes I wondered if it was too remarkable. The profound wisdom of Corrie's father and the reconciliatory heart of Betsie, her sister made me wonder if Corrie was projecting her own memories of them into her story. But, by the end of the story I thought 1: it's probably accurate because she'd been true to her beliefs and what she'd taught throughout - and how could she make it without that support? And 2: It doesn't matter anyway. At a time when people could have been validated in calling for blood, as was done after WWI, she was calling for forgiveness and reconciliation - traits she presumably learned from her father and had her sister help uplift and carry along with them.
Of course, this is ignoring the biggest theme of the book, and the deepest encouragement for Ten Boom: her faith. I was surprised there weren't more negative reviews of the book based on this. I had my defense all lined up, so I'll give it anyway.
Corrie was always preaching the Gospel of Christ, but never in a judgmental or demeaning way. To me, the book came across the same way. One was able to tell the steadfastness with which Corrie believed. It was evident that this belief (and those who share her belief would say God Himself) helped carry her through the horrors that all prisoners of the Holocaust faced. It was evangelistic, but she never belittled the Jews she was with, instead recognizing their faith carrying them through as well. In this way she reminded me of Gandhi. She continually took the beatings and imprisonment and continually responded with love (albeit with Civil Disobedience as well.)
I don't mean to say she was ecumenical or Universalist by any means. She believed what she believed. (As did Gandhi.) But she was respectful.
I was worried that some would feel like it was an attempt to commandeer the Holocaust from the Jews and tell a Christian story instead... and I did find one reviewer that said just that... But the Holocaust was a world tragedy. There is no word in any language to describe the atrocities the Jews were put through during that time. None. But to claim that the Holocaust was only hard on them is foolishness and historically inaccurate. It's insulting to the gypsies, political opponents, mentally handicapped, et al as well as insulting to the Jews themselves. The Ten Booms and Jews stood together as friends; as counterparts, and that shouldn't be trivialized.
This was an outstanding story about an outstanding family. Liz and I read it out loud. She would be embarrassed if I told you how many times she cried while reading it. Not that I cried any during the reading. Books can't do that to you - especially not macho tough guys like me, right?(less)
*I just had a kid ask me today if I'd read this book... it's in our class collection... I couldn't remember. To me, that's a bad sign for a book that...more*I just had a kid ask me today if I'd read this book... it's in our class collection... I couldn't remember. To me, that's a bad sign for a book that I read less than a year ago... Maybe I should bump my review down to 2 stars after all...* *edit Sept. 7, 2011*
-Original Review-Dec. 1, 2010- You know how sometimes books try to trick kids into thinking they're fun books, but they're really these boring books with teachery morals that kids see right through?
Well, I felt that way for the first half of the book. If it hadn't turned around it would be a one-starred (maybe 2) book.
San, our unlikely and flawed hero lets us know at the beginning that school is lame, teachers are as well, cafeteria food is gross, and plenty of other school clichés that everyone knows will be proved wrong by the end of the book.
Maybe Sonnenblick thought Junior Highers won't have experienced that in writing yet. And, maybe some of them haven't. I just found myself getting annoyed at it. I mean, maybe school is lame, maybe teachers are too... but if you're going to write about lame teachers, you have to take a novel approach.
San, was also quite the Mary-Sue.
That said, I could get into the second half of the book. It seemed more real to me. (Maybe this was intentional since the book's theme and moral was that lying is bad... and facing the truth can hurt as well)
So, will I push this one on my students? I don't think so. Maybe I will, but with the caveat emptor reader.(less)
**spoiler alert** I don't know... two stars seems awfully stingy for a Newberry winner. But, whatever. You can't win them all. Maybe it was because I...more**spoiler alert** I don't know... two stars seems awfully stingy for a Newberry winner. But, whatever. You can't win them all. Maybe it was because I listened to this book and it was one that needed to be read. (Which also accounts for why I'm probably misspelling all the names.)
If you didn't read it, I fully intend on spoiling everything. And soon. So at least prepare yourself.
Lynn dies. Alright, we all saw that one coming. And actually, I didn't have a problem with that. I kinda thought Sammy was going to die too, but he pulled through after having his leg caught in a steel trap.
I get that some people get annoyed at all the sentimental dog, girl, best-friend, girl-friend, best-dog-girlfriend end-of-the-book deaths there are out there. I get annoyed by it sometimes too, but for me the death was the best part about the book. I don't mean that in a sarcastic way either, I thought it was well written, clear, and moving. Not all death scenes are like that. This one wasn't forced. It was foreshadowed, but not spoon-fed. And it wasn't a jump the shark, coming out of nowhere death either.
My problem with the book was that I didn't really care that much about the rest of it. I found myself zoning out during instead of engulfed. That's not the place I want to be when I read (or listen to) a book.
Furthermore, I'm looking for books to use cross-curricularly and although this one was good - dealing with some racial tensions, Japanese-American culture, and touching on Buddhism - it just wasn't enough. There are better fits out there.
Are two stars too stingy? Perhaps. But that's what we're all here for folks.