I've been teaching a small social studies methods course. This story was assigned to us by one of the students in the class. We agreed to read it, eveI've been teaching a small social studies methods course. This story was assigned to us by one of the students in the class. We agreed to read it, even though it had already been read by literally half of the class.
I should add here that the class was composed of 2 students.
It was good. The goodreads file is obviously incorrect. It wasn't first published in 1990. I'm sure it's saying that it was first published by this publisher in 1990, but to me that seems misleading.
Lines like "One day the atom bomb will fix Earth. Then we'll be safe here." are a dead give-away that this is a piece of Cold War Sci-Fi. Indeed, it was first published as "The Naming of Names" in 1949.
I may read this with my students next year if we're allowed to have social studies and language arts back-to-back. (I'm pulling for this.)
It'd be a nice little addition to our unit on colonization. We could also address cultural assimilation, and refugees.
I didn't like certain sections of Bradbury's writing, though. Parts came across like he himself didn't know how he wanted to say what he wanted to say.
I can get away with that... I'm some random guy writing a rambling review online. ...He's Ray Bradbury.
A couple last thoughts: I read this from THIS LINK. It had some nice added materials which helped me pick up things I might have missed: the use of wind, water, and sun in the story.
I kept thinking of Gone With the Wind's "Red Earth of Tara" as well. That story too is of dramatic change. And Mars is the Red planet. The land is what they clung to. Also, Gone With the Wind was first published in 1936, and the movie premiered in 1939.
Could I not think of (if you know your history, this might give something away, so: (view spoiler)[Roanoke and Croatoan? ...Whatever happened to those guys? (hide spoiler)]
And, maybe I'm reading into this, but again, it was written in '49. Did it have anything to do with integration and segregation?
(view spoiler)[Neverland makes you forget. We are all of us our former selves. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Lorax is not a story about the environment, it's a story about economics.
I had never read The Lorax before yesterday, and I hadn't watched the movThe Lorax is not a story about the environment, it's a story about economics.
I had never read The Lorax before yesterday, and I hadn't watched the movie. In class, we're studying economics when another teacher said, "hey could I bring in The Lorax tomorrow?"
Obviously, I'm familiar with Dr. Seuss - and the book, but I'd never read it. Still, I trust this other teacher who has yet to let me down. "Sure, bring it in."
The rest of this review is going to be a 7th grade social studies lesson, meant to help me remember to come back to this book next year. If there are other social studies teachers out there who want to know how I teach economics and specifically externalities (what they had been calling economic spillover), here you go: (I'll talk more about why The Lorax is about the economy rather than environment at the end...):
I tell the students that the economy deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods. We simplify it by saying it's making, sending/selling, and buying/using stuff.
This is why we think about money and jobs when we discuss the economy... making stuff is the job, which allows people to get money.
I then tell the kids a story. I want to get a drink of water. So, I start to pour myself a glass. While I'm pouring, some spills over onto the ground. A flower grows. Some also lands on a baby making it cry.
Why did I pour my water? Did I want to grow a flower? Did I want a baby to cry? No. I poured my water because I was thirsty. Those other things that happened were unintended consequences - both positive and negative - of pouring the glass of water.
When people build a factory, why do they do it? To make money. To make a profit. This is why the Once-ler built his Thneed factory. He wanted to make a profit.
He talks about the Brown Bar-ba-loots leaving, "I the Once-ler, felt sad as I watched them all go. BUT... business is business! And business must grow regardless of crummies in tummies, you know."
Did the Once-ler want the Brown Bar-ba-loots to leave? Did he want the air to darken? Was his intent for the Swomee-Swans to fly away, quieted? No.
Economic Spillover ( externality) = the positive and negative unintended consequences of economic development.
The Once-ler wanted his Thneeds to make money, and make money they did.
The problem is in a completely free and unregulated market economy, profit is god, at the expense of everything else - in this case, the book chooses to focus on the environment... but again, it's really about economics and corporate greed.
Of course Seuss isn't saying buying things (or market economy) is bad. We all have needs. ...But we also have Thneeds: things we think we need. And if our Thneeds are causing more harm than the amount we need them, maybe it's time to re-evaluate what we're buying and why.
Great book. I can't believe I haven't read it before....more
At the beginning of this school year, a teacher told me she was planning on using this book when she started teaching ancient civilizations. So, I wenAt the beginning of this school year, a teacher told me she was planning on using this book when she started teaching ancient civilizations. So, I went to the library and checked it out.
Inside the book, I found this note:
Now, being from a rather small town, I recognized both the names on the note, and I know that this person also teaches ancient civilizations in a different school district. (I'll have to ask if the school ever coughed up the money to buy the books themselves... I hope so, but quite often administrators purchase what they think we'll use rather than what we will use... And more often than not, we're told to "work with what we have...")
The point is, 2 separate teachers, from two separate school districts used this book. And being that they teach the same thing I teach, it's probably worth checking out. I'm not trying to be a band-wagoner, but if something seems to be working, why not at least give it a try?
One notable difference in the way we read the book, and the way most other reviewers on here read the book is that Wesley being somewhat of an outcast is only a minor subplot. It's a device used to keep the story going.
The story is about the development of agriculture which led to the division of labor, system of writing, and ultimately civilization. The book introduces all of these, along with culture as a whole, and economics.
While it's intended for younger audiences, like many good children's books/ picture books, older kids can pick up on the topics the younger ones missed. And adults can appreciate the art and story in ways that most 7th graders can't.
Of course, for some people, the story is way over their head, and they can only focus on "the funny puppy running." (I thought maybe Poppy would help with her first review. ...Maybe next time.)...more
When I first started reading this, I was certain I was going to give it one star. It was just so... teacher-y. The vocabulary, the pacing... I don't kWhen I first started reading this, I was certain I was going to give it one star. It was just so... teacher-y. The vocabulary, the pacing... I don't know, everything.
It didn't read like an adventure; it read like a textbook. ...For little kids. ...That a teacher was trying to trick them into reading.
I mostly still feel that way even now. But because I felt like I learned something, I feel like the trick worked. So, kudos to the author.
It's sad how little I know about Ancient Egypt - especially given the fact that I teach it. But I feel the same way about U.S. History. And we've been around for what?... (2014-1776=238) 238 years? Unless you count starting at the Constitution... in which case (2014-1787=227).
Lets go with the more common 238 years. That's a lot of history.
But the Egyptians? They were around for 3000? 4000? years... That's a lot of years. I mean, that's so much history that we're saying "about 3 or 4 thousand years" - as if the difference of that thousand years doesn't matter. And we want kids to know about the Teapot Dome Scandal?
I especially liked the parts about Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Those are a couple names I haven't heard in a while.
Bonus thoughts? I loved putting in status updates and watching my page numbers jump all over the place.
I've also added a "pro-choice" shelf for all the You Choose/ Choose Your Own Adventure books I'll be reading......more
This might top out my list of possible 7th grade social studies books. It's very good, and ties in with the Indiana Standards really well.
I'm findingThis might top out my list of possible 7th grade social studies books. It's very good, and ties in with the Indiana Standards really well.
I'm finding more and more YA literature that deals with Pre-WWII Japanese Imperialism. While I feel like - in general - Americans are still primarily focused with the European Theater, I'm sensing a shift with the distance that is now between us and the events.
We do a colonization simulation in class, in which the students create 4 cultures. One is smaller, the rest are larger. The larger ones have a surplus of natural resources. They all alter their style of dress, come up with a cheer, and create a flag.
Then the smaller one (with superior weapons) comes and colonizes the larger, destroying their culture - they tear up the original flag and replace it with one the colonizer's flags. (Students - especially ones who put a lot of time into the symbolism and art in the flag don't really enjoy this part...) They have to give their natural resources up. They have two choices, fight or surrender. If they fight, they die. (Symbolic deaths, the school system in which I work frowns upon killing students - even as an appropriate object lesson.)
In the simulation, the colonizers represent Europe - mostly because of the vastness of the British Empire - but also because of the brutality of the Belgians, the Netherlands in Indonesia, the French in Vietnam and much of Africa... etc...
Here are some things that stuck with me from this book:
The Japanese tore down and outlawed Korean flags. The Korean language was outlawed. Koreans had to take Japanese names. The Rose of Sharon - Korea's national symbol and flowering tree was torn up, and replaced by the Cherry Tree - Japans national symbol and flowering tree.
The book is good. It doesn't gloss over history, but it doesn't dwell on the horrors of the past, either - which makes it ideal for a middle school read....more
So, Roger Lancelyn Green was in The Inklings. ...Who knew? The Inklings, right? That literary group C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were in? With a buncSo, Roger Lancelyn Green was in The Inklings. ...Who knew? The Inklings, right? That literary group C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were in? With a bunch of other people everybody forgets? Well, Roger Lancelyn Green was in it - at least according to the "Author File" in the back of the Puffin book. ...And Wikipedia... Of course, a little more internet sleuthing said he wasn't a member, but rather someone who was friends with other Inklings, and occasionally attended their meetings.
Also, he was the first one to read the Narnia series. And give it the name "The Chronicles of Narnia." ...Dang it, sounds like a member to me.
I've taught Ancient Egypt to middle school students for years now - along with Ancient Mesopotamia, The Ancient Indus, Ancient China... You know, the big ones. But there's so little time, we can't really delve into it. So: pyramids, mummies, Nile, pharaohs, hieroglyphs and we're out.
And that's sad, because Egypt lasted 4000 years. Four THOUSAND. I mean, U.S. History teachers get bent out of shape because their students don't know about the XYZ Affair or the Teapot Dome Scandal. Can you imagine how the public school teachers in Ancient Egypt must have felt? All those little Egyptian kids screwing around all the time at their desks. Putting a baby crocodile on the teacher's chair.
Four thousand years of continuous civilization. (Counting the Greeks and kindof counting the Romans... Not counting the Arabs. Sorry, guys.)
So, I'm a little bit shaky on some of my Ancient Egypt knowledge. I'd never been required to read any of their myths, so I hadn't. Or at least, I'd read very few. I knew about the gods, and could have listed several: who they are, what they did. But I didn't really know the stories.
And the stories are fascinating.
I'd be interested in seeing a more direct translation now that I've read this for several reasons.
First, there's so much that overlaps with Biblical narrative. In the story, Ra and his Children, for instance so much seemed similar to Genesis. The creation of the world, separating night from day, creating man and woman... People rebelling against Ra and "did evil in his sight, worshipping the dragon of darkness..."
I mean, there are some differences, in the Bible when the people turn evil God saves them with an ark. In Ancient Egypt, Ra saves them with beer... so there's that...
Here's another one, from the story "The Land of the Dead," and humans are being judged. Among the things they say at judgement: "I have given bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothing to the naked and a boat to him who could not cross the River..." This is very similar to Christ's discussion of the judgement in Matt. 25.
And later in the same story, we hear of Apophis - the snake, the "eater of souls" who dwelt in "the Pits of Fire." Yeah, sounds familiar. I've been told not to be afraid of anyone who can kill me, but I should be afraid of the One who can destroy both my soul and body in Hell.
And Christ did spend some time in Egypt, right? Right? Now, I'm not claiming Christ is taking Egyptian belief and turning it into some sort of Judeo-Egyptian syncretistic religion, or anything like that. I'm sure others have already said that. I'm just saying I found it interesting, and I'd also be interested in reading the direct translations.
Ok, here's one more from the story, "The Taking of Joppa." The Egyptians are up in Palestine, trying to get Joppa and the governor says, "I swear to Jahwah, my god, that you shall be second only to myself in this new kingdom which we shall carve out of... dat da dat da daaa..." Did the Ancient Egyptian texts reference Jahwah? Or did Green add that to the story to give it an extra sense of veracity? And if he added that, did he add the other stuff? A quick search tells me he didn't add everything. But still, interested.
Side note, that Jahwah part reminded me of Indiana Jones. "But in the Latin alphabet, Jehovah begins with an "I."
As for the book, and the myths: I found them fascinating. I'll probably read them again sometime soon. And I may give one or two to my class to read. Don't let the cover fool you, though. This would be a challenging read for a good many middle-school students. Here's a sentence from the first page of the introduction, "The first Greek historian, whose works survive, Herodotus, visited it in about 450 BC and found that only priests could still read the ancient hieroglyphs in which inscriptions had been carved or written on the monuments since the days when Menes, the first historical Pharaoh, united the 'Two Lands' in about 3200 BC."
Or this one: The natural conditions in any land are often to a large extent responsible for its religious beliefs, the form its civilization takes, and the stories that evolve into its literature.
So, I might not go into buying this book thinking it will definitely be worth having your students read it. But for the teacher who is unfamiliar with the myths of Ancient Egypt, it's a great intro....more
I was at the library with my kids when I saw this book sitting on the shelf. Benjamin of Tudela? Who the heck is Benjamin of Tudela? Twelfth century?I was at the library with my kids when I saw this book sitting on the shelf. Benjamin of Tudela? Who the heck is Benjamin of Tudela? Twelfth century? Why is twelfth spelled so weird?
I teach social studies, so I should know this guy, right? I mean, I teach about Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta - And they hit the road not TOO much later than this guy, Ben, right? (1271 and 1325 respectively - Benjamin of Tudela left in 1159). Besides, if Benjamin was first, why aren't we learning about him?
The author, Uri Shulevitz brings up these points. Claiming that Benjamin was even the first European to record the name "China." Actually, Shulevitz's exact words are, "Benjamin was the first European to mention the existence of China, which he called Tsin." That's a pretty bold statement to make - Shulevitz has to mean "mention in writing," right? *SEE EDIT AT END OF REVIEW*
I imagine that's the whole reason we teach about Polo and Battuta: because they wrote books about their travels. (Each appropriately titled: Travels.) But Benjamin of Tudela wrote about his as well. So why don't we teach about him?
Probably because, dang: there have been a lot of people in the history of the world. I mean, like... a lot a lot.
The book has a fantastic map of his travels, too:
(That's from a blog promoting the book.)
He traveled far, and the journey took 14 years. And some of it was covered by the other travelers as well. For instance, I specifically remember reading all about The Assassins when I read The Travels by Marco Polo. And the map is beautifully rendered, but when I compared it to the other maps, Benjamin just didn't travel as far. Here, I overlayed in red his journeys compared with that of Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta. Sorry that the other colors between Polo and Battuta are so hard to tell apart.
That isn't to say we shouldn't teach about him. In fact, this book would tie in really well with so many standards and indicators I have to cover. (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Middle-East, Caliphate, Crusades, trade-routes, etc...) So, maybe I will teach it.
I will add that it was funny finding this in the same section of the library as We Are In a Book and Scaredy Squirrel. Although it's a "short children's picture book," the reading level is extremely high. And there's a lot of text. For example, I would imagine even my 7th graders would struggle with sentences such as this one: "When the crowd saw the Caliph, followed by a long retinue of all the lords of Islam, the princes of Arabia, the people grew excited and their singing increased." I tried to trick my 5 year old daughter into reading it with me, but she was having none of it.
Loved the book. Loved learning about the guy. If our school happens to run into some money, I'm going to ask for a classroom collection. ...The economy's looking great these days, right?
So, I THOUGHT it was a bold claim to make - that Benjamin was the first European to mention China - in the 12th century. Seriously, the Silk Road had already been established for over 1000 years. In all that time not ONE person had mentioned it?
So, Shulevitz is a Children's book author, and not a(n) historian, so I'm cutting him some slack. The book was still fantastic.
Back in 2013, I asked for one thing for Christmas: this book. I teach about Malala every year. I had read several articles about her with my studentsBack in 2013, I asked for one thing for Christmas: this book. I teach about Malala every year. I had read several articles about her with my students throughout the years, but I had yet to read her book.
How it happened that it still took another year and a half to read this, I don't know. My reading has tapered off this year, anybody who knows me or follows me on goodreads knows this. (I make no apologies for this, there is life to be lived, after all...)
Still... I finished the book today - or more appropriately, yesterday, since it's after midnight. I would have typed out this review sooner, but I sat down to re-watch Malala being interviewed by Jon Stewart. (It's fantastic.) And then I re-watched her more recent interview with Stewart. (You may have seen the opening. It came a couple weeks ago, after the shooting at the Charleston A.M.E. church, in which Stewart told no jokes during his opening monologue.)
And then I watched Malala address the U.N.
And then I watched her Nobel acceptance speech. The things she's saying are things that need to be heard. Not just by dignitaries and diplomats, but by all of us.
Here's something she said towards the end of the first Jon Stewart interview:
“Education is the best way. People will be thinking: there’s going to school… and learning about chemistry, and physics and maths – and that’s it. Going to school is not only learning about different subjects, it teaches you communication, it teaches you how to live a life, it teaches you about history, it teaches you about how science is working. And other than that, you learn about equality, because students are provided the same benches. They sit equally. It shows us equality. It teaches students how to live with others – how to accept each other’s language, how to accept each other’s traditions, and each other’s religion. It also teaches us justice. It also teaches us respect. It teaches us how to live together. That is why I support the idea of sending children to school – because it is the best way to fight terrorism.”
I don't think it's because I'm a public school teacher that that resonated so. I imagine it's because I'm a human. ...At least, I hope that's the reason.
Or this one, from the Nobel acceptance:
“The so-called ‘world of elders’ may understand it, but we children don’t: why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful at creating wars, but are so weak in bringing peace?”
Malala doesn't pull any punches (metaphorically of course... she's all for non-violence....) Yes, she directs most of her attention at the Taliban, who shot her, but she is also very critical of the U.S. drone policy.
"Whatever you thought about Nek Mohammed, we were not at war with the Americans, and were shocked that they would launch attacks from the sky on our soil. Across the tribal areas people were angry and many joined militant groups or formed lashkars, local militias."
"After Mullah FM had been on air for about a year, Fazlullah became more aggressive. His brother Maulana Liaquat, along with three of Liaquat's sons, were among those killed in an American drone attack on the madrasa in Banjaur at the end of October 2006. Eighty people were killed, including boys as young as twelve, some of whom had come from Swat. We were all horrified by the attack and people swore revenge."
It took weeks of back and forth between Washington and Islamabad, or rather army headquarters in Rawalpindi, before the case was finally resolved. What they did was like our traditional jirgas- the Americans paid "blood money" amounting to $2.3 million and Davis was quickly spirited out of court and out of the country. Pakistan then demanded that the CIA send home many of its contractors and stopped approving visas. The whole affair left a lot of bad feeling, particularly because on 17 March, the day after Davis was released, a drone attack on a tribal council in North Waziristan killed about forty people. The attack seemed to send a message that the CIA could do as it pleased in our country."
It's true: I don't understand war. But I can't help but think our drone policy is going to come back and bite us. Probably, it won't bite us: it will bite our children. I'm reminded of two things: a little rhyme I learned from John Green's Crash Course: Imperialism, "Whatever happens we have got/ the Maxim gun and they have not." ...Green mentions that that works to your advantage as long as it's true. As with the Maxim gun, I imagine it won't be too long before everyone has drones. (...I mean, my neighbor has one for crying out loud. It's no Predator, but still...)
The second is from the movie Gandhi, where Pakistan's own founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah says, "The world is not full of Mahatma Gandhis." Now, I don't know if he really said this, but the point holds true. And the world is not full of Malala Yousafzais, either. (Though, one believes it could be.) She may be very forgiving to both the Talib that shot her, and the foreign government that uses drones against her homeland. I'm certain that for now, much of the world would not be so forgiving.
Forgiveness and love are such strange concepts. It's odd to me that so many of us look to people like Christ, and Martin Luther King, and Gandhi, and extol their virtues, yet allow seeds of bitterness to creep into our own hearts, making forgiveness impossible until we uproot them.
Because of the shooting, it's easy to forget that Malala is just a human. A young girl. But because her voice remained strong, her message will not be lost by the bullet: universal education is universally good, will promote understanding, and help eradicate terrorism wherever it hides. ...more
If you're not familiar with The Best Political Cartoons series, it wouldn't be a bad idea to familiarize
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....more
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....more
Cancer cancer cancer, cancer cancer cancer cancer. Cancer cancer cancer cancer. CANCER! Cancer cancer cancer cancer? Cancer cancer. (view spoiler)[GodCancer 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 becauseMy 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....more
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 CroatiaOne 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? ...more
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... ...more
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 narIn 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?...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 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....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**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.