Eleven tells the story of Winnie, from the time she turns 11 in the March of fifth grade to the time she turns 12 in the March of sixth grade. My kids...moreEleven tells the story of Winnie, from the time she turns 11 in the March of fifth grade to the time she turns 12 in the March of sixth grade. My kids had mixed views of the book so I was curious about whether I would like it or not.
The book is incredibly easy to read, with the story moving right along, one chapter for each month. It is not at all disjointed or choppy despite obviously only covering a handful of events from the year. The author does an excellent job of pulling it all together into one coherent plot. The main characters are realistic and engaging.
The reason this is a three star book instead of more is that there were several things that happened in the book that just weren't realistic. I won't tell more to not spoil it for others, but I think the author has forgotten what school culture is like! Because the characters are so believable, I doubt that my unschooled kids picked up on the lack of realism in some some of the school scenes, but they were glaringly inaccurate to me! I think that any kids who go to school will notice them right away. On the other hand, the story is so good otherwise that they might be able to ignore those faults.
At the beginning of the book, there were a couple of instances when characters, although realistic, didn't treat other characters very nicely, and the author frequently uses negative terms to describe people who are just different. I found myself bristling at those parts, perhaps because I am quite "different."
By the end of the book, I realized that the author had her reasons, and I now think this is an excellent book for 4th - 6th grade students, it could even be a class read aloud. The school culture disparencies could be used as conversation starters in a classroom environment.(less)
This was an excellent book! One of those books that I think everyone should read. A book that should be on every school's "reading list."
The book tak...moreThis was an excellent book! One of those books that I think everyone should read. A book that should be on every school's "reading list."
The book takes place roughly 2001-2002 in Afghanistan and Pakistan following two people: one a shepherd girl from a fictional North Afghanistan village and the other the American wife of an Afghan doctor who is living near a refugee camp for Afghans in Pakistan while her husband works at a clinic in war torn Northern Afghanistan. A series of probable events brings these two people together.
The book shows Northern Afghan culture as well as a lot of the culture of Pakistan, from the wealthy University professors to more typical Pakistani to the poor and the refugees. It also shows recent events in the part of the world in a realistic light. (The author was a reporter and did volunteer work in Afghanistan and Pakistan during this time period.) Although the reading level and tone of the book are suitable for 4-8th graders, there is plenty here for discussion and thought for older students and adults.(less)
When Matt's uncle, gives him a baby toy for a present, a very cool baby toy, but nonetheless a baby toy, they come to a meeting of the minds, and his...moreWhen Matt's uncle, gives him a baby toy for a present, a very cool baby toy, but nonetheless a baby toy, they come to a meeting of the minds, and his uncle tells him he'll make it up to him by sending him a horse. He warns him that it could be awhile to arrange it, but Matt is willing to be patient to see his dream of owning a horse come true!
When the horse arrives, hilarity ensues! Will Matt be able to keep this "horse of his dreams?" Read this great book for horselovers to find out.(less)
Although this book was written for a younger reader, about a third grade level I would say, it had a wonderful witty, sarcastic tone that made it inte...moreAlthough this book was written for a younger reader, about a third grade level I would say, it had a wonderful witty, sarcastic tone that made it interesting and fun to read. The plot sort of fell apart at the end, or at least, I didn't like the direction it went, but I still think it is one of the best books that I ever read written for this reading level.(less)
I gave it 4 stars but it was more like a 3.5. Some parts of the book just didn't hold up the way they should have in my adult mind. This is the kind o...moreI gave it 4 stars but it was more like a 3.5. Some parts of the book just didn't hold up the way they should have in my adult mind. This is the kind of book that could lead to intense discussions with my children about things like parenting and religion and world views/life philosophies though.
It is a part of a great series though, and there is the nostalgia factor so four stars it is.(less)