"Death By Toilet Paper" is one of the best-written children's books I've read in over thirty years of parenting and over two decades of teaching. Ben"Death By Toilet Paper" is one of the best-written children's books I've read in over thirty years of parenting and over two decades of teaching. Ben is a young boy whose father has died, and his mom is struggling to pay their past-due rent as the threat of eviction looms over them. The characters in the story are totally believable, well-developed, and easily identified with. I've just finished reading this one to my grade four class, and it caused toilet paper to take over: science experiments, social studies connections with our area's wood being used in toilet paper production, a jingle-writing contest for toilet paper in music class, integration of math skills....and the list goes on. We'll be finishing up the unplanned toilet-paper unit next week with a visit to a factory which produces toilet paper. All of this from a 'kids' book!' I enjoyed the story as much as my students, and this would be a great book for a parent or grandparent to read with a child. Suspenseful moments at every turn kept my students begging for more! ...more
This outstanding novel is populated with totally believable characters: a 'not even on the bottom rung of the social ladder' boy whose mother has diedThis outstanding novel is populated with totally believable characters: a 'not even on the bottom rung of the social ladder' boy whose mother has died, a 'fighting to stay on top of the social ladder' obnoxious teen girl whose parents have divorced, single parents struggling to keep things 'normal,' and a gay dad living in a guest house too close for his daughter's comfort. Although the boy is never identified as being autistic, he does seem to be, and he just does not fit when his dad and her mom decide to move in together. Secrets about, and you know what they say about secrets: two people can keep one, as long as one of them is dead. ...more
I've debated reading this one, written by the mother of one of the Columbine shooters, primarily because I had the preconceived arrogant attitude thatI've debated reading this one, written by the mother of one of the Columbine shooters, primarily because I had the preconceived arrogant attitude that these parents simply couldn't have been good parents and been that clueless; I expected the book to be one long excuse from a really horrid mother. Then I noticed that all of the author's profits were going towards mental health, which has been a topic close to my heart recently - and the book was on sale. I won't sugar-coat this one for you: reading this book is like being stopped in traffic at a dreadful accident scene. You don't want to look, but you also can't keep from looking. This book sheds a glaring light on the workings of a mind that is suffering from mental health issues, and it's not pretty. It's also haunting to imagine oneself as the parent of a young adult who has committed a heinous crime - torn between the love one has felt for the child since the first stirrings in the womb and the horror of the reality of what that person has done. I owe my deepest apologies to Sue Klebold for having been so judgemental, and my grateful appreciation for laying her soul bare to allow others to understand how such a horrendous event can occur....more
Quite frankly, I found this book baffling. There is truly no plot; a grand-daughter is interviewing her grandmother about her life in America, where sQuite frankly, I found this book baffling. There is truly no plot; a grand-daughter is interviewing her grandmother about her life in America, where she was born after her family immigrated. The reader never discovers why the grand-daughter is doing the interview, nor is there a clear conclusion to this story. The discussion between grand-daughter and grandmother just ends. There are meandering plot lines in the grandmother's story, which actually becomes the entire family's story, as well as the story of some friends, and therefore is interesting in the context of the historical period.
The weaknesses in the writing can't completely smother what becomes a 'coming of age in America as a woman' story, complete with a variety of female characters from meek to strong.
Paula Hawkins has a genuine gift for writing fiction that draws the reader in so deeply that mundane needs, such as sleep and food, take a back seat tPaula Hawkins has a genuine gift for writing fiction that draws the reader in so deeply that mundane needs, such as sleep and food, take a back seat to finding out what happens next! (It's a good thing I read this while on vacation, or my work would surely have suffered.) With a small cast of characters tied together in a myriad of ways, Hawkins takes the reader on a train ride through suspicion and uncertainty, during which one may start questioning the truth of that which we only observe. What dark secrets are hiding in the lives of those we think we know?...more
Secrets do have a way of begetting yet more secrets, don't they? In this suspense-filled novel, the mother of a child with a rare medical condition fiSecrets do have a way of begetting yet more secrets, don't they? In this suspense-filled novel, the mother of a child with a rare medical condition finds herself faced with a moral dilemma: does she confess to the crime she has accidently committed, leaving her children while she serves prison time, or does she keep her secret as investigators continue to look in all the wrong places? Carla Buckley's characters are people with whom you'll identify; they live in your neighbourhood, you work with them, you're related to them, or you know someone who knows them. Like Picoult, Ms. Buckley is such a master of character development that you'll feel yourself entwined in their lives, having inklings of everyone's secrets, and you won't want to put the book down. ...more
It would be so easy to overlook the 'Sisterchicks' books, given their somewhat repetitive format as great friends end up in unlikely places together,It would be so easy to overlook the 'Sisterchicks' books, given their somewhat repetitive format as great friends end up in unlikely places together, but to do so would be to miss meeting such a variety of characters, some predictable and some unique! This series of books center around two great adult female friends who become traveling companions, often under surprising circumstances. If you have that best friend who can finish your sentences and provide therapy when you need it, you'll recognize yourselves in Gunn's characters. If you don't have that kind of best friend, you'll feel an immediate need to find one.
In this book, an accidental meeting results in the friends traveling to England, where they believe they'll spend a week in London, seeing all the typical tourist sites. The week takes them to 'small town, England' before they finally make it to London, but their detours are both amusing and heart-warming.
The Sisterchicks books make for great light reads, with characters that feel like friends and settings that will make you want to pack a suitcase and renew your passport. Enjoy!...more
Truly, I loved the insights into how education can change a village, a country, and a world, and I marveled at the unselfishness of Greg's wife and faTruly, I loved the insights into how education can change a village, a country, and a world, and I marveled at the unselfishness of Greg's wife and family as they spent so much time without him while he traveled for his cause. I just felt that much of the book was 'filler,' text written only to expand the pages while not being an integral part of his story. I found his ability to learn and become accepted in a foreign culture absolutely fascinating, however, and I wholeheartedly endorse his cause. I know there has been much controversy over the book and whether all of it is actually true, but the bottom line is that education does change lives, and that's the book's message....more