Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blizzard of Glass; The Halifax Explosion of 1917 by Sally Walker

If you look at the date on this post, it was on the 95th anniversary of the largest man-made explosion until the atom bomb was dropped 28 years later! How could something like  this happen? Take humans who knew better than anyone else, add nature's weather and harbor setup, and  maybe bad luck that set this tragic story in motion.  What happened to the sailors, parents, children, and workers that were in the way of the blast wave is not for the faint of heart. Just pick one of the kids on their way to school and see at the end if they lived though the day.  Can a school stand up to an explosion? How about a church? Did the fire kill your kid or did the kid even make it that far in the day? Remember that all the normal emergency help we take for granted today was not around in 1917. Even when help was sent from as far away as Boston, nature decided to take another shot at the survivors. This is not in your school history books, but maybe it should be. War doesn't just kill those on the front lines.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Normally, I don't include books that are picked up without my help, but since the movie was not that great, you might miss a great read. For those of you who thought the movie was great, you got to read the book to see why most of my students didn't. Percy doesn't fit in at school or home. His step dad is awful and his mom has sent him to boarding schools, but loves him enough to keep him safe any way she can. He doesn't understand until events send him to Camp Half-Blood, where he learns who his real dad really is and why this fact has been a problem his whole life. This news is only a start of  the adventures that will either kill him or worst end civilization. I have to admit, I missed at least one mythical monster coming. Will you? If you love Greek Myths or a fast paced adventure, you will not be able to put this down. I wonder if deep down Percy would want to trade places with a regular, normal middle schooler (as if there are any of those). Would you really want to trade places with him? Read this book before you answer that question.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer

I know many of you have meat the MEAN Girls at your school, but wait until you met the ones in Salem. Was it the environment that made them that way? Or did some adults with an ax to grind use the girls to get even with those who had done them wrong? Even not being in Salem was not a way to be safe once this soap opera started. 20 people died, but many more died quicker than they would if the girls would have not started this. Were there any real witches there at all? If you enjoy a little horror for your Halloween or any time, just read this short little book. I just hope the History Channel doesn't make this true story into a show. Other shows you might have seen are tame compared to the ones you will imagine once you read this.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Chocoale War by Robert Cormier

Did you know there is a Banned Book Week each year? To celebrate the 30th year, I wanted to let you in on one of my favorites. Jerry is starting high school with the attitude of "Do I dare disturb the universe?" He just wants to find his way after his mom's death.  Problems start when he is targeted as a new recruit for Vigils, the "gang" that tries to run this all boy school. When the assistant head master tells its leader Archie to get all of the fundraiser chocolate sold, Jerry gets his task for initiation to be in the Vigils-- don't sell any chocolate! What starts as a way to make a freshman look bad leads to a rebellion and could end Jerry's life. What Jerry's friend has to do should never, never, never (do you hear me) never be done to any of your teachers!  You will send your teacher over the edge. My teenage brother pushed this book into my stomach after finishing it 3 weeks early. My mom was shocked as was I.  But he was right with this book; it makes you want to see if Jerry can disturb the universe and live. For more information about Banned Book Week:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bird by Rita Murphy

Can a house be evil or just the person who desires it above all? If Miranda doesn't find the right answer, she might never escape. Or does she really want to escape the only real home she has ever had. Everyone in the small town stays away and when she does go to town, she hears the whispers of a curse that destroyed all who lived there. She also wonders why her real family never came to find her whereabouts when she was young and just blew to the house. Yes, blew in and that is why she is forced to wear those heavy shoes by the widow Wysteria Barrows, the owner of Bourne Manor. Can she really fly away just like the kites she found hidden in a secret room? Why must all the doors be locked every night? Is the widow trying to lock Miranda in or is she trying to keep something awful locked out? If you can follow the many twists and turns, you will learn the answers hidden just under the surface? How many clues did you miss?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Three years come Saturday.

For the last the last 3 years I have been working on this book blog so students can find the book they search for - the one that they just have to tell their friends about. It is not to the largest book blog, because those are hard to use. Since I am still not back at the junior high library where I worked for 9 years, I hope my students will keep using this to find books they want. I took out the reward labels except the Newbery because it is only us adults that care about those. I hope that the labels on the side help the users find the type of books they want to read. While others try to grow students book choices, I am just happy to find books that they want to read. That is the only type of book that are read by today's students because they have so much else to do.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Close to Shore adapted by Michael Capuzzo

Since it is the start of summer, I want to share a book that explains the real story that was the basis of both the book and the movie called JAWS. If you never heard of either, just ask the adults in your life. I saw the movie in junior high and it was scary, but not as scary as the sharks that hunted unsuspecting swimmers in the waters in 1916. A Great White was killing where no shark could. How did it get that far inland? What about its friends munching on the swimmers near the most popular resorts? What could have caused all those attacks when that many have never been recorded before? What would your mother have done when the July 13, 1916 New York Tribune 's headline read "Shark Kills Man in Battle for Body of Boy; Cripples Another Lad Off Raritan Shore"? Never let you go swimming again? Would you have listened to her or your friends? All I know is that when I stepped into the Atlantic Ocean after JAWS, even my little sister yelled for me to get out. I think she just didn't want to see me get eaten in front of her, knowing my sister - the piggy one. Read this if you dare to learn what happened, who tried to cover it up, and why we are now more dangerous to sharks than they are to us.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Z For Zachariah by Robert c. O'Brien

For those of you who loved the strong heroine of the Hunger Games, this is a must read. Also set in the future where those adults messed up the world, Ann Burden believes she is the only one left. It was always said the valley she lived in with her family had its own environment. No matter what happened to rest of the world, it kept everyone safe that lived there. But when her family and the others left to find help, they never came back. She was left behind just in case the telephones started working again. With only her brother's dog to keep her company, Ann found a way to stay alive, but she kept a look out for any strangers that might have made it through. One day she saw smoke from a fire and each day that smoke came closer. Ann quickly planned how to stay safe, but did she really need to? Who is this stranger and how did he survive? The chilling answers test her survival skills and make her finally realize that the dog must die.  What would drive her to doing that to the one living being who has helped keep her sane? Would you do the same? Would you?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blackbeard, The Pirate King by J. Patrick Lewis

With April being Poetry Month, I wanted to add the 1st poetry book to the blog. It isn't that I don't like poetry books, it is just the ones I love, most kids and teens can find without me. I was worried this one is being overlooked. Doesn't everyone seem to love those pirates in the movies? Did you know that Johnny Depp's look isn't all movie magic? Don't believe me? Read these 13 poems and closely look at all the illustrations. Are they really that ugly? Why would anyone want a pirate life? Want enough info for a 1 - 2 page report and have a fun read while doing it? Enjoy the wild ride of the real life of the most famous pirate of all. And this is no April Fool Joke!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fair Weather by Richard Peck

Do you ever get too old for your parent to embarrass you? Just when Rose thinks the only fun this summer will be watching her older sister pine over her suitor (maybe boyfriend if the parents ever agree), a letter from her aunt inviting them to Chicago for the 1893 World's Fair comes in the mail. Her aunt stated that Rose's grandfather is not invited and her parents' world revolves around the county farm, so Rose knows that her aunt's kind offer will be turned down. Rose and her aunt get more surprises that summer because Grandpa is more headstrong and has a more interesting past than anyone ever knew. If you like the other books by Richard Peck, you will enjoy the ride and never see the ending coming. The world of 1893 Americans is not like ours, so which one would you like to live in? Let me know your answer.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

In junior high, nobody really fits in much. Some of you think you do, but deep down you always wonder if you really do. Jason is trying to fit in to our neurotypical world, but it's hard when you tend to get overloaded by everything that's happening in most classrooms, public places, and even your own home. The one place he finds his voice is on a writing online site where he can post his stories for all to see. There he finds maybe his first real friend and she is a girl. As the friendship grows, he wonders what would happen if he would ever get to meet her. The convention of Story Boarders might be his chance, but at what cost? How do you handle a chance to see your first friend when it might cost you the ability to finish maybe the best story you have ever written? The world works in strange ways at times, especially when you can tune into it the way only an autistic person can. This is for anyone who really wonders how they will ever fit into a world that doesn't understand you and for those who really wonder how their autistic classmate sees that same world.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dewey, the Library Cat by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

Librarians find weird things in book drop boxes, but on January 18, 1988 when the temp hit -15 degrees, the librarian found a gift that changed a town and may be even the world. That dirty, cold 8 week old kitten became Dewey Readmore Books, the Spencer Library cat. Dewey became world famous without even leaving the library. TV crews from around the world traveled to film him. A little girl's special wish was not to go to Disney World, but to meet and give Dewey a mouse. Why in the world does anyone care about Dewey? Maybe it has to do with rubber bands, catnip, a Christmas tree and one smart place to hide? Or could it be how he "ran the library" or his "daily routine?" To find out, you need to read the book. If you don't believe me, just ask your younger brothers or sisters what they think of Dewey. Yes, he even managed to reach them. Will he reach out and make you a Dewey lover or are you going to be like that non-library user who threatened to bring a cow in if that stupid cat stays?