Wednesday, September 13, 2017

This Side of Home by Renee Watson

Maya and Nikki are identical twins who are identical in every way--well, not exactly.  They may look identical, but there thoughts and reactions to things are anything but identical.  When their best friend Essence moves away, they are both sad, but Nikki becomes fast friends with the girl who moves into Essence's old house.  In fact, Nikki is in favor of many of the things that are moving into their Portland neighborhood with the gentrification plans by the city including trendy restaurants and shops.  Maya wants things to stay the same because she feels like Nikki is forgetting her roots.

In this story, the characters deal with real issues and must figure out the best way to deal with people on both sides of the racial divide that they find in their school and neighborhood.

Watson does an amazing job of defining the characters and the elements of the story so that readers will have the opportunity to explore their own thoughts and feelings about what is happening in their world.  I highly recommend reading this one.

Kalahari by Jessica Khouri

Summary from the publisher:  "Deep in the Kalahari Desert, a Corpus lab protects a dangerous secret. But what happens when that secret takes on a life of its own? When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide"

Only one of those teens actually knows what she is doing, and she is very concerned with finding her dad.  He has gone to get rid of poachers and plans to be back by nightfall.  He does not make it back, so of course, these teens must go searching for him.  What they find is disturbing and scary.  It is a great adventure that I highly recommend.  

Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes

Garvey is a bookworm who is not interested in sports. AT. ALL.  Sports is all that his dad wants to talk to him about.  Garvey finds comfort in food which makes the distance between his dad and him even wider.  Garvey's best friend tells him that he needs to stand up for himself.  Garvey has a choice.  He can live his life in the same way, or he can make a difference.  Which way will he go?

Most of us get to a crossroads where we have to decide the life that we will have.  I encourage you to read about Garvey.  This novel in verse is so well done.  I literally felt as though I could quote each page because it was truly meaningful stuff.  Check out the #booksnap I did.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Happy National Book Lover's Day

Since it is National Book Lover's Day, I must post about...well...a book.

People ask me all of the time what my favorite book is.  Of course, I have an all time favorite, but my real answer is generally one of the books that I just read because the characters are fresh in my mind.  That does not mean that I love every book that I read or that I am indecisive.  Okay, it could mean that I am indecisive, but I digress.

I want to tell you about the book that I finished last night.  It was a twist on an old tale, and the author even put a teaser in there about another old tale.  So...without further ado...the book is The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury.  This is the second book I have read by this author in the last few weeks, and she is a good story teller.  Back to The Forbidden Wish...

A 17 year old boy finds himself in a cave that he has been drawn to by a strange magic.  He finds a lamp, but this is no ordinary lamp.  This lamp contains a jinni who is the most powerful jinni known to civilization.  This jinni has been locked in this lamp for almost 500 years until the boy picks it up.

Okay, by now, you probably realize that this is a story about a boy named Aladdin, but in this tale, the jinni is actually a girl named Zhara.  In Khoury's rendition, the story is told from Zhara's point of view and she is able to give the readers more insight as to why she was in the lamp in the first place as well as why she wants to get out.

Yes, you may know the basic story, but you will want to read The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury.  It will not disappoint you.

Monday, March 6, 2017

An oldie but a goodie...Hawksong

The week before spring break always presents challenges in the library.  Most folks are ready for a break--and for students that may mean a break from everything academic.  See...for me, reading is academic and it is NOT at the same time.  I am growing my brain by reading, but it provides me with such enjoyment that it is not academic at all.

For spring break, I am challenging our faculty and staff to read and post what they are reading to share with others.  #RRockReads  Of course, anyone is allowed to join in the sharing, but I am hoping that our staff members will be reading something for fun over the break.

To that end, I would like to suggest some good books to read.

Last night, I watched a show that I have enjoyed for several seasons, Madam Secretary.  In last night's episode, there were two young people who wanted to end the strife in their country.  It reminded me of a book that I read years ago, but I still like to recommend it to students and staff.

Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Danica Shardae and Zane Cobriana are both shapeshifters.  They are both in line to take the throne in their respective countries.  They both want to end the war that has been plaguing their countries for decades.  Danica and Zane seek outside counsel to figure out a solution to this problem.  The outside counsel suggests that they form an unbreakable alliance--marriage.  Danica and Zane agree even though they both had other plans in that area of their lives.  Will they be able to bring about peace between their two countries?  Will it actually make things worse?  Find out in this thrilling page turner.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day @ the Ridgeview Library

Having worked with middle school students through many Valentine's Days, I know that it can be a mixed bag of emotions, moods and overall craziness.  Well...I have always said...if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  So, we are promoting books through "Blind Date with a Book".

As students come into the library, we are giving them the chance to have a #blinddatewithabook.  The books are in plain brown paper bags with a very brief introduction.  If they choose to check it out, then they must agree to give the book a chance before deciding to continue reading it or returning it.

Yesterday, we had 10 different classes in the library to check out books.  I told them about the promotion, and many of them decided to test fate and try a blind date.

Best line of the day: "I'm going to leave the book in the bag because it reminds me of lunch, and I am hungry for words."

I know that it is cheesy, but I love it.  I love it when the students feel comfortable enough to share their crazy notions.  It is rather enlightening to their senses of humor and personality.

Yes, I love working with middle school students.  I count my blessings every day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Threads by Ami Polonsky

Clara is a twelve year old American girl whose sister, Lola, has just died from cancer.  One of Clara's friends decides to take her out shopping to get her mind off of her grief.  Clara goes with her friend, but she does not want to be there.  She is hiding from her friend when she sees a purse and buys it on a whim.  When she gets home, she looks through it and finds a note.  The note is from a Chinese girl named Yuming telling of her plight in a factory in China.  Clara feels a strong pull to do something, and she knows that she must go to China.  Will she be able to do anything?  Was there a reason that the note made it to Clara out of all of the people in America?  Find out in Threads.

This book fascinated me due to the fact that it was told in the viewpoints of Clara and Yuming.  Polonsky tells us the story of these two girls as they intersect with each other.  I guess that my favorite part was the message that we are truly not alone in the world even if we do not know all that is going on around us.  I could go into more detail about this point, but I don't want to ruin the book for you. it, and reach out to talk to me about it.  It is a definite good read.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

From the publisher:
Girls started vanishing in the fall.
For Maggie Larsen, the town of Gill Creek is only a stopgap before college and freedom. Until she meets Pauline and Liam. What starts as an uneventful year suddenly changes. Someone is killing teenage girls, and the town reels from the tragedy. As Maggie's and Pauline's worlds collide and change around them, they will both experience love and loss. And by the end of the book...

This page turner had me guessing until the end exactly what was going on in this little town.  The story revolves around the three teens mentioned above--Maggie, Pauline and Liam; however, we also get to hear from a ghost who lived in the house where Maggie has moved into.  Why is the ghost there?  How does it link to the story?  I had my guesses, but Anderson did a wonderful job of telling the story and letting me try to figure it out.  I highly recommend this one.  You will not be disappointed.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Publisher's abstract:
Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832. But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy . . . and is put on trial for murder!

This book has been around for a very long time, but somehow I had not read it.  I decided it was time to change that and read the book.  I am so thankful that I did.  This is a historical fiction pageturner. 
Charlotte is only 13 years old, but her father holds a high position in the company that owns the ship on which she is traveling.  The crew is very glad that she is on board because they need a credible witness, but a witness to what exactly she is not quite sure.  I highly recommend this novel even though the cover is less than appealing.  We definitely have to look past the cover to get to this great read.