These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.
This poor post has been suffering on my blog due to my crazy last several weeks! I should be going into my school to work on moving into my classroom RIGHT NOW, so I need to write this quickly! I thought I'd have a ton of books to share, but then I realized I haven't read as much lately as I did at the beginning and middle of summer. Traveling and getting ready for school have definitely cut back my reading time!
2013-book, adventure, bookaday2013, character-development, character-motivation, character-traits, friendship, humor, intermediate-kids-book, mock-newbery-2014, multicultural, mythology, strong-girl-character, young-adult-book
This is a funny, entertaining, twisty mystery involving a very odd middle school counselor, Dr. Agford, best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang, and Trista. After witnessing what Sophie and Grace think is a brutal murder, they start a crazy adventure trying to prove, then un-prove Dr. Agford's guilt. The characters are quite unique, and the mystery keeps you on your toes. This is a mystery for tweens, though, not younger elementary students due to references of hickies and t...more This is a funny, entertaining, twisty mystery involving a very odd middle school counselor, Dr. Agford, best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang, and Trista. After witnessing what Sophie and Grace think is a brutal murder, they start a crazy adventure trying to prove, then un-prove Dr. Agford's guilt. The characters are quite unique, and the mystery keeps you on your toes. This is a mystery for tweens, though, not younger elementary students due to references of hickeys and the counselor's giant boobs. Middle schoolers will love the humor and plot twists, though, and more serious subjects such as bullying and difficulties with friendship are addressed.
#7 in the Award Winning Books Challenge
2012-book, animals, award-winner, award-winning-books-challenge-2013, bookaday2013, character-motivation, character-traits, divorce-or-separation, empathy, friendship, journey, multicultural, strong-girl-character, survival, theme, war, young-adult-book
Every year I choose a book to read aloud to my friends when we travel to our girlfriends' weekend destination. Only true book lovers would understand this at all! To others, it probably sounds really strange! Ha. This year, after some Twitter conversations, and reading the blog Unleashing Readers: Helping Students Navigate the World of Books , I decided on Endangered for our 15-hour round trip. I usually don't start reading until the trip home since on the way there we are too busy talking. Unfortunately, because of that, I don't always finish, and we have to pass the book around afterward so everyone can read the ending. One of my friends texted that she woke up worried about Sophie and Otto! That gives you an indication about how involved we were in the story. Sophie is a Congolese-American teenager who is split between her father in Miami, FL and her mother in The Democratic Republic of Congo. They are divorced, and her mother runs a sanctuary for bonobos. On the way to visit her, while traveling through Kinshasa, Sophie buys a straggly infant bonobo from a wildlife trafficker. She names him Otto for the eight fingers he has left. Her mother is angry with her because buying animals from traffickers only heightens the problem. Otto stays with them, though, and bonds fiercely with Sophie. Shortly after Sophie arrives, her mother leaves for a journey to release some of the bonobos. My friends and I thought her mother seemed awfully selfish. Her life's project was the bonobos, not her family, and it seemed careless to leave Sophie behind. During the time her mother is gone, an armed revolution breaks out. Sophie could have been rescued by the UN and flown back to America, but she would've had to leave Otto behind. When she realizes the gravity of that separation, she decides to run away from the peacekeepers and hide in the sanctuary enclosure. While she's there, she hears the sanctuary being attacked. What follows is an unforgettable survival journey. Sophie sets out with Otto to try to stay alive and find her mother. Throughout the novel, Sophie is impulsive and doesn't always think through consequences, but she sure is tough and resourceful! During the journey, we couldn't help but fall in love with both Sophie and Otto! Many theme topics come up in this book: suffering, cruelty, survival, war, love, empathy. Sophie questions if it is appropriate for people to devote their lives to the welfare of animals when there is so much human suffering. Otto, though, is vulnerable, and she realizes he needs her. That's enough for her. Her mother told her that the way a nation and its people treat animals is a telltale sign of how they treat people. I loved the author's note in the back in which Schrefer says, "...you don't have to ignore a lesser suffering because there's a greater one out there - that's a sure route to paralysis." This is a perfect ladder for The One and Only Ivan, but it is definitely for young adults because of several difficult scenes. Thank you, Ricki and Kellee, for convincing me I had to read this book! My friends have all finished by now, too, and loved it. Endangered was a Walden Award Finalist - read more about it on Ricki's and Kellee's blog - they were both committee members: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/?p=1222 It was also a National Book Award Finalist.