Friday, December 30, 2011

Book bag synopsis

I brought home a book bag filled with a few titles from my school library that I wanted to read over break.  Most of them are from a Scholastic order from the beginning of the year and haven't received much student attention.  I thought I could book talk them in the new year and it would give me my last few titles to reach the 100 mark for books read in 2011.  Here's what I've read over break so far:

Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie (2004) by Jordan Sonnenblick;
Steven Alper is a middle school student who loves playing the drums and is annoyed by his little brother, Jeffrey. When the family discovers Jeffrey has cancer things get a little crazy.  Jeffrey suffers through the physical aspects of cancer and Jeffrey wades through how it must feel to be the child left at home, the healthy but ignored child.  Sonnenblick portrays both sides really well and has the middle school lingo down pat-he sounds like he never left middle school really...a bonus for him.  I can't wait to read his other two titles on my pile; Notes from the Midnight Driver and Zen and the Art of Faking It.

Ways to Live Forever (2008) by Sally Nicholls;
This is the story of Sam McQueen, an eleven-year-old in the last stages of leukemia and the story is presented to us through his eyes through an assignment his at-home-teacher gives him and his friend, Felix. My favorite aspect of this tale is that Sam is a list maker.  He has a few things he'd like to get accomplished before he leaves this earth and once he figures out he can do more than just dream about doing them he does!  He learns an important lesson about how one looks at a problem to solve.  The author is English and the story is filled with references like torches, sledging and Mum's and duffle coats-it makes the story interesting but will make it more difficult for one of my students to comprehend.

Radiance (2010) by Alyson Noel;
Wow; three in a row!  Riley dies in a car accident before the book basically opens-wham.  She's trying to figure out where to get in the happy field of flowers; to follow her sister, Ever, back to the Earth plane or across the bridge where her parents and dog have happily gone.  She's an interesting character with very defined thoughts about the world around her as she learns to live where she is and take on an assignment back on Earth.  She meets Bodhi; a nerdy but cute angel in desperate need of a victory and she's able to save a few lost souls along her journey, which is just what she needs to do to rise to the next level.  The next level of what though is a question she can't help asking!  I'm anxious to read the next one, Shimmer, as well as Noel's other series, The Immortals.  This is a fast read-one day-starting early, early this morning when I couldn't sleep.

The Daughters (2010) by Joanna Philbin;
This is a hot series in my library right now so I had to remove it from circulation and hide it for my holiday break-wielding my power as the librarian with supreme force over the hold shelf!  This one gave me a break from all the death and dying of my previous choices and was a perfect light read.  I wouldn't label it fluff though as Philbin tackles the personalities of three famous daughters trying to be themselves!  I thoroughly enjoyed their struggles and thought she had a lot to say about real beauty and celebrity worship.  I plan to read the next few in this series as soon as I can snatch them back from student readers.

Up Next:

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

What are you reading into the new year?


Janssen said...

I'm so glad to hear The Daughters is popular with its target audience. I loved that series (still need to read the third one. . .).

Tales of Whimsy said...

I've been wanting to try Daughters. Glad to hear it's good.