Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jacqueline Woodson. FEATHERS

“Hope is the thing with feathers.” Frannie becomes enamored with this section of a poem by Emily Dickinson that her 6th grade class reads. Many things going on around her cause her to ponder about hope. A mysterious new boy joins her class. It’s 1971 and her school is all African Americans, so the white boy seems very different. He’s skinny with pale white skin and long hair. He has a quiet, calm nature but also seems sad. Eager to put a label on their confusion, the kids begin calling him “Jesus boy.” Frannie’s best friend believes he really is Jesus. Frannie is confused by the boy continuing to deny that he is white. In addition to this mystery, Frannie’s mom has some news that brings back some sadness from their past. Will they be able to move past it and be hopeful again?

For such a thin book, there is a lot going on inside of this treasure. I felt like it took on a life of its own. The flow and rhythm is beautiful. There are many great issues for discussion (several types of prejudice and bully issues), but the book doesn’t feel heavy at all. It’s light and the quiet moments are the most memorable. It’s a real joy. I can see why it is a Newbery Honor book.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Meg Cabot. ALLIE FINKLE’S RULES FOR GIRLS : Moving Day

I’ve been wanting to read this series for a while now. I’m so glad I did. As I’ve said before, Meg Cabot is one prolific writer! It’s amazing how many books she’s written. But even more amazing is the amount of audiences she writes for. She really does write memorable and interesting stories for adults, teens and children! This series is something I would’ve eaten up as a young girl! (I love it now too!)

Allie Finkle is a quirky girl who likes to make sense of the world by keeping a running list of rules in a book that she hides under her bed. She’d been learning a lot of important stuff and felt that writing it down would help her remember it all. Here are some of my favorites:

“Listen politely when a grown-up is telling you something, even if you already know it.”

“If someone is yelling from excitement, the polite thing to do is yell back.”

“Don’t get a pet that poops in your hand.”

Allie has a best friend that she’s known since kindergarten and pretty much likes her life the way it is. (Except the fact that her best friend cries at the drop of a hat.) So, when her mom announces that the family is moving, Allie is thrown into a tailspin. Especially when she finds out more about their new house. Allie’s not sure if her rules will help her out with this situation.

Adorable! I loved Allie and her way of thinking. She’s quite a fun 9 year-old. I look forward to reading more about her in books 2, 3 & 4.

Here’s the author’s website, where you can learn more about Allie and even play some games!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mary Downing Hahn. DEEP AND DARK AND DANGEROUS

(Since I'm an elementary librarian now, I'll be focusing on more younger audience books. I'll still review YA -you'll just see more children's reviews here than you did before.) Now, on to the review...

While going through a box of books, Ali finds an old torn picture of her and her aunt and a small snippet of another girl at Gull Cottage, the lake house the family owns. On the back of the picture is the name of her mom, her aunt and another name where the picture is torn beginning with a T. Ali asks her mom about it, but her mom clams up and refuses to talk about it. When her aunt comes to visit, she also refuses to divulge any information about this “T” person. She claims they didn’t hang out with anyone at Gull Cottage – just each other.
After 30 years of avoiding Gull Cottage, Ali’s aunt, Dulcie, decides to spend the summer there painting. She asks Ali her to join her so she can babysit her niece, Emma. Everything is set for a nice relaxing summer at the lake. But you see the cover, right? A mysterious girl who calls herself Sissy keeps showing up to play with Ali and Emma. But she’s mean and starts to become a bad influence on Emma. Also, bit by bit, Ali begins unraveling the mystery of the “T” person in the photo. It definitely doesn’t end up being a nice and relaxing summer at the lake.
I loved this ghost~mystery. It’s chilling, suspenseful and creepy. It kept me up late at night - I couldn't stop reading. It’s great for kids as young as 4th grade through middle school who liked to be scared.

I was happy to see that the author has written many books, check her out here.