Friday, July 15, 2016

Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Can you imagine a “perfect” town? Well Gordon Korman shares what he thinks is a perfect town where everyone lives a comfortable middle-class life. Eli lives in this town Serenity and, when he and his friend break a rule, things begin to unravel. His friend is sent away to care for his grandfather and Eli and his friends begin to discover some deep dark secrets. This book reminds me of Powerless in some ways and it was a fun ride. Grades 4-8

Monday, July 11, 2016

Paper Cowboy by Kristin Levine

This is a historical fiction novel that takes place during the 50’s. The protagonist is a boy named Tommy who has a few struggles. His mother, after having a baby, is struggling with postpartum depression. This is during a time when behavior such as hers was swept under the rug and wasn’t talked about. His father does nothing to help and Tommy ends up caring for his younger siblings and fearing his mother. All his rage comes out in anger towards his peers as he begins to really develop as a bully. This is a thoughtful book about how a bully can be developed and how they can think. It’s a sympathetic look and doesn’t really deal with the reactions of the victims, but it’s a powerful message as Tommy struggles to make things right. The underlying message is that he’s good down deep but needs help finding it. Interesting to see how students respond to it. Grades 5-8 and there is some violence from the mother. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brusker Bradley

This is a  historical fiction novel that takes place in Britain just before the bombing started in World War II. The heroine is a girl Ada who is forced to stay home because her mother is ashamed of her deformed foot. Her little brother is afforded all kinds of freedoms Ada isn’t allowed but Ada believes her mother when she tells her she is rubbish. Because of the impending war, all the children are sent to the countryside to be cared for so they don’t perish should London be bombed. This is the story of Ada and her brother escaping London to live in the country with a woman who wasn’t interested in caring for anyone else. It’s a sweet story in some respects but the mother is awful and the struggles of wanting your mother to love you when she won’t is a difficult concept for younger students who haven’t experienced the darker sides of life. Might make for interesting discussions though. Grades 4-8