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Out of the Dust – A Book Review

Out of the Dust is a riveting, evocative and mournful story of the Great Depression. Karen Hesse’s YA novel narrows the focus of the catastrophic Dust Bowl in the Southwest during the 1930’s to a single family living in Oklahoma. Through a series of free verse poems the forlorn voice of fourteen-year-old Billie Jo Kelby takes the reader through grim domestic realities and constant dust storms. However Billie Jo still has dreams of a future.

Holes – Book Review

Holes is the 1999 Newbery Medal winner and joins the ranks of classic children’s literature. The story begins on a negative note because Stanley is arrested. Soon Holes becomes a story of friendship, family loyalty and yes, love. The Yelnats family has always had bad luck or at least Stanley has been told to believe it until he unknowingly conquers a family curse. I caught myself laughing out loud a few times as well. The reader can also learn a thing or too about onions.

Loser – A Book Review

Jerry Spinelli’s Loser is a special book. The first sentence “You grow up with a kid but you never really notice him” hints that this story may be about a kid with low self esteem. The book is about a kid who really likes himself and accepts himself as he is despite the cruelty of his classmates.

Walk Two Moons – Book Review

Through humor, wit and poignancy Walk Two Moons addresses dying, loving and grieving. I loved this story. The plot twists, satire and charming characters come alive on every page. Another great facet about Walk Two Moons is how the main character, narrates a parallel story of grief and love while she sorts out her own heartaches.

The Higher Power of Lucky – Book Review

This is a complex story with a lot of back story but Patron makes her characters charming. The young characters seem to be older but they are all dealing with unusual conditions forcing them to accept the harshness of life earlier than most. Lucky’s best friend Lincoln Clinton Carter Kennedy has a knot tying fetish and five year old Miles who lives down the street is an orphan addicted to cookies and Lucky has not yet come to terms with the death of her mother or abandonment by her father. This unlikely trio form a bond that will amaze the reader and prove the value of friendship.

A Single Shard – Book Review

Sometimes you can get a hint of a story by the title. At first glance the title threw me off because it did not sound like the type of book a ten or twelve-year old would read. Linda Sue Park gives readers insight to an unfamiliar period of twelfth-century Korea which chronicles the life of an orphan, a homeless man and a talented potter.

A Walk in the Rain With a Brain – Book Review

Children do not receive enough encouragement to develop their own unique talents, skills and attitudes. Dr. Hallowell’s book, A Walk in the Rain With a Brain reinforces the important message that no brain is smarter than the other.

The Wedding Planner’s Daughter – Book Review

Finally, 12-year-old Willafred Havisham, or Willa as she likes to be called, believes with her whole heart and soul that she and her mom, Stella, are finally in the right place at the right time? Willa’s dreams of her first best friend ever and the major connection between her mom and her English teacher, Sam clinch it for her. Could it be her thirteenth birthday wish just may come true this time around? But as long as she can remember Willa dreads the day the armor of steel surrounds her mother. It could only mean one thing, another move.

Book Review – The Rock of Realm

Written by: Lea Schizas Hardback: 242 pages Ages: 12 and up Publisher: Star Publish ISBN: 1-932993-08-8 (Print Book) ISBN: 1-932993-09-6 (E-Book) Publication: March 31, 2005   Alexandra Stone, better known as Alex to her friends and family is like any fourteen year-old with concerns of what to do on a Friday night to babysitting responsibilities. 

Mrs Marlowe’s Mice

Mrs. Eleanor Marlowe leads a double life. During the day she works at the Purrington Street Library as a respected feline librarian. By night she harbors a family of mice. Every day she has to sneak by her nosy neighbor Mrs. Godfrey who suspects Mrs. Marlowe of hiding something.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! – Book Review

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! is the Newbery Medal winner for 2008. One thing strikes me in this medieval historical fiction of individual monologues and that is the characters do not speak of their poverty with any resentment. Like many children they are cheerful and show moments of daring acts. Each character attribute is written in a matter-of-fact-that-is-just-the-way-it-is manner. Kids are just trying to figure out what their position is within the Lord’s Manor.

Discussing Prejudice and Self-Esteem With a Young Child – One Author’s Approach

In The Adventures of Seamus the Sheltie, friendly and humorous animals are used to create a safe and non-threatening framework to present common issues that children encounter. A Sheltie (Seamus) is the main character who often serves as a teacher to young puppies as he thinks his way through the issues that his many adventures places him in.  

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