“Awesome!!  When is the second book coming out?”  That is what I thought while reading and after finishing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.    In this age of reality TV, with backstabbing, lying, cheating and humiliation, the idea of the Hunger Games is all too appealing.  Just the description of the Hunger Games will probably interest any student.   From the beginning of the story, Katniss lets us into her life and introduces us to the “future” of North America.  We know her thoughts, struggles and find out how she has survived while many others haven’t.  We meet her community and their way of life.  AfterRead More →

Impossible  by Nancy Werlin stands on a very interesting plot, forces you to feel emotion and makes the reader try to think about possible solutions.  Even though the recommended reader age starts at 12 years, or 6th grade, I would never recommend this book to anyone younger than a mature 7th grader.  Some of the main topics include rape, teenage pregnancy, mental illness, love and marriage.  They are presented in a mature way.  The rape is not described, but it is always there.  Also, Lucy talks very bluntly about her feelings toward her rapist.    It seems weird to say this, but Impossible also had aRead More →

A La Carte is a quick, enjoyable novel by Tanita Davis.  In it we get to know Lainey, a 17 year-old African American girl who aspires to be a professional chef.  She dreams of having her own cooking show and loves spending time in the kitchen of her mom’s restaurant and in her own home kitchen where she finds both solace and a creative outlet in the preparation of food.  She’s forced to confront real life issues and struggles when her childhood best-friend Sim, and secret crush, gets into some serious trouble and runs away, asking for Lainey’s help (both in money and secrecy) toRead More →

 I was drawn to this book because it has CHOCOLATE in the title and on the cover. How could I resist that? At first it just seemed like an innocent, sweet story (no pun intended) about a Jewish girl, in fifth grade, living in Chicago right after WWII. The adults in the family discuss missing relatives in Europe while Dorrie looks forward to the end of the school year when she must bring in a dessert for a competition called “Sweet Semester.” I particularly enjoyed the end of the book when Victor, a 16-year-old relative, is brought to America to live with Dorrie and her family. HeRead More →

This book is a gold mine for parents or teachers working with children! I love the word play and the great life lessons in Zen Ties, including helping others and respecting elders. It would be interesting to discuss the relationship between the children and the elderly neighbor, and how they can apply those lessons to their own friendships. I would also use this book to “tie” into lessons on haiku poetry and spelling practice. It would be fun to give out plastic cups to children so that they will also have a special cup, just like Koo. Posted by MichelleRead More →

I could not stop reading this book! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Dashti selflessly goes with “her lady” to be imprisoned in a tower. The book is her journal account of the years spent trapped in the tower, and then her adventures after they escape. It reminded me a bit of one of my favorite books, Catherine Called Birdy, because both are journal entries by a teenage girl during similar time periods. And both involve arranged marriage and love and a young girl’s struggle to find herself. I would recommend Book of a Thousand Days for fifth graders to adults. Posted by MichelleRead More →

The Graveyard Book is very satisfying! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was intrigued by the unique idea of a boy being raised in a graveyard. How would one write a book about that? Neil Gaiman did an amazing job. I think that kids will really enjoy it. The book begins with a sad murder that leaves the main character an orphan. The toddler is protected and raised by the inhabitants of a graveyard. It has ghosts, ghouls, a vampire, a werewolf, bad guys, action, and a kind and brave main character. Recommended for ages ten and up, but not for sensitive readers. Posted by MichelleRead More →

Another great book by Melissa Marr! Ink Exchange is cleverly more of a continuation than a sequel. In Wicked Lovely the story revolved around Aislynn, Seth & Keenan. They appear throughout Ink Exchange but it focuses instead on Aislynn’s mortal friend Leslie and the faeries Niall and Irial. I am already looking forward to another book! There are so many other characters with interesting stories to tell. Will the third book be about Ani, Rabbit, Gabriel, Bananach, or the Winter Queen? It gets me thinking about other books and wondering how many other stories could come from minor characters that you usually pay little attentionRead More →