Monday, November 20, 2017
Lexile = 790
Auggie Pullman is the new kid in school. He's been home schooled since forever because he has "mandibulofacial dysostosis". He says, "I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." But at the beginning of 5th grade, his parents have decided it is time to get out there more, make friends, and start school. He is super smart and accustomed to the looks he gets in public.
Some kids at his school are "assigned" to befriend him as the year begins. Yeah, that isn't going to go well. First it does and then it doesn't. So this is his story... but also the story of his older sister and the rest of his family.
I didn't buy this book initially because it really is considered an elementary book. Then the movie was released. Haven't seen the movie yet, but if it carries the impact of the book, it should be required for all students. View a trailer for the movie HERE. Read this book.
HERE is another video featuring a real boy with the syndrome described in the book. Choose KIND.
Thursday, November 9, 2017
Lexile = 820
Maddie has a gift. She knows when you are going to die. Now, maybe that isn't much of a gift, but she is is never wrong. She will tell when you will die, but you have to pay for it. Maddie's mom is an alcoholic and has used her daughter's ability to finance her drinking.
When a boy that Maddie has predicted will die goes missing, the FBI considers Maddie the prime suspect. When they find his body, she is the ONLY suspect.
I did figure out who really did it before the book told me. To enjoy this book, you have to just accept the whole "she can see your death date floating about your head" and move on. Just go with it.... this is a fun read!
Watch a fun student created book trailer HERE.
Friday, November 3, 2017
Lexile = 800
Remember Da Vinci Code? Or maybe Lost Symbol? These books in the Robert Langdon series have all been made into great, adventurous movies. I am pretty sure that Origin will be a movie soon as well. Likely also starring Tom Hanks! Here's the story:
Langdon is a symbologist and professor of religious iconography at Harvard. Years ago, he had a student named Edmond Kirsch who is now a technology futurist and eccentric billionaire. Langdon and Kirsch are not close, but recently, Kirsch has approached Langdon with some deep religious questions. Now, Kirsch has announced that he has made a discovery that will answer the age old questions of "Where did we come from?" and "Where are we going?" AND will end religious belief worldwide. Wow. Quite a discovery.
This novel is set in Spain, so the Catholic Church weighs in to attempt to squelch the reveal. Things go bad... very bad ... and the adventure takes off from there.
Loved that this is set in Spain, so I was familiar with the language and the landmarks mentioned. This is truly a quick read; felt a lot like the others in this series. A fun read!
HERE is the trailer from DaVinci Code just to get you in the mood. I think I will watch it this week!
Monday, October 30, 2017
Lexile = 620
One of my current binge shows on Netflix is:
Scandal is all about a "fixer" ... the person you turn to when you need a situation fixed. Like you found a body, but you are an important person (a senator?) that can't be involved in a scandal. You call the Fixer and they take care of it and make it all go away. Well, The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is like a young adult version of this great TV show! Here's the plot:
Tess is living with her Grandfather in Montana, but he is slowly deteriorating due to Alzheimer's Disease. Tess's big sister, who has been largely absent from Tess's life since their parents died, swoops in to rescue them both and moves them BOTH back east and into her life. Ivy Kendrick is a well-known and successful Fixer in Washington DC. Ivy's notoriety does ease the transition for Tess into her new elitist school, but students at the school think that Tess can do for them what Ivy does when she fixes things up for their parents.
I think this is a bit unbelievable, but maybe the First Lady does visit high schools in DC and ask students for favors.... uh.... likely not. I happened to take this book on a trip to DC last week, so I read it while in the city of its setting. Kinda fun. Good book. There is also a sequel.
Watch a student made trailer HERE.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Friday, October 6, 2017
Lexile = 740
Lots of students really like novels by Gary Schmidt. Perhaps you have read Wednesday Wars or Okay for Now. Orbiting Jupiter tackles some tough issues. Joseph Brook is only in eighth grade, but has recently become a father and has been placed in a foster home. His own father is not a nice guy. The foster family has a boy in sixth grade - Jackson Hurd. I wouldn't say the two boys become friends, but they do "have each other's backs". Joseph does not turn into a perfect boy. In fact, the school principal repeatedly encourages Jack to stay away from Joseph.
Jupiter is the name of the new baby, a girl, who has been placed in the foster care care system and is about to be adopted. Joseph wants very much to find her.
This novel is well-written and although not for everyone, the difficult subject matter is handled well. Readers will hopefully develop a bit more compassion for kids who are orbiting worlds other than those we expect them to. I know I did.