Thursday, November 17, 2016


Title: Wonder
Author: RJ Palacio
Genre: Realistic Fiction


Wonder by RJ Palacio shows that no matter what you like, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Auggie Pullman wanted to be seen as normal just like everyone else. Unfortunately, Auggie isn’t normal because of a condition that caused his face to be deformed. Because of this, he is teased, bullied, and stared at. To try and fit in, Auggie goes to school for the first time ever! In the end, Auggie learns he can make friends, be kind, and be smart no matter what he looks like. I liked this book because it was filled with messages about choosing kind, standing up for those in need, and accepting everyone's unique differences. Auggie and the people around him all showed that they are human and make mistakes, but they learn from them! Jack might not have been kind when talking to Julien or standing up for Auggie in the moment, but he learned from that and became a much stronger friend moving forward.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Frank Einstein and Antimatter Motor

Title: Frank Einstein and Antimatter Motor
Author: Jon Scieszka
Genre: Science Fiction

Summary: In this great Science Fiction story by Jon Scieszka, Frank Einstein is a kid-genius and creative inventor. Most of his creations come from everyday things used in new and exciting ways. His side-kick Watson helps in ways Frank doesn't always recognize. When he is ready to submit his most exciting project yet to the Science Fair, Frank's dreams of winning are dashed when his arch-nemesis T. Edison steals his robots and friends. Will Frank find a way to get them back, or will he let T. Edison get the best of him? I loved this book because it made science fun! It is like Diary of a Wimpy kid but with smarter humor and more rich text. I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves humor and wants to love science just as much!

The Cursed Child

Title: The Cursed Child
Author: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
Genre: Fantasy

Summary: The Cursed Child picks up in the magical world of Harry Potter nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry and Ginny's children are now at Hogwarts themselves, getting sorted and trying to find their own way, despite their famous parents. An unlikely friendship forms between Harry's son Albus and Draco Malfoy's son Scorpious, which both sets of parents are skeptical about. When a time-turner is found everyone must face the consequences of how changing the past can change everything about the future. This is a good book for people who have been craving more Harry Potter stories. It isn't as good as the original series but I loved reconnecting with some of my favorite characters, along with some new ones!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Night Divided

Title: A Night Divided
Author: Jennifer Nielsen
Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary: Gerta and her family live on the East side of Berlin, Germany. Life isn't going well so her father and brother decide to try and find new opportunities on the West side. That night while they are away, a wall is built permanently dividing Eastern and Western Berlin and permanently dividing Gerta's family, as her, her mother, and her brother Fritz are separated from her father and brother Dominic. Will Gerta and her family ever be reunited? Will her life continue to get worse in the East that could cost her all she has left? This story was action packed and great historical fiction. If you are looking to see what life was like during the Berlin Wall time period after World War II, this is the book for you!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics

Title: Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Genre: Realistic Fiction

If you were a fan of Mr. Lemoncello's Library, then this sequel is for you. Not only do all your favorite characters return, but you get to enter into a whole new challenge with Kyle and his team. I loved this book because it mentions so many other books and authors that I love. It also has a lot of "action" - in that it keeps you interested and excited. I also love the themes in this story, one of which is learning to believe in yourself. This is a great read for Chris Grabenstein fans! 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Blood on the River

Blood On the River by Elisa Carbone explains one boy’s voyage from England to the New World and how he deals with life there. Samuel Callier only wants to live with his mum and have a happy life. However, his mum is dead, he is in an orphanage, and is soon put on a ship to the New World, as the page of Captain John Smith. So, he hates everyone but soon learns making friends would be better. Then, Samuel must deal with life in the New World and try to stay alive. At the end, Samuel learns to open his heart to the world, and try to live through a new beginning in Virginia.
I have read 19 chapters, 2 sections, in Blood On the River, and so far the book is going great. First, I have many thoughts on the story so far. For example, for me, it was hard to get used to the fact that we are talking 400 years ago. It seemed strange that there were not very many pieces of technology and that weapons were swords and muskets. When I got used to this, I could focus on the other things that were happening and how action packed the story is. The text states, “ ‘Fire!’ someone shouts,...” This is an example of a lot of action.  Also, I have different thoughts on the characters. In the beginning of the book, I thought that Samuel was going to have a personality you might imagine a thief having. When I started reading, the text stated, “But the boys started calling me ‘thief’ and ‘jail rat’ and I knew only one way to settle the argument: with my fists.” He stole the locket, so that is why I assumed this. My prediction was wrong because now Samuel's getting along and behaving himself. Lastly, some of my thoughts have changed drastically. For example, before I started reading the book, I looked at it and thought that it was not going to be a very good book to read. When I read the back of the book, it didn’t sound like it would be a fun read. The back of the book straits, “400 years ago, a boy fought to survive in James Towne…” This didn’t sound like a promising beginning. However, after reading segment 1, I realized it was action packed and would be fun to read. These are my thoughts on the story, the characters, and my previous and current opinions.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

See How They Run

    See How They Run by Ally Carter is an action-packed sequel to All Falls Down - an Embassy Row Novel. After learning more about her mother's mysterious death in book one, Grace is now trying to understand how all of it could have happened and how some of it might be her fault. Living in Embassy Row she is trying to be a 'normal' teenager, but with mystery and danger at every turn, she struggles to feel sane, let alone normal. Even with the return of her beloved big brother, Grace is in over her head and in more danger than before, especially after her brother's schoolmate turns up dead. Will Grace find more answers to the millions of questions she has, or will the past continue to haunt her forever?

     This is the second book in this Embassy Row series and definitely didn't disappoint. Ally Carter has written two other series that I loved, so when this series came out I knew I had to read it. What I love so much about her books, that continues in this series as well, is her strong female characters and her ability to keep you guessing at every turn. I couldn't put this book down and am left with so many questions that I won't get answers to for at least another year. See How They Run was action-packed from start to finish and allowed me to get to know even more about the characters that I have come to love. This is another must read series, especially for girls who like reading about girls who aren't perfect, but find strength through every challenge they face with great friends and family to support them along the way.  

The Last Lecture


     The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is an incredible memoir about living your childhood dreams and lessons learned along the way. Mr. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who changed his students lives with his work in virtual reality. When Randy was asked to give the prestigious "last lecture" at the end of the year, he had no idea how much this title would ring true to him. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and only given a few months to live. He decided to use this lecture to leave a legacy for his children since he wouldn't always be around to share this wisdom with them later in life. What he created in this lecture left a lasting impact not only on those that knew him well, but on anyone who was lucky enough to experience it through his book, on YouTube, or DVD. Randy was a man who lived a life of passion and that legacy will live on through his lessons.

     There are many things that Randy discussed in his lecture that have stayed with me personally. One of my favorite sections was when he discussed "Brick Walls." Randy said, "Brick walls are there for a reason, not to keep you out, but to show you how badly you want something." This is a message that can be applied to so many things in life. We can't always understand things that are thrown at us, especially the tough things, but it is how we move past them that define us. The most successful people are the ones who don't hold back, who don't let anything get in the way of what they want. This kind of perseverance will allow you to live a life of purpose. I know that I don't always understand some of the things that have happened in my life, but I never let them stop me from moving forward and Randy reminds me of that often. Cancer may have been his ultimate brick wall, but he didn't let it ruin the time he had left. He was the definition of living for every moment and not letting things stop you. That is inspirational and I hope to live half the life he did.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Marvels

     The Marvels by Brian Selznick, a beautiful story centering around the acting family 'The Marvels', takes place in London at a strange home in Spitalfields. As is typical in Mr. Selznick's stories, the story is split between two different times. In the present time, Joseph has fled his boarding school and seeks to find shelter in London with his mysterious uncle Albert Nightengale. Instead of the family reunion that Joseph anticipates, he finds his uncle to be strange and standoffish. While exploring his eccentric home, Joseph stumbles upon many things that just don't add up! Will he be able to understand his family's past and their connection to the Marvels? How will the past and the present come together to change Joseph's future? 

     I am already a huge Brian Selznick fan, so when I saw he was releasing a new book I almost squealed in delight. Not only is he an incredible story teller, but almost half of the book is told through incredible images that hold so much detail it is hard to take them all in. I also love that you never fully understand the mysteries of his stories until the end. It keeps you reading and engaged the entire way through. I thought I had the mystery, the connection between the two time periods figured out until another twist appeared. This is a story filled with great, relatable characters and has a way for you to truly enter the world of the story when you find out the Uncle Albert's house is an actual place in London you can visit! It is a must read, you won't regret it. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer

     Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan introduces the world to Norse mythology through the journey of mortal Magnus Chase. Magnus has not lead an exceptional life. He has lost his mother, he never knew his father, and he has been living on the streets for the past two years. In one day, when Magnus turns 16, his life is completely turned upside down. He finds himself on a bridge battling a fire giant named Surt and unearthing a sword no one has seen in decades. This leads Magnus to the Norse afterlife of Valhalla where he learns of his unclear fate and must go on quest to stop the world from falling into 'Ragnarok' too soon. Will Magnus complete this quest and finally find his place in the world after all? 

     If you are a fan of Rick Riordan then this story is again a must read. I absolutely love that we have left the familiar world of Greek and Roman mythology and headed into the world of Norse mythology. I learned so much through the course of the book and realized how much more I want to learn. With a whole new cast of crazy characters, like Blitz and Hearth, and witty, humor-filled chapter titles, it is hard to put the book down. I must say though that this book does hit a slow patch towards the middle. I think it is easy to get lost in all of the characters and the new mythology, but it definitely picks back up the last 150 pages. I say this so you stick with it, I promise you won't regret it. I cannot wait for Magnus' next adventure in his search for Thor's hammer. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Who Is Malala Yousafzai?

     Who Is Malala Yousafzai by Dimah Brown is the story of a young girl from Pakistan who stood up to the Taliban when they tried to take away her right to go to school. Malala grew up in a peaceful village where her father helped build schools for girls and boys. Malala loved learning from an early age and decided she would do anything to go to school, and so she did. But when war tears her country apart, and strict Taliban beliefs ban all women from going to school or even leaving their homes without a male relative, Malala must stand up for what she believes in. Through writing and speeches, Malala shares with the world how education should be the right of every child no matter their race or gender. She will inspire you and remind you how lucky we are to have the rights that we do.

     This book is a must-read for every child. I believe this because it shows that age means nothing when it comes to changing the world and standing up for what you know is right. My goal is to have all of my students, girls especially, read this book before the end of the year. It is hard not to be inspired by this young girl who stood up to Taliban and almost lost her life for it. Malala shows us all what it means to be brave. I think what will stick with me most from her story is the reminder of how lucky we are in the United States to have rights for women/girls. School and an education should be given to everyone across the world, but it isn't. Malala reminds me to appreciate what I have - the right to go to school - every day because you never know when things can change.