Friday, July 27, 2012

Peak by Roland Smith

Peak is the first book I have read written by Roland Smith. Peak is also on the 2012-2013 VRC selection list. Again,this is a book I wouldn't have picked up to read. The cover doesn't draw me to the book. When I read the title 'Peak' I thought of a peak, at the top of something, like a mountain!  In this case Peak is his name. Peak is a adventurous guy. Climbing is in his blood, both of his parents are climbers. Peak is taken to Tibet/Nepal by Josh (his Dad). Peak thinks its because his Dad wants to get to know him better but actually there is an underlying reason. You need to read the book! You know that Mount Everest is is Tibet/Nepal, does Peak make the climb? does Peak make it to the 'peak'? You need to read this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read this book on one of the hottest days in July,  I had to make myself put the book down because I wanted to know if Peak made it to the peak or were there obstacles in his way? To find out you really need to read Peak. Smith's words kept pulling me through the book.  The last sentence of the book tells it all  ' The only thing you'll find on the summit of Mount Everest is a divine view. The things that really matter lie for below.'.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes

Operation Yes by Holmes is another VRC selection. The cover has 2 little green solderies men. Taking a better look at the cover it does give a clue to the story. I really liked this story, I didn't really know anything about this story but once I began reading the story I enjoyed it and was dragged into the story, by Gari and Bo.  Its not the firstbook I have read about the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars but the first book that brought me into the life of a soldier getting ready to leave her family,other families living on a military base and the pain and recovery of a injured solider.  THANK YOU

Don't be afraid to read this book it's not about war but folks getting together to help each other. 'looking for the cracks'   and     'Yes, and ...'

From authors website:
“Be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a great battle.”

It’s just a rectangle of tape on a plain linoleum floor. Ten feet long, four feet deep, at the front of a sixth-grade classroom near an Air Force base in North Carolina. But when Miss Loupe steps into the space, it becomes a putting green. A prison cell. A stage. And she teaches her students how to make that magic—theatre—happen as well.

Bo loves the improvisation exercises: They focus his restless energies and distract him from his father’s impending deployment overseas. But Gari has more important things to worry about—like getting her mom home safe from Iraq. When Miss Loupe’s brother goes missing in Afghanistan and Miss Loupe herself breaks down, Gari, Bo, and the rest of the class have to improvise their way through their own “great battles” . . . and find a way to help their teacher fight hers.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I read When you Reach Me it is a Virginia Readers Choice selection. That is all I can say about the book. The reviewers say this book is a science fiction/mystery probably because it talks about time travel, Enstein's Relativity and a crazy guy that hangs out in the street. I think in the book the author wants me to understand that Marcus is this crazy guy, but time travels. The author does mention A Wrinkle in Time,  I read A Wrinkle in Time when I was in school but I didn't understand that book either, I can't even recall that book except for knowing the book title and author.
I suggest try reading it, Miranda is 6th grader, her Mom will be a contestant on a game show. She has friends, gets a first kiss and trying to understand her friends.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Heart of a Samurai b Margi Preus

I need to be honest, this is a book that I would not have picked up to read. Heart of a Samurai it is a Virginia Readers Choice selection book, for 2012-2013.
Looking at the cover, I thought it would be more like a graphic novel but it isn't. This is a true story wrapped in fiction, a historical fiction novel.  Manjiro was lost at sea off the coast of Japan in 1841. He and his friends get picked up by an American whaling ship. This story tells of the how Manjiro becomes a 'friend' of the John Howland's Captain (John Whitfield), the Howland is a whaling ship, he learns to live in America for a short time, goes to school, earns enough money to get back to Oahu to find his friends then sails back to Japan. Once back in Japan he and his friends were treated like spies. The story ends in 1851. I don't want to give away the story but there is so much more to learn about Manjiro.
Manjiro's helps to open Japan to trading with whaling ships, helps America and Japan to be 'friends'. Once again this kind of history isn't taught in US History classes.

As I said it wouldn't be a book for me to pick up and read, but I have read it and it is a good read. Once again enough history in it to make you wonder how we got to today. Themes that run through this include bullying, racial ignorance, environmental issues with the extinction of whales and the short tailed albatross for its feathers. There is a mention of Herman Melville sailing on a whaling ship to Japan, to information to write Moby Dick, as Manjiro was sailing to America. So there is lots of history dates, to think soon after Manjiro left America, we would be fighting a Civil War.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Cosmic was published in 2008. It is Virginia Readers Choice Selection for 2012-2013 school year.
Poor Liam is growing too fast physically. Adults think is is an 'adult' because he needs to shave and tall for his age. He has fooled store clerks and salesmen. Liam enters a contest, he thinks winning the contest will have him be one of the first to experience a new amusement park. He wins! and now needs to play the role of an adult and have a 'child' to go with him on this trip to the amusement park. Liam gets his friend Florida to go along with him. The two of them take this adventure. What is the adventure? Read Cosmic, Liam's quote 'The world is my thrill ride.' Enjoy the story.
The author lives in England. There are uses of the British colloquialism in the book.  If you have read any of Roald Dahl stories this would be a book for you to read, lots of humor and light hearted.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz

I found this book at the high school I am working in for summer school.  This is a  murder mystery novel. Take away witchcraft, spells being cast and a private boarding and Stacey you have a Nancy Drew mystery. Lost the suspense of the mystery, who done it because the pacing of the book was slooow.  Even at the end, with Stacey trying to find Drea I didn't feel the suspense or fright. 
Give it a try, there are more books in this series.