Thursday, May 28, 2009

Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass

Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass is a great novel about astronomy, family, and most of all friendship. It’s a great book because it is really interesting, and there is a lot going on.

Jack, Ally, and Bree are three totally different teenagers. Jack is a pudgy, kind of lazy boy that would rather sit in the back of the classroom drawing aliens than learn or hang out with friends. Also, he is not very smart, and usually fails a few classes. But, under special circumstances everybody gets along. Right?

Ally is a smart girl that loves astronomy. She lives in a place called the Moon Shadow, where they have the best view of the moon and stars. She has never been to a place with more than fifty people, and she always thought she would grow up here in the Moon Shadow and take it over one day with her brother Kenny.

Bree is a beautiful, outgoing teen that loves to shop, hang out with friends and party. She really wants to be a model someday. To her life seems perfect, and she just knows she will be taken for the modelling class. Until she hears the news from the science geeks that called her parents.

Then, everything changes. Jack’s science teacher calls (which is a class he happened to fail) and invites Jack to come see the eclipse at the Moon Shadow with him, while leading a tour and working on a project. Jack doesn’t really want to go until he hears that would get him out of summer school. No summer school? Oh, sure I’ll come Mr. Silver! Jack says. Anything to get out of school while your supposed to be home having fun. So he goes on the trip. Ally suddenly figures out that she will have to move to a crowded area around Chicago. Leave the Moon Shadow? Go where the stars are pretty much covered with pollution? NO WAY! But, her parents have decided, and the Moon Shadow is already getting new owners. Bree is terrified! A place without malls? Without civilization? Are they kidding me? These are the first thoughts that go through Bree’s head when she finds out she is moving to a lonely place called the Moon Shadow. What is she supposed to do with stars? She needs clothes!

But, with everything happening so fast, the three teenagers become friends and start planning how to go back to where they belong. Lots of events happen, and in the end.... read for yourself! This is a great book, which you won't want to put down.

Review by Jessi479

Works Cited
"Every Soul a Star Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 4 June 2009

Thanks to Danette Haworth, Virtual Guest Author!

The sixth grade lunch bunch read Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning for our last book of the year. We were very fortunate to be able to have an author chat with Danette Haworth. Ms. Haworth showed us some pictures of wildlife and the landscape in Florida that help shaped the places in the book. We also got a chance to look at a bunch of examples of cover art.

It was a text chat with images in a presentation. It was great watching the students involved. As our time with Danette went on, they crept closer and closer to the screen where we could see the images and the text chat. By the end of the session they were waving and saying good-bye to the screen.

We really appreciate Danette Haworth taking the time to talk with us about her book and answer our many questions. I'm excited about the possibility of connecting with other authors virtually in the future.

Works Cited
"Violet Raines Cover." Online Image. Summer Friend Blog. 28 May 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

Home of the Brave is one of the 2010 Caudill nominees. Although the cover of the book doesn't look particularly appealing, I really hope that students will look past the cover and check out this book. I thought it was a pretty amazing read.

Kek describes his experience arriving in America after leaving a relocation camp in Sudan. His dad and brother were killed in the violence and his mom is missing. Kek tries to understand this new country after arriving in Minnesota during the middle of winter. Written in verse, the language is poetic and beautiful. Fifth-grader Kek remains optimistic and has a way of connecting with people and carving out a new life for himself in spite of heartbreaking and nightmarish experiences endured in his young life.
This book is touching and poignant. I would highly recommend this book.

Works Cited
"Home of the Brave Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 8 May 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

Ali is just your average 13-year-old girl looking for some adventure in her summer. When her Aunt Dulcie invites her Gull Cottage by Sycamore Lake, where Dulcie and her mother used to spend summers, to baby sit Emma while Dulcie paints, Ali can’t say yes fast enough. Ali’s mother is not as open to the idea, could it have something to do with the picture Ali found a few weeks of Dulcie, her mom, and the arm of a girl who’s name completely gone except for the letter “T”? Ali tells her mom that there is nothing dangerous about Sycamore Lake. Although her mom seems to be holding something back, she eventually lets Ali go with her aunt and cousin. When they get to lake Ali has no idea how her mother could hate such a gorgeous place.

Emma, who’s 4 years old, is simply ecstatic that she gets to spend the summer here and is almost happy except for one thing, besides her mom Ali is her best and only friend. Then Sissy comes. Sissy is cruel, bratty and Emma’s new best friend. Ali is furious when Emma starts acting exactly like Sissy. Ali is sure that Sissy is just using Emma ,but whenever she brings the topic up Emma becomes furious and Ali gets in trouble with Dulcie. When Sissy starts telling them the rumors about a girl being drowned right in Sycamore Lake, Ali begins to wonder who she can trust and what is and isn’t real.
Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn is a thrilling, quick read that will keep you reading until the very end. I’d give it a 4 out of 5 because at times the plot was quite predictable, other than that Hahn does a wonderful job of making the characters jump off the page and has really created a wonderfully chilling ghost story.

Review by SilentLikeALamb17

Works Cited
"Deep and Dark and Dangerous Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 7 May 2009