Friday, February 27, 2009

Post Your Books Reviews Here:

 

 

Reading All-Stars Book Reviews~!

 

 

Bye 

 Post your book reviews here in order to qualify for the Reading All-Stars Program!  Click on the comment link and tell us all about the book you've read!   Remember to include the following: Fiction reviews should be a minimum of two paragraphs (a paragraph is 3-5 sentences).  Write a summary sentence and analyze at least one of the book's characters.  You may also choose to describe examples of conflict in your novel.  Would you recommend this to another middle school student?  Why or why not? 

Nonfiction book reviews should also be a minimum of two paragraphs.  Summarize the subject of your book, and describe the book's layout (chapters, index, pictures, headings, drawings, etc).  Select a picture or graphic from the book and describe its purpose.  How can you apply what you have learned during your reading to the real word? 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fire from the Rock by Sharon Draper

 

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Five stars:  We need to remember the hate.  Read to learn what others experienced...the fear, the anger, the violence, and the despair.   Remember and Learn

Imagine being hated, beaten and cursed, because of the amount of pigment in your skin - because of your race, your ethnicity, or your religion. 

Fire from the Rock is fiction, but the events in the book reflect the history of Little Rock, Arkansas and the racism rampant in the South during that time period.  In 1954, a landmark decision was made by the Supreme Court in Brown v/s the Board of Education.  The ruling stated forced segregation of schools based on race denied equal educational opportunities.

Though the setting of Draper's book is 1957, three years after segregation became illegal, many citizens, both African-American and Causcasian, were still attempting to prevent students from other races to attend school together.

Sylvia Patterson never would have imagined herself involved in the center of this race controversy.  She was a pretty, smart girl who made good grades, loved her family, never got in trouble, and had a happy life.  Next year, she would be entering high school, and she already had a dreamy, romantic boyfriend.

When Central High School is forced to allow African-Americans to attend for the very first time, Sylvia is handpicked to be one of the chosen group.  At first, she's flattered and thinks of this opportunity as an honor - recognition for her diligence and her sensible personality.  Soon, though, Sylvia finds her life in constant turmoil. Sylvia and her siblings are physically attacked, stalked, threatened, and her parents find their jobs in jeopardy. Sylvia's boyfriend, Reggie, and her brother, Gary, both believe its time to stand up for themselves and fight back.  Is this the answer?  Or will standing up lead to their permanent downfall?

Will Sylvia become an advocate for racial equality and embrace the opportunity to be provided the best educational opportunities possible - despite the hardships she will face in a predominately white high school?  Is losing Reggie, leaving her friends behind, and the threatened violence towards her family worth the risk?

Sylvia knows there are no easy answers, and no matter what decision she makes, she will lose and sacrifice.

 Important book to read - Sylvia's experiences and words reflect the helplessness and shame others must have felt during this time period, and reminds us all of the cruelty inflicted upon people of other races- hatred projected in acts of violence and spiteful words, all because of the color of their skin.

You can learn more about Little Rock, Arkansas, the real Central High School, and the first African-American students to attend (called the Little Rock Nine) by watching video clips in United Streaming.  See Mrs. Symborski for the passcode or to view on the media center computers.

 

Little Rock Nine:  The first African-American students at Central High School form a study group

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

 

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fourstars4.jpg 4.5 Stars

Has Haddix ever written a dull book?  Not one that I have read! Her newest title, Found, is no exception to this.  Jonah is the typical pre-teen- he has a sister he cares about but often argues with, a best friend who spends time hanging out with him each day, and parents he loves, except when they're driving him crazy!  Jonah knew he was adopted by his parents.  Since this information had been open to him since he was old enough to understand and was discussed at length by his parents, it never made Jonah feel different or strange.

 That was until the first letter arrived.

 You are one of the missing.

 At first Jonah thought it was a joke.  When his best friend Chip begins receiving the same letter, and they find out that they have a eerily similar background, Jonah knew someone was after them. 

Soon Jonah, Chip, and his sister Katherine find themselves in danger - they are asking too many questions and are close to discovering the shocking truth.  Despite the danger, Jonah is determined to find out where they came from, and why they now must leave. 

Haddix has started another exciting, mysterious series for young adults!  Series Title:  The Missing, Book One:  Found

 

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney


 

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The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper

 

3-gray-stars.jpg    3.5 Stars

 Sparrow Delaney craves a normal life.  Unlike most teens that think their parents are boring, Sparrow just wishes her mom and six sisters would stop drawing attention to themselves and would behave the way a normal family should. 

From the time Sparrow was born into a family of psychics, she has been told that as the seventh daughter, she would be special.  Her family has assured her that she has inherited an extraordinary talent - she can communicate with people who have passed.  Sparrow can see and talk to ghosts and spirits with a stronger clarity than any of her ancestors before her.  Imagine her family's disappointment when Sparrow seems unable to communicate with ghosts at all, and furthermore, she could care less about ever developing her skills.

In reality, Sparrow has been keeping a secret from her family.  She has been able to talk with the dead since the age of five.  At fifteen years old, Sparrow has managed to successfully hide this from everyone but now she is finding it impossible to keep quiet.  

One ghost in particular, Luke, refuses to leave Sparrow alone.  He must communicate with his family before he can pass to the other side, and he needs Sparrow's help.  Sparrow only wants to think about her secret crush, Jack, and she is determined to appear normal to all the other students at her new school.  

Sparrow soon finds herself torn when she learns that Jack thinks that all mediums are fakes and liars.  And Luke, the sad, young man who needs her help, was actually Jack's brother.  Will Sparrow expose herself in order to help Luke find eternal peace?  Will she risk her budding relationship with Jack and reveal her hidden abilities to her new friends and to her family?

 Interesting book that kept my attention, but I was disappointed when the author never explained the mystery surrounding Sparrow's father's disappearance...hmmmm....I smell a sequel...

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