Tuesday, March 19, 2013

This was an eye-catching, high interest book.  It has real life survival information, as well as social survival situations.  I liked the pictures and no nonsense advice and so did my 10 year old......I think it will be heavily browsed in my teen room until it falls apart

I already had a bit of knowledge about both Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, but thanks to this book I both expanded my knowledge of the ladies specifically but also was better able to look at the women's movement from a historical perspective.  I really enjoyed reading this, the writing style was really good and the subject was fascinating (to me anyway, I love history).  I don't know that a lot of teens will read this without a report forcing them to, but anyone who enjoys learning more of history will greatly enjoy this title.

Again, had a bit of knowledge on the "separate but equal" policies of the U.S. and a bit of knowledge about WWII, but this was a much more intimate look at both.  The author really narrows the focus to the two men who came from similar and yet different places due to their ethnicities and the different war experiences both of them had due to the Jim Crow laws of the U.S.   Knowing that the two men are now friends and have turned this into a discussion/speech that they have shared just made the book even more interesting to me.  I wish that they lived near my library in NJ, and I am wondering now about how difficult it would be to put together something like this for a program......hmmm........anyway, fabulous book and a really great look at how differently races were treated and how it affected all areas of life.

I vaguely knew the name I.M. Pei, but had no idea who he really was.  This was a very quick and interesting read that laid the groundwork of explaining, in brief, all of that.  I loved the intimate and behind the scenes looks at the architectural drawings as well as all the biographical information.  Quite a fascinating person and a well written book for those just looking for a brief overview.

When I first looked at We Are America, I thought "picture book" and wondered why it would be on a teen list to read......but the poetry from Walter Dean Myers is quite sophisticated and can be read on varying levels.  The artwork is wonderful as would be expected from Christopher Myers.  I still don't think teens will read it due to its picture book format, but if I were ever to do a poetry reading, then I would suggest this to be read as I think the words and the language are so affecting that anyone would enjoy it old or young.

Women Heroes of WWII is exactly what it purports to be.....a collective biography of women doing important things in WWII.  Some of the women I knew, although I don't know if teens or tweens would recognize them; but putting them all together made all of them seem so much more important.  I think it's really important to acknowledge that women made a difference in the war, especially when they were officially "not involved".  I think anyone doing a report or wanting to learn more about the second World War would find this a very useful tool.

I snuck in a bit of fiction amidst all the non-fiction.....and this was a surprisingly affecting book.  I thought it was going to be a bit of a Wimpy Kid type novel, but it was much deeper than that.....it's called the "reluctant journal" because Henry doesn't see the point in writing down what he's going through, but decides to try it when his psychologist recommends it (although he won't admit it to the doctor).  As a reader we learn that his brother has died, and in a terrible manner leaving the entire family reeling and struggling to cope. Violence in schools happens, so it's important to acknowledge that it affects everyone differently...and this book addresses one family and it's coping strategies (or lack of them).  I was really affected by this and would highly recommend it to any tween or young teen readers.....Henry is only in middle school, so it's perfectly tailored to that age range.

Both of these titles are as silly and as funny (LOL funny) as they appear.  Nothing deep, just a collection of silly pictures and random captions to explain why they came to be.

I really wanted to enjoy Scribbling Women, and I honestly did, sort of.......the premise is that the author gathered the stories of various women who wrote, either letters or biographies or really anything of significance and putting them together to look at historical significance.  I was really interested in a few of the women highlighted, but for the most part found this to be a very dry read.

 How They Croaked, is exactly what it says it is....a gathering of stories of the various death scenarios of historically famous people.  It's written very simply so a young tween might read it, or perhaps someone who is a reluctant reader.  I wouldn't say this was the best I've ever read, but neither was it the worst.  Information given and all historically accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Another collection of stories, this one centering on false identities....I was expecting a collection of spy stories....or maybe robberies or something, but instead got a very simple set of biographical portraits based on people who; for various reasons; needed (or wanted) a different identity.  My opinion?  Well, again, not bad....not amazing, but not bad.

Roots and Blues is a quick narrative on the various types and styles of blues....where they came from, how they feel, it's in a very young format, but the information isn't accessible to the very young...so sadly I think that this book will be lost between the cracks....but maybe a few kids will find it and love it as it deserves.

I had never thought much about the bicycle....but thanks to this book "Wheels of Change" I now have a much better understanding of what a difference it has made in history, and especially in women's history.  I really enjoyed reading it.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Tom Harvey is a regular guy living in the projects until the day someone throws an Iphone out of the 30th story window and hits him in the head with it.......some of the pieces of the phone lodged in his brain, and have actually integrated the phone with his brain.......which means that he is now a part of the Internet, physically able to do anything an Iphone can do....and what he decides to do is to find and punish the perpetrators of the rape of his best friend.  This means going up against the biggest baddies gang members in the worst area of London.......can a regular guy gone super-computer do that without horrendous consequences?
I really enjoyed this gritty fantastical story........and the integration of a phone into one's brain, while it's unlikely for this to happen, Brooks certainly makes it seem possible......definitely a cool book and one for reluctant readers.

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad Aisha Saeed’s Amal Unbound is about a girl named Amal who lives in pakistan and goes to school...