Wednesday, June 3, 2009

39 Clues: The Sword Thief

Well, I'm back after a bit of a break - writing these articles can wear you out after a while. So, i have a bunch of catch up to do...

I'll Start with the semi-new 39 Clues threequel, The Sword Thief. Written by the virtually unknown Peter Lerangis, the book was written in a way that boasts writing experience and personality. While it is certainly a book meant for a younger age group (8-12), the sense of good literature that was absent in some of the biggest hits in YA history (coughtwilightcough) makes its appearance. I actually find this kind of kidlit to be better than some YA I have read becuase while the storyline is sorta childish, it has a point to it, and when the author built the story to a climax, the protagonist didn't just talk their way out of it - they ACTUALLY ENDED UP IN THE FIGHT YOU WERE WAITING FOR. (coughtwilightagaincough)

The book was about the hunt for 39 clues that would reveal the secret of alchemy - how to make the philosopher's stone.(the ideas in the book became rather Harry Potter-esque)
Action packed and full of suspense, The Sword Thief will not dissapoint.


Ages 8-12 (Scholastic said so and I don't dispute this)

reviews for the first 2 books in the series:
Book 1
Book 2

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Big Over Easy

Well, I just finished reading The Big Over Easy, a novel by Jasper Fforde...

It was a mystery about nursery rhyme characters in the town of "Reading"...

It is sort of like fantasy/sci fi/ mystery, but all that i can tell you is that it was REALLY good...

In this installment of the series, Humpty Dumpty has been murdered as he fell of the wall...

Jack Spratt and his detectives are on the case!


Ages 14 and up...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Two Parties, One Tux, And A Very Short Film About The Grapes Of Wrath

Well, after reading the longish title, it doesn't seem very appetizing, but trust me, it is a GOOD BOOK. Around 9th grade level, the book is about a guy going through his life in 9th grade. It consists of going to two parties, renting one tux for his prom, and making a movie about The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck...

Very surprising, don't you think?
It has other elements too, like becoming popular and then becoming unpopular, and then becoming popular again and then unpopular, the popular, and then ending where he started...
amazingly good book...


ages 14 and up...

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I just found out that Warner Bros. changed the end of Harry Potter 6. When I first heard that it was PG, I was very surprised, but now it looks like they didn't kill Dumbledore. First they split the 7th movie into TWO F***ing parts, and now they cut the end of the 6th movie. Warner Bros. is starting to really annoy me!

some of this information was found at:

An abundance of Katherines

Lately, I have been reading a lot of John Green, but unfortunately, this is the last book written by him that I am going to review for a WHILE.

An Abundance of Katherines was a book that was closer to Looking for Alaska than it was to Paper Towns, both of which make up the other 2 books written by Green. Lindsey, in particular, was very close to Alaska in my opinion.

The book was about a child prodigy named Colin, who has dated 19 Katherines. He is amazing at math, and tries to create a theory that will predict romance. The book is about his success, and he tells his story at the same time.

It was very well written...


Ages 12 and up for content

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Hunger Games: a movie?

Breaking news that is not breaking anymore:

Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, has signed the contract that will make The Hunger Games a movie - and a gruesome one at that. It will be produced by Lionsgate - which is also currently creating the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie - and is slated to come out in 2011.

Speaking of 2011, it seems like a big year for book movies. Eragon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 2), The 39 Clues Series, and more should be coming out then...

Of course, that is making sure that the distributor doesn't get greedy and wait for another year to maximize profits.

I wonder how the Collins, who will be the screen writer, will manage to adapt the movie so that it isn't R - after all, it is full of genocide...

Hopefully, she will do as good of a job as Louis Sachar did with his adaptation of Holes.

More news coming later on this blog!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Paper Towns

After reading Looking for Alaska, by John Green, I couldn't help but read Paper Towns, by the same author.
Paper Towns was a bit of a surprise, in the way that it was different from Looking for Alaska on many counts. It was about this boy who falls in love with a girl named Margo. It could have easily been named Looking for Margo, because the storyline was very similar with the exeption that instead of Margo dying like Alaska, she went missing. This book was much more fast paced and enjoyable, although it was a bit less moving in the end.


Ages 13 and up for references to (omminted because of age level of some readers)

Friday, March 13, 2009

To JayKae: Life Stinx

After getting back from BLOG VACATION, I read To JayKay: Life Stinx, by Jean Davies Okimoto. It is an old book (1999) that was nothing like I expected it to be. The back gave it a completely different angle to the book than what you would read in it. It was far worse than I thought it would be, and the only thing that wasn't so bad was the fact that it wasn't rated "R" but it was in fact rated PG(maybe 13). It was about this kid who meets this person on the internet using a chat room and they start a correspondence. Meanwhile, his life is completely disorganized and messed up, he has NO life, and his dad thinks that he is a psycho. It was an interesting book...


Ages 11 and up for references to cyberbullying and inappropriate material.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

To abandon a book isn't a sin - or is it?

For some reason, I have been reading extremely disappointing books recently. First After Tupac and D Foster, and now The Astonishing Tales of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, both of which were award winners of famous awards. It just goes to show you that random adults who think that they know what kids will like in literature and give out awards to praise themselves are sorely mistaken.

Octavian Nothing was about this slave boy and his mother, the princess of some African Tribe, but now a slave. It is boring, boring, boring. And not because there is no interesting story, like in After Tupac and D Foster. There is just no hook at all. There is nothing to keep you reading, and I discovered that the hook is vital to a book. Without it, the book is boring whether or not the rest is perfect.

In this case, unlike After Tupac..., the book is over 500 pages and on 8 1/2 by 11 sheets, quite a substantial amount. Therefore, I abandoned, and I know that I shouldn't have, and I'm sorry, but I have so many books to read. I just hope that abandoning a book isn't considered an act of evil.


Thursday, March 5, 2009


I took a trip back into kidlit - not that I am getting tired of YA, but this book sounded very good. "This book" was Scat, another book by Carl Hiaasen. It had such good reviews, and the author is historically good, albeit I hadn't read him since '05. Still, I gave it a shot, and it paid off.

It was about this kid named Nick. His dad was in Iraq, and he was very "fond" of this girl. Now, I just HAVE to mention that fond hasn't been used since the 60s or something. Well, on his class field trip, his least favorite teacher went missing. He is very interested in the mystery, and tries to solve it...

Meanwhile, this kid named Duane is convicted of arson, and people are going ballistic about it. And an oil company gone bad is running an operation around there...

Well, I would tell you more, but you wouldn't read it.

Hiaasen did a great job, although he lacked detail, and used jargon from ages ago.He also gave away the mystery in the begining of the book, although he did save little pieces until the end.


Ages 7 + It was an appropriate book for most grade levels, although his dad does get blown up by a bomb in Iraq...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


What a confusing book.

I just finished Madapple, a novel by Christina Meldrum. It was quite a confusing book, mostly because it had too many flashbacks (or flashforwards I suppose) and the storyline wasn't very clear. It did, however, give me an interesting tour through world religions, both ancient, and ones practiced today, and it gave me an interesting view of what goes on in a courtroom.

It was a tale of murder, of romance, of fate, and of family. A tale of happiness and sadness, of right and wrong and morals galore. (sorry about that - I was feeling poetic.)

Well, the basic storyline was that there was a girl. Her name was Aslaug. Her mom dies. She is sad. :( Then, she gets tried for murdering her mom. She goes to live with her aunt. Her aunt gets murdered. You should get the point by now.

The writing was very good for a first time author, and she clearly did her research well...

Very Good

Ages 12 and up for content and storyline...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Looking for Alaska

Well, I just finished reading the book Looking for Alaska, by John Green. It was an enjoyably book with a nice plot, although it was a very complex one. The really BASIC storyline is that this unpopular guy goes to a boarding school because he doesn't want to stay at home any more. When he shows up to Culver Creek boarding school, it seems like his popularity got worse. Then, his roommate gives him a step up into the world of Alaska Young and her friends.

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After Alaska dies, the protagonist, Miles, and his roommate who is nicknamed the colonel want to find out HOW Alaska died. I'll leave the rest for you to read...

The one thing that I didn't like about this book is that it was impossible to solve the mystery until the last second, where he gave you an answer that you could have not known otherwise. For example, in Siobhan Dowd's The London Eye Mystery, using all of the clues that were given, you could theoretically figure out the answer to the mystery without the book telling you. But still, great book, and I look forward to more!


Ages 11 and up for references and colorful grammar, as well as suicide.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spoiler Sunday

Well, every first Sunday of the month, I will read a passage from a book that I am reading,so that you can get an idea, and hopefully like the book, and read it yourself...

Right now, I am reading Madapple, by Christina Meldrum...

I should have a review soon,but until then: enjoy!

Then I remember the wartwort.
I want to scream,to obliterate mother from my mind, from my face.
She'd not been hiding my father from me;
I'm going to leave of there... halfway through a sentence, yes, but it is more likely to entice you as a reader that way...

You should see a review on this book soon - it might be after I review Coraline though, I want to do a compare/contrast with the movie...

After Tupac and D Foster

Well, I just finished reading After Tupac and D Foster, a novel by Jacqueline Woodson. I'm not really sure if it is considered YA or not - I found it in both YA and KIDLIT at libraries and on websites - so I decided to post about it online...

I personally didn't like it AT ALL, boring story, boring plot, boring period...

I don't know HOW it won Newbery Honors...

Waste of paper and ink - I pride myself to be an environmentalist, so you know that I'm not kidding about the waste part - but I might as well tell you a bit about it since you may like it - or not.

It is about this girl and her friend who seem to be happy or sad depending on whether this rapper named Tupac is in jail or not - WHY, I don't know - well it said something about being similar but still - WHY, it doesn't give a rational reason...

They make freinds with this foster kid named Desiree (D) and they go roaming and make snow angels - it took me 7 nights to finish it, every time I got into bed and started reading, the story bored me to sleep - and it is under 150 pages!

I WOULD NOT recommend it...

Waste of paper and ink

Ages 2 and up - it would probably bore them too...

The Newbery awards are going DOWNHILL.


Well, YA blog newsletter is having a contest, coordinated by ME...

Check it out...

The prize is a free blog ad for a week...

You can find it at!

You have 'till March 9 to enter...


I got tired of reading romance reviews - romance here, romance there - so I started a blog that wasn't as ROMANTIC. It has reviews of books that aren't as blogged about and it usually doesn't have chicklit - but it still reviews good books.

Check it out at!

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Warriors 1: Into the Wild

Into the Wild marks the beginning of Erin Hunter's amazing series. The kitty pet rusty is changed forever when Graystripe, an apprentice wildcat, attacks from the forest. When rusty is pulled in his life is changed forever. The great novel brings the newly born character to light. By the end of the book this unlikely hero finds out his amazing proficy from his medicine cat. I would always read this book first out the 2 series he has created.
As a final statement I would just say that that this is the beginning of a masterpiece.

"a suspenseful animal adventure that will leave readers eyeing Puss a bit nervously"

-Kirkus Reviews

Ages 10+ because of the more violent chapters

Friday, February 27, 2009

Monthly Winner!!!

I am sorry - this post should have been on Monday, but I got so caught up in reading good books that I completely forgot - Remember that these winners are for posts before 11:59 PM on Sunday.

Today's winner is...

Little Brother, by Cory Doctrow...
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This fantastically written book was a good read - I would have given it the PRINTZ award - FAR BETTER than Jellicoe Road, especially if you understood the politics involved.

i also found out some more fabulous news! THIS BOOK HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR THE NEBULA AWARD!!!

I warmly anticipate Doctrow's next novel (if it exists)


My next award will be on Wednesday, March 25!
see you then!


The second annual children's choice book award finalists have been announced. Remember to vote at from March 16 through May 3.

I put in bold what I think is the best books - no pressure for you to vote for that book though.

The favorite book finalists were determined by close to 15,000 children and teens.

Teen Choice Book Award
Airhead by Meg Cabot (Point/Scholastic)
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown and Company) - I wouldn't vote for this one
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press)
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (Viking/Penguin Young Readers Group)
Paper Towns by John Green (Dutton/Penguin Young Readers Group)

Author of the Year

Jeff Kinney, Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Stephenie Meyer, Breaking Dawn - I wouldn't vote for this one
Christopher Paolini, Brisingr
James Patterson, Maximum Ride: The Final Warning
Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth

P.S. The MONTHLY BLOG WINNER will be announced later today!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cybils announced!

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Middle Grade
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Young Adult
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Middle-Grade Fiction
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Young Adult Fiction
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Non-Fiction: Middle Grade/Young Adult
The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby

Graphic Novels: Elementary/Middle Grade
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale

Graphic Novels: Young Adult
Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Steve Rolston

Honeybee by Naomi Shihab Nye

Congratulations! I wanted to add that I loved The London Eye Mystery and The Hunger Games.

Saving Francesca and Looking for Alibrandi


I just finished reading Saving Francesca and Looking for Alibrandi, two novels by Melina Marchetta, who also authored Jellicoe Road, the Printz Literature Award for Teens winner this year.

In Saving Francesca, Melina Marchetta weaves a tale of a girl who has a mother in acute depresssion. Francesca, the protagonist, wants to help her mother, but doesn't know how. She looks it up online, but all that she finds is some information about how the "root cause must be addressed." Francesca goes through teh job of finding her mother's root cause, while facing problems at school and at home.

In Looking for Alibrandi, Marchetta writes about a girl who doesn't know her father. Then, her father moves in with her grandmother, who doesn't even know that he is Josephine's father. Josephine Alibrandi is the protagonist by the way. The book, a great first by Marchetta, was amazingly good, and follows the storyline very well. Book readers can only hope that Josephine gets through the ride of her life without some kind of nervous breakdown - that is, untli you read the book! This book also came out as a film - in case any of you are interested.

Looking for Alibrandi:


Ages 13 +

Saving Francesca:


Ages 13 +

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Dead and The Gone


I just finished reading The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

This was a book about the same time as Life As We Knew It, With the only difference being that it was told from a religious boy woho lived in a city' s point of veiw, and not a practically atheist girl who lived in a small town.

Another major difference was that there was a lot more heartfelt death - first the boy's parents, then (THIS IS A SPOILER) his sister.

Certainly more sad, and Pfeffer show again her natural knack at immersing the reader in the book. Certainly a better job done on the sequel, after getting used to the idea, and Pfeffer did throw more surprises at the reader along the way...

Another thriller, and I know that I will be expectantly waiting for her next book - that is if it exists...

I gave the first book a 4.8, so I feel inclined to give this a 4.9, not that it was better than teh other 4.8 books - it just was so good that it would beat the first book any day

Probably the next "BOOK OF THE MONTH"

Ages 9 and up... If the first was a horror story, This one is scarier...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Graveyard Book


Welcome back to the world of books. Ah... there are so many to choose from. That is why this blog exists... To help you decide which book to choose...

Today, my recommendation is on The Graveyard Book, a wonderful thriller written by Neil Gaiman, and the winner of this year's Newbery Award. If any of you don't know, (you should be ashamed of calling yourself a book lover if you have never heard of it) the Newbery (one R) Award is a prestigious award that is given yearly by the ALA to a children's book.

The novel was quite good - a bit slow at the beginning - but a good choice overall. In it, Gaiman describes an orphaned boy (his parents were murdered) and how he grows up in a graveyard. Bod (short for Nobody) Owens is a giving boy, working hard to rid his school of bullies, yet he is lonely. In a graveyard, there are only dead people, so Bod gets bored... The novel illustrated his excursions and explorations - speaking if illustrations, Dave McKean did a great job on them...

Better that most

Ages 6 and up... A great book, to read or to be read to - does contain mild violence

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw

Ha Ha Ha...
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I finished reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, by Jeff Kinney, and it gave me the usual Diary of a Wimpy Kid laugh. In this book, Greg is set by his dad to do some "manly" endeavors, and to reduce his wimpyness. Greg, of course, sidesteps every one of his dad's needs, from continuing to wear his mother's bathrobe, to volunteering for substitute goalie in order to sidestep soccer time.

Kinney weaves a thriller again with Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw.

"Worth Every Cent"

Ages 7 and up


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I just finished reading Savvy, a novel by Ingrid Law! Oh, let me slow down - I even forgot my greeting! Still, it was a very good book, and if I was deciding the Newbery, I would have voted this over The Graveyard Book. Oops! I wasn't supposed to tell you about that review that is coming up soon.

Anyway, Savvy was about a family that has special powers. The family calls their powers their "savvy." In the book, Mibs, the main character, chances stowing away on a rickety bus to try to save her father, who had been in an accident.

That day, she was going to find out what her savvy was, and she convinced herself that it would save here father.

She finds love, sadness, and almost every other emotion after the bus ends up going in the wrong direction.

Law wrote a wonderful tale of happiness and sadness, love and affection, cruelty and loneliness.

Very Good

Ages 8 and up

The Big Game of Everything


I just finished reading The Big Game of Everything, a fantastic novel by Chris Lynch. It is about a boy named Union Jack, pronounced "Onion Jock," and his family. Over summer vacation, he takes a journey through the truth of the following rule: You have to love your family. It is a rule, and the main character claims that if you don't follow the rule, you must be some kind of animal. Of course, he goes on to say that his brother is that kind of animal, but still, he seems to snincerely believe it.

That thought gets him through the summer, when he goes to help out his grandfather at his golf course. He lives with bankruptcy, family craziness, and more. And he gets though it, loving his family affectionately the whole time.

A wonderful read, especially for young readers - it is classified as YOUNG ADULT, but I thinnk that a 6 year old would get a bigger kick out of it.

Very good read...

Ages 5 and up - that is maintaining that the 5 year old will understand the vocab - a parent might want to read it to a young child

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Life As We Knew It

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I just finished reading Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
Miranda is the protagonist in this wonderful book that is made to look like a diary.
The book describes what it would theoretically be like if the moon was thrown off orbit. This story told about tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and more.
Pfeffer did a great job involving the reader in this story. On Valentine's Day, I was asked to bake a cake, and I almost said "Miranda told us that we need to ration our food and fuel, and making cake is a waste of both"
Of course, I didn't, and in the end, the cake was delicious, but still, it goes to show you how immersed in the book I was.


Ages 8 and up, although there are some semi-scary parts

Friday, February 13, 2009

Little Brother

Book Critic 101 calling bibliophiles, (if you don't know what this means, LOOK IT UP)
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I just finished reading Little Brother, a fantastic novel by Cory Doctorow.

In this thrilling, yet potentially politically accurate novel, the protagonist, Marcus, is sent to jail by the US Department of Homeland Security. Tortured using waterboarding, spied on by the DHS who are using the alibi of the PATRIOT Act, and with his favorite teacher being fired because she disagreed with the government, Marcus wants to get back at the government somehow.

His inspiration comes in the form of Xnet, a network of people that want to fight the government.
Marcus, the founder, under the disguise of M1K3Y, pronounced Mikey, uses this site to create a multi-player game site, complete with facebook like profiles, and public blogs.

Doctorov clearly did his research as preperation for this bone-chilling book.


Ages 11 and up
Language and events may not be suitable for younger children, and some words will be difficult to understand.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jellicoe Road

G'day mate!

I just got back from a trip to Australia - figuratively.
In my "trip" to the land down under, I learned about a girl named Taylor and her problems.
Well, to tell you the truth, I've been sitting and reading Jellicoe Road, a book by Maria Marchetta. This excellently written book, also the winner of the Printz Award for Teen Literature, was a gripping story about Taylor, the protagonist, and her past.
Taylor is in charge of her house at the boarding school that she goes to. After being elected leader, she goes on to become the leader of the school, and is forced to take charge of the territory wars, a game that their school plays against some other schools. But when people start to go missing, her caretaker disappears, the territory wars become more hostile than ever, and life keeps on getting in her way, can Taylor succeed. This is the question answered in Marchetta's new novel.

Very well written

Ages 14 and up for colorful language and other elements

Check out Stephanie Ford's review here!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I have recently been studying Nightjohn, by Gary Paulson. While looking around at the book, and some critiques, I found this wonderful essay. After reading it, I immediately asked for permission to use it on this blog, which I got instantly. I enjoyed it very much, and I hope that you do too:

In the case that I could bring a character back from Nightjohn, by Gary Paulson, I would bring back Nightjohn. I would think that if he came to the present day and age, he would be impressed with the relatively high literacy rate that African Americans have today. Obviously, the importance that he gave to teaching literacy among his priorities would make it possible to infer that this was probably one of his dreams come true.

Another striking difference would be the absence of slavery. The fact that everyone is free and equal would probably be a big deal for someone like him, especially since he was once a slave, and under today's laws, it would be illegal for anyone to own him in any way. I would hope that he would be pleased about the drastic change from slavery to one of his own race being the president of this country. I think that he, more than most people, would appreciate this difference.

On the other hand, I would think that he might miss teaching the English language. Of course, he could probably apply for an ELA teacher job, but with all of the restrictions and license related issues, he would probably have a tough time making it into a school system. However, I am pretty sure that he would enjoy present day life more that being a slave, or being on the run. In conclusion, I think that Nightjohn would be happy about how his life's goal has been accomplished.

-R. R.

Monday, January 26, 2009

ALA Book Awards!


Today, the ALA Book awards were released.

As is usually true, the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards committees had more than a few surprises for readers eagerly awaiting the winners of the 2009 awards.

Receiving the 2009 Newberry Award is Neal Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, a dark story of a boy named Nobody, who is safe from a mysterious assassin only within the confines of a graveyard. I don't wan't to give away any more, as this is an excellent book that has a few fun surprises.

Newbery Honor Awards go to Kathi Appelt for The Underneath, Ingrid Law for Savvy, Jacqueline Woodson's After Tupac and D Foster, and Margarita Engle's The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom.

The 2009 Caldecott Award winner, Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated her book, The House in the Night, extremely well.

Receiving Caldecott Honor Awards were Marla Frazee for A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, Uri Shulevitz for How I Learned Geography, and illustrator Melissa Sweet for A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams.

The Carnegie Award has been presented to Weston Woods' film based on Christine King Farris' book March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed The World, as a little surprise.

Mo Willems has again took the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award for easy reader books with his latest installment in his popular series, Are You Ready to Play Outside? (An Elephant and Piggie Book).

Cool Tidbits...

Kadir Nelson has won the Coretta Scott King Author Award for We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. The King Illustrator Award goes to Floyd Cooper for his work in The Blacker the Berry.

The Printz Award for Young Adult Literature has been given to Melina Marchetta's Jellicoe Road.

The Pura Belpre Award for Hispanic literature goes to author Margarita Engle for The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom and illustrator Yuyi Morales for Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book.

Once again, to many children's delight, the ALA book awards are out. Happy reading!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hitler Youth : Growing up in Hitler's Shadow

Guten Morgan, (good morning in german)
After giving out the "book of the month" award, it is time to start anew. Next month's award most likely will be given on Monday, February 23.
Anyway. After reading The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, I couldn't help but want to know more about the holocaust, and to know how historically accurate the book was. In order to find out, I went to the young adults non-fiction book (as I usually read mostly children's books) Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler's Shadow, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. In this absolutely horrifying book, Bartoletti describes some of the brainwashing that Hitler used on many teenagers of Germany, in order to gain their support and self sacrifice. To think that teenagers died happily for Germany, thinking that what Hitler was doing is right, and that Germans are the best people, and all others are inferior is quite scary.

I do not rate non-fiction due to the fact thet there is no storyline to rate.
Ages 13 and up
I just wanted to mention that I usually do not recommend that children undar a certain age SHOULD NOT read something, as I believe that if people do not know what mistakes were made in the past may make them again (this is why I am such an anti-censorship advocate), I don't think that this book is approriate for kids younger than at least 11, due to the horrors within.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Monthly Winner

On the 24 of every month, I pick the best book I reviewed since the month before. This month, the award goes to...
(Drum roll please)

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
This book, along with getting the highest rating I have given since Harry Potter, kept me sitting in my seat, turning page after page (which I would have done anyway - probably the bookworm instinct in me), and had one of the best stories I have seen in a while. I can't help but warmly anticipate the sequel, and more books by this wonderful author. Even though the beginning was rather slow, I stuck with the recommendations that I have received, and it paid off. I also found out some more good news. According to Publishers Weekly, Book Two, titled Catching Fire is due out September 8th so you won't have to wait too long. The final book in the trilogy is tentatively scheduled for 2010.

The next award is on February 23, 2009
See you for the awards then.
My next review will be out tommorrow!

The Seems: The Glitch in Time

Hi again!
Now it is time for a new series, a new age group, and a new genre. This wonderful book by John Hulme and Michael Wexler is an interesting story of the forces that control us. While some groups, like the religious right, may find this controversial and a insult to their beliefs, people who put this thought aside can heartily enjoy this wonderful work of literature. The Glitch in Sleep, part of the "Seems" series has been a big hit. A glitch appears in the "sleep department" of the seems and causes mayhem. The main character, Becker Drane is sent to solve the problem.
Hulme and Wexler do an excellent job with this piece of literature, and readers will be anxiously waiting for more.
Ages 7 - 12

The Homework Machine

Good Morning.
As you can probably see, today am looking at The Homework Machine, by Dan Gutman. Mr. Gutman, a popular children's literature writer, has written countless books that children around the world have heartily enjoyed. In this particular book, Gutman uses his skill with the pen to create a wonderful story of a child who creates a homework machine. The three other kids at the table, who include a teachers pet, a class clown, and a slacker, find out about the machine and start to use it. However people start to find out that they are cheating.
In this excellent novel, Gutman does a great job understanding the average schoolchildren.

"Could have been better"
Ages 6-12

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Hunger Games

I have recently read The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. This simply amazing book describes a possible future world, where the Hunger Games are sort of like today's Olympics, with one exception. Instead of playing sports, the tributes kill each other. Every year, some people are chosen to play from each district. In the book, the main character's sister is picked to go to the games. The main character volunteers, in order to keep her sister from dying. In a breathtaking adventure, Katniss, the protagonist, is forced to forge alliances, attempt to survive, and balance her personal issues, while trying to win the games.
Collins does a great job writing and leaves us hungry for more.

"Top of the line"
Ages 10 and up

Check out Stephanie Ford's review here!

39 Clues: One False Note

Now I am going to review the second book in the series, after The Maze of Bones, called One False Note. In this sequel, Amy and Dan Cahill, the protagonists, are led to Vienna by a clue. A musical piece by Mozart called KV 617 is discovered. Amy and Dan are accompanied by their au pair, Nellie Gomez. Running around the world, social services in Boston, where the Cahills live, are looking for them, and trying to put them into custody.
Korman writes yet another novel full of danger that is sure to keep readers turning pages.

"keep it up"
Ages 7-13

39 Clues: The Maze of Bones

Hi again,
Today, I am reviewing the excellent novel, The Maze of Bones, by Rick Riordan. This is part of the 39 Clues series, which is going to be written by many well practiced children's authors, such as Gordon Korman and Peter Lerangis. While I disapprove of the fact that this is a money making scheme, I can't help but admit that this is an example of good children's literature. In the first installment of this series, Riordan weaves a tale of the legendary "Cahill" family, who supposedly have 5 branches, and include almost all famous people in this world. When Grace, the protaganist's grandmother dies, she leaves them a challenge to find the 39 clues of the Cahill family secret. The series leads them to all kinds of places, but their power-hungry relatives keep on getting in thier way.
Riordan does a great job keeping his writing alive after the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series

Ages 7-13

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I have decided to post more often that Sundays because of increased interest.
Today, I am reviewing a book called The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne. It was about the holocaust, and Nazi Germany. While it carried the usual stereotypes, and put the Germans in a bad light, it was in a twisted way. Bruno, the main character, is a Nazi child. He is unaware that anything is happening, and doesn't even know why they have to move when his father was sent to be in charge of a concentration camp. He, being completely innocent, goes to explore the surrounding area, When he finds out about the people across the fence, he befriends one.
Boyle does an excellent job capturing Nazi Germany, and clearly depicts what an innocent is like.

Recommendation: an excellent book for young adults, and should be required reading in schools.

Very good
Ages 11 and up due to references to was and Hitler

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Today, I am reviewing Schooled, by Gordon Korman. I have recently been reading many of Mr. Korman's books, as I feel that he has a great writing style. Schooled is about A child who came from a community that taught people non-violence, and was based on traditional hippie idealism. Cap, the main character, is elected 8th grade president, and gets caught up in the school's politics, but slogs it out till the end. Cap even manages to gain some popularity during his 4 weeks at Claverage middle school, dubbed "C Average Middle School". On his last day, he is attacked by some popular students, and is sent away by ambulance. When he returns to the community, everyone at his old school thinks that he is dead.
Korman once again shows his skill with the pen and shows his insight in a public school education in this wonderful story.

Very good
Ages 7 and up

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Juvie Three

Today, I will be writing about The Juvie Three, by Gordon Korman, one of my favorite children's authors. It was a gripping story about three juvenile delinquents who are given a second chance. The are brought to a halfway house, where they live in an apartment, go to counseling and school, and do community service instead of going to jail. The person in charge of the halfway house, Douglas Healy, is great to them. One day, they are having a little scuffle, and Healy comes to break them up, and falls out the window. The boys rush him to the hospital, but the doctor says that he may never wake up. The boys, knowing that they would go back to prison if they are caught, they go on as if their group leader is still there. They act like model students until Healy comes back.
Korman shows his brilliance once again weaving a moving, yet action oriented story with a great plot.
Recommendation: 4.2/5
Ages 10 and up