Friday, January 31, 2014

Defy by Sara B larson


Took a break from MSBA shortlist reading to read this one from NetGalley (got a little heavy handed with my requests).  LOVED IT!  This book was about Alexa and her brother Marcel who were left orphans when a sorcerer led an attack on their village and killed her parents.  Since then Alexa has been Alex, a boy training and eventually becoming a very talented guard to Prince Damien.  But things are not what they seem (are they ever?) and soon Alexa faces danger of exposure, assassination attempts, betrayal, kidnapping, and the opportunity to save her country.  The content while not bad is too mature for my students but I will recommend it to anyone who likes YA books.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy


Okay, I lied.  I got carried away on Netgalley the other day and got a whole bunch of new 2014 books.  So this isn't shortlisted for 2013 MSBA - it's just a new one I'm reading, maybe for next year's MSBA?

Ophelia has recently lost her mother, her sister is despondent and her dad won't talk about it.  They travel to a city where it always snows where his dad is preparing an exhibit of swords for a museum.  During her wanderings she comes across a boy locked in a room.  This boy - this marvelous boy - tells her a strange story of wizards, magical swords, and a snow queen.  Can Ophelia find the courage to find the keys, rescue the boy, and maybe save the world?

I really enjoyed this.  I worked for many hours today on a final project for my Masters degree and I needed a break.  The book wasn't too long - thank you and it moved along well.  

Readit :)  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Taking a Break

I have mentioned before that I am on the Maine Student Book Award committee.  For much of this year I have been reading 2013 titles.  Last Saturday the committee met to narrow down all the titles that had been reviewed into a shortlist.  The shortlist has 118 titles I believe.  Our job now is to get that down to a list of about 40 books which will be our nominees for next year's voting.  Because many people who read this know I am on the committee I feel that any reviews I put on here in the next month or so will obviously scream "shortlist" and I don't want to let any cats out of the bag.  If I do any reading that is outside the realm of MSBA or start any 2014 I will do some entries.  I will also try to catch up after the nominees are released.  

Now off to my pile....

Monday, January 13, 2014

2 for the weekend...


This book gives 10 "secrets" for creating comics.  I think students will be drawn to it because it looks like a comic and is very colorful and lively.  My concern is that they won;t actually read it though...time will tell.


Prince Aspen has been sent to the Unseelie Court as a hostage.  He is pretty much a guarantee that there will not be a war.  The Unseelie people have sent one of their princes to the Seelie Court.  Snail is an apprentice to a midwife.  When their worlds collide amidst the rumors of war and death threat they decide to run off together.  But things are not always as they seem and they may have caused more harm than good.  

I enjoyed this book but felt like it was really just getting I have to wait for the sequel.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Maine Student Book Awards...Nearing the End


I'm still reading for the MSBA committee and it is getting really exciting as we get recommendations from others and continue to read and make decisions.  

What I Came to Tell You has been on my pile and I have been wanting to read it.  Grover and Sudie lost their mom not even a year ago in a car accident.  Since then Grover has been spending even more time in a nearby bamboo grove creating huge weavings.  His father is immersed in his work and the strain of fighting for his job.  When a family moves into a rental nearby they begin to help Grover and his family come back together.  But it is a mysterious stranger who comes to tell Grover something very important and teaches him about moving on. 

I loved how the story started and then got bogged down a bit in the middle.  The ending and the message in it were powerful though. 


This graphic novel is getting a lot of buzz.  I did not know much about the Great American Dust Bowl in history so it was very interesting and the graphics were really cool.  My only concern is that when my students pick up graphic novels they usually skip over these "educational" ones so I am not sure how much student interest there will be.


This is an interesting book.  The illustrations and beautiful and there is a lot of good information.  I have seen it on mock Newbery and mock Caldecott lists but again...kid appeal?  I have had it in my library since September and only one student has checked it out.