Sunday, August 31, 2014

People of the Plague


I read the author's book City of the Dead last year and I think I liked that better.  In the author's afterward he talks about the difficulty in finding actual first hand accounts of survivors and I think that is the issue.  He used what he could find and blended them together into fictional characters but they didn't seem as "fleshed" out as the characters in The City of the Dead.  Perhaps it is also because so much about the epidemic of 1918 is still unknown.  It was a horror of history but doesn't have a satisfying a medical's just a horror.  I will put it on the shelf next to The City of the Dead but not sure how well it will do.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The White House is Burning


So, I knew the White House burned during the War of 1812 and that Dolley saved the portrait of George Washington.  Beyond that I didn't know much.  This book gave the details leading up to the burning of the White House and other buildings during the War of 1812.  I found the book to be interesting but not mind blowing.  There was some good first hand accounts of witnesses but not really enough to actually get into the heads of the "characters" and feel the tension.  

So my take.  Great information.  If students are interested in the topic of teachers are going to use it for content instruction then it will work well.  As just something students will pick up to read???

Spic and Span

This was an interesting little book.  I had never heard of Lillian Gilbreth before but she was responsible for creating some kitchen appliances to make things more efficient and also worked on kitchen design.   I love some of the more recent biographies which are little snippets into someone's life and the person is not always overly famous.  It can really show what persistence will do,

Always Abigail


This book is written by the same author as This Journal Belongs to Ratchet and I think I actually like this one better.  It has been awhile since I read the other book but I remember thinking the cover was wrong for it.  I know...don't judge a book by its cover...but I do and you do too, be honest :)  

Anyway...the format of this book is a lot of lists.  That makes it an easy read for my 4th and 5th graders.  It was not as enjoyable on the iPad but I am sure it is much better in print.

Abigail and her two friends, Alli and Cami have dreamed of being on the pom pom squad in 6th grade forever.  But, when Abigail only makes alternate and her friends are on the team things start falling apart.  Not only are they not on the team together but they also don't have classes together.  Then Abigail is stuck on a year long assignment with Gabby, the biggest loser in 6th grade.  Abigail struggles with friendships, growing up, potential boyfriends, and so on.

So, to me there are a lot of typical middle school problems.  As someone who reads a lot of middle school fiction it gets old.  But, the students eat it up and the format of the book is great.  I think my students will like it a lot.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bad Magic

I read this awhile ago and realized I never wrote a blog for it.  Grr.  I have a hard enough time remembering what I read right after I read let alone a week or so after.  I am not sure what it is.  I get very caught up in books and enjoy them but often don't remember names and details.

Anyway...Bosch - if you have read anything else by him then you are familiar with the style.  You probably either like it or don't.  I do.  I find it quite humorous.  I do remembering enjoying the book.  It was mysterious, funny, some good action and magic.  Will students like it?  At 400 pages it is long.  If they like his other books I can probably sell this...otherwise the length may turn off most of my students.

Mary: The Summoning


Well dang.  I am not much into horror movies or stories.  I prefer the more tame Mary Downing Hahn, Goosebumps variety.  This one takes the urban legend, horror story of Bloody Mary and fleshes it out.  It was quite creepy, gory, lots of action and leaves off at a good spot for a sequel.

But, I am a librarian for grades 1 - 5 so no...although I would probably have some students who would love it there was some innuendo and language that makes it too much for the ages I work with.

I "enjoyed" much as I can enjoy horror and would probably recommend to older students I know...even recommended to my 16 year old...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lies in the Dust


This was a very interesting graphic novel told from the point of view of Ann Putnam Jr.  She was the only one of the Salem accusers who ever publicly showed remorse over her actions at the time and apologized.  This shows her take on the events and how she lived afterward, taking care of her brothers and sisters when her parents died and how she was treated in the community.  

I found the book interesting.  I am not a big graphic novel reading so parts of it seemed disjointed.  For students who have a background or interest in the Salem Witch Trials I think this is a good fit.  It also may spur the interest.  I am thinking it may be too high for my students but it will work for sure at the junior high.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Soda Bottle School


I have been waiting to read this ever since I heard about it last fall at AASL in Hartford.  It is the true story of how a teacher and her students used recycled soda bottles to build a school in Guatemala.  Having been to Guatemala several times I love how this solved an issue of trash and recycling and also helped build a school at the same time.  So cool.  It is also cool that the illustrator of the book lives in the town (Sanford, ME) that I work in.  If anyone is interested in more information about bottle schools check out