Friday, June 30, 2017

Guatemala Reads - part 1

This will not be a typical entry for me.  I have been traveling since June 23rd - first drove to Rochester, NY and then flew to Guatemala.  So hola from Guatemala.  I read a lot in the plane and airport but it has been inconsistent since then.  I am working on cataloging books for a library here.  I have done about 700 so far.  So here are my reviews - no pictures and multiple in the same post...

Making Bombs for Hitler

I enjoyed this book about children who were kidnapped and worked as slaves for the Nazis.  This was something I had not heard of before and it added to my knowledge 
of the atrocities that took place.  Even more intriguing to me was what happened to Lida's younger sister, Larissa who was "adopted" by a 
German family during the war but once the German's lost she was given up.  The story talked about how children were given a small tattoo
to show they they were not "real" sons or daughters.  This was really interesting and I would love to do more research on it.

How Could We Harness a Hurricane

First this book suffered from a bad conversion to an eBook so it came out disjointed.

In terms of content.  It started with an explanation of hurricanes and how they form.  Then it delved into various ideas of how to "harness" a hurricane but removing a component needed in its formation or finding a way to alter it or lessen its impact.  For the most part, the ideas were
too outlandish or too costly but some are in development. 

Fault Lines in Our Constitution

This was a timely look at the history of the Constitution and some of the issues or "fault lines" that have appeared over the years.  It is extremely current
and includes the Trump election as well as issues during the last several presidencies.  While timely and informative I don't think it is a good fit for the list.
Great for a junior high or high school government class though

Army Brats

3 kids, Tom, Charlotte, and Rosie, have moved with their family to a base.  Each has a struggle - the girl wants to fit in with the popular crowd and goes along with their
teasing even when they tease her brother.  The boy has some anxiety issues and gets teased by a bully.  The youngest is very assertive and has trouble
making friends.  Together though the three of them not only tackle their personal problems but also work to solve the mystery of a strange building on the base.

This skewed a bit young.  While I will classify this as a mystery it was really pretty light fare.  While 4th graders might like it, I feel that it would be a stretch to
put it on the list just for them.

Defender of the Realm

This was so good.  Alfie has never wanted to be king or all the responsibility that comes with it but since he was born 10 seconds before his twin 
Richard, it all falls on his shoulders.  Then weird things start happening - there are sightings of a black lizard and also the Defender of the Realm who
rides a magical horse.  But when the king, Alfie's father dies, he learns the truth about what the monarch really does besides opening ceremonies and
shaking hands.  But is Alfie up to the task.

This was great.  There was good interaction between Alfie and his friend Hayley and his many advisers.  There was good suspense, action, and mystery about it.
I will say it did set up for a sequel with a big reveal at the end but it didn't bother me as much as they usually do.

Otherwise Known as Possum

It is the middle of the Great Depression and everything is changing.  President Hoover is about to replaced by Roosevelt but to "Possum" the changes in her
own family are far more concerning.  Ever since her mother and baby brother died her father has been different and Possum feels she needs to be with him.. But,
nosy neighbors start interfering and soon her daddy is convinced she needs more formal learning and the influence of another woman.  So off she goes to school with
a fancy teacher from NY.  Possum is convinced that she knows all there is to know and if she can win the essay contest she will show everyone that things were fine
the way they were.  But Possum discovers that she does, indeed, have a lot to learn - about friends, family, moving on, and growing up.

Possum had a great, distinct voice and is a wonderful character.  The story is kind of quiet but heartwarming.

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