Monday, January 28, 2008

Howe, James. The misfits

Howe, James. The misfits. Aladdin, 2001 [0-689-83956-1]
Four friends from a small middle school who don't really fit in meet frequently at the local soda shop and discuss life. When the school's Student Council elections begin, they decide to organize a third party to represent minorities. They school administration is resistant to the idea and won't let them, saying they need a better defined issue that is not covered by the other two parties. Finally they come up an idea.. to stop name-calling in the school. They realize that between the four of them, they have been called 22 names over the years. The idea catches and and spreads through the school life wildfire so there is a third party in the election. Their slogan is "Sticks and stones may break our bones but names will break our spirit." Read this 274 book to find out how a small group of kids can change a school. One of the "Misfits" is Joe who appears in "Totally Joe," a companion to this book.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Weeks, Sarah. So B. It

Weeks, Sarah. So B. It. HarperTrophy, 2004 [0-06-441047-1//9780-06-441047-2]
Heidi doesn't know much about her life..who is her father... when is her birthday? She lives with her severely mentally disabled mother with the help of a neighbor. Heidi's mother has a vocabulary of only 27 words/phrases, one of which is "So B. It." Heidi becomes more and more inquisitive about her mothers past so when she starts to gather some facts, she goes on an across the country trip to find out more about her mom. Will knowing more about her mom be better for Heidi? This 245 page book is a very touching story which is a wonderful read.

Howe, James. Totally Joe

Howe, James. Totally Joe. Alladin Mix, 2005 [0-689-83958-8//978-0-689-83958-8]
Here we have flamboyant 7th grade Joe and his friends from the 'Misfits" (an earlier book.) This book is written as an English assigment - a alphabiography where each chapter begins with a letter of the alphabet. Joe express his feelings of being a gay teenage in Junior High School. He finds his first boyfriend but there is no "disgusting kissing" but unfortunately his boyfriend is still in the closet so things do not work out. One day a new boy moves into town and Joe finds a true boyfriend. This 189 book is the story of a gay teenager and his relationships with his friends and family. It deals with what his feelings, not any "disgusting kissing" (or other physical things.) This is a book to be read by both gays and straight teenagers.

Mass, Wendy. Jeremy Fink and the meaning of life

Mass, Wendy. Jeremy Fink and the meaning of life.Little Brown, 2007 [0-316-05829-7//978-0316-05829-2]
Jeremy Fink's father had died long before his 13th birthday and one month before this birthday he receives a package with contains a locked box engraved with "The Meaning of Life - do not open until your 13th birthday." Jeremy finds out the box was prepared way before his father's early death. Unfortunately the box is locked with 4 keyholes and no keys. The bulk of this 289 page book is the story of Jeremy and his friend Lizzie as they go on a series of adventures to find the keys before his 13th birthday. On the way, they meet many interesting characters.. all with their own "meaning of life." The book has a wonderful surprise ending on Jeremy's thirteenth birthday where you find something wonderful about his dad and his dad's friends. This is a wonderful adventure book with a touching ending. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Lupica, Mike. Summer ball

Lupica, Mike. Summer ball. Philomel Books, 2007 [978-0-399-24487-2]
In this sequel to Travel Team we once again meet up with short Danny Walker as he heads out to a high pressure basketball camp which pulls impressive players and coaches from all over the country. Right off the bat, Danny has problems with the cabin arrangements but through this he meets a younger boy who is also short. They learn to support each other. The worse thing that happens is his coach. He and Danny do not get along. They constantly are at odds with each other. Of course since some of the best players from around the country, Danny knows a few. Some are past friends and at least one is a past rival. Once again Lupica hits the mark with this 244 page book. He knows how to write a sports book which will hold the attention of athletes but does not get to bogged down in the narration of the games to put non-athletes off from reading them. His books are a wonderful asset to a middle school library.

Riordan, Rick. The sea of monsters

Riordan, Rick. The sea of Monsters [Percy Jackson #2] Hyperion, 2007 [1-42310334-3//978-1-142310334-9]
The book opens with Percy's 7th grade year at his exclusive private school as going well until the end when he is once again drawn back to Camp Half-Blood. It appears that the Tree of Life has been poisoned and someone has to go on a quest to get the Golden Fleece to save it. Of course, Percy is not chosen but because of terrible dreams he is having, he and a friend decide to go anyway to get the fleece and save their friend Grover, the satyr. This modern day adventure mixes Greek Mythology with current characters. In this 279 page book, Percy gets to learn how to use the powers has been granted from his father, Poseidon. This is a fun series which may spur a student's interest in Mythology. The Sea of Monsters is number two in a series which I don't know if has been defined. So far book 1 and 2 are great reads.

Patterson, James. Saving the World and other extreme sports

Patterson, James. Saving the World and other extreme sports [Maximum Ride #3]. Little Brown, 2008 [0-316-15560-8//978-0316-15560-1]
In this final book, Max and the gang are chased around the country and finally around the world by robotic Flyboys. Will Max be able to save the world from the evil plans of the people who made them. Will the gang be able to do it on their own? How are they being traced? There are several plot twists at the end of this book so I don't want to mention anything that will ruin the great read for you. Let it be said that this 404 page book is a wonderful conclusion of the trilogy although an opening is left for something further. The web site gives a clip from the movie which I can't wait to see.