In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts and http://www.unleashingreaders.com for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! I have been in China for the past week and had a balance of down time, adventuring time, family time and reading time. Grateful to be an educator and really value the opportunities to read and review books that my students will enjoy in addition to sharing my thoughts with wonderful readers! (Thank you for reading!) Side note- there are two adult books on my list this week, I know this isn’t quite normal, but I was thrilled to prioritize a few books I’ve been curious to enjoy.
Fiction Books Enjoyed:
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins, Realistic Fiction/Multicultural/Survival, Middle School and up through adults! I just finished this book. I couldn’t put it down. It was upsetting and brilliant. Reading from two perspectives with similar minds converging instead of being separated by hate was a beautiful experience. I think what hit me the hardest was that this violence has continued for a ridiculously long period of time and shows no signs of slowing down. I wish this book could be an “all school reads” at the high school level in places where students need to hear about points of view, tolerance, and the value of other people’s lives. Such a powerful book. Goodreads Summary: “Bang! A side door bursts open. Soldiers pour into the room. They’re shouting and waving rifles. I shield my head with my arms. It was a lie! I think, my mind racing. Girls and boys alike are screaming. The soldiers prod and herd some of us together and push the rest apart as if we’re cows or goats. Their leader is a middle—aged man. He’s moving slowly, intently, not dashing around like the others. ” Take the boys only, Win Min,” I overhear him telling a tall, gangly soldier. “Make them obey.””
One Dog and his Boy by Eva Ibbotson – Realistic Fiction, 3rd grade and up – most people get somewhat grouchy when their airplane sits and is delayed from taking off. I felt like an expert when our flight was delayed for taking off to Yangshuo and we then had to sit and wait… I loved it since I had the time to begin this beautiful story. It felt like I was immediately getting lost in a classic story… I told my husband, how often am I going to read about a clueless parent and a child who is impacted in a negative way? Well, I really enjoyed watching the story unfold. The little boy has such a difficult time and the parents were so frustrating to read at first that I was nervous. But slowly reading how the animals reacted but acted like animals, phew, an animal fiction book I can recommend to those who don’t want talking animals! The adventure was special, the parent growth was a little obvious but acceptable, and the animals finding their place was quite touching. So happy to enjoy another Eva Ibbotson book, she knows how to spin a story!! Goodreads Summary: “All Hal had ever wanted was a dog. “Never!” cries his mother. “Think of the mess, the scratch-marks, the puddles on the floor.” But on the morning of Hal’s 10th birthday, the unbelievable happens. He’s allowed to choose a puppy at Easy Pets, a rent-a-pet agency (a fact his parents keep from him). The moment he sees the odd-looking terrier, he knows he’s found a friend for life. But no one tells Hal that Fleck must be returned and when Hal wakes up on Monday morning, Fleck is gone. If dog and boy are to stay together they’ll have to run away…”
James Potter and the Vault of Destinies, book 3 by G. Norman Lippert – fantasy, 4th grade and up – Well, I count this book in the sports category because of James’s experience playing the game of clutch cudgel which sounds like magical rugby. I did enjoy reading another James Potter book but it did drag on for me here and there. Overall, I found the creative world and situation to draw me in and picture some fascinating settings. Here’s a favorite quote “Holy hinkypunks! We won!” When James was in the school’s library, I loved this portion: “James had a strange suspicion that part of the reason that the books spent so much time circling the chandelier was because they were (being magical books) very slightly alive and liked the hustle and bustle of what the librarian referred to as ‘the sorting cloud’…” — (I just loved that the books flew around for a little while and then shelved themselves, fun to imagine…) The newest book is being released chapter by chapter presently but I’ve decided to wait for a while, many other books to enjoy! Goodreads Summary: “Follow James and Albus along with the Potter family and friends on their adventures in America.”
Your Friend in Fashion, Abby Shapiro by Amy Axelrod – Historical Fiction, 4th grade – 8th grade. I already shared my review about this book. Summary: Set in an extended household in 1940 with eccentric relatives and serious family traditions, Amy Axelrod introduces us to Abby Shapiro: an outspoken, creative, loving character. When Abby sets her mind to fulfilling her dream of being a fashion designer, her projects spin off in different ways. From writing to Jacquie Kennedy asking if she could be her personal fashion designer to helping friends and family members with different projects, Abby grows through the year in confidence and creativity. This book leads you through the ups and downs of life in a touching, humorous, and heart wrenching way. I highly recommend this book to any girl coming to that age in life where she wants to be understood but isn’t completely succeeding at communicating with others. Personally, I loved the integration of Yiddish throughout the book since I grew up with a little Yiddish in my life as well. I really thought this book would be a lovely partner with When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica S. Perl. Goodreads Summary: “Deeply affecting and laugh-out-loud funny, this coming-of-age novel captures the temper of the times and introduces readers to an unforgettable young heroine.”
High School/Adult Books:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Fantasy, High School/Adult – wow. What a powerful, disturbing story… I simply loved it. This is quite different than any other Neil Gaiman book I have read before, yet it resonated his storytelling voice in a way that felt like it was his book… This was a fascinating unraveling of a story from the start as a realistic fiction book to the first glimpse of fantasy to the fantastical queamish points… I loved watching how the characters developed and how evil was addressed within the book in addition to the simpleness of how omnipotent beings lived on earth… Just one fascinating book that will be going through my mind for a long, long time. I do recommend this book wholeheartedly. There are portions of the book that certainly make it a high school and up story vs. middle school or primary school! Goodreads Summary: “Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.”
The Expats by Chris Pavone – Suspense, adult!!
I actually made time for an adult book, thrilled. I came across this book in the travel section of a used book store I’ve frequented lately and thought it would be an interesting read, happy to select a great one. Basically the book is about an expat wife taking care of her two children in Europe… But she has a mysterious past, her husband could be wrapped up in some worrisome business dealings, and with these issues comes some curious complications when it comes to making friends. I liked how the story developed and how there was little bits revealed in the story by jumping back and forth in time. This s a book I am happy I didn’t listen to as an audiobook, would have confused me to no end with all the jumps back and forth in time… Well done! I’ve missed my adult mysteries! Goodreads Summary: “Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage . . . and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew. She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, finding her way in a language she doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done—play-dates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and unending laundry. Meanwhile, her husband works incessantly, doing a job Kate has never understood, for a banking client she’s not allowed to know. He’s becoming distant and evasive; she’s getting lonely and bored. Then another American couple arrives. Kate soon becomes suspicious that these people are not who they claim to be, and terrified that her own past is catching up to her. So Kate begins to dig, to peel back the layers of deception that surround her. She discovers fake offices and shell corporations and a hidden gun; a mysterious farmhouse and numbered accounts with bewildering sums of money; a complex web of intrigue where no one is who they claim to be, and the most profound deceptions lurk beneath the most normal-looking of relationships; and a mind-boggling long-play con threatens her family, her marriage, and her life.”
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert – Adult book – Well, I know a load more about the history of marriage than I ever expected to learn. I’m very glad I had time to sit back and get distracted by someone obsessing and researching and fretting and learning and accepting the changes life has to offer when it comes to marriage, commitment, and life in general. I’ve found Elizabeth Gilbert to be a fascinating person to learn with and appreciated the style she presented information and actually argued with herself over the idea of commitment. Really fascinating book. Glad my sister mentioned she listened to it a while ago, had on my reserve list at the library and realized it was available just in time for the trip to China. Great book to travel with… NOT for kids. Goodreads Summary: “At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who’d been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. (Both were survivors of previous bad divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the United States government, which-after unexpectedly detaining Felipe at an American border crossing-gave the couple a choice: they could either get married, or Felipe would never be allowed to enter the country again. Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Gilbert tackled her fears of marriage by delving into this topic completely, trying with all her might to discover through historical research, interviews, and much personal reflection what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is.”
I’m presently in the middle of:
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
About to start the audiobook The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader! Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.