Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban

The 3rd book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban tells the continuing story of Harry, Ron, and Hermione and Hogwarts. I read this aloud to my kids over the last year and they both and myself loved it!! Lots of wizarding twists and turns in what everyone thinks they know about Harry’s parents’ death.

A little scarier with the Dementors, but well written and enjoyable!

Read August 2018

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A Line in the Dark

I just finished Malinda Lo’s A Line in the Dark and I realized I’ve been duped. The twist at the end really began at the beginning and now I’m questioning if I actually know anything that happened other than what I read in the Epilogue. Interesting to have the main character be so untrustworthy, but not let the audience in on it until it’s over.

Anyway, Jess and her best friend Angie have gotten mixed up with girls from the nearby boarding school. Lots of jealously about friendships and relationships between a small group of kids. One girl goes missing and discovered dead close to Jess’s house.

A really good read!

Read July 2018

(Spoiler) This is the 3rd mystery I’ve read recently that a young girl has an affair with her teacher and ends up dead. WTF? Even the last novel had an older man and a young woman. I pick my reading randomly without knowing what the books will be about really, so its strange that the 3/4 of the last books have had young girls explaining away why they don’t want the teachers to get in trouble for the affair. The novelists are decidedly NOT ok with the young girls feelings, and all the teachers have paid for their crime, but still a disturbing trend in my reading type.

The Sign of the Beaver

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Spears tells the story of young Matt left alone in the Maine wilderness to guard his family’s cabin from savage Indians until his father returns with his mother, sister, and the new baby. Matt keeps busy tending the corn and sparingly using his father’s gun to keep himself fed and busy.

Soon, the loneliness sets in and a series of events leaves him short on food staples and without only means of hunting. Matt without any likelihood of survival is helped by Saknis and his grandson Attean, members of a local Indian tribe. Matt owes a great debt to Saknis and agrees to help Attain learn to read. This relationship changes both boys as they turn into men. Matt’s expectations are never met when it comes to the generosity and kindness of Attean’s family and he does his best to return their friendship.

I read this with a group of third graders who were able to understand how friendships can cross all sort of boundaries. It may have been a bit difficult for some of the readers, but for those who understand some of the deeper meanings, it was a joy to hear them talk about it.

Read May 2018

Bad Beginnings

Bad Beginnings by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) is a fantastic children’s book that definitely has a bad beginning, middle, and end. The sarcasm and mistrust throughout this book is not typical for a young reader, but I think it speaks right at most children’s sarcasm level.

The Baudelaire children are orphaned at the start of the novel and they must go live with their only family member, no matter how distant, that lives within the borders set by their parent’s will. They have challenge after challenge when their caretaker and in loco parentis, Count Olaf, tries to scheme to get the Baudelaire fortune.

An enjoyable read! Read with 3rd grade class.

Read March 2018.

 

The Book of Unknown Americans

Cristina Henriquez’s The Book of Unknown Americans follows the story of a group of immigrants living in an apartment building. I read this without knowing it was a Young Adult novel, and didn’t enjoy it much. It adds a lot of details on how immigrants got to DE, the types of challenges they’re facing, and how they interact with each other and those in their communities.

While there interesting back stories, the relationships and stories that are told in current time don’t seem to have much in common until the very end. It felt like a hodgepodge of stories that are only linked because they live next door to each other. If someone thinks immigrants all have similar backstories, this novel might open their eyes on how different the experiences of immigrants can be. I don’t fall into this category and expected more than a collection of stories.

Read February 2018

Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is an interesting look at 2 sets of teenagers that are affected by a spell book that seems to have found them. Moira Fowley-Doyle’s chapters jump from character to character and at first I was annoyed since the thread of the story appears linear but not all at the same time. It took me awhile to warm to the characters, but once I did I loved the story. Olive, Rose, Rowan, Hazel and Ivy are the contemporary cast that are affected by the spell when so many of their things end up being lost. Bracelets, time, memories are all things that go missing.

Then diary entries from another set of characters start finding their way into their lives. As they try to piece everything together, the spellbook seems to find them and they dangerously cast the spell to find lost things in hopes that it will fix their lives. But with all magic, there are consequences.

At first the style of this novel bothered me since it was hard knowing how any of the characters knew or related to one another. But once the relationships became clearer, the story was fascinating and well told. Its a magical time of year and this was a great pre-Halloween read.

Read September 2017