Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Reading 2013 Goliath's Secret

I just read  Goliath's Secret by Bonnie Feuer. It features a Goliath frog and other animals from his habitat that want to teach him to communicate. Find out more info at the publisher's website.

This story would be a good discussion starter for talking about differences, or assumptions, or individuality...I can think of several topics besides just the obvious nature/animal lesson. It would be really good to use at the beginning of the school year for a class discussion on appreciating each person's unique style and identifying personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as the idea of trying to help others. Older students might like to write a similar story, using a different group of creatures from a different habitat (making connections and tying science and language arts together). All in all it is a comforting story with all the animals trying to help Goliath - and the surprise ending will appeal to young readers. Younger readers will also enjoy the humor of all the animals assuming that Goliath needs help without asking if he wants any help. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Reading 2013 Aquifer

I just finished an ARC of Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen from Zonderkidz-Books. This was a story filled with emotions. In a world where citizens wear dials to monitor the feelings they are expected to control, Luca feels Other. With no mother, a father lost in depression, and everyone else intimidated by his position, his closest friend is a sea turtle. He pours out his worries and confusion to Old Rub, the turtle, and does his best to meet the expectations forced on him by society. His world spirals out of control as the fear and greed of the ruling council threaten the survival of humanity. Aquifer is a book that makes you question placid acceptance of authority, societal roles, and the power of the individual.

It reminds me of the book, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, and the movie based on it.

Check the publisher's website for more info. Or you may explore the author's website or watch the trailer.

Aquifer    -     
        By: Jonathan Friesen

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Reading 2013 Wonder

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is a realistic fiction story featuring a boy named August  "Auggie" Pullman whose face is unusual because of medical problems. As he explains, "I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." Auggie has been home-schooled by his mother, but now he will be going to school for the first time as he begins 5th grade. The book is told from several points of view. Besides Auggie, we also see events through the perspective of his sister, some of her friends and some of his classmates from his new school.

Some books that try to use more than one viewpoint just end up being a jumbled mess. Wonder doesn't have that problem. Each character gives you more information or a different way of thinking about the events. As each side of the story is told, the picture of the whole truth comes into focus with more and more detail.

If you look at the list of awards it has won, you may think, "Oh - it must be pretty boring if all those adults are recommending it." But the story is very interesting. The kids in it are so believable that they may remind you of people you know. If you have ever felt different or misunderstood, ever been the "new kid," or ever had a friend do something to hurt your feelings, then you will understand Auggie. Visit the publisher's website to find out more, or come by the library and check out the book.

Wonder is a 2013 Carnegie Medal in Literature Nominee, a 2012 NAIBA Book of the Year for Middle Readers, a 2013 Waterstones Children's Book Prize, a School Library Journal Best of Children's Books 2012, a Publishers Weekly Best of Children's Books 2012, a Kirkus Reviews Best of Children's Books 2012, and a Booklist Best of Children's Books 2012.

The author's website also has more information about the book and there is a trailer, too.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Reading 2013 The Familiars

Hello, Fairview friends!

I'm experimenting with including a blog as part of our library. To keep things simple, I am starting out with reviews on my summer reading. As the school year starts, I would love to add student reviews to the blog.

The first book I read this summer was The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein.  My friend Grace Campbell bought it for me at the book fair and I am very glad she did. As most of you know, I have three dogs and I am what you would call a "dog person." Because of that, I might not have chosen this book for myself, since it has a cat on the front and the cat is one of the main characters. It was a very enjoyable story with plenty of action, humor, danger, friendships, courage, and mystery.

Aldwyn, the cat, is hiding from danger in a pet shop and is chosen by a young wizard named Jack. He meets the other students who are learning from Jack's teacher, as well as their familiars. Things seem too good to be true after Aldwyn's life of trying to survive as a stray cat in the city. Of course there are evil wizards, wicked plots, narrow escapes, and rescue missions, but the familiars also make some new friends along the way. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. The second book is Secrets of the Crown and the third book is Circle of Heroes. A fourth book titled Palace of Dreams is coming soon from the publisher, HarperCollins Children's Books.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys The Warriors series by Erin Hunter, magical fantasy books like Harry Potter, or even books with animals as main characters like Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. I have added my copy to the library so other people can enjoy it.

For more information on the series or the author and illustrator, visit their website. While you're there, you can even take a quiz to find out which familiar might be best for you. There is also a FaceBook page where you can check out posts, videos, and art by other fans - as well as get the latest news from the creators of the series. AND - Sony Pictures has an animated movie in development that is based on the book.

Don't forget to check out the trailer for the book.

The Familiars

That's all for now. If you have read The Familiars, or would like to send me a comment or question, you can reach me at .