Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/10/14

Thank you to SheilaJen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting the #IMWAYR meme.

Here are some highlights from my last week or so of reading:

Recommended for gr. 6-12
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander: 
What a wonderful voice for middle school readers!  Josh Bell plays basketball and the words on the pages of this book express the lyricism of the game.  It's not just about basketball, though.  I was impressed by how deftly Alexander wove themes of family and friendship into this poetic narrative, and all does not end happily, to my surprise.  I appreciate it when authors have the nerve to inject sorrow into the end of their books - it's rare and I know that not everyone likes it, but to me it feels true to life.  Alexander manages to do sorrow without being depressing, which is a feat!

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana:
Recommended for gr. 5-8
It's interesting that 2014 brought more than one exceptional Hurricane Katrina book to the world of children's literature.  I loved Rodman Philbrick's Zane and the Hurricane and I thought it was going to be hard to top it in terms of emotional impact, but Lamana's story is both brutal and realistic.  Readers who felt that Philbrick's treatment of the subject contained a few too many coincidences and and an unrealistic happy ending might appreciate Lamana's hopeful yet honest conclusion.  The characters in Upside Down and in the Middle of Nowhere will stay with readers for a very long time. 

Recommended for gr. 5-8
The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell:
Mending magic, curses, saints and princesses - this is a rich fantasy with both fairy tale and dystopian elements.  The two main characters, children from very different backgrounds who are stuck together in a castle guarded by malevolent thorns, are both sympathetic and realistically flawed.  The world that they create behind the castle walls is lovely and magical.  Fantasy readers will delight in this beautifully written and well imagined tale.

Recommended for gr. 8-12

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia 
by Candace Fleming:
Another winner by Fleming!  This is a very fascinating account of the end of the Romanov family rule in Russia.  While it is ostensibly a family biography, Fleming provides a vast backstory, including information about the Russian society, politics, religion, history and economy.  I was captivated and now have a few other Romanov books on my "to read" list.


1 comment:

  1. I have Family Romanov on reserves-- Fleming's books are always well done, and this is such an interesting story! I did love Crossover, and I normally don't like books in verse.