Module 15: The Hunger Games

Book Summary:

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is about a teenage girl named Katniss Everdeen who lives in a dystopian society in which a select few live in the lap of luxery and excess while the rest of the country lives in varrying degrees of subserviance and squaler. When the annual hunger games comes around and her little sister Prim is chosen as the female tribute Katniss voluntiers to take her place. The hunger games are put on by the rulling class every year to keep the districts citizens in their place; it is a game of survival and only one tribute can claim victory. It is an exciting story of survival and rebellion.

APA Reference:

Collins, Suzanne (2008). The Hunger Games. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.

Impressions:

The Hunger Games is a great read that is exciting and full of action. I loved every second of it. It covers issues that are becoming more and more relevant in today’s society such as classism and a corrupted government. I find myself thinking “how will Katniss get out of this situation” constantly. I love how clever she is shown to be as well as how she is a strong female protagonist with an attitude.

Professional Review:

“Suzanne Collins brilliantly plotted and perfectly placed new novel, ‘The Hunger Games,’ is set much further in the future but grapples with many of the same questions. Collins, the author of ‘The Underland Chronicles,’ a well-regarded fantasy series, has now writen a futuristic novel every bit and allegorically rich as Scott Westerfield’s ‘Uglies’ books.” – John Green, Scary New World. The New York Times. (A review of The Hunger Games and The Dead and the Gone).

www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/books/review/Green-t.html 

Library Uses: 

This book can be paired with its movie to do a compare and contrast between the two. It can also be used as part of a unit in which a class explores dystopian societies as well as current issues facing our socity today and how they are portrayed in the book.

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Module 14: Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Book Summary:

This collection of short stories by Jane Yolen features new twists on classic fairy and folk tails. They include Alice in Wonderland, A bridge that wants a goat eating troll to live under it, Peter Pan and his group of lost boys that mutiny against him, and several others.

APA Reference:

Yolen, Jane (1997). Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Publishing.

Impressions:

I found the new take on these classic fairy tails and myths to be rather fun and enjoyed them a great deal. It is clear that these were written for young adult readers due to some of the stories being darker than their more well known counter parts.

Professional Review:

“Yolen’s style is deceptively simple. There is real depth lurking beneath the clean and polished exterior of these tales. And it is ultimately the truth of their emotional content which lifts these stories off the page and makes them feel rather more like shared experiences than fantasies.” – Margo MacDonald, SF Site Reviews. 

https://www.sfsite.com/06b/twel35.htm

Library Uses:

This collection of stories has counter parts to more well known stories such as Alice in Wonderland which means that they could be used as part of a compare and contrast lesson. They can also be used to show that its possible to take well known stories and remake them into something unique and original.

Module 13: Warriors (a series about cats)

Book Summary: 

The Warriors series, by Erin Hunter, is about 5 groups of cats living in the wilderness. The story focuses on one cat inparticular who goes by the name of Fireheart, who later becomes renamed Firestar as he becomes the leader of his clan of cats. There is a kudeta within Firestar’s clan before he becomes the leader when Tigerstar kills and takes leadership from the former leader Bluestar. It is up to Firestar to avenge Bluestar and lead the clans against Tigerstar’s tyranny.

APA Reference: 

Hunter, Erin (2003). Warriors: Into the Wild.  New York, NY: Harper Colins Publishing.

Impressions:

I found this book series quick and easy to read. There was plenty of tension and mystery involved as the protagonist traverses a new world that he is unfamiliar with. It is written for middle school level and up, but older readers would likely enjoy it as well. I know I did.

Professional Review:

“All of the books take place in a world of cat characters that belong to different “clans” that have different talents, abilities, and loyalties. Parallels can be drawn between the clans (which think and feel like humans) and human cultures, making these books an excellent point of departure for discussion about cultural differences and prejudice. Cats engage in wars and battles, fought with claws and teeth, in which some characters are wounded or killed. There are descriptions of cuts and injuries that are tempered for middle-graders, but some sensitive cat lovers could find them too scary. It should also be noted that this series walks a line between opposing war and using violent battle to engage the reader.” – Barbara Schultz. Common Sense Media.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/warriors-series#

Library Uses:

This series could be used to help get reluctant readers into reading as the books are short and easily capable of holding the reader’s attention. They could also be used as a feature set for book series as the series is rather large and popular. They also have their own website so they could be used in practice info hunts or other activites.

Module 12: I Am Scout: A Biography of Harper Lee

Book Summary:

I Am Scout: A Biography of Harper Lee, by Charles J. Shields, is a biography of the life of Harper Lee and how she became the famous american author that wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. 

APA Reference:

Shields, Charles J. (2008). “I Am Scout: A Biography of Harper Lee.” New York, NY: Henry                                        Holt and Comapany.

Impressions:

I found this biography to quite the interesting read due to the details it was able to give about Harper Lee. It is thouroughly researched as any good biography should be and it covers her struggles with writting her famous novel (“To Kill A Mockingbird”). This is rather suprising as she refused to even talk about her novel to anyone, but it would seem that she made an exception for this author.

Professional Review:

“This biography is a reworking of the best-selling Mockingbird (Holt, 2006), adapted for young adults. Shields spotlights Lee’s lifelong friendship with Truman Capote and the creation of To Kill a Mockingbird, showing how the publication and success of that book affected the rest of her life…”- Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC.

https://www.buffalolib.org/vufind/Record/1711612/Reviews

Library Uses:

This book could easily be paired with a lesson on “To Kill a Mockingbird” for any English class. It could also be used as a source for research on famous authors or even used as a feature in the library for a month to celebrate famous american authors along with the book “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Module 11: An American Plague

Book Summary:

An American Plague, by Jim Murphy, is about the yellow fever epidimic of 1793. This book details the incident rather thouroughly and is well researched. It not only covers the epidimic from start to finish, but also goes on to the discovery of a cure for the yellow fever. It however does not go into detail about the other yellow fever epidimics that occured for nearly 10 years after the epidimic in 1793 and only mentions that there were other epidimics of this disease every few years after. The full title of the work is An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidimic of 1793.

APA Reference: 

Murphy, Jim (2003). “An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow                                       Fever Epidimic of 1793.” Boston, MA.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt                                                 Publishing.

Impressions:

I found this to be an interesting read all in all. It was very detailed and I liked that it went up to the point where the cure for yellow fever was discovered and how it was discovered. I would have liked to have seen more information about the other epidimics of yellow fever that occured after the one in 1793 instead of them being given only a passing acknologment that they occured though. What really sold it for me though was the way it was written and the details that were provided from the reliable sources which showed that the author did his research on the topic very thouroughly.

Professional Review:

“In marked contrast to the clipped, suspenseful pace of his Inside the Alamo…Murphy here adopts a leisurely, lyrical tone to chronicle the invisible spread of the deadly disease that not only crippled Philadelphia (then the temporary capital of the U.S.) but also set off a constitutional crisis.” – Publishers Weekly 

http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-395-77608-7

Library Uses:

As this is a historical novel it could easily be used to promote history lessons about the USA and be used by students as research material for history projects and even science projects (to a point).

Module 10: The Book Thief

Book Summary: 

“The Book Thief”, by Markus Zusak, is about a young girl living in Germany during the events of WWII while Hitler was in power. She is not a Jewish girl, but her family does not like Hitler and they hide a Jewish man who is the son of an old friend of her adopted father’s. The girl loves to read and she steals over the course of the book 4 books. The first of which is called “The GraveDiggers Handbook”, the second she saves from a fire as it was writen by a jew. This book details her exploits and life growing up in a poor neighborhood in Germany where Hitler first took power.

APA Reference:

Zusak, Markus (2006). “The Book Thief”. New York, NY.: Random House Books.

Impressions: 

I found this book to be far more interesting than I thought it would be. Historical Fiction is far from my favorite genre to read, but I would recommend this book to anyone. The pacing is a bit slower than what I was used to and it is by no means a short book, but the development of the characters, the discriptions given of the town and her home life are wonderfully done. It also seems to have quite a bit of historical accuracy (even though its fictional) in terms of the lifestyle and state of the towns in the country at the time. I also found it to be intersting in that Death was the narrator of the story, something that I have never seen before and yet I found it to be a brilliant choice for a narrator.

Professional Review: 

“The Austrailian writer Markus Zusak’s brilliant and hugly ambitious new young-adult novel is startaling in many ways, but the first thing many teenagers will notice is its length: 552 pages! It’s one thing to write about, say, a boy who happens across a dragon’s egg; its quite another to write a long, achingly sad, intricatly structured book about Nazi Germany narrated by Death itself.” – John Green, The New York Times (2006, May 14). Fighting for Their Lives [a review of The Book Thief].

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/14/books/review/14greenj.html

Library Uses:

As this book is about Nazi Germany this book could be used in a library to promote not only historical fiction, but also to promote education of WWII and life in Nazi Germany. It shows that not all the germans were on Hitler’s side during the war and it is useful for linking history lessons to something interesting.

Module 9: Wolf Rider

Book Summary:

Wolf Rider, by Avi, is about a boy named Andy Zadinski who recieves a phone call from a stranger that tells him that he (the caller) has or rather is going to (as we later find out that he hasent killed this person yet) a girl named Nina Klemmer. Andy then calls the police and trys to warn Nina about the impending danger to her person, but to no avail as they all think that he is making it up. This spurs Andy to try and find out who the mysterious caller/killer is to try and stop him from hurting Nina and anyone else he may have targeted.

APA Reference: 

Avi (2008). “Wolf Rider”. New York, NY: Simon Pulse.

Impression:

My overall impression of this book is that it was a rather thrilling mystery and the ending was quite the surprise as well. The thing that annoyed me about his book though was that the character discriptions were not very detailed. I like having detailed discriptions of characters so that I can clearly picture them in my minds eye, especially in a mystery novel because details are even more important in these than in any other genre. I would still recommend it to people that wanted a scary mystery to read though.

Professional Review:

” This gripping psycho-mystery ends with several plot threads left unresolved, but it should have wide appeal, especially among reluctant readers.” – Kirkus Review (2011, Oct. 27).

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/unknown/wolf-rider/

Library Uses:

As this book is a mystery novel (and quite a scary one at that) I think that a library could use it for a haloween themed event that showcases books that relate to he holiday. Mystery and Horrer are two major themes of that holiday and the month of October and it could help people to get into reading a different genre than what they are use to reading. Basically promoting the genre of mystery through this book during a time of year when thats what people want.

 

 

Module 8: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

Book Summary: 

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson, is the first instalment of the Maximum Ride series (8 books total) and revolves around Max and her “flock” (also known as the flock”). The flock is her family and she is the leader of said family being the oldest or tied for the oldest (the other being Fang). The flock consist of Max, Fang, Iggy, Angel, Nudge, Gazzy (a.k.a. the gasman) and is evenly split between boys and girls (Max, Angel, and Nudge being the girls and Fang, Iggy, and Gazzy being the boys). None of them are biologically related except for Angel and Gazzy (the two youngest members) and all of them are genetic experiments that have 2% bird DNA with the remaining 98% being human; in addition to this they all have special abilities that differ from member to member, such as telepathy (as with Angel), and they all poses above average strength for any full grown adult male as well as wings (yes they can actually fly), a healing factor (not like Wolverine, but still pretty good since they can mend broken bones in the span of about 3 days!), impecable since of direction, and strong night vision as well as above average vision (except of Iggy as he is blind). Now all of this sounds great except that they have to intake around 2000+ callories a day, eat like bottomless pits, are constantly hungry because they are on the run from the organization that created them, hunted by wolf and human hybrids called Erasers (genetic experiments created by the same organization that made Max and her family), and on top of all that Max’s to do list includes having to rescue Angel after she is captured and find a way to save the world. This book (and all the books in this series from what I can tell) are fast paced and full of action as Max and her flock go from one crisis to the next on a daily (every few pages) basis. The overall plot for this particular book is that Angel gets captured by the scientists that made them and Max and the rest of the flock have to go save her. Along the way they are hunted by Erasers, the scientist’s lackys, and have to scavenge for food most of the time (not that they are very picky eaters).

APA Reference:

Patterson, James (2005). “Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment.” New York, NY: Little,                                      Brown and Company.

Impressions:

My overall impression of this book is that it is an exciting joy-ride full of mystery, excitment, and action. There is plenty of comedy as well. The plot is well thought out and it is written rather well. It is definetly worth reading and I am compeled to read the rest of the series. Its a great start to a series that leaves the reader begging for more.

Professional Review:

“The key to MAXIMUM RIDE’s succes may be that it incorporates concepts familiar to young people…What makes these characters so appealing is that they have wings and can fly…Another plus: the book has the feel of a video game…The writing is visual and cinematic – things that kids expect from their video games, TV cartoon shows and action movies. And the ending leave plenty of wiggle room for a sequel.” – Carrol Memot,USA Today (2005, May 18). Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. [a review of Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment].

http://books.usatoday.com/book/james-patterson-maximum-ride-the-angel-experiment/r107053

Library Uses:

This novel is very fast paced and has a cinematic feel. I would use this book in a library to help get people (especially teens and middle schoolers) into reading. The chapters are short for the most part, there is tons of action, and it is very easy to follow along. It helps that the book is exciting and full of action because that helps to get the reader’s attention and hold it and the slower parts of the story don’t last for more than a few pages so the reader wont lose interest.

 

Module 7: Paper Towns

Book Summary:

Paper Towns by John Green is about a boy named Quentin Jacobson and his obsesive search for the girl he thinks he loves (his dream girl), Margo Roth Spiegelman, when she goes missing (having run away from home).Margo dissapeares after she convinces Quentin to sneak out and drive her around the fictional Florida town in which they live as they get revenge on her cheating ex-boyfriend and causing all kinds of other mayham in the process (nothing overly harmful of course). He even skips his high school graduation (along with his two friends that help him search for Margo) to go and get Margo after finding out where she is and how much longer she will be there, only to realize that he doesn’t really know her as well as he thinks he does and that he will probably end up having to let her go in the end.

APA Reference:

Green, John (2011). Paper Towns. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc.

Impressions:

Like most of his novels John Green does an excelent job in telling the story and makes you love the characters that he creates. Of course this doesn’t stop him from breaking your heart either half way through or at the end of the book (which he does, again!). This book isn’t as emotionally traumatizing as Looking for Alaska  was, but it does give a the reader a good catharsis at the end of the story. I highly doubt the movie adaptation can hold up to the book (most can’t), but after reading this I want to at least see how they adapted it into a movie.

Professional Review:

“This is a very cleverly written plot. The trail of clues gives the book a driving force, something that makes you want to read on. It balances the comedy and the diary-like stories with the mystery brilliantly, by mixing them together. The two are inseparable.” – Some-Infinities-Katie, The Guradian (2015, April 28). Paper Towns Book by John Green -Review. [a review of Paper Towns the novel].

https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/apr/28/review-paper-towns-john-green

Library Uses: 

This book is intended for older readers and as such it would make a good diplay for an author of the month display. With this book being one of the featured books along with some of the author’s other works on display. This book also has a movie adaptation so the library could also do a movie feature to go along with it.

Module 6: No, David!

Book Summary:

No, David by Shannon David is a children’s picture book about a boy named David that is constantly repremanded for naughty behavior on every page of the book except for the very end when he recieves a hug from the person that has been repremanding him (likely his mother) throughout the book.

APA Reference:

Shannon, David (1998). No, David! New York: Blue Sky Press.

Impressions:

Overall I found this book to be quite funny and probbably a good learning experience for small children. The artwork is wonderful as it is full of rich and bright colors and is done in a style that seems simple and somewhat child like, but is actually very complex. The pictures are done using acrylic paints and prisma color penciels according to the author.

Professional Review:

“In this boisterous exploration of naughtiness, Shannon (How Georgie Radbourne Saved Baseball) lobs one visual zinger after another as David, a little dickens, careens from one unruly deed to the next–coloring on the walls, tracking mud all over the carpet, jumping on the bed in red cowboy boots. Meanwhile, all those timeless childhood phrases echo in the background: “”Come back here!”” “”Be quiet!”” “”Not in the house, David!”” and most vigorously–“”No!”” Shannon’s pen whisks over the double-page spreads in a flurry of energy, as he gains perspective on an image of a bare-bottomed David cavorting down a quiet suburban street or closes in on the boy’s face as he inserts a finger into his triangle nose, his button eyes tense with concentration, and perfectly round head looming larger than the pages. While Shannon gives David the purposeful look of a child’s crude drawings, his background settings (the kitchen sideboard, a toy-littered TV room) are fully rendered, effectively evoking the boy’s sense of displacement. This dead-on take on childhood shenanigans ends on a high note, with the penitent David (he broke a vase with a baseball) enfolded in his mother’s arms as she assures him, “”Yes, David, I love you.”” Readers won’t be able to resist taking a walk on the wild side with this little rascal, and may only secretly acknowledge how much of him they recognize in themselves. Ages 2-up.” – Publishers Weekly (1998, Aug. 31).

http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-590-93002-4

Library Uses:

This is an excelent children’s picture book that could be used to help teach small children lessons about following rules and behaving by using David’s misconduct as an example of what they shouldn’t do and then having the kids tell why what David did was bad.