Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Northern Light

Donnelly, Jennifer. A northern light. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2003. Print.

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2003 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature
2003 Carnegie Medal
2004 Young Adult Library Services Association's top ten books for young adults
2004 The Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Honor Book

Annotation: Mattie Gokey is a sixteen year old girl in 1906 with a dream of leaving her poor community and becoming a writer. In order to make her dream come true, she takes a job at a hotel where a young woman drowns under mysterious circumstances.

Book talk: “It’s just past ten o’clock. The dawn came and the sun rose on a flawless summer morning. I am standing, frightened, but resolved on the train platform in Old Forge.

Is there a word for that? Feeling scared of what’s to come but eager for it, too? Terricipatation? Joybodenous? Feager? If there is, I mean to find it.” (p. 376)

Mattie Gokey has a word for everything – and when she can’t find a word to describe how she is feeling, she makes one up. Mattie loves words and longs to write. She has been accepted at Barnard College but wonders how she will leave her family – who need her – or find the money to attend school.

So she takes a job a local hotel to provide some extra money for her family and potentially save for college. However, a young woman drowns on the lake and Mattie is unexpectedly tangled in her death. Based on a true story, A Northern Light will delight fans of historical fiction and murder mysteries alike. A true treasure!

ISBN: 0152167056

Subject Headings: Education – fiction, Farm life-New York (state) – fiction, Murder – fiction, New York (state)-history-20th century – fiction

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fever 1793

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever 1793. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. Print.

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2003 Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Awards
2004 Sunshine State Young Readers Grade 6-8 Nominee
Children's Literature Choice List
Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults

Annotation: Mattie Cook, a young resident of Philadelphia in 1793, struggles to survive during the Yellow Fever epidemic that ravaged the city.

Book talk: In 1793, a Yellow Fever epidemic swept across Philadelphia, killing thousands. Fourteen year old Mattie Cook, who lives above the coffeehouse her mother and grandfather own, is just one of the victims of this terrible plague. She travels with her grandfather in hopes to leave the city and the fever, but is instead struck by the virus and fights to stay alive…but that’s only the beginning of Mattie’s problems.

ISBN: 0689838581

Subject Headings: Yellow fever-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia – Fiction, Epidemics – Fiction, Pennsylvania-History-1775-1865 – Fiction

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Alexie, Sherman. The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2007. Print.

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2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature
School Library Journal Best Books of 2007
2010 California Young Reader Medal

Annotation: A semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age story of Junior, a poverty-stricken Spokane Indian who attends an all-white high school.

Book talk: I realized that, sure, I was a Spokane Indian. I belonged to that tribe. But I also belonged to the tribe of American immigrants. And to the tribe of basketball players. And to the tribe of bookworms.

And the tribe of cartoonists.
And the tribe of chronic masturbators.
And the tribe of teenage boys.
And the tribe of small-town kids.
And the tribe of Pacific Northwesterners.
And the tribe of tortilla chips-and-salsa lovers.
And the tribe of poverty.
And the tribe of funeral-goers.
And the tribe of beloved sons.
And the tribe of boys who really missed their best friends.

It was a huge realization.

And that’s when I knew that I was going to be okay. (p. 217)

Have you ever struggled to fit in, even around people you’ve known all your life? That’s Junior – he’s a reject among the people on his reservation, constantly bullied and tormented. But through the encouragement of a teacher, he attends a school off the reservation in an attempt to save himself. The story that follows is both uplifting and heart-wrenching, and you find yourself cheering for this teenage hero the entire way.

ISBN:  9780316013680 

Subject Headings: Spokane Indian – Juvenile fiction, Indians of North America-Washington (state) – Fiction, Indian reservations – Fiction, Race relations – Fiction, Diaries – Fiction

A Wrinkle in Time

L’Engle, Madeleine. A wrinkle in time. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1962. Print.

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1963 Newbery Medal
Sequoyah Book Award
Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
Runner-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Award

Annotation: Meg Murry, her brother Charles, and their new friend, Calvin, embark on a fantastic journey to find the time-traveling Mr. Murry, who is trapped in another universe.

Book talk: It was a dark and stormy night, and Mrs. Whatsit has just blown in for a tuna fish salad sandwich. She is new to the neighborhood and the Murry’s – Meg, Charles and their mother – are trying to understand their queer visitor.

As Mrs. Whatsit goes to leave, she turns to Mrs. Murry and speaks, “There is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Mrs. Murry goes white. How could this stranger know about a tesseract?

Meg, Charles, and their friend Calvin, will soon learn that a tesseract is a wrinkle in time, a portal to different dimensions, which they will use to find Meg’s father who has been missing for years…who is caught in A Wrinkle in Time.
ISBN:  0440498058 
Subject Headings: Space and time – Juvenile fiction, Time travel – Juvenile fiction

The Fetch

Whitcomb, Laura. The fetch. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. Print.

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Annotation: Calder is a fetch, or a death escort, who falls in love with Alexandra, wife of Czar Nicholas, last emperor of Russia, which sets off a series of events that could potentially destroy both heaven and earth.

Book talk: Are you someone who enjoys a good mystery? Have you ever wondered why investigators were unable to locate the bodies of Alexis and Anastasia, the children of Czar Nicholas who were executed along with the rest of the last reigning royal family? Then The Fetch is the book you’ve been looking for!

Set in the time of the Russian Revolution, The Fetch tells the story of Calder, a ghost who escorts souls to Heaven after a person has chosen death. Upon the death bed of a young boy, he is immediately drawn to the child’s mother, whom is calls Glory. Although the boy wishes to die, Calder refuses to take him. That child is Alexi, who battles hemophilia, and Glory is his mother, Alexandra, wife to the last emperor of Russia.

Calder wants to remain by Glory’s side so he decides to enter the body of Rasputin, after the man is killed. Only Anastasia, the Czar’s youngest daughter, is able to see that Rasputin is not quite the same as he was before. And because of Calder’s actions, Alexi and Anastasia are unable to die during the execution that ultimately kills the remaining Romanov family members. As a result, a rift occurs between Heaven and Earth and Calder, accompanied by Alexi and Anastasia, must set things right. 

ISBN:  9780618891313   

Subject Headings: Future life – Fiction, Death – Fiction, Anastasia, Grand Duchess, daughter of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia, 1901-1918 – Fiction, Aleksei Nikoaevich, Czarevitch, son of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia, 1904-1918 – Fiction, Rasputin, Grigori Efimovich, ca. 1870-1916 – Fiction, Russia (Federation) – History – Revolution – 1917-1921 – Fiction

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

Philbrick, Rodman. The mostly true adventures of Homer P. Figg. New York: Scholastic, 2009. Print.

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2010 Newbery Honor Book
2010 ALA Notable Children's Book

Annotation: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg follows a young boy during Civil War America looking for his older brother, who was sold into the Union Army.

Book talk: “They come by the cartload. Moaning soldiers stacked in flatbed wagons or carts drawn by horse or by hand. Mostly the wounded scream only when the cart hits a bump. Some have already stopped screaming and are put aside as the carts are unloaded, their faces covered with a scrap of cloth.

The rest are carried into the barn on litters, awaiting treatment. Dozens and dozens of men, some of them crying out for their mothers, wives, or their sweethearts. The dozens soon become hundred, stacked inside the barn and out, under the shade of the eaves.

“The battle of Gettysburg has begun,” the newspaperman confides.”
(p. 172)

Homer Figg is trying desperately to rescue his older brother Harold, who is just seventeen and sold illegally into the Union Army by their mean uncle, Squinton Leach. Along the way, Homer has a rip-roaring adventure not unlike Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.


ISBN: 9780439668217

Subject Headings: Adventure and adventures – Juvenile fiction, Orphans – Juvenile fiction, Brothers – Juvenile fiction, United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 – Juvenile fiction

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rapunzel’s Revenge

Hale, Shannon & Hale, Dean. Illustrated by Nathan Hale. Rapunzel’s Revenge. New York: Bloomsbury, 2008. Print.

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ALA Notable Children's Book
Amelia Bloomer Project Selection
Cybils Award
Great Graphic Novels for Teens (YALSA)
Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults (YALSA)
Texas Maverick Graphic Novel List
Utah Book Award
Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee

Annotation: Newbury Honor-winning author Shannon Hale, along with her husband, Dean, and illustrator Nathan Hale, has created her first graphic novel for the re-telling of classic fairytale Rapunzel. Though some elements of the story remain true to the original, Hale has thrown in some of her own twists and turns for good measure and pure reader delight.

Review: The fairytale Rapunzel is well-known, and although this version starts off as you would expect – a young girl, with very long hair, held captive in a tall tree tower by an evil, fake mother named Gothel – this story quickly becomes Hale’s own.

The tale takes place in a time similar to the Wild West. Rapunzel uses her long braid as a lasso, befriends Jack, a boy with a penchant for stealing, and who carries a magic bean and a goose that lays a golden egg…hmmmm, and eventually fights her way home to free her real mother and the entire kingdom from the evil Gothel.

Shannon Hale is a master storyteller and she does not disappoint in Rapunzel’s Revenge. Nathan Hale’s illustrations are beautiful. Even those readers who are not fans of graphic novels will be moved by this fun, hilarious, and heart-warming tale of happily ever after.  

ISBN:  159990070X 

Subject Headings: Revenge – Comic books, strips, etc., Outlaws – Comic books, strips, etc., Graphic novels