It’s time for another round of reviews for this year’s Mark Twain Award nominees! The following stories have main characters who are searching for something. Somewhat like a mystery, these three books involve solving clues and finding yourself along the way.
“All the Answers” by Kate Messner
In this imaginative story, Ava discovers that having all the answers isn’t always a good thing. When Ava finds a seemingly magical pencil that gives her the correct answer to any question she writes, she thinks she is set. However, Ava begins asking the pencil more difficult questions like why her grandpa has cancer. She comes to the realization that there are some things better left unknown.
This story was very touching, and it was an interesting look at a young character with anxiety issues and how her family helps her cope. Continue reading “Mark Twain Nominee Reviews, Part 3”
What It’s About: “The Sun Is Also A Star” is a story about love and leaving. Natasha is desperate to find a way to keep herself and family from being deported back to Jamaica. Daniel has the biggest meeting of his life, an entrance interview for an Ivy League college that he doesn’t want to attend. Fate puts these two in each other’s path again and again on the day Natasha is scheduled to be deported. At first Natasha doesn’t believe in love, but as her feelings for Daniel grow it becomes too difficult for her to deny. Here’s the conflict: If she admits she is falling in love with him, how can she say goodbye to him in less than 24 hours?
What I liked about it: I liked that the story is told from both Natasha’s and Daniel’s viewpoints. During most of the book, Natasha is a very cynical young woman who cares more about facts and numbers than art and love. Daniel, a poet, is her exact opposite. At times it felt like this opposition was a bit contrived. Honestly, I didn’t like Natasha until the very end. However, the story is very good and the ending was my favorite part.
Similar Titles: If you like realistic fiction about love or multicultural relationships, here are a few books you should check out: “Something In Between” by Melissa De La Cruz, “Like No Other” by Una LaMarche, “The Orange Houses” by Paul Griffen and “You in Five Acts” also by Una LaMarche.
It’s time for the second installment of my Mark Twain nominee reviews! Below, I detail three nominees where the main characters overcome major obstacles.
“House Arrest” by K. A. Holt
This book follows the story of Timothy, a teenage boy who is forced to write in a journal to avoid juvenile hall. He got in this less-than-desirable situation because he stole a credit card to pay for medicine for his brother who has a severe birth defect. While this is an excellent story, the ending could have been stronger in my opinion. Read it for yourself, and let me know what you think!
“The War That Saved My Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
This tale, set in the World War II era, is about a young girl named Ada who has a club foot. She is terribly abused and neglected by her mother due to her disability. When the children of London are sent to the countryside for their own safety, Ada is supposed to be left behind. However, she sneaks away with her little brother to a small town by the coast where they are taken in by Susan, a woman who initially doesn’t want them. However, Susan treats them like royalty compared to their mother, and after some time, she begins grows to love Ada and her brother. This book is so heartfelt, and I was rooting for Ada to finally find the happiness she deserves. Continue reading “Mark Twain Nominee Reviews, Part 2”
A few months ago, I made a goal to read all of the Mark Twain Award nominees for the 2017-2018 year. I also decided to share my thoughts with you about each one. I will be reviewing them with you in groups of 3, and each list follows a different theme. Today’s theme is comedy!
“Webster: Tale of an Outlaw” by Ellen Emerson White
I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s the tale of a dog who is rescued and brought to a shelter. Webster decides that he doesn’t want to be adopted; he wants to be a cowboy. One night he gets the opportunity to escape and go on a grand adventure! Webster finds himself a hero rather than an outlaw as he helps people in the nearby town.
The story discusses serious subjects such as neglect and caring for animals with special needs in a fun, lighthearted atmosphere. It’s impossible not to love Webster and all of his friends.
Continue reading “Mark Twain Nominee Reviews, Part 1”
Well, I did it! I started eating healthy–no more junk food for me. Changing my diet has been the hardest thing I have done in a long time. (I love my carbs!) As difficult as it is, I know it’s even more difficult to encourage your entire family to eat healthy. Especially if your kids are picky eaters.
Now that spring has arrived and fresh foods are becoming more available at the grocery stores and farmers markets, I thought I would sneak you some ideas for healthy snacks that are silly, simple and fun. I hope these quirky cuisines inspire your little ones to try some new healthy foods.
These cute little guys only require three ingredients: grapes, skewers and cute candy eyes (you can use frosting eyes if you choose). Continue reading “Food, Glorious Food!!!”
The Daniel Boone Regional Library has a wealth of resources available to the public. We have countless books, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs for patrons to check out and take home. We also have some wonderful Play as Learning and Little Red Reading Bags that offer puppets, toys, books, DVDs and CDs for children birth through age 5.
One of our lesser-known resources for children are our Learning Props Game Kits. These kits are small, portable bags that double as a game board. Each kit comes with 1 board/bag, 4 game playing pieces, 1 die and a book about the theme. Each bag has a different color and a different theme.
Here’s a full list of our Learning Props Game Kits, including the bag color and description. Continue reading “Get Your Game On!”
What It’s About: “If I Was Your Girl” by Meredith Russo is about a transgender teen named Amanda who has just moved from Atlanta to Tennessee to live with her Dad after being brutally beaten for entering a female dressing room at the mall. As Amanda acclimates to her new life, she starts making friends while capturing the romantic attention of her classmate, Grant. It isn’t long before the two become inseparable. But, how does Amanda tell Grant about her past? Her struggle escalates when a would-be friend outs Amanda in front of the entire school.
What I Liked About It: I was interested in understanding the perspective of a transgender teen. The main character in this story is so honest with the reader, though she keeps secrets from everyone else.
Similar Titles: “If I Was Your Girl” is currently the only book by Meredith Russo, but you might check out “Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit,” “Almost Perfect,” “The Art of Being Normal” and “Rethinking Normal.”
The holidays are over, and your children are back at school. Everything should be perfect…until a snowstorm hits, and you are blanketed in the fluffy white stuff. Snow days are great (I love making snow men, having snowball fights and drinking hot chocolate!), but after days of being cooped up, the fun can wear off. As the weather outside turns for the worse, so can your moods. Here are some surefire ways for you and your children to beat cabin fever this winter.
Read stories together.
One thing you can do on a cold day is stay in with your children and read stories. The story “38 Ways to Entertain Your Grandparents” is a fun family read and shows many other activities you can do together.
Continue reading “Beat Cabin Fever!”
If you love both libraries and dogs you will adore “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog” by Lisa Papp. Madeline is a frustrated little girl who claims that she hates to read. Every time she has to read aloud in class, she messes up words and doesn’t earn a gold star.
Madeline’s mother does all she can to help her daughter feel more confident about her reading skills. One day she takes Madeline to their local library where Madeline meets Bonnie. Bonnie is a large white shepherd dog. She is an excellent listener and doesn’t care if Madeline messes up the words sometimes. Continue reading “Books We Love: Madeline Finn and the Library Dog”