Thursday, April 17, 2014

2013-2014 Winners! Iowa Children's Choice and Iowa Teen Award winner announced!!!

Iowa Children's Choice winner: 
Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

(see my February 2013 post here in this blog!!)

Iowa Teen Award winner:  

Legend by Marie Lu

Book description from was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.  

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

Book description from
Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto.With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow. Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man, a man named Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson’s life, and the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list of workers in his factory—a list that became world renowned: Schindler’s List.

My 25 cents:  I knew this book was not going to be a "happy" one since it is from a time in history that is so horrible.  I had to keep reminding myself though, that it really was true because as a reader I couldn't comprehend that humans would treat other humans so badly. This book gave me a whole new understanding of the conditions some were forced to live in simply for being Jewish.  Unreal.  I kept asking myself if I myself could have survived what Leon had to go through and quite honestly I am not sure I could have.  Read this book for an eye-opening experience and see if you think you could have lived to tell about it. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog by Tom Watson

Book description from
Stick Dog and his four friends, Poo-Poo, Mutt, Stripes, and Karen, must execute a master plan for stealing hot dogs. The closer they get to the hot dog vendor, the more difficult their mission becomes. With the same hilarious antics, the five dogs are met with many challenges along the way, including having to distract the frankfurter guy and Karen getting locked in a human's house. No matter what, these dogs have their eyes—and stomachs—on the prize.

My 25 cents....I can not tell a lie. This book made me laugh out loud at times!  I really didn't expect to like it. Five dog friends have adventures and this one is about them trying to get some frankfurters from the Frankfurter wagon.  Sounds simple if you aren't a dog right?
The dogs know that the frankfurter boy's name starts with a "P" but can't remember it (it's Peter) so they keep coming up with other "P" words to call him:  Pumpkinhead, Piddly Pants, Patsy their hilarious plans on how to swipe the frankfurters (get a helicopter and fly over? wait if they can get a helicopter who can fly one??) Stickdog is kind of the leader of this group of dogs and has to be sensitive to the feelings of the other dogs' "not so good" ideas.  The illustrations throughout the book make it a quick read. 
If you like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books you will most likely enjoy this series too! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Make your voice COUNT!!
A really awesome site to see book trailers about EACH Iowa Teen Read Nominee title!

Our school library owns each of these titles (as does the public library).  Students that have read at least 2 of this year's nominees will be able to vote for their favorite in March 2014  in the school library!

Be a part of helping teens in Iowa choose the winning book title for 2014!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Land of Stories: the Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Book description from Amazon...(minus the spoilers!!)
When Alex and Conner's father unexpectedly dies, the twins lose the person who always had the perfect story to cheer them up. Then, on their 12th birthday, their grandmother gives them the book of fairy tales he used to read to them. Suddenly it seems to come to life, and the youngsters find themselves falling into the Land of Stories, seemingly with no way to get out. Desperate, they follow instructions in a mysterious journal: if they gather eight items from various residents in the kingdoms of the Land of Stories, they can complete the Wishing Spell and have one wish granted. After scaling castle walls, diving deep into the home of mermaids, and meeting characters from all of the beloved fairy tales, they are stymied by the Evil Queen, who has escaped from Snow White's dungeon. With the hope of using the spell gone, the twins appear to have no way home until they meet Fairy Godmother.

My 25 cents...This book was recommended to my by a middle school student who also happens to be a Glee fan.  (Author is on the tv show Glee)  I have always been a pushover for fairytales, so learning "more" about those characters was a definite draw for me.  This book really kept me turning pages.  There is enough suspense and action happening to make me not want to stop reading and enough humor (usually in sarcasm between brother and sister) to make it fun as well.  I could see this being a fun read-aloud for a family with kids of different ages, as there is a little something for everyone.  The combining of the fairy tale characters reminds me of the first Shrek movie!  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Check THIS site out!
A friend of mine in Library school created this site for those interested in reading more historical fiction!
Gives great summaries of the books along with videos too!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Newberry Award winner 2012-2013

Book description from

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.
Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

My 25 cents:                                                                                                                                               I heard this was the Newberry winner and thought the cover was cute.  Seriously, that is why I decided to read it.  It is a great story, told by Ivan the gorilla.  It definitely made me think about animals in captivity. It is easy to read as there are some "chapters" that are only a page long.  The text is spread out to make it easy on the eyes as well.  Ivan is a lovable gorilla that has a hear the size of the Empire State building!   Read this-you won't be sorry!!  Here are just two examples of the humor in this story:
(Ivan has just told the reader that Mack, the owner, discovered people will pay money for a picture drawn by a gorilla, even if they don't know what it is.....(Ivan is speaking remember....)
"Now I draw every day.  My works sell for twenty dollars a piece, twenty-five with a frame, at the gift shop near my domain.
If I get tired and need a break, I eat my crayons."
The chapter called "Three Visitors":
Three visitors are here; a woman, a boy and a girl.
I strut across my domain for them.  I dangle from the tire swing.  I eat three banana peels in a row.
The boy spits at the window.  The girl throws a handful of pebbles.
Sometimes I am glad there is glass there.