Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Book Description from Amazon.com:                                    It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.  Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone.

My 25 cents:
This was a story that I didn't want to stop reading.  The author was a teacher for 4th and 5th grades and really knew what goes on in the classroom.  It's about what seems soooo important that turns out really isn't and little things that really are!  Each chapter (some only 1 page) is a different student telling part of the story.  That was a little confusing in the beginning, but don't get too hung up on that-you will know the character by the end.  I think every reader can relate to at least one of the students in this story!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Book Description from Amazon.com:
For all the ten years of her life, Ha has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by, and the beauty of her very own papaya tree. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Ha and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.

My 25 cents:
Imagine learning that you must up and leave the only place you have lived for ten years and your father has been missing, as a prisoner of war, for the last nine years.  This was a fantastic story about change.  It wasn't all prettied up to make things look easier either.  Ha and her brothers were forced to face some difficult situations when classmates were not always accepting of their cultural differences.  The author wrote this story from personal experience and at one point says "No one would believe me, but at times I would choose  wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama".  One thing that might be of interest to some readers is that this story is written in prose, so it reads rather quickly!