Staff Review: The Forgetting


ForgettingThe Forgetting

Sharon Cameron



Available September 13, 2016

Every twelve years, the city of Canaan falls into the Forgetting, a day where everyone’s memories vanish. The only way to remember events from before the Forgetting or even clues to who you are as an individual is by keeping detailed entries in your personal book. Your book is your identity, but the truth can easily be twisted or misrepresented and no one truly knows exactly what has happened. Except for Nadia. She has never forgotten. She remembers exactly what has happened. She knows who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. Nadia’s memories allow her to investigate how the city of Canaan came to be. Because she remembers her past, she is less afraid than her neighbors and ventures over the stone wall that is supposedly protecting the city. When Gray catches her coming back over the wall, he threatens to expose her secrets unless she helps him. With the next Forgetting approaching, Nadia and Gray must figure out what is destroying Canaan. Or this time everyone will forget what the truth really is.

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Staff Review: With Malice

WithMaliceWith Malice
Eileen Cook
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Available now

Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital bed not remembering anything for the past 6 weeks. She doesn’t remember the once in a lifetime trip to Italy she just took with her best friend. The trip which was supposed to be fun and exciting, that instead turns into a deadly car accident. Jill is told that her friend Simone was killed during the accident, but now questions are being raised about whether the accident was intentional. As Jill slowly regains her memory, she tries to piece together bits of information that will explain what really happened to Simone and what led up to the accident. Is Jill responsible for Simone’s death, or is she being framed? With Malice is a great summer read for anyone who loves mysteries.

~ Lana


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A Middle School Library Teacher’s Reflections on Censorship

SeventhWishAt the start of this school year (2015-16), my library classes discussed books as windows and mirrors. I promised my students that I would do my best to have books in the library that opened their eyes to the world around them, as well as books that they could relate to on a very personal level. Little did I realize what a vital role this theme would play for many of my students. With the recent censorship controversy revolving around of Kate Messner’s Seventh Wish, I feel it is important to speak out.

As I reflect on this past school year and working as a library teacher at an intermediate school filled with 636 inquisitive and open-minded 5th and 6th graders in Falmouth (Cape Cod), Massachusetts, I truly believe that it is mainly my task to provide our students with books that can be a window to the world, which gives them a better understanding of what life is like for other children their age in other areas of the world, the struggles that they must endure, and the hope and resilience that they display. Our entire 6th grade reads A Long Walk to Water each year now and does some incredible activities based around the book, including fundraising for a well for a school in Kenya. Other books that became a focus of mine for showing the students what life is like over the bridge (to Cape Cod) are Listen, Slowly, The Red Pencil, Emmanuel’s Dream, One Plastic Bag, The Breadwinner series, Harvesting Hope, and many more. The students really enjoy these stories, and I love to hear their insights. Often times the students make connections to the stories, finding parts of stories that serve as mirrors as well.

When I purchase books for the students, I always seek out books that they will connect with and feel compelled to read because of that connection. Knowing students’ interests as far as sports, dancing, gaming, coding, the study of ancient civilizations, pets, crafts and numerous other topics help me to build a collection that represents my students. However, I often find that there are sides of students that I do not know until they come to check out a book. My students (as all of us) are multi-faceted individuals who think deeply and yearn to feel connected.

As I read the controversy surrounding Kate Messner’s new book The Seventh Wish, I knew that our library needed this book. Not only for the students who have unfortunately seen the devastating effects of addiction first hand, but for those students who haven’t as well. Unfortunately our quaint little seaside town is facing a serious opiate addiction problem. There are obituaries in the Cape Cod Times daily about someone who has lost their battle to addiction. They are the older siblings, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and friends of our students. It is an epidemic. So, sadly many of our students will be able to relate to this story on some level. Others may connect with Charlie’s love of Irish step dancing, her initial fear of ice fishing or her yearning for her crush to reciprocate her feelings.

As I read the story, I knew that my youngest daughter (14) would need to read this story as well. She has always been a huge fan of Kate Messner’s books, but sadly would be able to connect with Charlie’s feeling as her sister is placed in rehab. My oldest daughter was diagnosed with major depression last winter and was put into a psychiatric hospital for just over a week. Like Abby, my oldest daughter is a vivacious, talented and smart girl whose younger sister adores her. Many of the thoughts and feelings that Charlie shares about the treatment facility were echoes of what my daughter had said to us in December while her own sister received treatment. Although their stories are not the same, the connection is similar, and reading the book would allow my daughter some understanding that others have the same feelings and emotions in difficult situations. Not many people knew about what was happening in our family at the time, and I highly doubt that someone would have handed my daughter this book and told her that it might offer her some solace as well as entertainment during a difficult time.

Herein lies the crucial point. We, librarians, teachers, educators, may not always know what book will be the right book for a certain student at the time, but it is our job to make these books available. As I think back on my nine-year career (so far) as a library teacher, and my 13 years as a fifth grade teacher, I have often been surprised by the books my students needed. The harrowing tale of abuse in A Child Called It in our library has served at least one student I know of by giving her a network of supports to use (from the back of the book) to use when she felt she had nowhere else to turn. That book was the first step in her receiving the help she needed to get out of a horrible situation. Several years ago, while one student was advocating for the American Girl book The Care and Keeping of You be removed from our shelves, a student in another 5th grade class told us that reading the books is how she learned how to take care of her period (not covered in our Health curriculum until 6th grade and her home life was such that she did not feel comfortable asking her dad, who was a single parent). More recently, when George came to our shelves, some folks (students, teachers and parents) thought it might not be appropriate for our shelves. However, we purchased it and ran an evening event with the author. Many parents of grown transgender children came, as well as one of our students who used this event as a springboard for talking to his family. He is now in the process of transitioning, He reports that, most days, he feels confident and supported here because of the book.

In each of these examples, the students who benefited most from the books were not the ones who I had in mind when purchasing the item. For me, this realization is the best reason for not censoring books in schools. We never know who will need what book and when. For books with any content that might seem mature or “questionable” to some, I take my role as a library teacher to heart and I talk with the students about it during choosing and check out so that they are aware of what they are reading. I also tell my students to feel free to abandon a book if it is not a “right fit” for them on any level. However, my students need books to feel connected to the world and less isolated. In September, I am beginning my Enrichment Book Club with The Seventh Wish, hoping to share this wonderful story with my readers. Whether it serves as a window, a mirror, or both for my students, I know it will touch their hearts and bring about some amazing discussions!

Mrs. Abbott, Library Teacher, Morse Pond Middle School


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Review: I Used to Be a Fish

IUsedtoBeaFishI Used to Be a Fish

Tom Sullivan



Available October 2016

Follow a fish through the hardships and difficulties encountered in each stage of its evolution until it becomes a young boy, pondering what comes next. Watch the fish grow and adapt to better deal with each situation it encounters. Through a simple but effective view of evolution, Sullivan creates a beautifully unique version of Earth’s history that will teach kids their ancient roots in an entertaining and attention-grabbing manner. The eye-popping illustrations and the bright color scheme will grab kids’ attention. The journey of a fish as it evolves into a rat, a monkey, and finally a human child just like them will keep them interested and entertained. The illustrations and the journey narrated in this book both leap off the pages and let children know that they can be anything they want. Ages 4-8.

~ Julia and Lana


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Morse Pond Review: Paper Things

9780763663230Paper Things

Jennifer Richard Jacobson



Available now


Paper Things is one of the most mind-opening books written. This book explains the life of one, innocent young girl, living a life that feels like the world is crumbling. When Ari finds out that her brother bought an apartment, she is torn. Her life feels like it is slowly being ripped apart. How many lies can she tell before somebody finds out her secret? Jacobson told the riveting story of an eleven year old girl, who is mixed up in a lie, larger than life. Not knowing whether to stay with her foster mom, or with her brother, who only wants to protect her, Ari must fend for herself, day after day. Not knowing where the next meal will come from, or what bed she will sleep in, Paper Things keeps you wondering with each page. The book opened my eyes, and will open any readers, to how a displaced girl sees the world. The world is hard, unfair, and cruel. The world has hot meals for the rich, and cold mush for the homeless. This book would make anybody want to help people in need. Although her life is hard, this exceptional little girl can conjure up kindness even during her hardest days.

Sklyer, age 11

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Morse Pond Review: Pegasus


Kate O’Hearn



Available now


The Pegasus series is an amazing series.  With outstanding drama, and crazy people, O’Hearn creates an image of an ordinary girl, with an extraordinary story.

With beautifully woven words, and artistic details, this book shines to all. Based on Roman mythology, every Percy Jackson fan is sure to bubble with excitement about this book!

With 5 books, there will be more than enough reading for everyone!

~ Kailei, age 11


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Morse Pond Reviews: Mother Daughter Book Camp

MotherDaughterBookCampMother-Daughter Book Camp

Heather Vogel Frederick

Simon & Schuster


Available now


Mother-Daughter Book Camp gets better after every page.  As it is the final book of the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, readers are sure to come back for more adventures with Emma, Jess, Cassidy, Megan, and Becca.  It’s their last summer together before college, and the girls decide to spend it at Camp Lovejoy, and are counselors to adorable kids.  Their days are full of glitter, boating, swimming, and singing.  But little complications get in their way, like waves of homesickness, pranks, and a microburst.  In order to cure the homesickness, the girls form a Counselor-Camper Book Club, following in their mother’s footsteps. This book is sure to create a warm feeling in your stomach and outbursts of laughter. Then again, this always happens when the girls from the Mother-Daughter Book Club are around.

~ Grace, age 11


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Morse Pond Review: A Dog Called Homeless

DogCalledHomelessA Dog Called Homeless

Sarah Lean

Katherine Tegen Books


Available now

This heartfelt book keeps the reader hooked! This book keeps getting better as you get deeper in this rollercoaster ride story. Cally Fisher is upset that her father does not like to talk about her deceased mother, especially since she died on his birthday.One day at school, Cally decides to do a silent day tor raise money for charity. Her former best friend was planning on doing it though!! This story has ups and downs between a friendship that develops with a completely silent Cally and a deaf and blind boy, as well as the adventures a stray dog taken care of by a homeless man take them on. The connection from the father to the daughter and the difficulties they face, generates a different feeling from tension of death, to a family that cannot be separated. I highly recommend this book for dog-lovers, and people who love stories with heart and meaning.

~ Ava, grade 6

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Morse Pond Review: Mother Daughter Book Camp

MotherDaughterBookCampMother Daughter Book Camp

Heather Vogel Frederick

Simon & Schuster


Available now


I loved Mother Daughter Book Camp. I like how the girls share their book club with a younger group. They spend their last summer together at a camp teaching younger kids the lessons they learned during their years in book club. This book has lots of adventure and fun and you will never want it to end.

~ Sophia, age 11


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Morse Pond Review: Nothing But Trouble

NothingButTroubleNothing But Trouble

Betty Ren Wright


Out of print

This book was a spontaneous novel. The main character was bursting with spark, and all the other characters were extremely well-developed. The book was full of surprises and heart. The central idea was brilliantly hilarious. All in all, this book was one of the best I have ever read.

~ Sophia, age 11


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