Tag Archives: friendship

Morse Pond Review: Hello, Universe

hello-universeHello, Universe

Erin Entrada Kelly

Greenwillow Books An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

Available March 2017

You think you have it rough, say that to eleven year old Virgil Salinas. His brothers and parents are all jocks and always happy all the time. He’s just the opposite. He is very shy except around his grandmother, Gulliver (his pet guinea pig), and his friend Kaori. The only one who really understands him is Lola, his grandmother who lives with him. Then one day when while Gulliver is in Virgil’s backpack, it is thrown into a well in the woods by a bully named Chet. Now, Virgil has a decision to make. Will he be brave and go save Gulliver himself or will he go for help and leave Gulliver down there longer alone in the dark? This is one of the most amazingly interesting books I have ever read . It has  wonderful lessons that I think everyone should learn: You are never alone;  and everyone has an inner bayani (hero), you just have to find it.

~Teagan, grade 5

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A Bookseller and a Librarian Review George

GeorgeI love books that reflect on books. Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me shows Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time in a new light. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein reads like a love letter to the best books in children’s literature. Now, we have George. George, the title character, wants desperately to play the role of Charlotte in her class’s production of Charlotte’s Web. Not only does she love Charlotte’s dialogue and the idea of playing such an iconic role, but she knows that playing Charlotte will show the world who she is on the inside, not the boy that everyone sees on the outside.

Charlotte is exactly the literary character to help facilitate George’s longing. Charlotte is welcoming, “Salutations!” She’s supportive, “Some Pig.” But most of all, she’s smart; she’s a critical thinker and she demonstrates agency. Charlotte knows what will happen to Wilbur before he does, and in order to protect him she facilitates a change in the way the world views Wilbur. After Charlotte saves Wilbur, she passes her legacy to the next generation. We all know these things about Charlotte, which is why she has remained one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature. Having Charlotte as George’s inspiration is fitting. Kids, particularly kids like George, need to be welcomed. They need support. And they need people around them who are critical thinkers, who demonstrate agency, and who can change world perception. Moreover, George needs to see herself as Charlotte, because she too needs to be welcoming, supportive, thoughtful, and possessing agency to make change.

Readers will find themselves cheering for George and hoping that she will have the chance to become such an iconic character, and maybe even change the world. In turn, they will be inspired to become everything that Charlotte and George represent. The tag line for George is “Be who you are,” something Charlotte taught us years ago, but Alex Gino’s book takes this classic message and reframes it for a new generation. Terrific.

~ Sara, Eight Cousins

GeorgeA wise friend (Sara from Eight Cousins) told me that books are windows through which we can see other’s worlds or mirrors which give us an opportunity to see ourselves in print. As a teacher librarian for 5th and 6th graders, I cannot express how much I feel George has to offer my students. I absolutely loved it, and believe that it could help build such a sense of community for my students by providing some with empathy and others with a sense of belonging.

Before I became a library teacher, I taught 5th grade for years. To my knowledge, I have only had one transgender student. Yet, this book gives me pause and makes me realize that I could have had many, many more. If that student, or students, had George to read, I think they would have felt so much less isolated, and far less tortured.

I think George is a must-have for any middle school library. I absolutely loved this book, miss George now that I am done reading and can’t wait to purchase it and put in on the shelves in August!

~ Mrs. Abbott, Librarian

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Customer Review: Dead Boy

DeadBoyDead Boy

Laurel Gale

$16.99

Crown Books

Available September 29, 2015

Dead Boy, by Laurel Gale, is a combination of adventure, bravery, and friendship. It may seem like your typical story of a middle school boy, except this middle school boy is dead! Crow Darlingson stinks. He has maggots crawling in and out of his body. His body parts fall off easily, and are literally hanging from threads attaching them to his body. Imagine if every so often, you had to ask your mom to sew on your arm, or leg! Crow hardly goes anywhere, and he barely ever goes outside! He longs for a friend, and when a new neighbor moves in next door, they end up becoming friends! They go through adventures facing bullies, and a mysterious creature! For those that enjoy adventure, and humor, Dead Boy is the book for you! I thought this book was amazing, and I would rate it as a 10 out of 10!

~ Olivia, age 12

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Customer Review: The Thing About Jellyfish

ThingAboutJellyfishThe Thing About Jellyfish

Ali Benjamin

Little, Brown for Young Readers

$17.00

Available September 2015

The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin, is an intriguing novel told in an interesting format. Suzy Swanson has turned into an un-popular, weird girl at her school ever since her ex-best friend Franny Jackson died. Suzy tries to stay “invisible” in her school, and never talks to anyone unless she really has to. Suzy believes Franny died from a jellyfish sting, and she researches like crazy to prove that her theory is correct. Suzy goes to extremely high measures to prove this hypothesis!

Each part of this book starts off with a step of the Scientific Method, with a short quote from Suzy’s current teacher. I thought this format was interesting and cool. Also, within all of the chapters, you learned a lot about jellyfish. This book is great for people that like a heart-felt novel, and also great for those that want to learn about jellyfish! I would, without a doubt, rate this book a ten out of ten!

~ Olivia, age 12

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Morse Pond Review: Charmed Life

9780545603720Charmed Life #1: Caitlin’s Lucky Charm

Lisa Schroder

Scholastic

$5.99

Available now

Caitlin’s Lucky Charm was a very good. I would definitely recommend it to a girl. I don’t think boys would enjoy it as much as a girl would because all the main characters are girls.

In this book, there is a magic bracelet. I think the author making the bracelet magic definitely made the bracelet more interesting. The characters are very realistic. I also love the fact that the girls decided to share the bracelet and write letters back and forth formally and not using electronics. I think girls would be able to relate to this book more than a boy would.

I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars. It was an amazing book!

Sarah, age 11

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Customer Review: The Chaos of Stars

9780062135926_0_Cover-1

The Chaos of Stars

Kiersten White

Harper Collins

$17.99

Available August 21, 2013

The story is set partly in Egypt and partly in Las Vegas, California. The book has a good story line and Isadora (the protagonist) is an interesting character. Her family, immortal Egyptian gods, all have very distinct personalities. Her mother has around 100 children, but makes only some of them immortal and Isadora is not one of them. This is why Isadora is mad at her mum and determined to love anyone “since it is not going to last.” After her mother (Isis, Mother of gods and God of childhood) has some disturbing dreams, Isadora gets sent to live with her brother Sirus and his wife in Las Vegas. There is no such thing as a clean break from the family for anyone with her background and she gets haunted with strange dreams too. I did not like the book The Chaos of Stars as much, but that is only because it is not really my type of story. Other people would probably really like it. It is about how Isadora meets Ry and loves him, but does not want to, which gives the story a dramatic turn. I would recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy half the story being about love and the other half about family drama, peppered with ancient Egyptian mythology.

~Helena

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Customer Review: The Time Fetch

9781616202200

The Time Fetch

Amy Herrick

Algonquin Books

$16.95

Available August, 2013

Every book has a certain magic about it, but this one had more; it basically
sizzled around its self like a magnet. I picked it up and didn’t put it down until
every word on all 307 pages had been read.

It started of a little slow, but after a few chapters it was pure fun. Every page
brought more breath-taking adventure and excitement, every page brought more
questions to my mind.

I loved the fact that something as ordinary as a rock was actually something as
abnormal as a “time fetch”, that once moved from it’s hiding place it would eat up
time! Edward’s strange philosophy — everything is just atoms, and nothing
is solid, nothing is worth caring about — confused me but also in intrigued me in a
way.

Something that was also a plus, was that the four kids in the book, Edward, Feenix,
Danton and Brigit get in to some situations in their school time that I am quite
familiar with, which meant I could feel empathy for them as the story brought
the four together.

In the beginning the four hardly even talk, but when they figure out that they
would not be able to save their world from disintegrating without one another’s
help, they hold together even at the toughest times.

There’s something for everyone in The Time Fetch, there is mystery, fantasy,
adventure, and some science. I would recommend it to anyone who likes books at all.

~ Helena, age 11

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8 by Eight: The Other Side

9780399231162The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis, is one of those perfect picture books. The story begins, “That summer the fence that stretched through our town seemed bigger. We lived in a yellow house on one side of it. White people lived on the other. And Mama said, ‘Don’t climb over that fence when you play’. She said it wasn’t safe”. Clover wonders about the fence. Who put it there. What it means. And why it keeps her away from Annie, on the other side. Although the fence divides them, Clover and Annie start to develop a friendship. They meet in the middle and eventually cross the divide. The ripple effect their small actions have on the community is both heartwarming and inspiring. This story has something important to say about fences, and children, and courage, but it says all of these things quietly, letting the reader slowly absorb the message, rather than forcing it. Like the narrative, the illustrations are subtle and inviting. Each image convey the sun, possibilities, and eternal fun of childhood summers. Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, if you haven’t seen this book in a while, definitely look for it on our 8 by Eight display. It is not to be missed.

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