Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wonder by RJ Polacio

Wonder is a wonder in so many ways. You will not soon forget getting to know Auggie Pullman. Auggie's been home schooled his entire life. Now his parents want him to attend Beecher Prep because they feel it's important for his future.  Auggie is smart, funny, and kind. But Auggie carries a very heavy burden with him wherever he goes: he has a very rare genetic disorder that affects every part of his face and by any standards makes his appearance horribly disfigured.  So how does a boy starting middle school cope? That's the story but it's also so much more. Told in sections, the book (reminiscent of Because of Mr. Terupt)is the story and back story of several main characters including Auggie's high school age sister, his first two friends ( a girl and a boy)and his sister's boyfriend.  All the standard middle school issues are here like family, friendship, bullying, school life etc but they are handled in a fresh way with Auggie and everyone around him, adults included doing some growing up. You will zip through this well-paced story but you'll keep thinking about it long after you have closed the cover.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jordan Sonnenblick's latest AND he's coming to school in March!!

Jordan Sonnenblick hits all the right notes yet again in this modern story of friendship, baseball, photography and family. Freshman year of high school will not be going as planned for Peter Friedman. The dream of being a star pitcher is gone. His friend AJ won't believe it while his mom and dad don't believe anything is wrong with Peter's grandfather, a gifted professional photographer showing signs of Alzheimers.  Photography is Peter's second passion and as the school year begins, turns into a major focus with the help of a bright and talented girl classmate in his photography class. As the year unfolds, Peter is forced to deal with his changing self-image the closer baseball season gets and his rapidly changing Grampa. If you enjoyed any of Sonnenblick's other titles then you will not want to miss Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip, another modern day gem!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bluefish by Pat Schmatz - What if you couldn't read?

What would it be like to not be able to read while attending regular 7th grade as the "new" kid? That's Travis' reality when he and his grandfather move suddenly from their country house to a small home in town. Travis is quiet, smart, empathetic and mad. A small act of kindness on his first day brings Velveeta into his orbit.  She is loud, dramatic, out spoken and mad too. How these two unlikely young people become friends and help each other through some tough secrets makes for a compelling read. Set mostly at school several well drawn secondary characters such as Travis' grandfather, Mr. McQueen the English teacher and Bradley, a fellow student often the target of bullies all add depth and detail to this story of trust and opportunity. Don't let the quiet cover turn you away. Bluefish by Pat Schmatz is a small gem.