ALA Notable Children's Book Award

Book Review: Nothing But the Truth

Nothing But The Truth
Author: 
Avi
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

"Nothing But the Truth," an documentary novel by Avi, depicts a small student-teacher quarrel that became a national headline. The book starts with one's average teenage boy named Philip Malloy. He runs track and is a fairly good student. His arch nemesis and least favorited teacher, Miss Narwin, thinks poorly of Philip, especially after he is switched to her homeroom. The day is always begun with the playing of the national anthem, but when Phil starts to "sing" along, Miss Narwin starts to lose it. After suspensions, interviews with newspapers, and nation wide fame, Philip must not only figure out how to deal with his newly renowned fame, but also how to deal with being honest about what is really going on. This book was a great, quick read. The way the book was composed made for easy reading and enjoyability. "Nothing But the Truth" was written in 1992, but the topic is still relevant decades later. With the kneeling during the national anthem in the NFL to other highly debated political topics, "Nothing But the Truth" is a great book for a quick but thoughtful read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ella S

Book Review: Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines
Author: 
Reeve, Philip
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

In a world of giant roaming cities, London is greatest. Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines explores a post-apocalyptic world where cities roam on wheels and survival of the fittest reigns supreme. The novel follows Tom Natsworthy, an orphan who has become an apprentice historian, and his fateful encounter with Hester Shaw, a girl with a disfigured face who tries to kill Head Historian, Thaddeus Valentine. The two are thrown out of London, where they must reconcile their differences to overcome the harsh wasteland. From outwitting pirates, outrunning murderous cyborgs, to stopping a weapon that could destroy an already broken world, this book is a truly awesome experience.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ryan

Book Review: Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
Author: 
Kehret, Peg
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

"Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio" by Peg Kehret is an interesting autobiography that gives insight to what people with Polio experienced. The main character, Peg, faints one day during school and has a high temperature so she is taken to the hospital. There she is diagnosed with Polio. This news is devastating to Peg and her family but Peg's family decides to stay positive while Peg is sad. Throughout her journey Peg gets better with the support of her parents.

I would recommend this book. "Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio" is sad but also heartwarming at times. I read this book because it is a battle book. I couldn't relate to any of the characters, however the emotions Peg felt could be related to a lot of other people. The book isn't predictable at all. It is not the best book I have read this year but I would still recommend this book as it is still good.

Reviewer's Name: 
Oriana O.

Book Review: The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass
Author: 
Pullman, Philip
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

The Golden Compass is about a little girl named Lyra, and her animal companion that can change form. They want to find her friend that has been kidnapped by really bad people. On her way she meets witches, gets captured, rides an armored ice bear, starts a war, and discovers who past family members were. And it all starts with a particle they call, “Dust”!

Reviewer's Name: 
Chess

Book Review: Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Author: 
Medina, Meg
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Merci Suárez Changes Gears just won the esteemed Newbery Award last month. Merci is a new sixth grader attending a private school. Her Cuban family lives in three small houses that sit in a row. Grandparents, aunt, twin nephews, mom, dad and brother are part of Merci's daily life for better or for worse. Merci's schoolmates, however, are mostly mean to her, maybe because Merci does not come from the same affluent neighborhoods with pools and parks galore. Merci Suárez Changes Gears is a gentle story of how Merci's sweet family and school intersect, all while Merci is growing and changing. In fact, Merci's household is changing quickly and somehow Merci has to learn to change gears to keep up.

Reviewer's Name: 
Betty

Book Review: Elijah of Buxton

Elijah of Buxton
Author: 
Curtis, Christopher
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The book "Elijah of Buxton" is incredible. While it's meant for younger readers, the book had several thought-provoking moments, which can captivate older readers. The protagonist, Elijah, is well-developed and his journey is full of fulfilling comedy, adventure, and surprises. The book is written in a light-hearted manner, which keeps it from being too depressing. There are some gruesome moments, but they all contribute to the story. It also relates to slavery from a unique perspective, although it does a great job addressing other values. The only thing I found wrong with the book was that it did have a somewhat weak plot. Other than that, I would recommend this book to almost anyone, as its messages can relate to anyone.

Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Steven L

Book Review: The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan
Author: 
Applegate, Katherine Castelao
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

"The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate is about a silverback gorilla named Ivan who lives at a mall and video arcade told from his perspective.
Ivan has other animal friends that include an old elephant named Stella who is sick and in pain. He goes through a lot of things with his friends but he still wants to go somewhere with other gorillas because he thinks he is the only gorilla he will ever know. The mall almost closes until a new baby elephant arrives. At the mall the elephants are mistreated and Ivan and Stella don't like that another elephant will be hurt. Time goes on until Stella becomes very sick. The mall downplays her illness until she can no longer do the tricks, so doctors come to help Stella get better. In the end all the animals including Ivan go to a zoo where they are treated better and are with other animals.

I would recommend this book. It is very heartwarming but at the same time sad. I cried multiple times while reading "The One and Only Ivan". I chose to read this book because I read it before in third grade and wanted to read it again. Obviously, I could not relate to the characters who were animals. The ending is surprising and the book isn't predictable.

Reviewer's Name: 
Oriana O.
Genres: 

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Author: 
Rowling, J.K.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a classic for today's generation. It tells the story of a boy named Harry Potter who finds out he is a wizard and proceeds to attend a wizarding school and encounter the dark wizard who killed his parents. This story was a large part of my childhood and one of the reasons I enjoy reading so much. Although it is a very easy read and truly a children's story, the Harry Potter books are magical for all ages and I would suggest everyone read them.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K.

Book Review: The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book
Author: 
Gaiman, Neil
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Nobody Owens (Bod for short) grows up in an ancient cemetery, raised by the spirits who reside there. As he becomes older, along with his school lessons and the special abilities given to him with the “freedom of the graveyard”, Bod must discover the secrets behind the death of his birth family, and the "Jacks of All Trades” (a dangerous secret society). Along the way Bod learns from various night creatures in addition to his extended family of ghosts, including ghouls, a witch, a werewolf, and a vampire. He must use all the knowledge that he acquires to fulfill his pivotal role in defeating the Jacks.

Reviewer's Name: 
Chris W.

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