Newbery Medal/Honor

Book Review: The Great Gilly Hopkins

Book Review: The Great Gilly Hopkins
Author: 
Paterson, Katherine
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Very good, as all Katherine Paterson novels are. A quick read, and like her other novels, it shows rather than tells. My only problem with the book was the ending was too abrupt for my taste. I would have liked for it to be longer and show her life with her grandmother and the effects of Courtney's visit.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt
Author: 
Gantos, Jack
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Dead End in Norvelt is a very good story about a boy named Jack Gantos (the author gave the character his own name as it is a somewhat true story) who lives in the 1960s in a little town called Norvelt, founded by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. When Jack is grounded for the summer for using his dad’s WWII binoculars to watch a war movie at the drive in that he couldn’t go see, and then proceeding to accidentally shoot a WWII Japanese rifle at the screen, he receives an unusual chore as a punishment: typing obituaries for old Miss Volker across the street. Jack is told that it was Miss Volker’s duty to Mrs. Roosevelt to type the obituaries of all of Norvelt’s original citizens before she moves away or passes away. While busying himself typing the obituaries and having to spend the rest of his time in his room, he still manages to go on strange misadventures with his friends, family, and neighbors involving a two seater airplane, a plastic skeleton, cornstalks, dead rodents, poisonous mushrooms, Hells Angels, a Halloween costume, Girl Scout cookies… and murder? This is a one of a kind book, so I can’t really recommend it to people who like a certain genre, however, if you are looking for an unusual, funny, interesting, and sometimes creepy murder mystery book disguised as a realistic fiction novel, Dead End in Norvelt is a great book for you.

Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Jacob U.

Book Review: Brown Girl Dreaming

Book Review: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: 
Woodson, Jacqueline
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This autobiography written in free verse by Jacqueline Woodson is an excellent insight into growing up as an African American girl in the 1960's.
It is a very moving portrayal of the role of family (grandparents, parents, uncles & aunts and siblings) in a life of a child. The author also gives the reader a definite sense of place, whether it is Ohio, South Carolina or Brooklyn, NY. Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Name: 
Lisa

Book Review: The Giver

The Giver
Author: 
Lowry, Lois
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The giver, is a story about a tyrannical society in which a system called "Sameness" is used. That system irradiates all color, terrain, and climate from its community as well as all the memories from its population. Following Jonas, the Memory Receiver, or the person who stores all memories of a time before Sameness, this book takes rapid turns and can get a bit confusing at times but is all in all a wonderful story of a unlikable situation.

Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Alyxandra S.

Book Review: Bomb: The Race to Build- And Steal- The World's Most Dangerous Weapon

Author: 
Sheinkin, Steve
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Everything they probably taught you in middle school, but WAY more entertaining and fascinating! Steve Sheinkin wrote textbooks and then vowed to make it up to us with engaging narratives of history. The espionage, the intrigue, the science, and the implications of it all kept me returning to this Newbery Honor book. The many facts with which Sheinkin presents the reader are accessible as well as interesting, and the use of original photographs puts faces to names and gives perspective to the devastation caused by the weapons. Excellently cited, Sheinkin paves the way for researchers and history buffs young and old to continue their reading on this fascinating time in our nation's past.

Reviewer's Name: 
Evan

Book Review: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Author: 
DiCamillo, Kate
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Oh, Kate DiCamillo, you have done it again! Flora is a little girl, a cynic in fact, but the day that her neighbor Tootie vacuums up a squirrel and he comes out with magical powers her cynicism is shaken to its core. Ulysses, as Flora names him, is a sensitive superhero of a squirrel who has a penchant for poetry and is always hungry. In fact, Ulysses is responsible for all kinds of wonderful things, including bringing Flora closer with her mother and father, and giving her a healthy dose of optimism.

Lovely, short comic strips flesh out the major action in the story. All in all, a heartwarming tale that will engage listeners and readers alike.
Younger children will enjoy listening to this story, say first to second grade. 4-6 graders will be able to read this on their own.

Reviewer's Name: 
Evan

Book Review: The One and Only Ivan

Author: 
Applegate, Katherine
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This was such a great novel. So sweet and life affirming. I loved Ivan and Ruby and wanted them to be happy. I thought the novel might have gone a darker route, but I'm glad it didn't. A sweet, quick read.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry

Author: 
Taylor, Mildred D.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Wow. This book was amazing. It was so well-written that I felt like I was there experiencing everything with Cassie. I wonder if I could be as brave as the Logans when faced with bodily harm. The courage of all civil rights activists blows my mind. My mother's family lived in Mississippi in the 1930s and were white. I hope they were sympathetic to the plight of African Americans, and not racists. But in reality, they were likely racists like most other whites during that time. What would I have been like if I was born during that time period? I like to think I'd be sympathetic and would stand up for what's right, but if you're raised with inequality as your reality how do you overcome it? I guess with education and experience and a knowledge of right and wrong, justice and injustice. But still, would I have had the bravery to stand up for what's right if it means physical harm? I hope so. Brilliant book. Perhaps my favorite children's novel of all time.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

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