Tag Archives: family

Book Review: The Painting

9 Aug

33674139The Painting by Charis Cotter is a story of mystery and intrigue, but at its heart its the story of loss and relationships among family. Annie loves painting, drawing and art and is nothing at all like her parents who just can’t seem to understand their daughter. But, when Annie’s mother slips into a coma following a car accident, can Annie help save her?

Annie finds a painting of a lighthouse in the attic and with her artistic eye, is drawn to it right away, but when she falls through the painting and meets young Claire she gets more than she bargained for. Soon she is looking for other paintings by the mysterious Maisie King in order to help Claire understand her own mother, while at the same time trying to understand how Claire’s story is part of her own family’s history and what she can do to help her mother emerge from her coma.

I had a little difficulty following the storyline as each girl had a similar middle grade voice that made it difficult to differeniate, but I loved the mysterious travel through the paintings and really enjoyed how the story came together at the end as Annie learned more about her own family and the how the power of forgiveness saved her mother’s life. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you have a child in your life that likes a little suspense, mystery and is a little bit of an introvert and/or artist – this is the book for them!

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Annie’s mother never talks about her childhood & when she falls into a coma, it’s up to Annie’s mysterious travel into paintings to save her

Title: The Painting
Author: Charis Cotter
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Page Number: 288 pgs.

Book Review: Calling My Name

2 Aug

1.jpg

Calling My Name by Liara Tamani is the story of Taja a young teen growing up in Houston, Texas with her family and friends. Taja knows what her parents expect of her – spend quality time with the family, get good grades, go to church every Sunday and abstinence is the only option. Taja is trying to keep up with her classmates as the talk ranges from first kisses to first relationships and beyond, while also being the daughter she is expected to be. She also has high hopes of going to college in California to follow her dream and to find her own relationship with God, separately from what her parents expect that relationship to look like.

I really liked this story, much closer to my own in many ways than much of the young adult literature being published today. I took my grades seriously, wasn’t too interested it boys, but struggled in some ways to figure out where my relationship with God fit into my world as a teenager living in today’s society. This is not the type of story you see written very often and I felt that Taja’s voice rang true to a young teen searching for herself in the midst of family and friends.

The writing was a bit confusing and it’s easier to think of the chapters as short stories spanning Taja’s teen years rather than a specific day-to-day account. But I felt that this was a voice that many teens will be able to relate with and understand. Taja struggles with her family’s conservative view on abstinence while also realizing that her brother always has more freedom than she does and dealing with peers who bully/body shame her at times. It’s a very real story that needed to be told and I truly enjoyed it. I’ll say this – it is a young adult story in that although Taja begins as a middle school student in the beginning, there are intimate scenes as she grows up that will firmly plant this book in the young adult department. Give this to teens searching for themselves – especially those who are spiritual/religious as they navigate high school.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): High schooler, Taja Brown is searching for her own relationship with God as she navigates family, friends, romance and dreams.

Title: Calling My Name
Author: Liara Tamani
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Page Number: 384 pgs.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/24/17

24 Jul

I’m not doing too bad with middle grade fiction lately!  Over the past week, I read Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder and Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk. I just started Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood yesterday, so I’m working my way through that story and have Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever. edited by Betsy Bird, which I’m super excited to read. With family coming into town this weekend, I don’t expect I’ll have a lot of time to read, so anything else at this point is extra! I still have a bunch of ARCs from BookExpo America that I’d like to get to before the fall, so I might try and pick up another one of those, maybe bounce over to YA for a little while after the large amount of middle grade fiction I’ve been reading lately! Have a great week!


imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/17/17

17 Jul

I read a lot this week, which probably equates to my stress level! We’re in the midst of hiring two full-time employees and making sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed is enough to make anyone crazy. I also finished shifting the entire adult fiction section (all I have left is Large Print!) which was exhausting and pair all of that with additional meetings and short-staffed – it was a heck of a week.

This week I read:

  • Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery by Melanie J. Fishbane
  • The Castle in the Midst by Amy Ephron
  • The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli
  • Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart

I have a small stack to finish up this week:

  • Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
  • Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood

Have a great week!


imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR

Book Review: The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade

5 Jul

33931230.jpgI’ve enjoyed a number of Jordan Sonnenblick’s books in the past and he even visited our library for an author visit program, so I had high hopes for The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade, but honestly, this wasn’t my favorite story.

Maverick is starting sixth grade and this year he promises to himself that he’ll stand up to those being bullied, he’ll make the school a better place for everyone and he’ll be a hero just like his dad. Unfortunately, things don’t start off on the right foot and Maverick ends up in the Assistant Principal’s office twice and the nurse’s office once – on the first day of school.  And things just sort of fall apart from there. Maverick’s mom can’t hold down a job and when she gets fired, she starts drinking and on top of that she has an extremely poor taste in boyfriends who end up verbally and sometimes physically abusing her.

Although, domestic abuse is definitely something that should be discussed with kids, this book had one glaring issue that I can’t seem to get around. The bully of sixth grade bothers Maverick over and over again and like most bullies there is a lack of control at home which leads him to causing trouble at school. Maverick sees the bully get picked up by his father after detention one day and sees the father hit the boy.  And this is where my issue with the book comes in, nothing is done about this situation. Maverick doesn’t go to tell someone at school or his mom and the story is resolved for Maverick, but nothing is done about the abuse happening in another child’s home.

I would expect that a book that is being handed to middle grade students should express in some way that kids need to tell adults about suspected child abuse – it’s not something that should be kept secret because you really have no idea how long it’s been going on and how severe it is. I really liked the concept of the story – a kid trying to become a hero and stand up against the bully you know is in every school, but I just couldn’t get past this detail.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Maverick is going to be a hero in 6th grade – there’s just one problem, he’s already been to the principal’s office twice – on the first day

Title: The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade
Author: Jordan Sonnenblick
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Page Number: 193 pgs.

%d bloggers like this: