Tag Archives: music

#blogbookaday: Flowers for Sarajevo

5 Feb

32898524.jpgSummary:  “The moving story of a young boy who discovers the power of beauty and kindness during a time of war. Drasko helps his father sell flowers in Sarajevo, but when war threatens and his father is called to the battlefront, Drasko must take over the flower stall. One morning the boys familiar routine is shattered when a mortar shell hits the bakery, killing twenty-two people. The next day, a cellist from the Sarajevo Opera Orchestra goes to the crater and plays the most beautiful music that Drasko can imagine. Inspired, he looks for ways to ease the sorrow of those around him. ” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: This is a beautiful story of kindness in the face of constant danger. This would be a great story to share with elementary school age children about how small acts of kindness can truly change your community, even in the worst of times. I really liked that the stress was put on how different the residents of Sarajevo were and yet could still come together in the same market to buy and sell their wares. In today’s world where differences are being noticed, but not in the best way – this book is an important one to share.

Personal Reaction: I found this story, touching and moving and a great reminder of how even the most basic things can improve your community in the most trying times. I found the back matter to this story most interesting as it’s based on a true story about a cellist who played in Sarajevo for 22 days after a mortar shell explosion and the author wrote a song titled, “The Streets of Sarajevo” and was able to get the cellist to play the music for the song. If you get a chance to borrow this story from the library or purchase it, make sure you get the accompanying CD.

Title: Flowers for Sarajevo
Author: John McCutcheon
Illustrator: Kristy Caldwell
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Publication Date: April 1, 2017


#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

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Middle Grade Review: The First Rule of Punk

22 Nov

32050089Synopsis: It’s the first day in a new school a thousand miles away from her dad, best friend and everything she knows and loves and Malu is nervous. After a tough day (violating the school dress code, upsetting the school’s queen bee and so much more), Malu has disappointed her mom… yet again. Malu is nothing like the daughter SuperMexican (as she calls her mom) wants her to be – she hates cilantro, loves punk music and zines, and just wants to move back home.

But, with some courage from her dad she creates her own band of outcasts and learns that following the beat of your own drum is most important! There’s just one thing… her mom doesn’t know about the band and Malu’s pretty sure she’s not going to be happy when she finds out! Continue reading

Book Review: Sparrow

20 Sep

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The story opens in a white hospital room after Sparrow’s apparent suicide attempt. The custodian found Sarah on the edge of the school’s roof, but no one will believe that she wasn’t up there to jump. She was up there to fly. When the world on the ground gets to be too much Sparrow checks out and pictures herself turning into a bird and flying away.

Sparrow keeps to herself, gets good grades, doesn’t cause trouble for her mom, but is lonely and searching for something. And she finds it when she “flies away” with the birds in the neighborhood. With the help of a therapist, Sparrow begins to see that life on the ground isn’t all bad and with help and she can feel like flying through the power of music.

I was hesitant to read this story because I expected it to be about suicide and I read middle grade books for a reason (I need that underlying hope). But, in the end I am so glad I got a chance to read this book and enter into Sparrow’s world. Sparrow sees a therapist once a week and this story brings the stigma of mental illness to the forefront. The story works through Sparrow’s thought that she is crazy and the idea her therapist will through her in a padded cell when she hears about Sparrow’s crazy. It works through Sparrow’s idea of what her mom thinks of her and how she can’t be the perfect daughter she thinks her mom wants and needs. It’s a story of receiving help and taking chances to make your own life better and I think it’s a story that so many people need to read.

There’s a stigma in this country that makes people believe that receiving medication, seeing a therapist or doing something about your mental health should be hidden away, but I think that if more people accepted mental health in the way they see staying fit and active, eating healthy and getting a physical, we’d be a lot healthier overall. Definitely take the time to pick this book up, it’s a must read.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Sparrow can’t seem to convince her mom that she isn’t crazy, but with the help of a therapist and rock’n’roll, Sparrow finds a way to fly.

Title: Sparrow
Author: Sarah Moon
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Page Number: 272 pgs.

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