Tag Archives: Character-driven

Book Review: First Rule of Punk

First rule of punk.jpgToday I recommend: The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez.

    The First Rule of Punk is an awesome fictional novel about a Mexican punk rocker middle schooler, Malu. Malu is moving to Chicago with her mother who loves Mexican heritage, far away from Malu’s father who owns a small record shop. She does not have any friends, until she tries to start up a band with some classmates for the school talent show. Will Malu’s band be good enough to get  into the talent show, and will she make friends? Read this novel to find out more.

I loved this book! It is different from other books I have read. This one is about being who you are, the importance of heritage, being a tough punk rocker and staying strong. My favorite character was Ellie, the band’s guitarist. She was very confident and smart, and was not afraid to speak up for what is right, always making petitions and helping others. I really enjoyed this novel, and I hope that you will too.

-Elizabeth N, Teen Blogger

You can find The First Rule of Punk in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PEREZ, and during the 2018-2019 school year on our Battle of the Books shelf.

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Book Review: Swing It, Sunny

swing itToday’s recommended read is: Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm.

It’s autumn and Sunny is back home and starting middle school.  Dale her brother has been sent to a boarding school to help with his drug problems.  Sunny misses him terribly and her fun is often interrupted by thoughts of him, thoughts that are often completely unrelated to what Sunny is doing.  When Dale returns home for the holidays feeling angry and betrayed by his family, it’s Gramps who helps Sunny see the sunny side of things again.  Through it all, Sunny tries to stay positive and learns we can’t always fix everything.

If you like this book you may like DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier or All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson.

~PH

You can find this book in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC HOLM.

Throwback Thursday: My Side of the Mountain

my side of the mountainFor this Throwback Thursday the recommended read is: My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.

A young boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in the Catskill Mountains including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship.

First published in 1959, this classic tale of survival and adventure was a Newbery honor book in 1960. The sequel to this book, On the Far Side of the Mountain was published many years later in 1990. This classic is perfect for reader’s who enjoy survival stories like Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

You can find My Side of the Mountain  in the Juvenile Fiction section at J GEORGE.

~PS, aw

Throwback Thursday: Matilda

matilda.jpgFor this Throwback Thursday I recommend: Matilda by Roald Dahl.

Matilda, a brilliant, sensitive little girl, uses her talents and ingenuity to seek revenge on her crooked father, lazy mother, and the terrifying Miss Trunchbull, her wicked headmistress, and save her beloved teacher, Miss Honey.

Published in 1988, Matilda is another example of Roald Dahl’s work and another classic novel that has been released as a movie. The humor and the triumph of good over evil with the girl as the hero make this a book that has become a classic.

You can find Matilda in the Juvenile Fiction section at J DAHL.

~aw

Throwback Thursday: Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising.jpgFor this Throwback Thursday I recommend: Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

While not as old as many of the books that I have recommended for Throwback Thursday (this one was published in 2000) this book has many honors attached to it. Esperanza Rising was named an ALA Notable Children’s book in 2002, a YALSA Best Books for Young Adults in 2001, and the Pura Belpre Award in 2002. This is a great read for middle-grade children who are interested in historical fiction, and particularly those with in interest in the Great Depression.

You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J RYAN.

~aw

Book Review: Paper Things

Paper Things.jpgPaper Things – Jennifer Jacobson

Paper Things is a thrilling novel by Jennifer Jacobson that tells the life of a nineteen-year-old Gage and his younger sister being homeless for six weeks. When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So, when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she must go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been “couch surfing,” staying with Gage’s friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama?

This novel will engender empathy and understanding of a serious and all-too-real problem. Jacobson’s story is poignant but never preachy. — School Library Journal


Paper Things by Jennifer Jacobson is a heart-touching novel and is originally published on February 10, 2015. Paper Things is a Rebecca Caudill 2019 nominee and has won several awards such as, the ILA Social Justice Literature Award for Fiction winner, and Hudson Bookseller’s Best of Summer 2015. I would recommend Paper Things to a reader that is looking for a thrilling novel.

~Vishnu, Teen Blogger

You can find Paper Things on the Rebecca Caudill shelf during the 2018-19, and in the Juvenile Fiction section at J JACOBSEN.

Book Review: Ghost

Ghost by Jason Reynolds.pngGHOST – Jason Reynolds

Ghost is a young adult novel by Jason Reynolds which follows seventh-grader Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw as he joins a track team and struggles to deal with his past and his present. Ever since his father went to jail, Castle Cranshaw’s life suddenly switched directions. He was behind in school, always in trouble, and didn’t have the money for essential needs. One day, when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race-and wins- the Olympic medalist track coach sees that he has something: crazy natural talent. Only with the dreams of playing ball, he unexpectedly joined the track team. Ghost doesn’t only get bullied in school for not having good clothes, but also on his track team (Defenders). Mainly because he doesn’t have running shoes. He then steals a pair of shiny sliver running shoes to shut down all the bullies. Eventually, coach finds out and plans to tell Ghost’s mother. Until he started begging not to. All the trouble-making, all the stealing, and all the bullying comes down to this one point in Ghost’s life. The first track meet of the season. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him?

Ghost by Jason Reynolds originally published on August 30, 2016, is one of the finalists for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Ghost is also the first book in Jason Reynolds’s explosive Track series about a fast but fiery group of kids who have a shot at the Junior Olympics, but have a lot to prove first-to each other, and to themselves. I would recommend this book to readers that are searching for a thriller, as well as meaningful book in their lives.

Another poignant, engaging, exciting novel that combines middle school, sports, and life lessons from Coretta Scott King Honor author Jason Reynolds – commonsensemedia.org

~Vishnu S., Teen Blogger

You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J REYNOLDS.

Throwback Thursday: The View from Saturday

The view from saturday.jpgFor this Throwback Thursday I recommend: The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsberg.

Four students, with their own individual stories, develop a special bond and attract the attention of their teacher, a paraplegic, who chooses them to represent their sixth-grade class in the Academic Bowl competition.

This is a classic that isn’t as old as most that we have featured- it was published in 1996 and won the Newbery Award. Still this heartwarming tale about being kind, civil, and inclusive is undoubtedly a classic. My favorite part of the book was that it was written from multiple perspectives which allowed me to feel as though I was getting to know each of the students. This is perfect for upper elementary school readers who enjoy realistic fiction, and for those who enjoyed the recent Newbery winner Hello Universe by Erin Kelly Entrada.

You can find The View from Saturday in the Juvenile Fiction section at J KONIGSBERG.

~aw

Throwback Thursday: Hatchet

HatchetFor this Throwback Thursday I recommend: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

After a plane crash, thirteen-year-old Brian spends fifty-four days in the wilderness, learning to survive initially with only the aid of a hatchet given him by his mother, and learning also to survive his parents’ divorce.

First published in 1987, this book has made countless school reading lists and was an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book in 1988. You can’t look away from this book as Brian struggles to survive on his own. This is a gripping adventure story, and is most suitable for those older children who have moved past the I Survived series by Tarshis.

You can find Hatchet in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PAULSEN.

~aw

Book Review: Beyond the Bright Sea

beyond the bright sea.jpgToday I recommend: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk.

A baby girl washes ashore in a tiny skiff.  She is found and given the name Crow.  As Crow grows, she becomes increasingly curious about many things.  Where did she come from?  Why is there a light burning on a supposedly deserted island?  Is a famed pirate treasure hidden nearby?  If you are interested in finding the answers to these questions and more, read Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk.

You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J WOLK.

~KF