Monday, June 20, 2016

A Monster Calls


A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness

There are so many things I want to say about this book. This was a fantastically written story. It touched my heart and I won't soon forget it.

This book started as a concept by the Author, Siobhan Dowd, who died of cancer before she could write the book. Patrick Ness was asked to write the story in her place and I am so glad he choose to take on this task. This was such a great book and I feel like everyone could gain something by reading this book.

This book is a bout a thirteen year old boy whose mother is being treated for Cancer. He begins to be visited by a monster, who tells him three stories. I loved this concept. What a brilliant way to approach the topic of cancer.

I absolutely loved the stories that the monster tells and the lessons the boy needs to learn. It shows that we often are faced with conflicting emotions that are hard to reconcile. It deals with all the emotions you can image a young boy facing, whose mother has cancer. I cried. a lot. It was just such a touching story.

I would also like to add that the illustrations are the perfect addition to this book. They are dark, creepy and haunting. They add so much and really reflect the feelings being portrayed in this novel.

I would highly recommend this book. It is so beautifully written. You don't want to miss this one.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Go Set a Watchman


Go Set a Watchman
by Harper Lee

I have been wanting to read this book for a while. I was curious to see what happened to all the characters in To Kill A Mocking Bird and to read the second book written by Harper Lee.

Unfortunately I really did not enjoy reading this book. It was really hard for me to get through and I just found it very uninteresting. The style of writing was hard for me to follow. She cuts back and forth between the past and present and it made for a very choppy read. I've read other books that jump between the past and present that transitioned much smoother. I found myself wanting to skim through parts of this book and felt like I didn't really understand everything she talked about.

I didn't think there were any likable characters in the book. I wasn't even a fan of Scout. Why does a strong women have to be portrayed as thoughtless and pushy. I don't think that to be considered strong and independent that a women needs to be high handed or unkind.

I was also disappointed it the plot. Nothing really happened in the book and I felt like the story really didn't go anywhere. Scout discovers something about her father that upsets her and she finds unforgivable but in the end she decides she still loves him. That's the entire book.

The one good thing I can say about this book was that it was an interesting look at Racism in the South at that time. A way to understand how they were feeling about changing world around them. The fight for State rights versus Federal rules. I thought it was a good look into the mind of a group of people who grew up believing they were better then Blacks.

And I liked the chapter where Scout talks to her uncle about her fight with her Father. I like how she discovers that she can still love her father even if they don't always see things eye to eye. She grew up believing that everything her father believed  she also believe, so it was shocking for her to learn that wasn't necessarily true. I think that was a very insightful discovery. That it is important to be our own individual and not let our identity be defined by somebody else.

So there I did get something out of this book but it was still very hard to get through. I can't say that I liked the book but I didn't totally hate it either...




Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Turtle of Oman


The Turtle of Oman
by Naomi Shihab Nye

My oldest came home on his last day of second grade with a list of book recommendations for third grade. He has struggled some this year with reading comprehension so I wanted to get him reading more and thinking about what he read. This was one of the books on his list so we checked out from the Library so he could give it a go.

I was curious what types of books were recommended for third graders so I decided to read it myself also. I actually really enjoyed this book. It was a sweet tale of a young boy who is moving to America from Oman. He spends the last week in Oman with his Grandfather visiting and exploring the places they love best. He loved his home and did not want to leave it and his grandfather did his best to help prepare him for his big move. I thought the emotions in this story were very real and relatable. This would be a great book for a child to read who might be facing a move of their own. I also thought it was a great introduction to a different country and culture. It really shows that no matter where we are from, we aren't so different after all. We may have grown up loving different foods, different adventures and different people but we all have those special connections in our lives that make us who we are.

I wish I could say that my son enjoyed this book just as much but he had a hard time understanding what was going on. I think this book maybe still be a little too difficult for him to read. He just wasn't that interested in the story. He also tends to gravitate towards fantasy type books so we switched back to his favorite Magic Tree House Books to help get him more motivated to read and make his reading comprehension a little easier to learn. If you have any other suggestions of books that may be good for him to try, I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Spiderwick

The boys and I recently finished reading the Spiderwick Chronicles out loud together. They really enjoyed reading the books and when they heard there was a movie they asked to see it. Last week I checked it out of the library so we could watch it together. The most amusing thing about watching this movie was watching the boys discover how different movies can be from the books they are based on. They kept point out all the things that were different through out the movie.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Tale Dark and Grimm


A Tale Dark and Grimm
By Adam Gidwitz

This was an interesting telling of Hansel and Gretel. I like how he has combined several Grimm fairy tales into one story to show what happened to them after they escaped the witch. I really love Grimm fairy tales so I thought this would be a fun book to read. I appreciate that he left all the gruesome parts of the original stories in. I even liked how the author would interject little thoughts and warnings through out the book. It reminded me a lot of the book the Princess Bride. I love that book and how it was written. Of course this book is geared towards a much younger crowd so I found it a bit silly at parts. I'm sure my eight year old would find it more entertaining and laugh at all the right parts. For some reason it just didn't keep my attention that well. But I do think it would be a fun book for a younger audience.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Paperweight


Paperweight
by Meg Haston

This book follows the story of a girl who is sent to a treatment facility for an eating disorder. It was a very interesting look into the mind of someone who suffers from Anorexia or Bulimia. I couldn't help but think of the book Wintergirls that I read a few years ago. That book really touched me and I thought it was an astonishing look into that world.

I found this book to also be a very emotional look into the world of someone who suffers from an Eating disorder. There are some many different things that can trigger these kind of issues and I thought that this book did a good job of really showing that. The author has done an amzing job of making the main character, Stevie's,  emotions very accessible. I really felt like I understood what she was going through.

These kind of books can be tough to read but I think it's important to try an understand things that others face on a daily bases. It makes more empathic to the struggles of others. Especially when it is something we have never had to face before.

There was a lot of strong language in this book and some suggestive scenes I didn't really love, but overall I thought this was a really well written book.