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It's lovely to recommend a truly laugh-out-loud picture book in which the illustrations and text flatter each other so well. Rissi and Ohora have devised a story that the reader will gleefully suspend disbelief for. Mr. Stricter has introduced a class pet, but it grows and grows into something unexpected that he loves but the students realize requires a different sort of compassion. All members of a classroom are shown to be contributors to the educational experience as the kids problem-solve and help their educational environment be successful.
The journal of a twelve-year-old girl, accompanied by notes as artifacts from the family's cross-country train trip, reveals that we all may enjoy life more if we sweep aside the resentment we tend to feel for life getting in the way of our plans to live life. Sara and family accompany mother Mimi, who has won a writer's train sabbatical, across the continental United States. On their way, they meet unexpected new friends, and Sara learns ways to reinvent herself that are not on her planned out, preparing-for-middle school list. Sweet moments arise as Levy balances what these family members are like with elements inherent to the part of the country they're visiting. Accompanying the depth that comes with the chance for characters to react to different locations, the artifacts offer multiple voices to avoid the unreliability that might have arisen from reading one character's impressions.
Shark Lady does a keen job of being biographical, adventurous, and daring -- all without preaching. The story of Eugenie Clark is for all kids who are interested in chasing their passions and learning the dedication it takes to working within them. For scientists and non-scientists alike, the book includes plenty of shark facts to accompany the inspiring story.
Appropriately grisly and caked with dirt, the story here elucidates the life cycle of fireflies and the perils inherent in their lives. The outdoor classroom setting, replete with veteran beetle teacher, allows for easy exploration of the firefly world, including a visit to fireflies in another stage. The depth hidden in the title comes out in the text: Survival isn't as much for individual longevity as it is for the continuity of the firefly family chained together by myriad year-long lives. Much humor is to be found too, especially in the clarification of which body part lights up. (Hint: It's not the bum.)
This is the story collection for readers who are sick of knowing exactly what is coming next. In the manner of Edward Carey and Jesse Ball, Davies establishes an immersive world and tours a reader through it until a devastating revelation is too late to avoid. To prevent exhaustion from the use of clouding the trajectory of the narrative, the collection includes flash-fiction pieces and alters what type of bleak landscape characters find themselves inhabiting. People in various forms of suffering are featured heavily throughout, and their actions and beliefs are ready to inspire readers to argue about their acceptability.
Wow! This book has characters and importance in aces. Talk about flowing writing amplifying the common settings of a school, friends' houses, and the bus to create a believable eighth-grade world in which a narrator who, despite his doubt that he brings anything special to the world, artfully supports his friends as best as he can. Branton Middle School bans cell phones, so students turn to sticky notes to pass their messages around. When hurtful messages move from online to paper, Frost and friends define and redefine friendships to survive the onslaught in this thoughtful, bullying-awareness novel.
While Alan Cole and his two not-friends sit together at lunch, he continually dreams of basic survival. His father's a harsh guy and hates something that happened with his own parents; his brother, Nathan, is a yard beyond the line between sibling antics and bully savageries; and his mother's a shy version of her former loving self. When Nathan discovers Alan has a secret crush on another guy at school, he challenges Alan to a series of impossible tasks to win the right not to be outed. Moving and important, the story sees Alan reluctantly enlisting his eccentric not-friends to help him win Nathan's challenge, though the pressure to fit in by staying quiet might just end up ruining any hope to learn he isn't a coward.
When eighteen-year-old Tanner crushes on his high school writing class assistant, Sebastian, important loyalties are questioned -- both Tanner's and Sebastian's. Tanner's crush on Sebastian wouldn't have been a big deal back in California, but Tanner's family has moved to Utah, and Sebastian is an active member of the LDS church, which abhors same-sex relationships. As Tanner learns that Sebastian has reciprocal feelings, Tanner starts to withhold information from his best friend, Autumn, and Sebastian definitely hides his relationship with Tanner from everyone he knows for fear of being ostracized from his family, church community, and church-affiliated university. The well-researched book paints a very real portrait of these LDS people as endlessly kind church devotees whose kindness is strained when one of their own is gay -- they simply cannot accept love outside of heterosexual pairings, and they cannot understand why any gay person wouldn't just decide to live as a straight person. Tanner acts as narrator in this affecting story that reads as a plea for love to inspire empathy and as a testament to those who have patience to listen to others and admit their mistakes.
Smartly, Light It Up brings back supporting characters from the first two Peter Ash books to provide a team to root for. The crimes in the third novel seem simple at first: A well-organized party is robbing a cannabis grower's cash-rich security trucks. But sophisticated, realistic secrets at work in the background make this movie-ready thriller rise above the smoke screen and the common beach read. Delectable research gives authenticity to the Colorado growing scene, antique and contemporary weapons trade, and real-estate espionage. Importantly, the book isn't political about legalized drugs--it tells a story without preaching. As is a hallmark of the series, attention to the difficulties service members face when returning home from combat is notable.
Lemmings don't really jump off of cliffs, right? That's what've we learned from all the latest scientific research, right?! Well, these lemmings haven't read the right book of scientific research, so they don't know any better. They jump off of cliffs and, really, anything -- so they constantly need saving! Cute and funny, this picture book delights page to page with its wacky premise and pictures. Read the book, humans!
The novel reads as an inspired, heart-wrenching nineties movie a la Big or Only You, only the conceit here is that a psychic is able to tell our four siblings when they're going to die -- not help them be old or fake the name of the man someone will marry. The question is vintage, but it's always with us: When we get to our ends, will we list should'ves or celebrations? Remembering to place the characters in time and specific scenes, the writing is re-readable when it pauses to etch out a reflection and is rideable as we learn each sibling's fate, each family member wanting, secretly, to spend more time with each other than perhaps they were ever supposed to have.
Talk about a great book to get me wanting to return to working on team-based creative projects! The history of Pixar is here, along with management philosophy and insight into Steve Jobs's support role in shaping the company.