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Monday, November 21, 2011

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by M. Satrapi

Satrapi, M. (2003). Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. Pantheon: New York.
Awards:  2004 Alex Award
Annotation: Persepolis is a memoir from the ages of six to fourteen years of Majrane when she lived in Tehran, Iran during the Islamic Revolutions and the war with Iraq.
Book Talk:
Majrane tells her story in comic strips. She tells about her mother demonstrations against the veil.
She tells about the cruelties against the people by the government
The letters she writes for the family maid and learns about social class system
She tells us about the torture that the people who were imprisoned had to endure.
She tells us her feeling of being lost and confused when the war with Iraq begins.
As she grows older, she tells us about her defiance against the strict Islamic rules.
Finally, her parents decide that it is time to leave her beloved country of Iran for her safety.
This very inspirational book unique book should experienced by everyone and checkout from your local library.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The King of the Castle by V. Holt

Holt, V. (1967). The King of the Castle. Double & Company: New York.
Awards: None
Annotation:  This is a romance mystery novel set in the 19th Century wine country of France.
Book Talk:  Dallas Lawson is a young woman who responds to request to restore paintings:
“The King in his Castle! I thought. Monsieur le Comte de la Talle summons D. Lawson to the Chateau Gaillard to carry out the work on his pictures as arranged. Well, I was Dallas Lawson, and if that summons was meant for Daniel Lawson, then my answer was that Daniel Lawson had been dead for ten months and that I, his daughter, who in the past had helped him in his work, was now carrying on his place.”
She arrives a Chateau Gaillard and is given a chance to restore a painting to prove her talent and falls in love with Comte. While restoring the portrait of a young woman wearing the family emeralds that disappeared during the Revolution and was never found, she tries to unravel the mystery and uncovers the family secrets. What Dallas discovers about the death of the Comte’s first wife puts her life endanger.  Will she survive the dangers and come out of her adventure alive?

Jacket by Kiyoaki Komoda
Shelby, age 18: What do you like about Mystery Novels? They are interesting!

Mystery of the Desert Giant by F. Dixon

Dixon, F. (1961). Mystery of the Desert Giant.  Grosset & Dunlap Publishers: New York.
Awards: None
Annotation: Frank and Joe Hardy help out their detective father track down what happen to a disappearance of Clifford Wetherby and Willard Grafton when their plane is found in Blythe, California near the desert giants made by the American Indians.
Book Talk: Frank and Joe Hardy are giving an assignment to find missing Willard Grafton. Their investigation takes them to the desert where mysterious giants are mapped out on the ground by ancient American Indians. 

The boys and their friend Chet discover a ring of criminals that lead them across the border into Mexico. Can the boys unravel the mystery and find what happen to Willard Grafton? Will the boy be able to stop a ring of counterfeiters and solve the complex mystery?
Westly, age 17: What do you like about Mystery Novels? They make me think more than other books to find out who done it.

The Moonstone Castle Mystery by C. Keene

Keene, C. (1963). The Moonstone Castle Mystery. Grosset & Dunlap Publishers: New York.
Awards: None
Annotation:  This historical mystery novel has young eighteen-year-old Nancy Drew detective and her cousins Bess and George try to uncover and solve the mysterious disappearance of a young girl.
Book Talk:  Nancy Drew receives a mysterious package from an unknown person with the address cut and pasted from a newspaper and inside is a valuable moonstone with a note:
She also has a meeting with the Bowens, a missionary couple, who have just returned the United States and are unable to find their missing seventeen-year-old granddaughter. Nancy and her friends travel to Deep River Valley and discover mysterious activities are going on at Moonstone Castle. Can Nancy unravel this complex mystery and find the Bowens missing granddaughter?
Cheyenne, age 15: What do you like about Mystery Novels? They always have a great a ending! 

Ghosts in the Gallery by B.B. Wallace

Wallace B.B. (2000). Ghosts in the Gallery. Atheneum Books for Young Readers: New York.

Awards: Edgar Allan Poe Award, 2001
               Nominated for an Edgar Award
Annotation: In this historical mystery novel, eleven-year-old Jenny is all alone in the world when her parents die and is sent to live with her grandfather she has never meet.

Book Talk: Traveling from China to America she is put into the hands of strangers on her long voyage to her grandfathers. When she finally arrives there is no one to meet her, the letter her mother sent before she died saying she was coming never arrived. Her father’s relatives don’t believe who she says she is condemned to a dark cellar room to live a life of a servant.  The dower Madame Duray cuts off her beautiful golden hair and warns her not to trust anyone in the house.  Lost and confused she herself starts to feel like a stranger.

“she found herself looking into the mirror over the chest. In the end it turned out to be impossible, and she found herself staring into the dulled the spotted image of a waif with the sunken face made ghostly pale form weariness and misery. And were had hung sunny, golden ringlets, there was nothing left but untidy, scraggly wisps of hair. It was a face Jenny hardly recognized as hers. It was in terrible truth the face of yet another stranger!”

Jenny can’t trust anyone and needs to un-puzzle the mystery and work through deception, treachery, and betrayal to find the truth of who she really is.
Jacket illustration copyright 2000 by Richard Williams
Jacket design by Michael Nelson

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Konigsburg, E.L. (1967). From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Atheneum: New York.

Awards: 1968 Newbery Winner    
Annotation: In this mystery novel, eleven-year-old Claudia Kincaid runs away with her younger brother Jamie who is nine-years-old to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City because she feels that her parents don’t appreciate her.

Book Talk: Claudia and Jamie plan their escape to New York City to live in the Metropolitan Museum. They wander around with school groups on field trips learning about all the exhibits and hide in the bathrooms until the museum closes. They bathe and wash their clothes in the fountain and discovered that is covered with coins from people making wishes. They become fascinated with the museums newest exhibit an angle statue suspected to be by Michelangelo. Claudia and Jamie make it their goal to find out who made the statue. Their research leads them to the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Can they find the information they seek? Did Michelangelo sculpt the angle the now resides in the Metropolitan Museum?
 Jacket Illustration by E.L. Konigsburg

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Bassumtyte Treasure by J.L. Curry

Curry, J.L. (1978). The Bassumtyte Treasure. Margaret K. McElderry Book: Atheneum, New York.
Awards: Mark Twain Award Nominee 1980-1981
                Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Nominees

Annotation:  This coming of age mystery novel is about ten-year-old Thomas Bassumtyte is sent to England to live with his only remaining relative.
Book Talk:  Thomas is sent to live in a strange country, to a strange house, and taken away from everything he knows to live in a four hundred-year-old ancestral home. Thomas remembers an old rhyme his grandfather taught him:
Bassumtyte’s treasure,
Dear beyond measure,
Keeps safe from seizure
At moon’s pleasure.
The key that unlocks
Is shut in a box
Sealed in a box
Closed in a box
By the Old Fox
Of Gloucestershire.
Can Thomas find the secret room that no one else has been able to find in over four hundred years? Can he solve the riddle of The Bassumtyte Treasure?
Jacket illustration by Fred Marcellino

The Name of the Game Was Murder by J.L. Nixon

Nixon, J.L. (1993). The Name of the Game Was Murder. Lourel-Leaf Books: New York.
Awards: Edgar Allan Poe Award, 1994
    Nevada Young Readers' Award, 1996
    Arizona Young Readers Award, 1997
    Maryland Library Association Black-Eyed Susan Award, 1997
Annotation: In this Mystery novel, fifteen year old Samantha Burns wants to desperately to become a famous writer like her great uncle famous novelist Augustus Trevor

Book Talk: Samantha asks to visit her Great Aunt Thea on the island of Catalina twenty miles off the coast of California. When she meets her Great Uncle Augustus, to ask him to read her stories to see if she has any talent as a writer, she finds him to be rude and obnoxious. Great Uncle Augustus tells her she will be in his way for the game he has planned to play with a few of his celebrity friends.

   Augustus was silent for a moment, and when he spoke again it was with a smile. “My current manuscript is not another novel.  It is a book in which I intend to make public certain shocking behind-the-scenes behavior of a great many very important people.
   Julia stiffened, and it was obvious that she couldn’t keep silent, no matter how offended Augustus might be. “Are you telling us that we’re included?” she asked
  Augustus grinned nastily. “Yes and no,” he said.
   “What is that supposed to mean?’ Buck demanded.
   “It means that while doing background research and interviews, in an attempt to supplement my notes and refresh my memory, I stumbled upon a well-hidden secret I the past life of each one of you.”
    “Ridiculous!” Senator Maggio snapped.
    “Oh, is it?” Augustus asked, and his eyes gleamed. “If these secrets are made known, they’ll be damaging enough to ruin your reputations, aside from other complications that might result.”
   “This is absurd,” Alex interjected, bu Augustus dismissed him with a wave of his hand and went on.
   “Each of you committed on very stupid mistake in your past, yet the mistakes were never made public. Was this because you were actually smart enough to cover them, or because you were incredibly lucky?”
   “Augustus, I protest!” Aunt Thea said. “You’re embarrassing our guests, and—“
   “Sit down, Thea,” Augustus ordered, and she did.
   “You are highly successful in your careers,” he continued, “and normally that takes a certain amount of intelligence. So what is the truth? Are you stupid, or are you not? I’m going to find out. During the weekend we’re going to play a game, and you’ll be given clues to solve. The clues will lead to a significant treasure—a treasure that in itself will be self-explanatory.”
   “If you can solve the clues, then you’ll prove to me that your stupid mistakes can remain secret, and I’ll remove every trace of your stories from my manuscript. For those who can’t solve the clues, the world will soon learn the shocking facts from your past.”

But Augustus was murdered and the game must continue in order to find the manuscript and the murderer. Can Samantha figure out the clues and find the manuscript in order to discover who the murderer is?  When Augustus set up his game, “He never had a clue that the name of the game was murder.”
Cover Illustration copywrite by Tim Burrall

Matt, age 16: Why do you like Mystery Novels? I like to answer and solve the mystery before the characters do.

The Last Treasure by S. Anderson

Anderson, J.S. (2003). The Last Treasure. Dutton Children’s Books: New York.
Annotation: This is a coming of age mystery novel of thirteen-year-old Ellsworth Smith and fourteen-year-old Jess who must find the last hidden treasure left behind by John Matthew Smith, the family’s patriarch.

Book Talk: Ellsworth and his father have been moving around the country living in motels while his father completes his book on the Smith family. On his birthday, he receives a mysterious request from Elizabeth a distant cousin to return back to the Square John Matthew built for his wife and their thirteen children.
Jess is also is sent to live on the Square by her mother and is feeling lonely and abandon by her family. Between the two of them they have to discover the hidden secrets and sorrows and work through their pain to solve the mystery. Can Ellsworth and Jess work through the hidden dangers and ghosts find the last hidden treasure to save the houses on the square?
Jacket Illustration copywrite 2003
By Tim Zeltner/

A Wrinkle in Time by M. L'Engle

L’Engle, M. (1962). A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York.
Awards: John Newbery Medal
Annotation: This coming of age science fiction novel has three young children Meg, her younger brother Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin travel through space in a tersseract or wrinkle in time to save their scientist father.
Review:  How can three misfits embark on travels through space to save a missing father? Meg struggling to deal with her raging emotions and the town thinks she is bumbling idiot. She stands up for her younger brother Charles Wallace who they think is dumb and the town’s people wonder how two smart scientists could produce two such children. Their father has disappeared and no one will tell them what has happened to him. The children make friends with an older boy Calvin who comes from a large family and feels that they won’t notice if he is at home or not.  They meet three eccentric women named Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which who tells them they will help them find their missing father. They are taken through space and time, traveling to a dark planet Camazotz whose inhabitants have been turned into puppets that are controlled by a disembodied brain called IT. Can the children combat and outwit the forces of evil to save their father and return good back to the planet?
Jacket Illustration copyright 1979 by Leo and Diane Dillion

The House on Mango Street by S. Cisneros

Cisneros, S. (1984). The House on Mango Street. Vintage Contemporaries: New York.
Awards:  American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 1985
Annotation: Story is told in a series of vignettes or journal entries of a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago.
Cover design by Lorraine Louie
Cover illustration by Nivia Gonzalez

Review: Esperanza tells many short stories about her life living on Mango Street in a rundown neighborhood in Chicago. The short stories give you an insight in her life and how she grew up.
Her thoughts are express in a way that you can feel her pain and sorrow on how her and her family dealing with normal everyday life.
The novella includes insight to her neighbors and depicts the neighborhood in which she lives and the affect it has on her life.
This is only a glimpse into Esperanza life in The House on Mango Street. Check this book out from your local library to read more!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chick Lit: Heaven Sent by Meg Cabot

Cabot, M. (2005). Heaven Sent. Macmillan Children’s Books: London.

Awards:  Meg Cabot was nominated Queen of Teen in 2008 for her work
Annotation: This Chit Lit coming of age novel is about a sixteen year old girl named Suze who has a ghost for a boyfriend.

Suze is a Mediator, a person who sees ghosts. Her friend Paul is also a Mediator and is in love with Suze but Suze is in love with a 150 year old ghost named Jesse who was murdered. Paul knows a way to go back in time and save Jesse from being murdered. If Paul can stop Jesse’s murder then Suze would never have met Jesse and fall in love with him. Can Suze convince and stop Paul from going back in time to prevent Suze from meeting Jesse? Read this exiting Chit Lit novel and find out if Suze can save the love of her life!
Cover Illustration by Nicola Slater

Shelby age 18: I like Romance and Chick Lit novels because they have a sweet ending.

Street Lit: Rooftop by Paul Volponi

Volponi, P. (2006). Rooftop. Viking Penguin Group: New York.
Awards:  American Library Association’s Best Book Young Adult and Quick Pick Award
                 Texas Library Association for the TAYSHAS High School reading list
                 New York City Library’s Book for the Teen Age
                 Junior Library Guild 2006 Selection

Annotation:  This Street Lit coming of age novel depicts two cousins, Clay and Addison, who meet up again after being separated as children, in a drug treatment facility called Daytop. Both boys struggle with living life in the projects of New York City battling addiction and dealing drugs.
What really happened on the Rooftop? Clay was trying to go straight and get his GED and make something out of his life and Daytop was helping him achieve his goal. His cousin Addison shows up to Daytop for dealing drugs. Addison was having trouble getting out of the drug dealing and gets jumped by a couple of other dealers. He has to pay his boss back for what he lost or he will be in more trouble.

    There were footsteps coming up the stairs, and Addison crouched down by the door. When they stopped, Addison jumped up with the wallet pointing out in front of him and yelled, “Bam! Ba--“
    Lightning bolts shot out of that doorway, and they didn’t stop till the air all around us was on fire.
    I heard the breath leave Addison’s lungs, like he’d been slammed in the chest by a subway train.
    A bullet ripped past by face.
    I jerked in two directions at once, diving to the floor. My arms crisscrossed by head, and my chin was jammed up against by knees.
   “Police! Police! Voices barked, one over the other.
    A voice I’d heard before hollered at us to stay down and drop our weapons.
    My whole body was shaking, and everything inside me went numb.

Addison is shot and killed on the rooftop by the police for no reason. Clay struggles with telling the truth or live a lie in the request for justice and end to racism. What really happen on that RoofTop?
Jacket photographs copyright Sami Sarkis/Getty Images and Mark Cooper, 2006
Jacket design by Nancy Brennan

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fantasy: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Lowry, L. (1993). The Giver. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston.
Awards:  The 1994 Newbery Medal
              The 1996 William Allen White Award
American Library Association listing for "Best Book for Young Adults,” and  “ALA   
    Notable Children’s Book,” and “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–
A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book
Winner of the Regina Medal
Booklist Editors' Choice
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Annotation:  This science fiction coming of age novel depicts a 12 year old boy named Jonas who struggles with the discovery of the truth behind his futuristic society.
Review: “Snap and Read”
Jonas is a 12 year old boy who lives is a futuristic society where families are assigned to each other. Husbands and wives are matched together based upon personality and are assigned only two children, one male and one female, to raise in a stable environment after which the family unit is disbanded and sent to live separately. He lives in a society where pills are given to suppress emotions, sexuality and they feel no pain. Jonas is anxiously waiting for the Ceremony of Twelve where he will be assigned his career by the Elders.
The Assignments continued, and Jonas watched and listened, relieved now by the wonderful Assignment his best friend had been given. But he was more and more apprehensive as his own approached. Now the new Twelves in the row ahead had all received their badges. They were fingering them as they sat, and Jonas knew that each one was thinking about the training that lay ahead. For some—one studious male had been selected as Doctor, a female as Engineer, and another for Law and Justice—it would be years of hard work and study. Other, like Laborer and Birthmothers, would have a much shorter training period.
       Eighteen, Fiona, on his left, was called. Jonas knew she must be nervous, but Fiona was a calm female. She had been sitting quietly, serenely, throughout the Ceremony.
       Even the applause, though enthusiastic, seemed serene when Fiona was given the important Assignment of Caretaker of the Old. It was perfect for such a sensitive, gentle girl, and her smile was satisfied and pleased when she took her seat beside him again.
       Jonas prepared himself to walk to the stage when the applause ended and the Chief Elder picked up the next folder and looked down to the group to call forward the next new Twelve. He was calm now that his turn had come. He took a deep breath and smoothed his hair with his hand.
      “Twenty,” he heard her voice say clearly. “Pierre.”
      She skipped me, Jonas thought, stunned. He had heard wrong? No. There was a sudden hush in the crowd, and he knew that the entire community realized that the Chief Elder had moved from Eighteen to Twenty, leaving a gap. On his right, Pierre, with a startled look, rose from his seat and moved to the stage.
      A mistake. She made a mistake. But Jonas knew, even as he had the thought, that she hadn’t. The Chief Elder made no mistakes. Not at the Ceremony of Twelve.

Jonas finds out that he has been given a very special job called The Giver. The Giver is a Receiver of Memories and he learns the true secrets of his society. Jonas struggles with the society rules and what he has learned from the previous Giver. During his struggles, Jonas connects with a baby named Gabriel which he tries to save from being Released for failing to be able to sleep soundly through the night.
Jacket photographs copyright 1993 by Lois Lowry

Westly age 15: I like Fantasy books becasue they allow me to escape from the real world. 

Horror/Mystery: R.L. Stine's Rotten School: Party Poopers

Stine, R.L. (2006). Rotten School: Party Poopers. Harper Collins Publisher: New York.
Awards: 2002 Champion of Reading Award from the Free Public Library of Philadelphia
                Disney Adventure Kids’ Choice Award for Best-Mystery/Horror (Three-time
                Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards (Three-time recipient)
                Thriller Writers of America Silver Bullet Award in 2007
Annotation:  Party Poopers is part of the Rotten School series of horror fiction novels. 
Review: “Graphic Form”
Bernie Bridges wants to have the hottest girl in fourth grade, April-May June , ask him to the annual girl-invite-boy school dance.  When Bernie confronts her about the dance April-May tells Bernie, “You look like the breakfast I just threw up,” “I’d rather have big red pimples up and down my tongue,” and “I’d rather stick my head in Pooper’s Pond” than go to the dance with him.
The girl that asks Bernie is Jennifer Ecch who Bernie nicknames Nightmare Girl.
Jennifer Ecch is a big girl who likes to “lift a hundred-pound person who is pumping fifty-pound weights.”
Bernie comes up with a brilliant plan to make Jennifer Ecch hate him. “To convince Jennifer to drop me, I could be toe fungus. I could be the biggest creep and loser at Rotten School. Just watch me!”
Bernie’s plan is to throw water balloons at the first grades and have them pretend to wail and cry in front of Jennifer to convince her that he is a looser and a creep the school has ever had.
Does Bernie achieve his goal in dumping Jennifer and getting April-May to ask him to the dance? Read this very funny and classic R.L. Stine novel to find out.
Jacket copyright 2006 by Parachute Publishing, L.L.C.
Cover and Interior Design by mjcdsign

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Realistic Fiction: The First Part Last by A. Johnson

Johnson, A. (2003). The First Part Last. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: New York.
Awards: Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature American Library 
   Two-Time Corretta Scott King Award Winner

Annotation:  Johnson tells her story in mini flashbacks of now and then; now for life with the baby and then life before the baby.  She portrays this from the male’s point of view into teenage pregnancy.
Review:  “Open End”
How can you live the The First Part Last of your life? Bobby is a young teenage boy who is told on his sixteenth birthday that his girl friend is pregnant. This coming of age novel explores the insight to teen pregnancy and the taking responsibility for ones actions. Bobby reflects on life and how his life has changed, “I’ve been thinking about it. Everything. And when Feather opens her eyes and looks up at me, I already know there’s change. But I figure if the world were really right, humans would live life backward and do the first part last. They’d be all knowing in the beginning and innocent in the end.” Does Bobby wish to live his life over or change his choices he has made by knowing the now before the then and living The First Part Last?
Jacket photographs copyright 2003 by JOHN HEALY
Jacket design by RUSSEL GORDON

GLBTQ: Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez

Sanchez, A. (2001). Rainbow Boys. Simon Pulse: New York.
Awards: American Library Association 2001 “Best Book for Young Adults” in 2001
            International Reading Association 2003 “Young Adults’ Choice”
            New York Public Library 2002 “Book for the Teen Age”
            Lambda Literary Award 2001 Finalist
            Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books “Blue Ribbon Winner”
            Book-of-the-Month Club selection

Annotation: Sanchez is known for writing about coming of age, love, friendships, and gay, bisexual, and questioning youth. His books have under protest by students, parents, and community leaders to be challenged and banned from schools and reading lists because of their gay, lesbian, and bisexual content.
Review: “Wrap Back to the Title”
Jason is a basketball player, has a girlfriend, and is confused about his sexual orientation. Kyle is on the swim team a friendly easy going guy who knows he is gay but afraid to tell his parents. Nelson is confident about being gay, and lets the world know it. Jason tries to understand his sexual and finds an ad in the newspaper to “Rainbow Youth Hot Line.” He gets up his courage to attend a Rainbow Youth meeting:
    “Jason froze. How could he have been so stupid? That little faggot would spread this all over Whitman.
    Nelson fingered a wave, like they were best buds, then leaned toward a boy in a baseball cap and whispered something.
    Jason blinked. Kyle Meeks? What was he doing here?” (p, 4)
All three boys struggle with their sexual orientation in this coming of age novel and how their decisions to keep being gay a secret or letting the world know. How will letting the world know affects their lives? Read to find out if Jason realizes and admits he is gay and becomes one of the Rainbow Boys.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Design by Paula Winicur