December 14, 2010
Grade Level: 5 – 7
Genre: futuristic fiction
Theme: Friendship, Morals, Adventure
Uglies was recommended by one of my students…a reader extraordinaire! After reading it, I could definitely see what appealed to her. In this futuristic North America, Tally turns 16 three months after her best friend Peris. This would normally be no big deal, however at the age of 16 every “Ugly” goes through a drastic surgery to become “Pretty”. These “Pretty”s do not interact or communicate with “Ugly”s.
This transformation opens up lots of doors as far as classroom discussion regarding society’s opinion of pretty, and media’s role (perhaps it’s power) in guiding people’s opinions. Another strong theme is what happens to those people who do not, or do not wish to fit into the world’s molds.
This is an easy read, and can be read with great interest without knowledge about the theme.
ISBN: 0-439-80611-9, 425 pp.
December 3, 2010
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Theme: Coming of Age
This book was recommended to me by a colleague who has suggested it to students who have been in foster homes, or have led transient lives. It is a story about a girl who has been in and out of foster homes herself, eventually running away from each of them. Every other chapter describes in great detail a picture which Hollis Woods has drawn that provides a window into her life.
I found this book a little hard to follow to begin with and didn’t really get into it until about three quarters the way through. It was a short enough book, with easy to follow language. The characters are colourful and interesting, however the plot didn’t come together quickly enough for my liking! I, also, might recommend it to students who would be able to connect with the main character.
Pub: Random House 2002
November 25, 2010
Mr. Peabody’s Apples is based on a 300 year old story and deals with the power words hold.
This book tells the story of a teacher in the town, Mr. Peabody, and the consequences that arise when a rumour is circulated about him. Tommy, the boy who began the rumour, goes to Mr. Peabody to make amends when he discovers what he saw and said as a result are wrong. Mr. Peabody demonstrates how the power of words becomes almost impossible to stop.
He has Tommy cut open a feather pillow on a windy day and tells him that each feather represents a person in the town. Tommy realizes what impact his words have had on his teacher and realizes the importance of words. I especially like how the vivid illustrations by Loren Long add to the story. This book allowed for excellent discussion in both my junior and intermediate classes. Students understand the hurt that rumours can cause but not always the difficulty required to try to right the wrong that has been done. This is an excellent book for character education, and a wonderful read aloud.
Reading ability: Level P and above – but I would suggest it as a junior or intermediate read aloud to have discussion and get the most out of this book
Theme: integrity, courage, growing up
Who would like this book: young adolescents, fans of Madonna