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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Darkstalker: Wings of Fire: Legends #1 by Tui T. Sutherland

Interest Level: 3-6
Reading Level: 5.6
Lexile: 750L
Genre: Fantasy

Alright, let me start by saying, 'I love dragons.' That being said, I was less than thrilled to read this book. First off it has 366 pages and I read very slowly. In the 9 days before starting this book, I had read 2 books. That has got to be a record for me. So, I was afraid of how long this book would take me to read. Then after the first 20 pages, I was already lost. Struggling to keep the characters and their tribes straight. Frustrated, I put it aside, started another book, and put the audio version of "Darkstalker" on hold. With a long vacation drive, I started to listen to the book and follow along with the paperback.

The dragons of Pyrrhia fight to be the ruler of all of Pyrrhia. Some dragons are magical. Darkstalker is a magical hybrid of the nightwings and the icewings. Some dragons believe that every time a dragon uses their magical it kills a bit of their soul. Darkstalker will change the kingdom forever. This book is a prequel to the "Wings of Fire" series.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Interest Level: YA
Reading Level: 7.2
Lexile: 940L
Genre: Historical Fiction

Based on real person, Dita Kraus, this tale is powerful and realistic. This 14 year old girl is one of the many prisoners of the concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland during Word War II. She us asked to be the librarian of the 8 precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak into the camp. Iturbe does not sugarcoat the horrors of the holocaust. This book is a must read. I highly recommend that you read the postscripts as well. A compelling novel about a time that the human race should never forget.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Interest Level: 3-8
Reading Level: 4.8
Lexile: 720L
Genre: Fantasy

Charlie (Charlotte) feels ignores by her family. Her sister is struggling in her first year away at college. Thanks to a magical fish and a wish Charlie makes her mom gets a new job that takes up more of her time. Charlie can't seem to catch a break. As she continues to wish, things get worse. This middle school student faces some grown up problems.

Slow to start, this book appears to be aimed at 3rd to 6th grade. But as Charlie continues to wish and her problems continue to escalate, the story becomes more interesting. Because of this, I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I do recommend it.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Interest Level: 5-8
Reading Level: 4.6
Lexile: 730L
Genre: Realistic Fiction

This was the fifth of eight ORCA nominees that I have read. Castle Cranshaw is a middle school student. He struggles with his temper and his situation. He finds himself when he joins a community track team. I recommend this coming of age story for anyone who is a fan of track and field. Although I do recommend this book, I give it only 4 1/2 stars. "Ghost" does not beat out "Wolf Hollow" for my choice for the 2019 ORCA.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My Seventh Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin

Interest Level: 3-6
Reading Level: 4.1
Lexile: 560L
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Dillon wants to be a dancer. His did wants him to play football. Dillon and his friends have a YouTube channel on which they post videos of them dancing. Dillon has never had a formal dance lesson but the girl in his crew that he has a crush on hates dance studios. When Dillon finds out about a dance competition for free dance lessons at a locate studio, he must decide between the girl and his dream to dance.

Another ORCA nominee (& OBOB book), I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I liked it but not as much as "Wolf Hollow".

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Interest Level: 3-6Reading Level (Reading Counts Level): 4.6
Genre: Historical Fiction 

Lexile: 800L

I choose to read this book because it is a nominee for the 2019 Oregon Readers Choice Award. I simply loved it. I carried this book everywhere. I did not play games on my phone when I went to bed. I read instead. I highly recommend this book.

Set in 1943 in rural Pennsylvania, 11 year old Annabelle has a kind heart. Although World War II has everyone on the edge. Annabelle befriends Toby, a World War I vet, who others in her community think is dangerous. But Toby help Annabelle with the bully whose malice grows each day. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Interest Level: Young Adult
Reading Level (Reading Counts Level): NR
Lexile: NR
Genre: Science Fiction Novella

Binti, a teenage girl, is the first of the Himba people to attend the most prestigious university in the galaxy. While on her journey to the university, her ship encounters the Meduse, a warring alien race. She must use the gifts of her people to make sure she survives. 

I heard about this book from the podcast "Levar Burton Reads". It appealed to me because the Himba people find numbers and mathematics to be a harmonizing, mediating thing. Math and numbers are a religion to them. I very much enjoyed this book and plan on reading the other two novellas in the trilogy. I will share this book with my youngest daughter who is a gifted mathematician.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Interest Level: 5-8
Reading Level (Reading Counts Level): 3.9
Lexile: 660L
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Novel in Verse

Another ORCA 2019 nominee, this novel in verse is a captivating read. Nick is twelve years old who loves soccer but hates books. His father is a college professor and an author of a dictionary. Through some trials, which include a bully, Nick discovers the power of words. He uses a book recommended by his school librarian to try to impress a girl and a new knowledge of words to communicate with his parents. Booked is a story that grabs you right away. A quick read, it has taken the #1 spot for my choice for the 2019 ORCA.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

Interest Level: 3-6
Reading Level (Reading Counts Level): 4.0
Lexile: 680L
Genre: Historical Fiction/Novel in Verse

This book was given to me by a friend and colleague. This book was a quick read. I read it in 3 days. The story is set in the late 1870's. Twelve year old May is sent to work for a couple who lives 15 miles west of her family's farm in the Kansas prairie. When the young bride takes off and her husband follows, May is left alone. The book chronicles her attempt to survive the winter. Written in verse, this book is a page turner. You want to find out if May survives and is reunited with her family.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Nameless City 1 by Faith Erin Hiccks

Interest Level: 5-8
Reading Level (Reading Counts Level): 3.0
Lexile: GN390L
Genre: Fantasy Graphic Novel

The city is called The Nameless City because everyone that conquers it changes it name. Kaidu is a member of the current nation to occupy the city. He meet Rat who is a native of the city. Their friendship brings them to where the future of their city lies in their hands.

I am not a big graphic novel reader but chose to read this because it is a 2019 Oregon Readers Choice Award nominee. It is the first of the eight nominees that I have read. I read it in one sitting and very much enjoyed it.