Lesser-known heroes

Invincible

In my literature classroom, students must always be reading a book outside of the novel we’re reading as a class. Every now and then, a student will pull V for Vendetta or Watchmen or Maus or some other graphic novel* off of my shelf and ask if he can use it as his independent reading […]

Review of Storm

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Storm by Donna Jo Napoli High School    Wiseman/Simon    357 pp. 2/14    978-1-4814-0302-3    $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-0304-7    $10.99 Sixteen-year-old Sebah, a Canaanite girl, survives a massive flood that kills her family. As the rains continue for weeks on end, she and another survivor, Aban, are forced to build a raft to escape the rising waters. Barely […]

Review of Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

lowery_turning 15 on the road to freedom

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley; illus. by PJ Loughran Middle School, High School   Dial   128 pp. 1/15   978-0-8037-4123-2   $19.99   g Lowery offers a revealing look at a childhood spent in the midst […]

We need diverse books because of Ferguson

source: http://news.stlpublicradio.org/

I have no idea what actually happened between Mike Brown and Darren Wilson in those unfortunate moments — and neither do you. Some people lie. Some cops lie. Evidence can be portrayed or interpreted in multiple ways. Let’s stop pretending that we (or our news sources) are the sole possessors of indisputable facts. But don’t let that cause you […]

Last adolescent lit class

The Fault in our Stars

For our last class, students are reading The Fault in Our Stars, which I offer as a “dessert book” after their hard work this term, and also as a comparison love story to Eleanor and Park from our second week. The class will also read Katrina and Rachel’s take on “What Makes a Good Love […]

Review of The Spiritglass Charade

gleason_spiritglass charade

The Spiritglass Charade [Stoker & Holmes] by Colleen Gleason Middle School, High School    Chronicle    356 pp. 10/14    978-1-4521-1071-4    $17.99    g In the second Stoker & Holmes mystery (The Clockwork Scarab, rev. 9/13), the royal family enlists the teenage protagonists to investigate whether a young lady, Willa Ashton — who believes she can communicate with her […]

Fantasy and science fiction

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This week’s topic is “Beyond the World We Know” — a category that encompasses an extensive range of books, from magical realism to science fiction to the far away places of imaginary worlds. Jane Langton’s classic piece on fantasy from the 1973 Horn Book, “The Weak Place in the Cloth” provides an apt and lovely […]

Far Far Away

far far away

Folk and fairy tales have long been fodder for writers, who re-tell, borrow, fracture, and invert the original stories in their own. I would suggest that Tom McNeal bends the relationship between fairy tale and novel in a new way in his suspenseful tale Far Far Away. What do others think about blending of new […]

Feed

feed

At first perusal, M.T. Anderson’s Feed is an entertaining tale of privileged futuristic teens who spend spring break on the moon. Their carelessness about the environment, their pitiful lack of knowledge, and technology-induced overstimulation seems so exaggerated as to invite easy laughter. Not far into the book, however, we start to recognize every aspect of […]

No Crystal Stair

No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie Documents, photos, fictionalized and true accounts of historical figures and events are woven together in this portrait of Nelson’s larger-than-life great uncle Lewis Michaux. What to you make of the […]