Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Giver By: Lois Lowry


Eleven year old Jonas lives in a world where there is no pain, no prejudice, no fear and no choices. At twelve each person is assigned a job, and Jonas is given the extremely honorable, and extremely rare, job of Receiver of Memory. Jonas begins receiving memories of pain, pleasure, fear, and all the emotions no one else in his community feels. Being the only bearer of these long forgotten memories Jonas has an important decision to make which may change his world forever.

Book Talk:

How many times have you wished you couldn’t feel fear, couldn’t feel hunger, couldn’t feel pain? This is a world Jonas lives in, a utopian society which appears perfect on the surface. But, what do you lose in a world without fear, without sadness, and without pain?
Jonas, once he begins receiving memories from the Giver (the former receiver), experiences for the first time the joys of color, the feelings of pleasure, and what it is like to love. Jonas holds these memories so that the community may go on in peace and predictable sameness. Receiving these memories, however, shows Jonas how different his world could be. He begins to question the life he has been raised in. Is it worth pain in order to feel pleasure? Is it worth having some hate in order to have love? These are the questions Jonas must face as the bearer of the memories, and it is his decision to make.


John Newbery Medal-1994,
William Allen White Award-1996,
ALA Best Books for Young Adults,
ALA Notable Children’s Books,
Regina Medal,
Booklist Editor’s Choice,
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.
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Twilight By: Stephenie Meyers


Isabella Swan, newcomer to Forks, Oregon, is instantly drawn to the handsome, quiet, and mysterious Edward Cullen. The Cullen’s live apart from the rest of Forks, never interacting with anyone outside their family, until Bella learns Edward’s dark secret. Learning their secret opens Bella to the greatest risk, and the greatest love, she has ever known.

Book Talk:

Have you ever had a crush on someone so captivating, so much more interesting than everyone else around you? What if you found out that person liked you back, but they had a dark secret, and loving them would put you in constant danger? Would you choose to be with them? What if they were a vampire? These are the questions Bella must answer.
In a new town, with new friends, and a new boy in the picture Bella learns the unbelievable truth, that Edward Cullen and his family are vampires. The love she has for Edward and the love he has for her is stronger than anything she has ever known, but is it enough in the face of the dangers that come with having a boyfriend who’s a vampire? Now Bella must decide, is her love for Edward Cullen worth the danger, is it worth the risk, and ultimately, is it worth her life?


New York Times Editor's Choice
One of Publishers Weekly's "Best Children's Books of 2005"
Publishers Weekly "Best Book of the Year"
One of the American Library Association's "Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults" and "Top Ten Books for Reluctant Readers"
One of School Library Journal's "Best Books of 2005's "Best Book of the Decade...So Far"

Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2005.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Rainbow Boys By: Alex Sanchez

The Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez follows three senior boys coming to grips with their sexual identity. Each comes from a different background, and has different fears about their sexuality. The fears they all share are those common to all teens: being loved by their family, respected by their friends, and finding someone to love.

Book Talk
High school is a hard time, dealing with school, friends, family, and the future. It’s even harder if you are Nelson, Kyle and Jason, and dealing with being homosexual. Being different can be really hard, and these three feel like they couldn’t be any more different because of who they like. Add to this confusion the daily struggles of grades, sports, family, deciding the future, and first love and you have a story which may hit surprisingly close to home no matter what your sexual orientation. If you’ve ever felt different, or worried about whether your friends would accept you for who you really are, Rainbow Boys is a book for you.

Young Adults Choice, International Reading Association (2003)
Best Book for Young Adults, ALA
Gay Youth Book of the Year

Sanchez, Alex. The Rainbow Boys. New York: Simon & Shuster, 2001.
Book Credit:

The Chocolate War By: Robert Cormier

Jerry is a freshman at an all-boys Catholic school where power is shared between the unpredictable Brother Leon and the secret student group, the Virgil’s. When Jerry refuses to participate in the school’s annual chocolate sale he sparks a war between himself, brother Leon, the Virgil’s and the student body.

Book Talk
Have you ever wanted to say “no” when everyone around you is saying “yes?” It can be a hard thing to do, as Jerry Renault discovers when he is the only one to refuse to participate in the schools voluntary chocolate sale. The Chocolate War tells the story of how Jerry went from an unknown freshman to a notorious character in his school, as he is caught in a power struggle between the schools temporary headmaster, Brother Leon, and the mastermind behind the Virgil’s, Archie. Caught in a struggle that has more to it than the sale of chocolates, Jerry must find the courage to stick to his decision and make it through the chocolate war.

School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (1974)
ALA Best Books for Young Adults (1974)
New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1974)
Lewis Carroll Shelf Award (1974)

Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate War. New York, NY: Random House, Inc., 1974.
Book Credit:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl By: Anne Frank

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is the real life account of a young Jewish girl living in the Netherlands in 1942. Anne Frank chronicles in her diary her families move in to hiding with another family, the Van Dann's, and the daily life they had together. The diary spans a time between June 12, 1942 and abruptly ends on August 4, 1944, when the family is betrayed and captured by the Nazi's. Anne Frank died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945.

Spanning just over two years of her life, from her thirteenth to just after her fifteenth birthday, Anne Frank's diary is a devastating story of a teenage girl trying to grow up, understand life, and cope with the atrocities occurring around her. Her diary is a mix of daily events, her feelings of loneliness, and reflections on humanity. It is the fact that it is a diary, never intended to be read, that makes this book so touching. It is in an insight into the tragic tale of just one girl, one girl out of millions who faced persecution during the Holocaust. It serves as a reminder that each death was a person with their own thoughts, feelings, and story to tell. Anne Frank died in the concentration camp, but her diary lives on, and tells her tale to generation after generation of reader, and I hope will continue to do so for many years to come.

YALSA Best Books Award

Frank, Anne. Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl. New York: Bantam, 1993. Print.
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