Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cool library website

I am always on the look out for great library websites to inspire me. Here is one I stumbled upon while looking for book coverart. ACPL Teens. I will definitely be going back to this website as I start updating my own library page for the coming school year.

Stakle anyone?

Stackle is a Jenga-style physics game where you have to remove blocks from the structure and place them on top without causing it to collapse

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

This is another audio book I listed to with my daughter. She saw the movie first and just had to read the book. Since it was not available at out local libraries I ended up purchasing it at as an instant download. It was a great investment because my daughter was so excited about starting right away on it.

Although some might find the storyline dark, my daughter and I really enjoyed getting lost in the fantasy of it. In this story, Coraline is living a humdrum life. She has just moved into a new house, her parents are constantly too busy for her, and she loves to explore. When she finds a secret door, she follows a path that takes her to another reality. In this world, her other mother and father are perfect. They cook yummy food, play games with her, and give her lots of attention. But, everything is not as it appears to be. Before long, Coraline wants to go home but she is trapped in this alternate reality. How will she escape?

This book reminded me of another book by Neil Gaiman that I read recently called the Graveyard Book. If you liked Coraline you might like this one as well.

Ivy + Bean and the Ghost that had to go

I enjoyed listening to this audio book with my daughter Haille. After reading Ivy + Bean on her own, we decided to listen to book two in the car together. You can check it out on audio at the Pharr Library.

Ivy is an imaginative student who is always getting in trouble in class for talking too much or being off task. But she doesn't mean to cause trouble...HONEST. Bean is her bestfriend...who usually just goes along with what Ivy suggests. When Ivy decides that a Ghost has started to haunt the girls bathroom, pretty soon the whole school knows about it. No one want to go to the bathroom anymore, even the teachers start to suspect something. Ivy + Bean decide to create a potion to banish the ghost forever... the problem is that the bathroom is being watched by the teachers...not to mention the fact that the ghost might get them first. Will they survive?

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

After reading Ender's Game I really got hooked on the Enders series of books. However, although I highly enjoyed this book, I don't think it is appropriate for elementary students.

This book takes place 3,000 years after Ender and his sister leave Earth and travel around the universe. Because of their time in space they age much slower than normal and the story begins when Ender is about in his 30s. He goes by Andrew (his birth name) and he is an official Speaker for the Dead. His job in society is to travel around to different planets and speak for the dead after they have passed. The goal is to clear up any confusion about the departed person and set things right. When he gets an urgent message to preform this ritual for a planet that has the only known alien race coexisting on it...Ender sets out right away. His hope is to get to know this new race nicknamed the Piggies.

This race turns out to be very intelligent and interesting. I found myself immersed in the storyline long after it ended. Ender and his sister became tangible to me...and the Piggies...I found myself also wanting to know them better.

Highly recommend for 8th grade and up!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Well...I have been meaning to write this up for a while now. I finished book 2 in the Harry Potter series about a month ago! But during the summer it is easy to allow time to get away from you.

First of all I must note that I did listen to this as an audio book. I have found this is extremely convenient for me...since I am a busy body. I can multitask and listen while I wash clothes or cook.
In book two, Harry is back at Hogwarts although the year starts out rather bumpy when he misses the Hogwarts Express and he and Ron must borrow Mr. Weasley's enchanted muggle car and fly there! Also something is not right in the halls of the school. Messages start appearing about the Chamber of Secrets and people are being attacked! Will Hermonie, Ron and Harry figure out the clues fast enough?
Be sure to check out Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to find out...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Based on the recommendation of my wonderful principal, I borrowed Ender's Game in audio to read this summer. I have found that I really like to listed to audio books. When I first took young adult literature at Sam Houston State University and Dr. Lesesne recommended that we ourselves should use audio books and promote them with our students, I thought why...reading it yourself is always superior! I have to say it is a whole new experience listening to it.
Ender's Game was based on a novella the author wrote in 1977! It is a fast paced sci-fi book. Set in the future, where families are only allotted two children, Ender is a 3rd. He was commissioned by the government to work as a space invader. Since an early age he wore a devise that monitored his every movement. The government watched all the time in hopes that he might really be the ONE who would save the world. Aliens had invaded many years before Ender's birth and he was specifically born to fight this species of aliens when they return. The only problem one asked Ender what he'd like to do. He is isolated since no one at school wants to associate with a 3rd. His brother hates him because he is so special and when no one is looking he tortures Ender with mind games and abuse. I really enjoyed this book, although I don't know that I would recommend it for an elementary school. There are some bad words used and some inappropriate scenes. If you are in middle school/ high school this book would be better suited for you.