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text 2017-09-12 17:10
If you want to know all about ISIS and how to stop them read this book
ISIS: The State of Terror - Jessica Stern,J. M. Berger

This is probably the 3rd, 4th, or maybe even 5th book I have read about ISIS.  It is by far the most comprehensive and details how they arose along with their competition with al Qaeda.

 

This book details how and why they became successful at recruiting and using social media to do so and how some of these successes have also backfired on them.

 

This is the first book that has detailed ISIS from what they believe, to their leadership, to how they operate and fund themselves, and the propaganda techniques they use to subject the people in their reign of terror.

 

This is also the first book that has detailed ways to stop them and stopping them is not just by military means, e.g. air strikes or boots on the ground and it is not going to happen in a few months, a few years, or even a decade and will likely take a generation or two to root out their evil ideology.  

 

This is a great book that I highly recommend to fully understand the thread ISIS poses and how to stop them and it's a lot more than what you get from watching a 30-120 second spot on any American Main Stream Media channel. 

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review 2017-09-04 04:05
Castle Hangnail
Castle Hangnail - Ursula Vernon

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a marvelously dark and dour twilight at the castle.

-opening sentence

 

This book is so cute.

 

All the minions are waiting for their new owner to arrive. They are expecting an Evil Wizard, a Dark Sorceress, or maybe a Wicked Witch. But what they aren't expecting is a twelve-year-old girl. Molly is a Wicked Witch; after all, she is a twin and definitely the bad one. (Her sister loves pink and glitter.) But she is only twelve and the castle guardian has his doubts about her. And what if the Board doesn't accept her as the new master of the castle? 

 

Molly is a great character. She is a wicked witch in the nicest possible way. She is a strong, brave girl who doesn't fully believe in herself but doesn't give up either. The minions are delightful. Pins is a fabric stuffed doll who loves to sew and Fish (a neurotic goldfish) is his best friend. Cook is a minotaur who hates any words that begin with the letter "Q", and Edward is a magical suit of armor. And that's just a few of them.

 

The story is cute, even though parts of it are a bit predictable. Molly is a great role model for standing up for the little guy. And she can talk to animals and turn some of them into dragon hybrids (at least for a minute or so). What's not to like??

 

This will be a favorite among readers in grades 3-5, and maybe older.

 

I'm using this book for the Free Space on my Bingo card. :)

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review 2017-08-12 19:39
It Ain't So Awful Falafel
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel - Firoozeh Dumas

 

To all the kids who don't belong, for whatever reason.

This one's for you.

- Dedication

 

My dad says that the dogs and cats in America are luckier than most people in the world.

- page 34

 

My dad always says that kindness is our religion and if we treat everybody the way we would like to be treated, the world would be a better place.

- page 40

 

... only bookworms get excited over other bookworms

- page 69

 

"Who would ever have thought that a person could be so powerful, then so completely powerless, all in the same lifetime?"

- page 219 (referring to the downfall of the shah)

 

... even though we belong to three different religions. We are alike in so many more ways than we are different.

- page 299

 

It was only when I stopped pretending to be someone else that I found my real friends.

- page 360

 

 

This was a good read. Zomorod (who changes her name to Cindy) is from Iran. Her father is an engineer who works with American companies building oil refineries in Iran, so they moved back and forth a couple of times.  Now she is starting junior high (which nowadays is called middle school) and doesn't know anyone. She wants to fit in, but she focuses on how different she is from all the other kids. The first friend she makes (in the summer before school) decides she doesn't want to be friends when school starts. Poor "Cindy" is lost and worried and tired of having to explain to everyone where Iran is and how to pronounce her last name.

 

Cindy finds friends and seems to be settling in and basically happy. Then Iran has a revolution, the shah is kicked out of the country, and Ayatollah Khomeini takes over. On November 4, 1979, Iranian students, angry that President Carter allowed the shah to come to the United States, take a group of Americans hostage. This changes Cindy's family's life and her father loses his job.

 

I was in junior high during the Iran Hostage Crisis. I remember feeling vaguely angry at the hostage takers and worried about the hostages. My mom wasn't huge on watching the news with us or anything, but I knew what was happening (at least generally).  

 

It was interesting reading this story told from the point of view of an Iranian girl in America at the time. It was so hard for Cindy's family, and many Americans were so hostile towards Iranians, even though those living in America weren't responsible for the situation and didn't necessarily approve of it. Cindy and her parents were so appalled that a religious leader could be responsible for such behavior. But that didn't save them from hate and discrimination.

 

This is a nominee for the Florida Sunshine State award grades 3-5. I really liked the book and will highly recommend it to our students when school starts. 

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review 2017-08-07 05:00
A Whole New Ballgame
A Whole New Ballgame - Phil Bildner

 

 

I bolted toward the chain-link fence.

- first sentence

 

 

This is a story about best friends Rip and Red, and their experience in 5th grade. They expect things to go a certain way but are greeted with unexpected change everywhere they look. The school district budget has been cut and with these cuts come staff changes and changes to the sports program. Rip and Red have been looking forward to playing basketball together and having a certain 5th-grade teacher. Red has some issues, but Rip has always been there to guide him through. But the changes this year challenge both of them.

 

This is a fun realistic fiction story that kids who love basketball (and others) will enjoy. The friendship between Red and Rip is special and meaningful. The new teacher, Mr. Acevedo embodies the naivete and hope of teachers fresh out of college. He really wants to make a difference in the lives of his students. The book is well written and fun to read.

 

This is another book nominated for the 2017-18 Sunshine State Young Readers Award, grades 3-5. I'm sure there will be more than a few fans of this book in our school. 

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review 2017-08-07 04:42
Dragon's Guide...
A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans - Joanne Ryder,Laurence Yep

 

 

It was a lovely funeral for Fluffy, the best pet I ever had.

- Opening sentence

 

Avoid spoiling your pet with too many treats; however, spoiling yourself is all well and good.

- Chapter 4

 

Be firm with your pet and make it clear what is acceptable behavior. Both you and your pet will be happier for it.

- Chapter 6

 

This is a cute book told from the point of view of the dragon (Miss Drake). Amelia was Miss Drake's pet (although she called Amelia Fluffy). Amelia left the dragon to her great neice, Winnie. But Miss Drake doesn't want a new pet and Winnie seems untrainable. The book tells how Winnie and Miss Drake get to know each other and become friends. Dragons and other magical creatures hide themselves from humans (unless they are trustworthy). Miss Drakes can transform into a female human when she needs to. There are plenty of other magical creatures who also hide themselves from humans in this story.  

 

I really enjoyed this book. Miss Drake is sarcastic and controlling and Winnie holds her own in the friendship. Winnie finds a journal that ends up wreaking havoc, but together, Miss Drake and Winnie find a way to fix things.

 

This book is nominated for a 2017-18 Sunshine State Young Readers Award, grades 3-5. I think it will be a popular one this year. I am a bit interested in the sequels, but my classes start again soon, and I don't think I'll have time to read them.

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