Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: kids-fiction
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-04-14 14:41
Robot Revolution Review
Robot Revolution! - James Patterson,Juliana Neufeld,Chris Grabenstein

Source: Library


Robot Revolution is another great entry into one of my favorite fiction series for kids. I love House of Robots series for so many reasons. First off, it’s an accessible science fiction series for middle graders. Then there’s the fact that it features a family that is diverse both in race and disability. And then, of course, one can’t forget the house full of robots. I can’t forget the fact that the mom is the brilliant scientist and the dad is the artist in the family.  But House of Robots has something going for it that I just don’t see in other middle-grade books. That is: The Hayes-Rodriguez family is tight. They love and support each other, and you know that no matter what goes wrong, they’re going to be together.


This book is where we see Sammy really show some frustration with his situation. He’s expressed it before in previous books, but this one feels like where he’s pushed to his limits.  Sammy has it easy in a lot of ways, but he’s still just a kid in a family where he is not the priority. Maddie is. It’s perfectly understandable that she tends to take precedence at times, but no one can blame Sammy for the frustration that arises in Robot Revolution. Everyone needs time and attention, whether you be a young boy or a neglected robot. And the robots are definitely feeling neglected too.


Chris Grabenstein and James Patterson do a great job of relaying the frantic chaos of the Hayes-Rodriguez house. All the characters (including the robots) in Robot Revolution are unique and memorable. The new ‘villain’ (well, school bully) is one that it’s quite easy to loathe. It’s nice to see him get his comeuppance at the end.  But the best thing that happens in Robot Revolution is one you’ll have to read to find out. I totally wasn’t expecting it, and it definitely made me happy to read. (I can only imagine the expression on my kiddo’s face when she finishes the last few chapters at bedtime tomorrow.)


House of Robots is a series you need to get for your kids. It deals with various issues that lots of kids can relate to. The illustrations are perfect. The dialogue, pacing, and action can’t be beat. It really is one of the best sci-fi novel series for kids on the market today.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-10-28 16:19
Only the Names Remain: The Cherokees and the Trail of Tears
Only the Names Remain: The Cherokees and The Trail of Tears - Alex W. Bealer

A solid and informative piece of children's non-fiction based on the Trail of Tears.  I can't say it makes for the most thrilling reading, however, and I feel that a more engaging format could have been utilized. 


It's also worth noting that Native American children's literature expert, Debbie Reese, has some pretty strong objections to this book.  Mainly she dislikes how the book implies that there are no more Native Americans in Georgia (hence the title....only the names remain).  She points out that while there are no federally recognized nations in Georgia today, there are plenty of Cherokee people currently living in the state. 


I don't necessarily agree with Reese that this is grounds for removing the book from circulation entirely.  I think it still has some value. However, she does raise a salient point about how Native Americans are generally portrayed in literature and media.  Their stories are almost always rooted in the distant past and are of the 'tragic victim' variety.  Children (and the rest of us really) need and deserve a more nuanced picture. A good start would be acknowledging the vibrant, diverse, and complicated Native American populations living today. (This is why I think Sherman Alexie is one of the most important living authors!) I think this particular book could have been much stronger if it had included at least an epilogue about the Cherokee nation today.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-10-09 21:24
The Bobbin Girl
The Bobbin Girl - Emily Arnold McCully

A very nice primer on early American factory life. 


Rebecca is ten years old and works a thirteen hour day at Lowell factory as a bobbin girl. Her mother runs a company boarding house for female employees. Rebecca may be young, but she is aware.  She sees that, on one hand, the factory provides a truly rare opportunity for young women - a chance to earn money and gain a little independence and maybe even an education.  On the other hand, work in the factory is physically demanding and potentially dangerous.  Furthermore, the workers come from already marginalized groups (women, children, immigrants), have very little power, and are easily taken advantage of.


One worker in particular, Judith, stands out to Rebecca.  Judith is a clever, principled and strong-minded young lady who actually incites the factory's first "turn out" (strike).  I hope it's not too much of a spoiler, but anyone who knows even a little American history knows that it would take more than just one strike to effect great change for workers.  However, these early rebellions did remain in the worker's consciousness and sowed the seeds for future and more effective worker's rights movements.


The author's note provides a good amount of context and background information.  For example, Rebecca is a fictional character, but is loosely based on a real-life 'bobbin doffer' Harriet Hanson Robinson.  Like Rebecca, Robinson started as a bobbin girl and took part in a strike.  And like Judith, she took advantage of the educational opportunities that Lowell provided and grew up to be an author and activist. 



*I'd recommend this for ages 8 to 12. It works as a fantastic read aloud as there is much to ponder and discuss.

*Next, we're reading Lyddie by Katherine Patterson (a chapter book about Lowell factory life) so it will be interesting to compare the two.


Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2014-05-15 00:38
Louisa - The Life of Louisa May Alcott
Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott - Yona Zeldis McDonough

A worthy picture book biography! The information is interesting and age appropriate for the intended audience (upper elementary to middle school).  The illustrations are really gorgeous and well suited to the topic.  This book will be of particular relevance after one has read Little Women as so much of that book was drawn from her real life experiences. 


I love that the author chose to include two poems authored by Louisa when she was eight and eleven.  That was a really special treat and also of great interest to a young reader.  There are also quotes, a timeline and a recipe for New England Apple Slump.



More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?