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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 2017-08-12 05:52
Who are your real friends?
Real Friends - LeUyen Pham,Shannon Hale

 

For you when you're feeling lonely and worried so you'll remember that you're not alone.

- Dedication from Shannon Hale

 

When I was little, I didn't worry about friends.

- First sentence

 

Wow. This book.

 

Shannon Hale did a great job of capturing the way it feels to be a kid and dealing with friendships and bullying. When I was reading this book, I was reminded of the feelings kids go through as friendships change and kids grow apart. Also how it feels to worry about "fitting in."

 

This book is the story of Shannon's childhood, sort of. She says she blended friends and events together and told the story basically as she remembers it. She also acknowledged that memory is faulty and things didn't happen exactly as they occur in the book.

 

The graphic novel format is perfect for this story. I loved being able to see the characters faces and understand exactly what they were feeling.

 

This is a great graphic novel for grades 3 and up. This is definitely one I will strongly recommend to the librarian I volunteer with. If you like graphic biographies or realistic fiction stories about growing up, you should definitely give this one a try.

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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 2017-08-05 15:06
This book is both infuriating and uplifting...
The First Time She Drowned - Kerry Kletter

 

 

Book Title:  The First Time She Drowned

Author:  Kerry Kletter

Narration:  Jorjeanna Marie

Genre:  YA, Realistic Fiction 

Source:  Audiobook (Library)

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratings Breakdown

 

Plot:  4.5/5

Main Characters:  4/5

Secondary Characters:  4/5

The Feels:  5/5

Addictiveness:  4/5

Theme or Tone:  4.2/5

Flow (Writing Style):  4.2/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4/5

Book Cover:  5/5

Narration:  4.5/5

Ending:  5/5  Cliffhanger:  Nope

Total:  4.3/5 STARS

 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts

 

I've been reading this type of book a lot lately and I have say that this one has a completely different feel to it, not bad, just different.  The narrator, Cassie, is very subdued, like she doesn't allow herself to truly feel, and ultimately the story feels both authentic and implausible at the same time.  My feelings though, were all over the place, I was kind of spastic, even.  I wanted to yell at this girl so many times, and especially her mother.  Her Dad is no winner either, because he basically enables the mother.  This is one kid badly in need of someone to actually listen to her.  This book really made me appreciate having a loving, normal mother, even if she was taken from me too soon.  How anyone can be so fucked in head and still be allowed to breed, is just unfathomable, because loving your kid is suppose to be the easy part.

  

Will I read more from this Author⇜ I would.

 

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review 2017-08-04 18:18
The devil is in the details
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep - Joanna Cannon

It's ironic that after I made the post about not finding enough time to post twice a week I exponentially increased how many books I was reading. This has resulted in a backlog of books which show as 'currently reading' on all of my literary social media sites. This has generally meant that the reviews which have been going up on Fridays are following in the order that I read them but I may have read them as much as two months ago. I'm going to change that up with this post because I'm just so excited to talk about this book that it's jumping the queue. Strap in, guys.

 

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon was brought to my attention by watching this video by one of my favorite BookTubers, Mercedes. It was the cover that initially grabbed my attention (Honestly, are you even surprised anymore?) but it was the quick blurb which she read that truly won me over. (PS The UK and US covers are vastly different and honestly I prefer the cover from the UK.) Cannon's debut novel is set on a small road in England during the summer of 1976 and the winter of 1967. Two seemingly disparate events from these two time periods seem to be converging during what turns out to be one of the hottest summers on record. The reader follows several narrative threads from the inhabitants of this road but the central character is 10-year old Grace. We see her neighbors, family, and friend (Tilly is a delight) through her eyes while also getting to peek behind the shuttered windows and closed doors of their homes where secrets lurk in every corner. It started with a disappearance of a woman...or was it a baby? Maybe it was a fire that started things. It's sometimes difficult to determine just what started a chain of events, isn't it? The Trouble with Goats and Sheep explores that and much more. I don't want this novel to sound distressingly gloomy or dark because that's not accurate. It's difficult for me to convey just what it was that instantly drew me in and had me savoring it like a delicious treat. I think it's that Cannon was able to move seamlessly between the different characters and two time periods and create a story that was both believable and poignant. The people on the avenue felt real and tangible. Their foibles and fears weren't inconceivable or written with a melodramatic air. These were real people who had made mistakes but were too stubborn to admit them. It's a study of humanity and how two little girls tried to reconcile what they were seeing with what they desperately wanted to believe.  I knew within 30 pages that this was a book that this was going to have high re-readability for me and I daresay for many others as well. 10/10 highly recommend.

 

The UK cover:

Source: Waterstones

 

The US cover:

Source: Amazon

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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