Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Love, Meg by C. Leigh Purtill

Someone gave me a pre-publication copy of this book, and while it wasn't an all time favorite, it was a decent read. It has a lot of twists and turns along the way, particularly regarding Meg's SISTER, Lucie. Meg has always wanted a true family, but she and Lucie have traveled around a lot and are pretty much on their own. Until a surprising stranger comes along and tells Meg that it's not true. She really DOES have family back on the East Coast. Meg ditches Lucie and heads back. But sometimes what you wish for really doesn't come true, as nice as it would be, and Meg has to face the music.

This story is really Meg's journey of self discovery, and for that reason I think it will appeal to adolescent girl readers.

Spain or Shine - Michelle Jellen

This is one of a series of books called S.A.S.S.: Students Across The Seven Seas. Teen girls going to study abroad and learn what they can about other cultures and countries. this book was a nice easy read that had some interesting cultural references, but I thought that could have been a little stronger. There is quite a lot of Spanish in this one - makes sense considering she went to SPAIN - but it's always clear form the context or through translation what is being said. I was disappointed that the author chose to put Elena with a family in Spain who all speaks English, and they nearly always speak English with Elena instead of making her practice her Spanish. No wonder she wasn't dreaming in Spanish sooner! One thing I really liked about this book was Elena's self discovery about her ability as a writer, and how she gained a lot of self confidence.

This is what I call a good "beach" book: lite chick-lit for fans of the genre.

Available at Multnomah County Libraries.they

Lionboy Trivia Question #8

Posting date:
Due Date:

Question: According to the Circe diagram, where is the lioncabin?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lionboy Trivia Question #7

Posting date: Wed., 3/19
Due Date: Friday, 3/21

Question: How did Charlie's genetic modification allowing him to speak cat happen?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lionboy Trivia Question #6

Posting date: March 17, 2008
Due Date: March 19th

Question: What’s the name of the circus ship and how is it pronounced?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This book won the National Book Award and the 2008 American Indian Youth Literature Award (This new literary award was created as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Books selected to receive the award present Native Americans in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts.), and it is really well done. It's funny and serious at the same time, somewhat depressing but also hopeful. The story is set on the Spokane Indian reservation, and the main character is goofy looking Arnold Spirit who really doesn't love life on the rez, but doesn't know of any other choices, either. And then someone tells him he really ought to try school at the nearby white kids' school in Rearden, and Arnold decides to give do it.

Arnold's choices provide him with some opportunities he would not otherwise have had, but the cost is high. Arnold is basically shunned by most people on the reservation because he's seen as a traitor, and he's shunned by most of the kids at school because he's an outsider. Eventually he finds his way in with a few kids, including a beautiful girl, a star athlete, and a super brainy student. These people, basketball, and his cartooning (which illustrates many of the stories and events of the novel) help him survive high school, the only chance he really has of a positive future.

This novel is a pretty in-your-face look at life on an Indian reservation and inside the head of a teenage boy, and I really liked how it doesn't gloss over some of the difficulties faced by Native Americans but addresses the issues forthrightly, helping to enlighten people outside that culture about the problems they face.

I recommend this book for 8th grade and up.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

This was an incredibly well written book, but oh, so hard to get through. The title should have been enough to let me know what I was in for, but the depth of this novel was incredible and SO intense. Horn Book, a review journal, said this about the novel, "Downham's impressive first novel is a searingly intimate portrait of a sixteen-year-old facing imminent death" and that is right on. It's so intimate that the pain, for me at least, became real.

Tessa, a 16 year old girl with leukemia, decides that she wants to LIVE with whatever time she's got left, and begins making a list of the ten things she really wants to do before she dies. Most of them are pretty dramatic and not necessarily healthy choices, but she figures she's got nothing to lose, and were I sixteen and dying, I guess I might make some of the same choices. So most of the book is about what crazy thing she's going to try next. But a lot of the book deals with the relationships she has with the people around her, like her parents (divorced), her little brother, her best friend, and her neighbor/boyfriend, Adam. All of these people, like Tessa, are trying to cope with her illness and the idea of losing her, and they all succeed and fail to different degrees at different times in the story.

I lost one of my best friends to cancer, and although she was older, this story reminded me of so many moments during her illness. Things she went through, things I went through, things I saw happen with her family - it was all there in this book. I think Jenny Downham must have lived through the death of someone she loved to have written about it so clearly, so respectfully, so deeply. I could barely breathe by the end.

An incredibly powerful read for mature older readers, this book is available at Multnomah County Libraries.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lionboy Trivia Question #5

Posting date: 3/13/
Due Date: Monday, 3/17

Question: Who is the composer of “Calliope Music” and what tempo should it be played in?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lionboy Trivia Question #4

Posting date: March 11
Due Date: Thursday, March 13 by the end of the day.

Question: According to Charlie’s father, what do Africans not eat?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Well, I have to admit I didn't actually read this one, I just skimmed it. It really wasn't my thing. It's a little too woo-woo for me. It had some good ideas, but there was too much "stuff" getting in my way to make me want to keep reading, so I just skimmed and sent it back to the public library. Not really like me, I know, but I'm trying not to waste any time in my reading life. there are great books out the waiting for me--- I don't want to spend time on the ones that just aren't for me.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth.

Publish Post

For some reason I'm fascinated with India, so the hands decorated with Mendhi on this book's cover really caught my eye; plus any book with the colors pink and orange on the cover is bound to catch my attention, as you know. This book is set in modern day India and revolves around a family with traditional ideas about arranged marriages. The protagonist, Jeeta, the third daughter in the family, does not agree with the idea of arranged marriages. She wants to be able to have some say in who she marries.

Jeeta goes about trying to have some independence by sneaking around, and this is not really a good way to try and make change. Jeeta knows this, but also feels powerless within her family. Then a crisis erupts with her sister in America, and Jeeta has to take action, even though she knows it has the potential to throw her whole family into chaos. In the end, she saves her sister, and by doing so, convinces her family that perhaps she doesn't need to get married so soon and that maybe even giving her a little say in the situation might not be all bad.

I did enjoy this book, but it wasn't an all time favorite. I'd recommend it to readers with an interest in India and/or romance (not over the top romance, though). Available at Multnomah County Public Libraries.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Lionboy Trivia Question #3

Posting date: March 8th
Due Date: Tuesday, March 11th at the end of the day - Come to the library and turn in your answer for a chance to win free pizza!

Question: Why were cars banned by the Empire?

Lionboy Trivia Question #2

Remember to fill out a trivia ticket with the answer including page number and turn it in to the library to get entered in the pizza drawing.

Posting date: 3/6
Due Date: Monday, 3/10 by the end of the day

Question: What might Charlie have to “arx a cat” for?

Lionboy Trivia Day 1

How to enter the Trivia Contest:

Get on this blog and read the question for the day. Use a trivia answer sheet from your literacy teacher or come down to the library and write your answer on a trivia answer sheet. You must have the page number in addition to your answer. Turn in trivia answer to the library.

All correct entries will receive a ticket in a drawing for a lunch pizza party for the winner and three friends sponsored by Mrs. F-B. There will be two winners.

You have 48 hours from the time the entry is posted to answer that trivia question, so don’t wait around.


Posting date: 3/3
Due Date: 3/5

What exact color bloodstopper lotion does Charlie’s mom ask for and why does she need it?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Boyfriend List : (15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs, and Me, Ruby by E. Lockhart

This is a hilarious story with really incredible voice and strong character development. I really enjoyed it, although it did make me cringe in several parts remembering some of the heartbreak that IS high school. I got it on CD from the Multnomah County library and the reader was good. She didn't do all the voices like some I've heard, but she definitely sounded like a high school girl!

Ruby is the female protagonist who has gotten herself into some trouble over, you guessed it, a boy. Well, mostly one boy, but there's a whole list of others - literally. And the boy trouble, as you might imagine, develops into a whole lot of girlfriend problems as well. She might take a cue from Bella (Twilight fans, you'll know what I mean) and stick with vampires and werewolves. They're less trouble than boys...Sorry, guys.

One thing I really liked about this novel is how Ruby works through her problems with her therapist and really learns a lot about who she's been and who she wants to be. Because Ruby has some not so enviable qualities at the start. Behaviors she has to learn to curb if she's going to become a really good person. And Ruby is willing to be introspective. She wants to be a good person. It's not easy, though, and sympathetic readers will really feel for Ruby as she goes through these difficulties. The author really makes her into someone you care about.

I really did enjoy this book, but it has a few too many sexual references for me to feel comfortable with having it in the library at school, so I won't be buying it.

P.S. What's up with the E. Lockhart thing? Is the author's name Elephant and it's embarrassing or something? Just tell me your name, please.