Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All the Broken Pieces

"Matt Pin is haunted." He is airlifted out of Vietnam by an American helicopter during the Vietnam War. Matt's mom believes he will have a better life in America instead of war-ravaged Vietnam. Matt wonders why he has to leave his mother and little brother behind. Don't they love him?

Matt is adopted into an American family. His 'now mother' sings to him at night.

"You are safe, my precious child.
You are safe now, you are home.
We have found you and we love you.
You will never be alone."

His 'now father' plays catch with him, and Matt learns the game of baseball. Matt eve goes out for the team and makes it. But now Matt must confront other boys who do not treat him nicely because he is Vietnamese.

I had heard a lot about this book and had read some reviews. The one writing that really captured my attention, however, was a reading letter by one of my sixth graders. Brett wrote that this book was "...one of the best books I've read this year." Of course, I had to read it.

I enjoyed this story very much. I like to read novels written in verse, and this one did not disappoint. I felt for Matt and was saddened to hear his story, but I was also encouraged by the fact that at book's end, he seemed to find some healing for himself.

Author Ann E. Burg says, "Writing All the Broken Pieces was like listening and jotting things down, or sitting at a loom and weaving together the frayed, forgotten strands of history. Hoping to create something worthwhile, something like a healing quilt.

"Maybe that’s the best of what historical fiction does. Recreate a moment in history so that in remembering, we might find a way to heal the wounds."

Pick this one up. You won't be disappointed.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


This is a great book for middle-schoolers...Slob by Ellen Potter has been on my TBR list for a while. I was thrilled to see it arrive in our middle school library.

From the book jacket...

"Twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum is the fattest kid in school.

"But he's also a genius who invents cool contraptions--like a TV that can show the past. There is something that happened two years ago that he needs to see if he ever hopes to unravel a dreadful mystery.

"But genius or not, there is much Owen can't outthink. Like how his Oreos keep disappearing from his lunch. Or why his sister suddenly wants to be called by a boy's name. Or why a diabolical, scar-faced thug at school seems to be on a mission to destroy him. He's sure that if he can only get the TV to work, things will start to make sense. But it will take a revelation, not a cool contraption, for Owen to see that the answer's not in the past, but the present. That no matter how large he is on the outside, he doesn't have to feel small on the inside."

I enjoyed this book very much. There were times when it reminded me of Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl and times when I felt like I was reading Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me.

This is a very real realistic fiction novel. Ellen Potter tells Owen's story with such honesty that at times I was cringing wondering if students are really treated this way in school. Not only do Owen's classmates treat him poorly, but so does his gym teacher, Mr. Wooly ("Mr. Hates Unathletic Kids and Enjoys Seeing Them Suffer").

There is a mystery in this book...something Owen is remembering and dealing with that is not revealed until later in the book. Ellen Potter weaved this into her story so delicately that I was surprised when I read it.

This is a great read for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.

(By the way...Ellen Potter is sponsoring a writing contest. The deadline is June 15, 2010. Click HERE to view the details.)

Keep Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Killer Pizza = Killer Book!

I just finished reading Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor. I thought it was quite a 'tasty' read. Okay, I'll try not too get too 'cheesy' with food puns!

I think middle school readers are going to like this book. It's got pizza and monsters! What better combination could there be?

Toby is the main character who is having a boring summer. He watches Food Network and wishes to be a chef one day. Great news comes Toby's way when he learns he is hired by Killer Pizza, a local pizza joint. What a great way to combine some money-making with his career-to-be.

Toby meets his fellow crew workers, Annabel and Strobe. Together, the three of them survive the mania that comes with running the afternoon shift at Killer Pizza. They think they have things under control until they learn that Killer Pizza is more than just a local pizza eatery. It is actually a front for monster killers!

This book would be perfect for readers who wish to graduate from R.L. Stine. In fact, R.L. Stine says, "Greg Taylor serves up a hot slice of horror that I couldn't put down."

Check this one out if you want to read some monster slashing and let me know how you like it!

(Click HERE to go to the book's website.)

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Storm in the Barn

Winner of the 2010 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan has been on my TBR list for quite a while.

From the book jacket..."In 1937, eleven-year-old Jack Clark faces his share of ordinary challenges: local bullies, his father's failed expectations, a little sister with an eye for trouble. But he also has to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl, including the rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness. A case of the new "dust dementia" would certainly explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the abandoned Talbot barn--a sinister figure with a face like rain. In a land where it never rains, it's hard to trust what you see with your own eyes--and harder still to take heart and be a hero when the time comes."

This fable is told in more pictures than text. With 201 pages, there is very little reading of words in this story. Take your time and soak in the pictures. If you do not take the time to tell yourself this story, you will miss a good one!

Click HERE to visit the author's website. Click HERE to visit the author's blog.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More Movie News...

It seems lately that I have been posting about those things in the future that I am waiting for (and not very patiently I might add). Well, here is another 'in the future'...but interesting nonetheless...

The movie Legend of the Guardians will be based on the first three Guardians of Ga'Hoole books by Kathryn Lasky. The story follows Soren, a young barn owl who is kidnapped by the owls of the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls, or St. Aggie's. The academy is supposed to be an orphanage, but instead it brainwashes its pupils into becoming soldiers who will ultimately clash with the wise, peaceful owls of Ga'Hoole.

It comes to theaters on September 24, 2010, in 3D by the producers of Happy Feet.

Fans of the Warrior series by Erin Hunter would perhaps enjoy this series. You may want to check out the series now!

Click HERE to see the trailer.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gotta Keep Reading!

LOVE this song and video! What a great job by the students at Ocoee Middle School in Florida.

This video was inspired by the Flash Mob Dance on the Oprah Winfrey Show performed by the Black Eyed Peas and several thousand of Oprah's fans.

Thanks to Ingrid Law who posted the video on her website.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!
(Gotta Keep Reading and Reading and Reading..)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yet Another One I'm Looking Forward To...

RICK RIORDAN! Need I say any more? Fans of Percy Jackson, get ready! On May 4, 2010, a new series is being released. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am! It is The Kane Chronicles with Book One, The Red Pyramid.

Here is what Amazon says about the book..."Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

"One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a 'research experiment' at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

"Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs."

Click HERE to read the first chapter of the book!

Rick Riordan has a great website to visit. Click HERE. I enjoy following his blog which is just a click away when you visit his website.

And take a look at this SUPER COOL poster over to the right. MUST HAVE this for the classroom!

Thank you, Mr. Riordan, for writing these awesome adventures! You have created a lot of excitement for reading with your books!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!