Friday, July 30, 2010

Green Angel and Green Witch

Green Angel has sat on my school bookshelf for a couple of years. I always had the intention of reading this book. I simply never got around to picking it up and giving it a try. I am so glad that on a recent trip to the local library (YEA FOR LIBRARIES!), I glimpsed the YA librarian reshelving Green Witch, Alice Hoffman's follow-up to Green Angel. I knew that I needed to read both books!

Green Angel is about a fifteen-year-old girl named Green who suffers an unspeakable loss of her entire family due to a disastrous act of man. Green is overwhelmed by the loss of her family and her world as she has known it to be. She retreats and starts to destroy herself; she inks herself with dark images and tries to become a new person. Will Green ever learn to love again? What does the future hold for Green?

Beautiful writing here from Alice Hoffman. But it was the second book, Green Witch, that really captured me!

Green Witch continues the story of Green a year after the disaster that occurred in the first book. I loved this book so much more than the first--the story--the writing--the meaning that it held for me and the connections I made as I read this book.

Here are some passages that spoke to me...

"What you see, you can understand...But I had looked at the outside of things, not at the true, ever-changing heart. Look at a cloud and see how it becomes a swan, a rose, a lantern, a lion. That is the only way to understand that all clouds change...Not a single one can ever stay the same...That doesn't mean it's not still a cloud."


"...people tell lies. But a lie is not a story, it's simply a lie. Lies become bigger, and fatter, and meaner every time they're told. They eat air and inflate with each piece of gossip. They feel real, but when you touch them, they pop like a bubble. There's nothing inside."


"What you look for, you may find...Someone promised me this, but I shook my head...Surely, wanting more would only bring more despair...But desire can drive you for miles. It can lead you in ways you never would have imagined. A map can be written in ashes, earth, water, air. Take a step and keep walking. Don't be afraid to look back...In the end, every path you choose takes you closer to what you've been searching for all along."

I highly recommend that you read these two books by Alice Hoffman. What passages speak to you?

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sixth Grade Glommers, Norks, and Me

Sixth grade is a book for you! Ever feel like you are on top of the world with your best friend by your side...nothing can go friends until the end of time? Right?

Only then you discover that the two of you don't seem to be hanging out as much. Your best friend discovers another friend. AGH! The world of ever-changing friendships!

As a sixth grade teacher, I see this dilemma played out time and time again. Each year, girls (and boys!) enter their new school year with established friendships that eventually twist and turn, changing monthly--weekly--sometimes daily--into a friendship drama-monster! I've been there...done that. Yet it is so hard to give advice. Perhaps this year, I can stick Sixth-Grade Glommers, Norks, and Me by Lisa Papademetriou into the hands of those girls seeking help. Maybe reading about Allie's sixth grade year will provide some guidance for those trying to figure out friendship troubles.

From the book jacket..."Allie Kimball and her best friend, Tamara Thompson, have been looking forward to starting sixth grade all summer. But sixth grade isn't turning out to be what Allie expected at all. She discovers that middle school is a different world, requiring a whole new vocabulary. The halls of middle school are full of strange new beasts, like glommers--girls who never go anywhere alone--and norks--a combination of a nerd and a dork. Now Allie has to define herself before she gets lost in the jungle of sixth grade. The question is, where does Allie fit in?"

A believable read that I will surely recommend to my sixth-graders this year.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


"This novel may be brief, but it leaves a big impact." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

I agree.

In Firegirl by Tony Abbott, seventh-grader Tom and his best friend Jeff are typical teens going through the hum-drum routine of school. Until Jessica Feeney arrives.

Jessica has been badly burned in an accident. Her "skin was all rough and uneven. It looked almost smeared and was stained all shades of pink and white and red. Her lips were swollen. They nearly filled the space between her nose and chin. Her eyes peeked out from behind skin that looked melted. Her hair was mostly short. Her arms were covered, except that the forearms were bare and blotchy. Her fingers were bent as if she were trying to grab something."

Even though Tom secretly wishes to catch the attention of another girl in class, Courtney, he finds himself thinking about Jessica. When Tom's teacher asks him to deliver some books and homework to Jessica's house, the unexpected chore turns into the beginning of a unique friendship between shy Tom and Jessica.

"Firegirl is a powerful book that shows readers that even the smallest of gestures can have a profound impact on someone's life."

I would certainly recommend this book. At only 149 pages, it is a quick read that won't soon be forgotten.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Monday, July 19, 2010


"Meet the trickster, a crafty creature or being who disrupts the order of things, often humiliating others and sometimes himself in the process. Whether a coyote or rabbit, raccoon or raven, tricksters use cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief."

I have just finished reading Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection by Matt Dembicki. What a fantastic collection of Native American trickster tales by various storytellers and illustrators.

I know this book will be appealing to a wide range of readers because it took FOUR DAYS to get my hands on this one! Thanks to The Picnic Basket, this gem came in the mail only to be grabbed by my eleven year-old daughter. She started reading it immediately, being the lover of graphic novels she is. I then saw this book in my husband's hands. He is drawn to anything Native American. When I finally asked for my chance to read through this book, I was intrigued.

Each Native American tale is told by a different storyteller. Each tale is illustrated by a different artist. Such an interesting collection of tales and styles of artwork! For a younger reader, this format will work well as they won't get 'stuck' in a story or a form of artwork that they do not enjoy. (See example pages below.)

My favorite tales were "Coyote and the Pebbles", "Azban and the Crayfish", "Rabbit and the Tug of War", and "Giddy Up, Wolfie".

Find a copy of Trickster and let me know which tales you enjoyed!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wild Girl

Patricia Reilly Giff's new novel, Wild Girl, is a must read for horse-lovers. This novel alternates between the story of a filly in Aiken, South Carolina, and the story of a girl in Jales, Brazil. Soon, these two stories become intertwined.

Lidie lives in Jules, Brazil, with Tio Paulo and Titia Luisa. Her father, Pai, and brother, Rafael, left her to go to America soon after her mother, Mamae, passed away. Lidie was seven years old.

Now, five years later, Lidie is on her way to America to join her father and brother who work at a horse farm. Her father trains horses while her brother is an aspiring jockey. Lidie speaks Portuguese and very little English. She finds it difficult to fit in at her new school in America. Lidie also finds it difficult to fit into her new 'family'. Her father and brother expect the seven year-old Lidie to arrive in America. not the older twelve year-old who comes with her own love of horses and riding.

The filly comes to the horse farm where she, with her own story of loneliness and heartbreak, befriends Lidie. Will the two of them be able to make it through the rough times? Will the filly find the family she needs? Will Lidie find the family she desires?

This is another good story from Patricia Reilly Giff. It is not only a horse story but also a story of family...a story that captures the feelings of immigrants coming to a new world...of adventure...of dreams.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Water Seeker

"Shoot dang!" If you are looking for one of the best historical fiction books written this year, look no further than The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt.

I have been thinking over twelve hours on this book...on just how to tell you about it so I could get it right. I even had a long conversation with my ten-year-old daughter about it in the pool this afternoon. I still can't put my thoughts together. I am in awe of the story!

Let me just say that it has been a while since I have read a book as heart-wrenching as this one. Amos, the main character, must endure so many trials that I truly felt this boy deep down in my bones. Perhaps it was my motherly instincts that kicked in and wanted to provide Amos with so much that he didn't have. More likely, it was Ms. Holt's storytelling that took me away to Amos's world in the 1800's.

The Water Seeker takes place over the course of twenty-six years beginning before Amos is even born in 1833. Once Amos comes into the story, the heartbreak begins, and Amos's story of misfortune and fortune is told.

I found the characters very real in this book. I am still thinking about Jake and Rebecca and Jameson and Blue Owl and Daisy and Homer and Finn and Rebecca..and yes, even Delilah. I met friends in this book and found some enemies as well. I felt as though I 'lived' a while with Amos.

All my ramblings aside, this is a fantastic story of love and loss, of the growing of a young boy into a man.

Please go get this one from the is that good! Then come back and post some comments on what this post should really say about The Water Seeker!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I thought Keeper by Kathi Appelt would be the perfect summertime read, and I was right! What a "cooleoleo" story!

The main character in this story is ten-year-old Keeper, a resident of Oyster Ridge Road, "world unto itself", located on the Texas coast. Right from the beginning, the reader gets the sense that Keeper is in a world of trouble. There are problems with crabs, a precious wooden bowl, a well-loved ukulele, and pots of antique roses and night-blooming flowers. Keeper is at the center of all the misfortune.

"But she knows who can make things right again: Meggie Marie, her mermaid mother who swam away when Keeper was just three. A blue moon calls the mermaids to gather at the sandbar, and that's exactly where Keeper is headed--in a small boat, in the middle of the night, with only her dog, BD (Best Dog), and a seagull named Captain. When the riptide pulls at the boat, tugging her away from the shore and deep into the rough waters of the Gulf of Mexico, panic sets in, and the fairy tales that lured her out there go tumbling into the waves."

I thought this book contained fantastic storytelling. I was mesmerized by the writing of Kathi Appelt. Not having read her New York Times bestseller, The Underneath, I didn't know what to expect from this author. I thought Keeper was reminiscent of Ingrid Law's writing...poetic, beautiful...the weaving of an intricate story...I almost felt it was Savvy-like.

I will be recommending this to readers who like mermaid those who like animal those who enjoy a bit of a mystery as I kept reading to find out if Meggie Marie, Keeper's mom, would truly 'hear' her daughter and come save her.

I believe this story is a "Keeper"!

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Nathan Abercrombie - Dead Guy Spy and Goop Soup

I was first introduced to Nathan Abercrombie last fall. Since then, David Lubar has kept the books in this popular series rolling off the presses. I recently finished the second book, Dead Guy Spy, and the third book, Goop Soup.

In Dead Guy Spy..."Nathan is approached by the secret organization BUM—aka the Bureau of Useful Misadventures—which offers him a cure in exchange for his help. Nathan jumps at the chance to become the world’s first zombie spy, but soon discovers that BUM may not be quite what it seems. Can Nathan trust them? Or is BUM’s offer too good to be true?”

And in Goop Soup ..."Nathan is just getting started with his training for secret organization BUM--the Bureau of Useful Misadventures--when greasy green globs of goop start oozing from every faucet in town. Gross! BUM asks Nathan to investigate, but he's not so sure he's ready for his first mission. Things get even worse when Nathan's mother makes him a doctor's appointment. His doctor is sure to notice he's dead. Is Nathan's life as a half-dead zombie spy over before it has even begun?"

I know middle-schoolers will continue reading this series once they start. Nathan and his friends Abigail and Mookie (yes, Mookie and his noxious gaseous self is back!) keep the ball rolling in these two books. Fun-filled and full of adventures and laughs, once you pick up the first Nathan Abercrombie book, you'll be hooked.

And believe it or not, David Lubar has the FOURTH book in the series coming out on August 31. The new book is called The Big Stink.

Happy Reading!
Mrs. T :)

P.S. Reading is like breathing chocolate air!