Tru and Nelle by G. Neri is a book about a young Harper Lee and a young Truman Capote. In this book, however, Harper Lee is known as Nelle and young Truman is Tru. I often heard that the book To Kill a Mockingbird and the characters in that book were based on the childhood friendship of Harper Lee and Truman Capote; this is a children’s book that fictionalizes their friendship.Continue Reading
I really loved reading the juvenile nonfiction book Ten Rivers that Shaped the World when I reviewed it earlier this year. It seemed to be a history of the world as captured through the rivers of the world! So I was excited to see Ten Ships that Rocked the World by Gillian Richardson (Annick Press, August 2015) added to the “Ten” series as well.
I did not love this one quite as much but I still really enjoyed it. Ten Ships has a different feel to it, partly because, as the title indicated, it focuses on a different “ten” from the history of the world, it is written by a different author, and it about things that influenced the world, not necessarily shaped it. The ships that were highlighted were almost all foreign to me, so by reading the book I felt I was learning much that I had been unfamiliar with: ships and eras and countries that made a difference even though I did not know about them. Continue Reading
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is a fictionalized version of two related stories in the recent history of Sudan. It tells two parallel stories, one in the 1980s and the other just a few years ago.
In the early story, a young boy caught in the crossfires of the Southern Sudan Civil War.The other story parallel story told in alternating chapters is about a young Sudanese girl in 2009 whose job is to walk from her village to the water at the somewhat nearby pond and walk home again, twice each day. With an interesting twist, the two stories are able to come together.Continue Reading
The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman is a clever chapter book written from the perspective of four different preteens who have been caught cheating on their homework with a “homework machine.” The book is also fun as the students overcome their own prejudices and judgments of one another in order to unite in using the machine to better enjoy their afternoons. They come to recognize the ways that they are similar to one another, and they stand up for one another against the mockery of the rest of the class. I liked the book as a look at the friendship among young kids.
One of my favorite aspects of the novel was the different voices for each of the youngsters. It is clear from their voices that each has a very different personality, and their writing styles reflect that. This would be a fun novel for a teacher to use to demonstrate the importance of voice in a fictional text.
Beyond that, The Homework Machine is a fun story about kids cheating the “system.” What kid does not wish to do away with busy work homework?