Saved by the Boats by Julie Gassman is a picture book about September 11, 2001 and the ways the boats in New York Harbor came to the rescue of thousands of stranded New Yorkers. For me the most striking aspect of this book is the illustrations, as they so nicely capture the sense of togetherness

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Trapped Behind Nazi Lines by Eric Brown is a middle grade nonfiction book about a company of medics and nurses that, while flying to Italy during World War II, got lost in the clouds and ended up crash landing in Nazi-occupied Albania. The story tells how upon crash landing their airplane, they were able to

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At first, I thought Teaching Kids to Think by Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg (Sourcebooks, March 2015) had a deceptive title. I had thought it would be  about helping kids learn and logic through academics. Rather, Teaching Kids to Think is focused on helping parents raise children that think through the basics of everyday survival and life, emphasizing

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In The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins, 2012), a mall circus gorilla, Ivan, comes to view his life in captivity differently when a baby elephant, recently kidnapped from her home in Africa, joins the mall circus. With a poignant and distinct voice, The One and Only Ivan was a book that touched

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As I began reading The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway(2008), it seemed so familiar, but I couldn’t place why. I finally figured it out: it reads like a dystopian novel, where people are struggling to survive in an oppressive war environment. The characters in the book struggle just to get the basic necessities of

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Just months before Molly Birnbaum was to enter the Culinary Institute of America to fulfill her dream to become a chef, she met with a violent accident. Although she escaped with her life, in addition to other physical wounds she had lost her sense of smell. Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of

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Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (published 2006) tells the story of the Nigerian Civil War, when the minority, repressed Igbos in Southeastern Nigeria established the independent republic of Biafra. My understanding of the war comes from my reading of the novel, but I did also reference Wikipedia. (Adichie mentions in an

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Most people have heard of A Christmas Carol (see my review), but few are familiar with Charles Dickens’ four other Christmas novellas. I read his other four novellas this season. Some of the novellas were more interesting than others. The superiority of A Christmas Carol makes it clear to me why it has lasted as a

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