Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

How can I even describe such an amazing book? I’m sure plenty of you have heard of this one: The real-life diary of a teenager called Anne Frank who hid for two years from the Nazis ages ago. Now if you like to read books that are sure to have happy endings, that’s fine, but THIS? This is not to be missed, sad or not. A more touching and thought-provoking book I’m not sure if I’ve read. Not only did the brave girl face the cruelty and torture of the Nazis, she also coped with inner, personal problems such as ones with family. Perhaps some young girls could even relate to some of these. Anne Frank’s story is, in my opinion, one of the most inspiring in literature. It’s one of the few books that brought me to tears, and I get the feeling it would do that to almost anyone. It makes someone realize so much about life and what people like Anne went through during the Holocaust. Anne boldly touched on some tentative topics, but some people may commend her for being so honest. I, for one, admire her. And you would, too, if you read this.


The Year of the Dog

Here is another book by the talented Grace Lin. Some of you may remember I’ve reviewed one of her books before. This book tells the story of Pacy/Grace Lin. (Sound familiar?) Partially fiction, partially not, The Year of the Dog chronicles the adventures of Pacy and her new best friend, Melody. It’s the Year of the Dog, and Pacy is supposed to find herself and discover her special talent. But she hasn’t been having much luck. Kids in the middle grades will like this kind of humorous, kind of touching, and overall great book. It even has little doodles! So why don’t you go check for it at your local library? And if you like it, take a look at the sequel, The Year of the Rat.

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

This book by Wendelin Van Draanen is a must for any reader of mysteries. And if you’re not sure if you’re a snoop fan or not, try it. I am so glad I discovered the tales of Sammy Keyes. This is the first in the series, a gripping, not-to-be-missed read. Sammy Keyes is living (illegally, if you must know) in the Senior Highrise with her grams, since her mother decided to take off for Hollywood. One day, while idly staring out of Grams big ol’ binoculars, Sammy happens to catch sight of something very interesting going on across the street, at the Heavenly Hotel. There, dressed authentically in black, is a guy stuffing big wads of bills into a bag. So she’s caught a thief red-handed, right? There’s just one thing. The thief sees her, too. And skedaddles. Well, now Sammy is on a mission-she’s gonna find the hotel thief and turn him in. And with her natural talents at trouble-making and sneakiness, this shouldn’t be too hard. Like I said, gripping. Good story. A you-better-at-least-look-at-this kind of thing. Get my drift?

The Girl Who Saw Lions

I just finished this book, yesterday in fact, and decided it would be best if I wrote a review for it while it was still fresh in my mind. The Girl Who Saw Lions, by Berlie Doherty, is a very good book, especially for kids around 8 or 9. Meet Abela, a young girl living in Tanzania, Africa. When Abela loses her beloved mother, father, and sister, she is left with her caring grandmother. But then her bully of an uncle returns to his homeland with his English bride, and things get a little different. Up in England, Rosa is a very happy girl with a happy¬† life; she has a good mother, goes ice skating once a week, and is just plain comfortable with it all. Then her mother wants to adopt a Tanzanian child, and her life changes also. Abela is swept up in Uncle Thomas’ plots, Rosa is swept up in a strange world of visiting agents and questions. This book is interesting, well written, and a little young for me, but it would probably have been even more of a favorite a couple years ago.

Author Tidbits: Clare Vanderpool

For those of you who have forgotten, Clare Vanderpool is the fabulous author of the 2011 Newbery Medal book, Moon Over Manifest. Since I’ve already written a post on the award-winning book, who says I can’t write one about the award-winning author? So let’s get started.

Clare Vanderpool lives four blocks from where she grew up, and within walking distance of several VERY important places (relatives, bookstores, etc.). When she was younger, she found herself reading in many odd places: The bathroom, dressing rooms, school (don’t tell!). She claims she did get her degree in English, but also learned tons from looking out the window during car trips, listening to family stories, and playing pretend. Don’t we all? Clare has a happy family with a husband and four kids. If you go to her website, you will find they are all greatly talented. Aside from writing, Clare likes to spend time with friends and family, browse bookstores (I share that joy), and watch re-runs of Monk.

Nothing But the Truth

There is one thing you need to know about this book: It is original. Yes, in the content, but also in its format. Just so you know. The entire book is composed of conversations, notes, and articles. It’s a documentary! Avi, the author, had a good idea when he thought of that. So let’s get to the plot, hmm? Philip Malloy is a ninth grader at Harrison High, and he can’t stand his teacher, Ms. Narwin, who has taught for around 20 years. When Philip sings along with The Star-Spangled Banner in the morning when he is asked for silence and doesn’t stop, he finds himself in the vice principal’s office. Then he is suspended after a couple other problems.¬† Eventually, the story somehow finds itself to a reporter, and then it starts to build. Not everything is true, not everything is a lie. Who’s right? The student or the teacher? You decide. It’s a pretty good book, not a favorite, but good. Just let me say one thing: If characters and events that give you strong feelings tend to make you lose it and tear the book to shreds or do something just as awful, don’t read this.

A Pot O’Gold

LOVE this book. I’m all for learning more about my heritage and the places I come from. One of those places is Ireland, the world of Leprechauns, Fairies, and a country that (as I’m told) loves its words. For anyone interested in Ireland’s culture, whether you’re Irish or not, this is a book that it wouldn’t hurt to read. Even if you’re not interested, would it be so bad as to give it a try? Okay, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. First things first. This book by Kathleen Krull is a treasury of Irish folktales, songs, poetry, and blarney. It’s separated into different subjects, such as Food and Music. From the tale Bewitched Butter to song Cockles and Mussels, I’m fairly certain you will enjoy this book. The words are also accompanied by lovely pictures, as a plus. So, why don’t you break out your library card and do yourself a favor?

Twenty-Minute Tales

I still read this book, which I got in 2007. It’s fanciful, magical, and just entertaining. Enid Blyton has been called the Queen of Story Tellers, as I’m told, and she deserves the title. From Feefo the Pixie Dog to The Tale of Sammy Skittle to The Enchanted Cushion, every story is sure to please. Kids will laugh at the ridiculous Hoodle Bird that must have some gooseberry jam, and marvel at the horrible Mr. Slick. Filled with tales of pixie’s and magic, blue cats and candy, this is a good book for whoever is a fairy tale fan. I’m sure it would be a great hit being read to your children at night. They’ll go to sleep with pleasant thoughts in their minds, if you read to the happy endings. Enid Blyton had very good imagination, and an eye for good language. if you go to the library or bookstore right now, you won’t be sorry.

Around the World in 80 Tales

I saw this book in my parents’ bookstore and immediately wanted it. Folktales from across the globe! If anything sounded interesting, that did. And, come my birthday, that’s what I found in a package. Around the World in 80 Tales, by Saviour Pirotta. Stories from China, Brazil, and other places you may have never heard of! I read some of these tales to a three-year-old once, and he wanted more. When I asked him, “Do you want me to bring this book back?” he said yes! Whether you are eight or eighty, you will enjoy at least one of the stories in this book. I’m interested in other countries, and this is a good way to dip into other people’s lives from all over. You can see what kind of stories parents in South America might read to their children! Or Asia, Africa, or Europe. So look online or somewhere else for Around the World in 80 Tales.