Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Wrinkle in Time

L’Engle, Madeline. A Wrinkle in Time. New York: Dell Publishing, 1962.

Annotation: Meg, her brother Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin find out their peculiar differences make them a part of a world beyond their understanding with time travel and indescribable evil.

Book Talk:
Meg and her younger brother Charles Wallace are looked at by others like there is something not quite right about them. In fact, there is- Charles Wallace understands his gift more than Meg and together with their new friend Calvin they embark on a journey guided by Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatist to defeat the Black Thing and find their father, a scientist who’s been on a secret mission. This is how they encounter IT- a powerful force that holds all the people on the planet of Camazotz in ITS control and pushes to do the same to them…

“As she cried out the words she felt a mind moving in on her own, felt IT seizing, squeezing her brain. Then she realized that Charles Wallace was speaking, or being spoken through by IT…she felt her stubborn control slip. Red fog glazed her eyes…”

What kind of “gift” does it take to travel through time, encountering planets with odd creatures and most dreadfully IT- and why do Mrs. Which and Company think a few kids can defeat such powerful evil. More importantly what happens if they can’t? Find out in A Wrinkle in Time.

Newbery Medal Book, 1963
American Library Association Notable Children's Books
Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List  

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The Time Series has a total of 5 books!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: the story of a childhood. New York: Pantheon, 2003.

Annotation: This autobiography follows Satrapi through childhood and beginning adolescence growing up in Iran during times or revolutions and wars.

Book Talk:
Ever wonder why some women wear a veil to cover their hair? What’s it like to grow up in a different country…especially during war time? Satrapi gives you a glimpse into her world through creative comic strip images.

This isn’t your average autobiography, in graphic novel form-
follow Satrapi as she lives through the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Struggling to hide her true lifestyle under the regime, Satrapi’s thoughts on family, God, and forgiveness are depicted through her simple yet powerful images. 
This autobiography is intertwined with humor and history giving an insight to what life might have been like if you lived in Iran with Satrapi- wouldn’t you like to know?

Angouleme Coup de Coeur Award for Persepolis, 2001
Alex Award, 2004
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults
New York Times Notable Book
Time Magazine "Best Comix of the Year"
Los Angeles Times, Best-seller

Book cover image credit:
Book images copyright: Marjane Satrapi, 2000

Take a look at Persepolis 2 and other works by Marjane Satrapi.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The House on Mango Street

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

Annotation: In vignettes Esperanza describes her life as Hispanic girl growing up on Mango Street. She discusses her triumphs and struggles with culture, family, friends, neighbors, dreams, and goals.

Book Talk:
“I have begun my own quiet war. Simple. Sure. I am one who leaves the table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate.”

Is it wrong to sometimes feel ashamed of your home, your culture, and sometimes your family? Do you ever feel that as soon as you get the chance you’re going to own your life and make it something totally different than what your parents have given you? Esperanza does. She holds a love hate relationship with the homes she’s lived in, the neighborhood she’s a part of, and the culture she was brought up in. Even her name bothers her. She dreams of having a “real” home and swears that her life will be different from the one she knows with limited opportunity and male dominance …but in the end can you really shed these parts of your life if they made you who you are?

Columbus Foundation's American Book Award, 1985
George G. Stone Center for Children’s Books Recognition of Merit Award, 1994

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Volponi, Paul. Rooftop. New York: Viking, 2006.

Annotation: Clay reconnects with his cousin Addison when they both find themselves in a rehab center for teens only to be separated by death when one of them dies at the hands of the police.

Book Talk:
“ I walked up to the coffin and made myself look at him…The suit that Spiers got for Addison covered the bullet hole in his chest. But I didn’t think anything in this whole world would cover up what was missing from inside of me.” 

What’s left for a Black teenager living in the projects other than smoking weed and dealing? For Addison nothing was left after being shot and killed by the police. Clay having witnessed the death of his cousin realizes there are other ways to live your life, like staying clean and getting a GED. Join Clay as he discovers bravery in overcoming addiction, loss, and the pressure of taking your future in your own hands.

ALA Best Book Young Adult
ALA Quick Pick
New York City Library Book for the Teen Age
Tayshas List

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gossip Girl

Von Ziegesar, Cecily. Gossip girl. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2002.

Annotation: Gossip girl tracks the lives of a group of wealthy high schoolers relationships with love, sex, and most of all drama.

Book Talk:
I heard she had a baby in France. She has STDs. She’s addicted to all kinds of drugs. I heard she’s even selling them. She’s only popular because she’s slept with everybody.

The gossip runs rampant at school when envied it girl, Serena van der Woodsen comes back from boarding school. Ready to hit the party scene Serena soon realizes things aren’t going to be the same now that her best friend turned frenemy, Blair, is dating the guy she lost the big V to, Nate. Love, sex, drugs, jealousy, and alcohol are as common with these high schoolers as the gossip that surrounds their relationships. Find out what these characters really think about each other in Gossip Girl. 

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If you liked this book, read the whole series!