Friday, March 8, 2013

February 2013 Book Reports

When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert (library copy)

My First Book of Saints by Kathleen M. Muldoon and Susan Helen Wallace, FSP (a review for The Catholic Company)

Walk the Worlds Rim by Betty Baker is the tale of Chakoh, a Native American who travels with three Spaniards and a black slave shortly after the discovery of the New World by Europeans. I found it thought-provoking and reasonably well-written, but it is a novel for someone ready to face some of the abuses, misunderstandings, and wrongs of the Church. There are a lot of things the novel brings up like how missionaries converted the Native Americans and in the ways they failed to convey the true meaning of our faith. Finally, I think there could be a lot of good discussions about slavery and freedom. I don't think I'll read this one aloud, but I do think there could be some good discussions with a middle school or high school student who was reading it independently. (library copy)

Daisy Dawson Is on Her Way! by Steve Voake is one I picked up somewhere and am so glad I did. It's a sweet little chapter book about Daisy, who is learning too much on her way to school to be there on time. She pauses to rescue a butterfly from a spider and is rewarded with a marvelous gift. There's just enough adventure to be exciting for little ones. I intend to ask First Daughter to read this aloud to me next year in first grade. There are five Daisy books so far and, if they are like the first one, this would be a great series for very young readers ready for chapter books. The illustrations are well done, too. (purchased copy)

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman tells the adventures of a spoiled prince who runs away, dragging his whipping boy along with him, in search of freedom and, perhaps, a friend. It's a bit like a tall tale and would probably appeal to boys who are young readers. I intend to ask First Son if he'd like to read it, but I wouldn't assign it. (It's also below his reading level at this point.) I can't imagine why it won the Newbery medal as I'd say it's merely acceptable. Fleischman's By the Great Horn Spoon! is far superior. (library copy)

Mieko and the Fifth Treasure by Eleanor Coerr tells of Mieko, a ten-year-old talented Japanese calligrapher whose arm is badly injued by the Nagasaki bomb. I will share it with my third grade son this year if I decide to cover the atomic bombings. It gently touches on how the bombs changed a child's life without being too scary. It is also a sweet story of courage, friendship, perseverance, and personal growth. Ms. Coerr was born in Canada, but visited Japan as a young woman and lived there for a number of years. (purchased copy)

Simple Living - 30 days to less stuff and more life by Lorilee Lippincott is a short Kindle book with exercises for each of 30 days ranging from clearing off your counters (of everything for at least a week) to unsubscribing from email lists if you don't read them regularly. There's even a little section on facebook. I didn't find anything here I hadn't heard before, but I think it's nice to have little reminders of things I can do to ease the clutter in our lives. I was inspired to move a few things around and pass a few things on to others who can use them. (read for free from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library)

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz (library copy)

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen is the story of a middle-school student, new and bullied, who is intrigued by the mystery of a running boy. In the end, he makes some friends, stands up to the bullies, and learns a little about caring for his home (wherever that is). I enjoyed it, but it's certainly a book I would reserve for older children. There are instances of physical abuse and neglect in addition to the struggles with bullies, a topic incredibly difficult to address. (copy received for free in a book promotion)

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery (purchased copy)

Books in Progress (and date started)

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