Monday, April 29, 2013

I am always looking around for good French series books, so this weekend, I decided to try "Flavia," which is part of the series "La famille trop d'filles" by Susie Morgenstern. This series is about a family with 7 children, 6 of whom are girls. Each book focuses on a different girl in the family.

"Flavia" was a quick read. The vocabulary was fairly easy, and the story was simple and entertaining. Flavia is the youngest girl in the family, and for most of the book, she is in a bad mood because she doesn't like school and just wants to be left alone. She never learned how to read properly but doesn't really care, until an important letter is delivered to her and she finally asks her sisters for help.

The illustrations in the book are colorful and lively. Flavia's pouffy orange hair seems to jump off the page!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Today, I am reading a funny French book called: "22!" by Marie-Aude Murail. In this story, a grand duke and his wife finally have an heir, a little boy named Ivan. In honor of Ivan's birth, a young student writes a tongue-in-cheek poem full of V-words and silly rhymes. The grand duke is incensed and decides to ban any words that contain the letter V! A special police force is formed to spy on the citizens and fine them if they use the forbidden letter. However, what will the grand duke do when Ivan is introduced to the letter V by a friend and ends up loving the sound?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sorry for the delay in posting this week!

Right now, I am reading two very different books. One is called "A Crooked Kind of Perfect" by Linda Urban. The main character, 10-year-old Zoe, dreams of piano lessons but ends up getting an organ from her father instead. Between that and a falling-out with her former best friend, things are not looking good. However, after making friends with a group of boys at her school and meeting her very eccentric, but caring organ teacher, Zoe begins to realize that her life may already be "perfect" just as it is.

Zoe was a very relatable character and I enjoyed going on this journey with her!

The other book I am reading is called: "Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship" by Russell Freedman. This is a fascinating parallel biography of two great men. The book includes amazing photographs, newspaper articles, and more from the 1800s. It is one thing to read about how Douglass' two sons signed up for the first African-American regiment from a free state (the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry) but it's another to see their faces in the book, staring back at you. Highly recommended!

Monday, April 1, 2013

This weekend, I was glued to the book "Breadcrumbs" by Anne Ursu. I had heard so much about this book that I finally decided to pick it up from the public library. I wasn't disappointed! "Breadcrumbs" tells the story of Hazel and Jack, 5th graders who are neighbors and best friends. Hazel has always been a little different from other children, but in her artsy private school, it didn't matter. After her parents' divorce, though, money becomes tight and she has to go to a public school with lots of rules. Feeling increasingly isolated, Hazel clings to her friendship with Jack, until one day, he gets a magic piece of glass in his eye which turns him against her. This is where the fantasy in the book takes off. Jack decides to leave home and go into the woods with a beautiful, but evil ice queen. Only Hazel has the courage to follow him and try to save him.

This book is beautifully written and the illustrations are gorgeous! While you read, see if you notice the references to other fantasy books like the Narnia series (there are many!).

Here are some of the beautiful illustrations from artist Erin McGuire: