Showing posts with label Middle School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Middle School. Show all posts

Thursday, January 18, 2018

#TBT Review: Zarox


In order to catch up from reviews I didn't complete last year, I'm going to start doing #tbt reviews every other Thursday, as there were a lot of books that I didn't get to. I believe these books still need reviews, so to start, I'm reviewing Zarox, a book I received from Louis Smith on Instagram. 

On a dare, four kids decide to go to the creepy Churn Zone at night, proving that they are each adventurous and brave. But the unthinkable happens while they're there: they're transported to another world, called Zarox. In Zarox, they're the only ones that can save the world from the Glothers. Supported by Rotlier, the wizard Lupar, and the Book of Zarox, the children are off on a magical adventure that they're not likely to forget.

The beginning was a bit of a rocky start for Zarox, as we're thrown into the world much like the main characters without a clue of what's happening. But once you get into the story and the children start their training to save the world, you're much more able to transition into the world of Zarox. And what a magical world it is.

One of my favorite things about this book was the uniqueness of the world. While some of the plot points were familiar, the world of Zarox felt unique to me. This could especially be seen with the different characters that the author created, like the Glothers and Rotlier. Once we get a sense of these characters, it's easy to fall into the world Smith has created. It's magical and fast paced, and you'll hand on until the very end.

Overall, between the characters and the unique world, this is a middle grade fantasy that stands out from the rest. It's a fun, enjoyable read that you'll not want to put down until the very end.

4/5 stars

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Please Stop Laughing at Me...One Woman's Inspirational Story

As sad as it is, the issue of bullying has become very prevalent in our society. Why? Because people don't know how to handle it. At least, that's my opinion. Parents don't know what to do when their child is being bullied at school, principals and teachers just turn a blind eye to it (though I think this is beginning to happen less), and the children who are actually doing the bullying don't realize how much it hurts the victims. I think the key to fixing all of this is to make people aware of what actually goes on. Jodee Blanco did this with her memoir Please Stop Laughing at Me...One Woman's Inspirational Story, and I'm sure many others have as well. But reading books like this gives people an idea of what it's actually like to be constantly bullied. And how kids don't realize how hurtful it can actually be.

Jodee started being picked on in Elementary school, when she stood up for something she believed in, but the other kids didn't agree with. It started something that would last all the way until the end of her high school career; she would never fit in with the other kids. And Jodee's classmates wouldn't stop at just taunting her with words. They would physically abuse her, and it got to the point that Jodee was afraid to go to any adult because it would just mean more abuse. Her whole story was absolutely heart-breaking. But it was beautifully written, and once you finish reading the book, it makes you want to go out and do something to stop bullying. I guess she achieved her goal. :)

I would highly recommend if you're going into teaching, or any type of education, that you read this book. The way some of Jodee's teachers acted just astounded me. Most people assume that the teachers would be the ones that would step in the way, that would help Jodee. But in some cases, they actually add to the abuse that Jodee endured at school. Not to repeat myself, but I think this is because more schools need to work on creating training programs for teachers so they know how to handle situations like this. With this issue, education is key. And perhaps with more education, for teachers, principals, parents, and students, the issue of bullying will stop being so prominent in our society. It would be amazing if no child was afraid to go to school. That would be the ideal world.

So, in light of the topic of this post, I thought I would provide some of the resources that Jodee has in the back of the book (and some of my own that I've found during my own research, which are a little more LGBTQ based, but still work) in case anyone is interested in finding out more about the topic. Here are some excellent websites:

KidsPeace National Centers for Kids in Crisis: www.kidspeace.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): www.AFSP.org
The Bully Project: www.thebullyproject.com
GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) www.glsen.org

These are just a few of the many resources you can find online to try and help out with this issue. Well, now I'm probably going to start reading things for class, so good bye to leisure reading for a while. Until next time, happy reading! :)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Two Children's Books

Though I have finished The Game of Thrones (finally!), I will talk about that in a later post. Instead, I wanted to discuss two books that I read for my children's lit class, The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan and Smile by Raina Telgemeier. Each of these books are probably something that I wouldn't have picked up on my own, but they were definitely wonderful reads, each for their own reasons.



The Dreamer is a fictionalized biography about the childhood of Pablo Neruda, a famous, Nobel-prize winning Chilean poet. Ryan tells the story of how Neruda grew up, in a household where his father was very controlling, and abusive at times, virtually forcing the creativity out of his children. The father wants his sons to become doctors, or dentists, or something along those lines. However, all Neftali (Neruda when he was younger) wants to do is write. He loves words, he loves nature, and he finds, as he grows up and through his Uncle, that these things could change the world. It is a wonderful story, wonderfully written and wonderfully crafted.

The interesting thing about this book is that it is printed in green ink. The reason behind this is that Neruda himself used to write in green ink, believing that it was the color of hope. I thought that this was brilliant on Ryan's part, adding in aspects of Neruda's own writing into her own story and giving it an even more authentic voice. Even though the book is written in prose, it almost feels like poetry, the way the words are lyrical and just seem to float off the page. This is a book that I definitely will keep in my library.


Smile is of a totally different grain. First of all, it's a graphic novel, which is something I don't really read much of. I've read a few, but I enjoy the words on a page a lot more (not that I don't enjoy pictures! They're lovely! I just love words a little more). Anyway, Smile tells the true story of how Raina had an accident where she lost her front teeth in middle school, and all of the stuff she had to go through to make her teeth normal again, all the while going through the awkwardness of middle school. Definitely a very relatable book, I find this book would be perfect for any middle-schooler going through the same things as Raina (which I believe is virtually everyone).

Again, I liked this book because I think many readers will be able to see themselves in Raina's story. The awkwardness of middle school is such a universal story that there is some aspect of her story that people will relate to, whether it be the braces, the awkwardness between genders, finding where you fit in, or trying to become comfortable with yourself. I also really enjoyed the pictures in this book, they were really well drawn and also really helped to tell the story. There were a lot of aspects in the images that would have been lost if the whole story would have just been told in prose, and I think the mode of storytelling for this particular story fit perfectly.

Well, I guess I should be getting back to my homework. Since I finished The Game of Thrones (again, finally! That is such a long book), that is what I will post about next. Until then, happy reading! :)