Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Secret Saturdays

Secret SaturdaysSecret Saturdays by Torrey Maldonado
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a very different kind of story about friendship. Justin and Sean are best friends, they have each other's back in school and on the streets. It's a rough neighborhood, Red Hook, Brooklyn, and the two boys do not want to fight with fists, but with words. School is important to them. And then, Sean begins to change, turning into a bully, and Justin wants to know why. The story rings true, and that could be because the author grew up in Red Hook, and was a teacher in a New York City public school. The dialogue is real, and so are the problems these two boys face. This is a book that middle school boys and girls might enjoy, if they give it a chance.

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Freaky Green Eyes

Freaky Green EyesFreaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book that I could not put down. Francesca, or, Franky (as she likes to be called) is a 14 year-old, whose father is a famous retired football player- turned-announcer. She seems to have this great life, but very quickly, the reader discovers that Franky's father has a super short temper, is brutal and has his wife and children terrified of making him angry. This is a scary novel, that moves quickly. I would recommend this book for Maxson's mature 8th grade readers.

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Friday, August 09, 2013

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the WorldTemple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very interesting biography, dealing with a subject that many middle school students know very little about--autism. Temple Grandin was very lucky that she had such a brave and loving mother, because at the age of three, Temple's father wanted to put her away in a mental institution because she was not normal. She was diagnosed with autism, a disorder of the brain. This was way back in 1950, when most people had no idea what autism was.
This book does a wonderful job in explaining how Temple grew up, and was able to go to college. It tells this story with photographs and diagrams of Temple's work. Temple has been able to become a scientist and professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and has changed the livestock industry with her incredible designs for handling cattle. The author writes this story in a clear, straight-forward way. We see the many trials Temple had to deal with, as she learned what she needed to do to help change the world's view of people with autism.

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