Tuesday, June 12, 2012

100 Books in 2012: Wonder by Palacio

Book 29:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Auggie is a bright, funny, intelligent boy who is about to attend school for the first time, entering middle school at a small private institution.  He's nervous, a little scared, and a little excited.  Sounds like a typical preteen?  But Auggie is different, unique, a wonder: he has a facial deformity that has caused him to have over twenty surgeries in the last ten years.  He doesn't look like everyone else.  And while he is academically on par with everyone and even quick witted, how will his face go over in middle school?

Told from a number of characters' points of view, Wonder is the special, heart-warming story of how Auggie matures, managing to have a "normal" school experience, while affecting the lives and hearts of his family, his new friends, his teachers and the students at Beecher Prep.

A definite winner and possibly a Newbery contender.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

100 Books in 2012: My Name is Mina by Almond

Book 28:  My Name is Mina by David Almond

Mina is different.  She doesn't fit in at her school.  She doesn't fit in at the special school.  She just doesn't fit in.  Through her journal and writings, we learn that Mina is very bright; she thinks about things differently than most people and they just don't get her.  She's trying to come out of her shell, trying to fit in, trying to write more about her feelings, to understand her dad's death.

I was a little put off at the beginning, hard to get into the book, but enjoyed it was I was a third of the way in.

100 Books in 2012: Lost in the River of Grass by Rorby

Book 27:  Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Fourteen year old Sarah, who's on a swim scholarship at a private school, goes on a weekend field trip to the Everglades with a group of snotty, preppy kids and the likable, nice teacher.  She finds herself faking sickness to avoid spending the day sloshing through the glades with the group and instead ventures out on an air boat with the fifteen year old son of the folks that run the camp.

What starts as a fun cruise through the cattails, saw grass, and marshy glades ends in a scary four day trek for the two teenagers as they try to get out of the glades on foot after the air boat sinks.  With alligators, snakes, cuts and bruises, and a baby duckling, Sarah discovers she's more courageous than she ever thought and that she and Andy need each other in order to come out alive.

Monday, June 4, 2012

100 Books in 2012: Condolezza Rice

Book 26:  Condolezza Rice:  A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me

I've always been impressed with what I knew about Condi Rice:  accomplished pianist, multilingual, respected historian and confident spokesperson.  After reading her autobiography, I'm even more impressed with her, her ideas, and her accomplishments.

Throughout the book chronicling her life from childhood through the beginnings of her work with President George W. Bush, Condolezza constantly relies on the close bonds with her parents and her own strong faith to make the decisions that have led her to become accomplished as a professor, provost, national security advisor, and secretary of state.  She is outspoken about her upbringing in segregated Birmingham, her support of affirmative action done right, and her decision to affiliate with the Republican party.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this autobiography and recommend it!