Saturday, March 14, 2015

What We've Been Reading 3/14/15

1)  Bomb by Steve Sheinkin - Bomb is my favorite history chapter book!  Steve Sheinkin does a wonderful job of telling the story of the building of the atomic bomb.  He mixes the science and history with spy stories, which makes this book really intriguing!  He tells us about the spies who kept the Germans from getting the bomb and the ones who stole the bomb from the US for the Russians.  We meet the scientists involved, learn about their experiments, and even learn about some of the politics involved.  My kids enjoyed reading this book too.  Just a small warning...the very last page of the epilogue will send shivers down your spine.

 2)  I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai & Patricia McCormick (the young readers edition) - Ginny says this is the BEST history book we've read yet.  It's the story of Malala, a girl from Pakistan, who is tormented by the Taliban.  About the first half of the book is about her life in Pakistan.  She's loves being able to go to school and learn.  She fights with her brothers.  She avoids doing the dishes.  Just like a typical kid in the US!  But the Taliban soon move into her area of Pakistan, the Swat Valley.  They don't want girls to attend school and take away other rights from women.  Malala and her father speak out against these things, and the Taliban take their revenge.  Malala is shot in the face on her school bus.  This book doesn't go into too many gory details, so it isn't too scary for kids to read.  It simply talks about her brave recovery and her continuing desire to help girls have the right to get an education.  Jack commented, "She's is my age when all this is going on."  And it's still happening.

3)  Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech - Ginny and I read this story for Reading class.  We both really liked it!  It's the story of a girl named Sal, some crazy grandparents, a father and mother, a best friend and a lunatic.  SPOILER ALERT (don't read past this point if you don't want to spoil the story for yourself!):  It's a touching story, but it made me cry like a baby.  Throughout the book, we know that Sal's mother has left her and her father, and we learn why.  But until the end, I didn't realize that her mother had actually died.  I don't know if I missed some clues.  Ginny says she had figured it out early on.  I guess I just hoped her mom would come back.  Anyhow, that very morning that I read the ending, I had just heard that a dear friend's mom had passed away.  It was just too heart-wrenching to read of Sal's loss too.  Truly, this is a wonderful story.  Sal's grandparents are a hoot!

4)  Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw - This is a play that Jack and I read for his Literature class.  It's a very straightforward kind of story with reasonably easy writing.  Quite doable for an 8th grader.  I did not realize that this is the play that "My Fair Lady" is based on.  We did watch the movie too!  I think there was too much singing in the movie for Jack, but he seemed to enjoy reading the play.  It's well written and worth reading, but it doesn't sit at the top of my favorites list.

5)  The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West - Ginny read all 5 of these books on her Kindle reader this past month!  She really enjoyed them.  She says they are about paintings that you can jump into using magical glasses or by holding a magical cat!  Sounds pretty cool to me!

6)  The Unwanteds: Island of Shipwrecks by Lisa McMann - Jack has been reading this series since the first book came out.  He totally adored the first book.  When I asked him if he liked book five, he said, "Of course I liked it!"  I can't get much more out of him.  This series is about a place where when kids reach the age of thirteen, they are put into categories like Wanted, Necessary and Unwanted.  The Unwanteds are eliminated.  If I remember correctly (I read the first book), the main character becomes Unwanted because he likes to draw and has an imagination!  And don't worry, they are not actually eliminated!

7)  Edge of Eternity by Ken Follet - I am currently reading this huge tome on recommendation from my mom!  It's book 3 in a series, and they are all very good.  These are historical fiction, and it's been fun to read this while at the same time the kids and I are studying these same periods in history.  It's just a LONG book.  But I'm close to finishing!

Currently, Jack is reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Ginny is reading The Enchanted Castle, and we are listening to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Happy Pi Day!

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