Friday, January 06, 2012

New Year - Guest Reviewers

I've been doing a lot of reading in anticipation of the Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert, and Printz awards from the American Library Association. I have favorites and many that I want to share with you. However, I'd like to start with some older titles that were recently read and reviewed at the Voorheesville Middle School with Ms. Kathleen Gaspary's 7th grade English class.

Gantos, Jack. Joey Pigza Loses Control. New York City: HarperCollins, 2000. Print.

What could possibly happen to a hyperactive 11-year-old boy when his medicine patches get flushed down a toilet? Joey Pigza Loses Control, by Jack Gantos, tells a funny but serious story of a preteen and his dad who both try to overcome their ADHD. The story takes place in Pittsburgh in the early 1990s. The main characters are Joey and his father,Carter Pigza. The main conflict in the story is between Joey and himself. Joey wants to please his dad by not wearing his patches, but he knows that if he does not wear his patches, the old wired Joey will catch up to him. The “coming of age” moment for Joey happens one morning when he is preparing for a semifinal baseball game. He notices some of his old behaviors, like pulling out his hair. He knows he needs his meds, or else bad things will happen.
The protagonist of this book puts himself in many hilarious situations, such as when he covers himself in shaving cream, making him look like the abominable snowman. Those who enjoy comedy would LOVE this book, but it also has a serious side to it. The story provides an understanding of the challenges faced by an adolescent with ADHD. ~Ryan

Preller, James. Bystander. New York: Macmillan Company, 2009. Print.

Thirteen-year-old Eric Hayes moves to Bellport, Long Island ready to face the new school year andgets off to an interesting start. Griffin, the popular kid in his grade seems nice. But is he trustworthy? Eric becomes friends with Griffin and comes totrust him. (More than he should.), When Griffin takes one of Eric’s most cherished possessions, it is Eric’s “coming of age” moment and Eric takes matters into his own hands. Eric fights back, physically and verbally. He also becomes aware of who to trust. And then he finds out just the kind of person Griffin Connelly really is and that he won’t give up this fight. He also encourages others to stand up for
themselves. I think anyone between the age of 10-14 who has dealt with bullies, had trouble standing up for themselves or moved to a new place would like this book. ~Maya

Bauer Joan. Stand Tall. New York: G.P Putnum & Sons, 2002. Print.

Who could believe a flood and a new girl and a divorcecould change a kid’s life? This book takes
place during spring in a city in 2002. Tree is the most important character in the book. He is trying to get people to stop thinking he is good at basketball just because he is tall. Tree grows up by learning how to take care of himself and others. The other way he grows up is he learns to be morerespectful and responsible.
People who are younger than the age recommendation wouldn’t like this book because they
wouldn’t understand it. I didn’t like how the book started. ~Ian

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