2004 - Annotated Book list

genre themes myRating WebComments author bookTitle
fantasy fiction adventure good and evil Four Stars It s the second day of the week and the second book in The Keys to the Kingdom. Will continues in his quest for a return to normalicy in his world and with his family, although normalicy with his family is not a typical normal. However, the main action for this adventure is not on Earth and his family is unaware of his recent acceptance of this responsibility. Nix has created not one world, but seven connected to each other and life on Earth. Mere happenstance saved Will s life, but involved him in the creation of what will be the future of the entire universe . Keys is the adventure of that quest to attain and distribute the keys in amanner that saves the universe from evil exploitation. Garth Nix The Keys to the Kingdom: Grim Tuesday
adventure fiction greed himalayas golden dragon statue family friends supernatural budahism respect for all living things respect for life adventure Three Stars The second book in a trilogy. The first being City of the Beasts. Adventure continues on a different continent with the same characters of good. An adventure of a struggle for preservation of ancient way against people that would exploit them for personal gain. The intrigue is still here, but a small step below City of the Beasts. Isabel Allende Kingdom of the Golden Dragon
realistic fiction family summer camp art social activism individuality Hungarian Americans
clever play on words
Five Stars Margaret Rose Kane is sent to summer Camp Talequa by her parents as they head off to Peru. Margret would rather have stayed with her Uncles Alex and Morris Rose. Unknow to her there reason to seemingly reject her was their concern for her as they didn t want her present as their towers were being demolished. Great story of family, free will, persistence in maintaining ones values, creative expression, use of words, particularly clever play on words, and social activism. Other people s response from this book agree it s - fantastic Konigsburg know how to write a story. E. L. Konigsburg The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place
fantasy fiction Vermeer art mystery detective story friendship pentominoes Chicago University frog Five Stars Fantastic story of intrigue, art theft, and problem solving to recover a master piece. Calder, sixth grade girl mysteriously finds a book. Suddenly this book seems to be getting more involved in her life than any ordinary lost item should. Class assignments, people she meets, and other happenings seem to be related somehow to this book. Trying to understand unusual people, hidden messages in pictures with frogs and codes to decipher messages, and solve the mystery becomes her obsession. WIthin the story the reader is introduced to pentominoes, different views of art, and the University of Chicago as the setting. Great mystery and use of problem solving. Other people that I have talked to that have read this book agree. Balliett, Blue Chasing Vermeer
fiction realistic science Population control society freedom fear coping panic attacks adventure Four Stars Men in grey coats, people being killed, people being led off in handcuffs, secret rooms, riots, population police, and being a third child is some of what Luke has to deal with at the beginning of this story. WIll he survive? If so how and will there ever be a time when the population police are not in control and people will be free to make personal decision? Peterson Haddix, Margaret Among the Brave
fantasy fiction fantasy family abuse adventure art multimedia Four Stars Candy Quackenbush quest in Abarat continues as she makes a startling realization as to who she is, and the forces of night plan for war. Imagination, characters, plot, setting, story, writing, use of art... Everything in this book is creative. After reading the first I thought it was a bit off the wall. Reading the second puts it on the wall and everywhere else. I can t wait to see and read the third and discover the latest in Candy s quest. Small edited sample: Otto Houlihan (Criss-Cross Man), Lazaru, Baby Pink-Eye (reptilian claws and demented infant face) playing Knock the Devil Down, the Lord of Midnight (Christopher Carrion) talks to Toda about the slow progress of his army of stichlings (sewn together by Carrion s mother). Carrion(has a high transparent collar around his head with nightmares swimming hungrily within wanting a meal of fear). Todo unsuccessfully pleads for mercy as Carrion turns to Houlihan who reports that Candy and Malingo (a geshrat) escaped him in Ninnyhammer and again at Soma Plume. You must apprehend her, I want to understand her, capture her and bring her to me alive. As the nightmares feed on Todo s fears in the background. Okay, I did select probably the most graphic, but what s a quest without danger? Trust me it all comes together in a great story. I think the use of art in the book may make these pieces a landmark in the history of children s literature. Barker, Clive Abarat: Days of Magic Nights of War
realistic fiction family cancer home-schooled Wisconsin apple orchards saying sorry apologizing conflict resolution Five Stars It was one of those days that start right and just keep heading toward perfect until you go to sleep.
My insides started itching and my feet started hopin, one then the other, because they were ten minutes past ready to go. So I decided to speed things up a bit.
These are quotes from Ida B. The book is filled with interesting descriptive language as well as a great story about Ida B and her struggle to accept change and how people that believe in children can make a difference by believing in goodness will prevail. Also very supportive of reading and writing. Great story particularly for teachers.
Katherine Hannigan Ida B...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World
fantasy fiction Growing up adolescence family responsibility taking chances Four Stars Ursula K. Le Guin tells a tale of contrasts between worlds and people. Set in a fantasy world where families compete to create unions for security to pass their gifts through generations. By telling tales within tales she helps the reader understand how the characters are caught in their feudal history and the lineage of the parents. The story of Orrec, the main character, is of a boy coming of age and his struggle to find his place within his family and his responsibilities. Only Le Guin could create such an intricate thought provoking tale set in fantasy with themes recognized through all time and all worlds within 274 pages, powerful. Ursula K. Le Guin Gifts
realistic fiction survival war refugees trust fear persecution elitism Four Stars Powerful story of a family that seeks to escape from a civil war in Africa. The author delves into human nature and the struggle of survival under a cloud of mistrust and fear of persecution and death. Is survival possible without trusting someone? If not, how do we decide who and when to trust someone not only with our life, but the life of our family members? L. S. Matthews Fish
realistic fiction view of inside a fifth grade classsroom from a student s perspective single family retention special ed writing figurative language Five Stars Another nonstop read by Esme. Every page is more compelling than the one before. no question you will turn these pages to the end. A must read for teachers. Particularly in grade 4-6. Sahara a fifth grade girl struggles with the loss of her father while maturing emotionally and intellectually in a Chicago neighborhood. language use is incredible. I felt like I was floating on the ceiling, like smoke from something burning. It s like they re walking on ice, and the ice is made of other people s opinions. The only reason a girl your age should wear makeup is if she s a rock star or a hooker, and the minute you start showing promise in either of those areas we ll hop on down to Target and stock you up with everything you need, she promised. Don t tell auntie I said that, now.
Loving children is what teachers do for extra credit. It s not the main assignment.
Esme Raji Codell Sahara Special
fantasy fiction Family brother and sister Northland druids Vikings trolls Saxon Bards Jack and Jill Four Stars Very good story involving magic, legends, Vikings, trolls, dragons, bards, adventure, quest, duty to family.. Themes of life and death, being able to choose your destiny or having it decided, what is a life for? Very good adventure story with some great language and timeless questions of existence. Ties in to myths and legends particular Norse and English. Nancy Farmer The Sea of Trolls
realistic fiction learning disabilities underachiever humor school friends city apartment family recipe Three Stars Humerous and interesting story line and use of language. Story of Hank Zipper centered around family, friends, and multicultural day at school. Sitcom in paper back, lite reading to inspire... Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver Hank Zipzer: The World s Greatest Underachiever Holy Enchilada
picture book Caldecott Award 2005 Four Stars Creative use of black and white and milk and kittens. Kevin Henkes Kitten s First Full Moon
historical fiction Japanese American 1950-1960 cancer lymphoma family optimism Newberry Award Winner 2005 Four Stars Japanese American sisters move from Iowa to rural Georgia during 1950-1960. Katie tells the story in first person and sister Lyn has lymphoma. Glittering beautiful desire for family to own their home, sky blue.
Accelerated Reader puts at 4.5, but the themes are more for 11 or 12 year olds.
Cynthia Kadohata Kira-Kira
nonfiction Newberry Award winner 2005 Not yet Aren t all Russell Freedman books top notch? Russell Freedman The Voice That Challenged A Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights
picture book wordless fiction Caldecott Honor winner 2005 Four Stars On the way to school a child finds a red book. Takes it to school and sees that there is a map inside. On the map is an island with a small dot that becomes another child that finds a red book in the sand. The children are suprised to see each other in each other s book. The girl in the city uses balloons to float away, drop her red book, and floats into the other red book and meets the other child. A third child on a bike finds the lost red book, picks it up, and bikes away.
Maybe.. My interpretation since there are no words you may have a different one.
Barbara Lehman The Red Book
historical fiction slavery injustice stereotypes prejudice Maine history 20th century minister Phippsburg race human relations multicultural moving family friends clergy Five Stars HIstorical fiction about race relations and injustice resulting from prejudice in a 20th century small Maine town. The main character struggles to deal with several conflicts beyond the obvious prejudicial ones as he grows to manhood. Black and white relations, minister s son and trying to fit into an adolescent culture, male and female, family responsibilities and personal desires, good and bad. The author s use of language makes a powerful story even more powerful with numerous insightful descriptions:
...seemed about as surprised at each other as new hope drying a last tear. - Books can be fire. Books can ignite fires in your mind, because they carry ideas for kindling, and art for matches. - Should a minister s son be reading this? Who better.
... everything in the world rejoices in the touch, and everything in the world laments in the losing. And with his hand still on the whale he...
Gary D. Schmidt Lizzie Bright and The Buckminster Boy
fantasy fiction family relationships future war strife Four Stars Possibly one of the most talked about books of the year, Meg Rosoff's novel for young adults is the winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2004. John McLay
Daisy (15) tells the story of how she is sent to England by her father and pregnant step mother. While in Englland a war breaks out while her Aunt is away on business forcing her and her cousins to fend for themselves. Embedded within this survival story are stories about adolescent trying to find themselves while growing up. Recognition of an eating disorder, and adolescent sex - emotional description not physical being two. Many opportunities for powerful student discussions on adolescent issues. Includes an Epilogue six years later.
Meg Rosoff How I Live Now
science fiction future satellite troubled adolescents supernatural action adventure Four Stars 14 year old Cosmo Hill is unwanted by parents sent to Satellite City Clarissa Frayne Instutute for Parentally Challenged Boys. Put to work by the state. Escape or die. Supernaturalists parasites...
Part Blade Runner part Dickens; Midnight Rider, Ghost Busters, Men in Black, War of the Worlds...
Eoin Colfer The Supernaturalist
Fiction fantasy djinni geni magic London England adventure Four Stars Book 2. Adventure of 14 year old Nathaniel. He hasn t the time he needs to grow into his magical abilities and powers as he continues to discover plots against him and others that are working against the powers of evil. Will he be able to discover himself and sort out the good from bad before it s too late. Bartimaeus is a powerful ally, but how committed can a djinni be when it knows you have the capacity for total control? Jonathan Stroud The Bartimaeus Trilogy book 2 The Golem s Eye
Fiction fantasy djinn Cairo magical power adventure brother sister Egypt twins uncle family Four Stars 12 year old twins Philippa and John discover they are descendants from a long line of djinn. Their mother sends them to Uncle Nimrod who takes them to Egypt to begin their education about their extraordinary powers. The training is interrupted with the necessity of dealing with the ongoing struggle between good and evil djinn and the potential change in the balance of power. Good adventure story with themes for strong family ties. P. B. Kerr Children of the Lamp book one The Akhenaten Adventure
picture book fiction picture book art creativity Five Stars The mood and message of this book inspires the reader to do as the main character and rise above her inhibitions and begin to draw. With the first dot put to the page there is an excitement and realization that propels her to continue draw and encourage others to draw. Peter H. Reynolds The Dot
science fiction fantasy social future Four Stars A trilogy of The Giver, Gathering Blue, and The Messenger.
The unfolding of the world in The Giver added to that stories intrigue. That having unfolded in the first book, left readers with a yearning for more about this world. Gathering Blue and the Messenger provide the more.
Lois Lowry Messenger
myth nonfiction tigers Asia Cambodia myths science environment Not yet Fascinating information of the spiritual, mythological, and superstitions related to the tiger. Also how they evolved, how they survive in the wild, and today s dangers for extinction. Marvelous illustrations of the Cambodian setting as well as historical images from paintings, drawings, photographs, and other artistic endeavors. Karine Lou Matignon Tiger Tiger
nonfiction holocaust Germany Japan girl Five Stars The story of Hana Brady, a girl killed at Auschwitz, and how her suitcase came to be a part of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center. A CD recording of the radio program is available and adds to the impact and power of the book. The story ends on a positive note by uniting Japanese schoolchildren fascinated by Hana's story with her brother George Brady. The setting alternates between past and present, the Czechoslovakian resort town of Nove Mesto, and Fumiko Ishioka, a teacher in Japan educating her students about the horrors of the Holocaust. Black-and-white photographs accompany each chapter. The narrative moves quickly, though the writing is oversimplified. One can assume the direct quotes come from Hana's brother, George Brady, and Fumiko Ishioka, the original narrators of the radio program, but no notes state it. Karen Levine Hana s Suitcase
realistic fiction good versus evil science scientists world destruction super beings Three Stars None of the 7 professors are a main character. In fact their roles are minimal and have no significant impact on the plot other than their actions prior to the beginning of the story and the necessity to have them available to be kidnapped. The main character is Sam who teams up with Zara and Ben to save the world from the mad scientist Murdo. In their quest they befriend several other young people along their way to Murdo s research laboratory in the Arctic. Murdo s plan is to eradicated the world of the inferior human species and repopulate it the mad a new species of perfect people created by the scientist Murdo. It becomes a race against time as they must first travel from Europe to the Arctic. before they can stop Murdo. As with any adventure the heroes must stumble forward and encounter one obstacle after another before they arrive and attempt to free the kidnapped professors and save the world. Most people they met along the way aid them in their quest and some become part of the rescue party. John Fardell The 7 Professors of the Far North
science fiction future city Four Stars
Jeanne DuPrau The People of Sparks the second book of Ember