Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui

Product Details

This book is by and about a little girl in Yemen who was forced to marry a much older man when she was 9 years old. He abused her and she found the courage to go to court and ask for a divorce. Her case has helped other little girls in similar circumstances to have the courage to also ask for divorces. It is a sad situation and I hope that they will stop marrying off young girls in those countries. This brave young girl is in school and wants to be a lawyer and never wants to be married again. 

The Last Synapsid by Timothy Mason

The Last Synapsid

This is a book for middle school age children about a boy and girl who meet a time traveling pre-dinosaur who they must help in a mission to save mammals so that they will not be wiped out of existence by another time traveling pre-dinosaur. The children have many adventures and of course, they manage sto save all mammals including the human race.  It is a good book.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Angel - A Maximum Ride novel by James Patterson


Last summer, my 11 year old son Jacob, discovered the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson.  Jacob and I have been enjoying the books in this series.  I also read the adult novels that the concept of the bird children came from - When the Wind Blows and Lake House.  I am impressed with how James writes differently to his adult and young adult audiences.
Angel is the 7th book in the series.  The last book will come out in Feb. 2012. 
This series chronicles 6 children who have been genetically modified by "evil" scientists with avian DNA so that they have wings and can fly like birds.  The children also have other abilities such as super human strength, speed, and sight except for Iggy who is blind.  Angel is 7 years old and the youngest in the flock.  She can read minds and can influence other people to do what she wants.  She can also breathe under water and fight like a ninja.  In this book, the flock has been split because Fang left to start his own group and the two groups must merge to fight a group that has decided to kill all humans and have the mutated children created by the evil scientists take over after the apocalypse which apparantly they intend to create as well. 
My son and I really like this series and we highly recommend it to everyone.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

33 Men: Inside The Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners

33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners

I just read the book 33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners  by Jonathan Franklin.
This book has really made me think about the human cost of our way of living.  Just reading about how horribly dangerous mining is has made me sad that we use products that may have caused other people to have died or been maimed in order to obtain the raw materials that they are made of.  I look at my wedding ring and wonder if someone died so that I could have that gold.  I think about the copper pipes in my house and wonder if anyone was crushed and lost a leg or had their fingers blown off in a dynamite accident so that I could have copper pipes in my house.
It is a sobering thought. 
Is it worth it? 
Is that something I really want? 
I am sure some people will say that the men who work in mines chose to do so knowing the risks involved, and that is true.  However, those men do not have any other opportunity to earn that much money any other way.  Most of them do not have a good education and this is the way that they can earn a decent living for their families.
This book is well written and gives details that did not come out in all of the extensive television coverage of the entrapment and rescue of the miners.  For instance, during the rescue, there was a rock slide and the camera cable was cut.  They lost the live video feed.  So, while a brave miner was repairing the damage, which took several hours, they reloaded a video clip from earlier in the rescue.  When the repair was done, at an appropriate time, they hooked the live shot back in and no one outside ever noticed. 
It is interesting to learn about the psychological aspects that the miners suffered. 
I hope that this accident, and it's miraculous rescue, which brought worldwide attention to the issue of mining, helps to put pressure on mine owners and those who run them and on local governments to enforce stricter safety measures in mining. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time

This book tells about Greg Mortenson's mission to build schools for children in Pakistan.
It is very interesting and I learned a lot about Pakistan and the social and political issues there that I did not know before.  I learned that Muslims are not all fanatical extremeists and terrorists, but that the fanatical extremist groups have grown in those areas due to the extreme poverty and lack of education.
Greg risked his life over the years and built relationships with the people of Pakistan and has helped to build many schools there to educate their children and especially their girls.
I am impressed that he kept trying and did not give up despite the harsh and dangerous conditions.
He got kidnapped and almost killed once, he slept on the floor in smokey cold huts, he was able to negotiate with smugglers, he met the president of Afghanistan, he saw Mother Teresa's body after she died, and the first girl who graduated from his first school went on to a medical school and wants to start a hospital in her town.
I am thrilled that the girls in Pakistan are now getting educated and can overcome the conditions in which they have been raised.
I highly recommend this book and I am going to read his other books as well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Heaven is for Real by Tod Burpo

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

This is a story of a man who is a pastor and his son Colton, at age 3, had appendicitis and almost died. Perhaps he did die on the operating table because the doctors and nurses were convinced he would not make it . And, months later, when passing the hospital, he told his dad that he saw Jesus there and the angels sang to him. Over the next few years, the boy shared his experience of heaven with his family. He saw his grandfather there and his grandfather was young and did not have glasses. He was later able to identify his grandfather in a photograph when the grandfather was 29, but did not recognise a photo of the grandpa at age 60.

The book is very very intersting. Since Colton had said he had seen Jesus his parents asked him what Jesus looked like. They would show him paintings and drawings of "Jesus", but Colton said they were all wrong.
Until they showed him this one
look at the age 8 group - 2nd painting - titled Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Gift by James Patterson

The Gift (Witch & Wizard, Book 2)
This is the sequel to Witch and Wizard and continues the story of Whit and Wisty - a brother and sister who are gifted with magic and are being pursued by The One Who is The One - the evil ruler of the world at that time who has banned books, creativity and individuality among other things. 
I liked this book. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davit Bell

Little Blog on the Prairie
This is a really cute book for middle school age girls.    It is about a middle school girl named Gen whose mother has decided that this year's vacation they will go to Camp Frontier, where they will live like they are 1890 pioneers.  They compete with the other families there in an attempt to live authentically and improve their farm and at the same time learn about themselves, get to know each other in their family, and Gen, who has snuck in a cell phone, blogs about the whole experience to her friends.  It is interesting when the couple who runs the camp finds out what is really going on. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

Becca likes animal books and this is a good one.  It is a true story of how an orphaned baby hippo becomes best buddies with a 130 year old tortoise. 

Nubs: The True Story of a mutt, a Marine & a Miracle by Major Brian Dennis

Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle
I won't count this in my how many books do I read in a year - I don't think.
But, Becca and I read it and it is a good book. 
It is a touching story about a dog who found a friend in a marine in Iraq and got a new home in the USA.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre (Signet Classics)
This is a totally fantastic book!   I absolutely loved it!  It is an intriguing story that includes hardship, mystery, plot twists and true love.  It gives an interesting view of life in England in the 1800s and the class and society structure as well as an interesting view of the Christian religion at that time.
It begins with Jane's difficult childhood being raised by an Aunt who hates her but had promised to care for her.  Her life with her aunts and mean cousins is rather cinderellaish, but she is not required to work.
Then she is sent to a charitable institution girl's school where the pastor running the school practically starves the girls to death in an effort to help them be frugal self-sacrificing Christians.  After almost half the girls do die when disease breaks out in the school, they are moved to a better building and cared for much better and Jane gets a good education. 
The book then fast forwards to when Jane is 18 and her favorite teacher marries and leaves the school and Jane advertises and gets a job as a governess.
She falls in love with her employer, but there is a mystery in the house, which leads her to leave her true love, almost die, get taken in by strangers, who she later learns are her family and in the end after Jane grows up and matures some and her employer Rochester, who she loves, has had tragedy come into his life, many problems are solved and they marry and live happily ever after.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fat Cat by Robin Brande

Fat Cat

A great book for teenage girls!  Cat, an overweight high school girl uses her self as the subject of her science fair project as she tries to eat like a cave man might, avoiding all processed foods and walking whenever possible and as a result, she learns many things about herself, others and how food affects us.
She also learns many things about boys and how they react to her slimmer self and solves the problem that she has had for years with a boy who she used to be best friends with.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Unwind by Neal Shusterman


Set in the future, a time when abortion is illegal, but unwinding - harvesting all of a person's body parts is legal and desirable, troubled teenagers and those who are raised by religious fundamentalists as "tithes" are routinely "unwound" and sold off to the highest bidders in pieces.  Yet, it is not called murder and the "pieces" retain memories of their former selves.
This story follows the lives of 3 teenagers - two who are scheduled to be unwound and one tithe, as they fight the system to save their lives and the lives of others.
It is a well written, interesting book, and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

House of Stairs by William Sleator

House of Stairs

This is a short, odd and a bit disturbing book about a group of orphaned teenagers who have been put into a building that is full of only stairs and where they must please a machine in order for it to spit out food.  They learn to dance and do whatever is necessary to make the machine give them food.  It is an odd psychological experiment that they are part of.  The book is interesting and makes you think. 

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother.jpg

I wonder about the author's last name - Doctor Ow - sounds like a doctor that you would not want to go to.
Anyway, this is a good book.  It is about teenagers defending themselves and their city - San Fransisco - from the DHS after it cracks down on all electronic communication after a terrorist attack on their city.
There is a lot of detail about the game systems and the internet - the kids use x-boxes as a secure internet connection - and I skimmed or skipped over most of the technical explanations.  Other than that, the plot is interesting and I can see why it is assigned for high school students to read.
I enjoyed it and recommed it to high school age and above.