Burgs Sunday book review
If you are looking for gift ideas for your child, try these! Reviewed by Sarah Pahl, youth services librarian for Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library.
The sequel to Unwind does not disappoint. Shusterman starts off with a Q&A, which any reader will find as a useful refresher of the events from the first book. The main characters have all returned and continue to rebel against the Unwind Accord. Each chapter is written from a different character’s perspective. Connor has become the leader of the Graveyard, a home to AWOLs, runaway Unwinds. Risa, who is now wheelchair bound, serves as the medical advisor at the Graveyard. Lev, the former tithe, has been recruited to an underground movement of saving tithes. In addition, we are introduced to several new characters. Starkey is a troubled teen looking to undermine Connor and take charge of the Graveyard. Nelson, a “parts pirate” will not rest until he catches Connor. Cam, a new age Frankenstein, is created completely from parts of unwound teens! There are new plot twists to pull the reader back in and Shusterman succeeds in building the anticipation for the final book. Appropriate for ages 14 and up.
A good companion book to the recently released movie, “Lincoln,” is “Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship” by Russell Freedman. The book begins on Aug. 10, 1863, as abolitionist Frederick Douglass is eagerly waiting to meet with President Lincoln at the White House. He has come to air his grievances. The reader can clearly understand the tension in the air, “Douglass was the only black man among them. The others seemed surprised to see him, and some were none too pleased.” Freedman takes a detour from this tension and gives insight into the early biographies of Douglass and Lincoln. He is able to show that both men had much in common with each other. For example, they shared a love of reading and through self education were able to rise out of poverty. After the information on their early lives Freedman brings us back to the day Douglass hopes to meet with Lincoln. The author discusses the friendship these two men formed, a friendship that lasted although they only met face to face three times in their lives! The final chapter concludes with Lincoln’s assassination and Douglass’ reaction. Freedman’s research is apparent throughout the book. He weaves in obscure historical facts, documented dialogue and historical pictures and drawings throughout the book. I think this book serves as a great introduction to Frederick Douglass and is a wonderful addition to any classroom and library. Recommended for ages 9 and up.
Chained by Lynne Kelly; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.
This debut novel is a heartwarming tale of friendship and hope. In a small village in Northern India, ten year old Hastin’s sister has become ill and taken to the hospital. In order to pay the expensive hospital bills the family is forced to borrow money. In spite of his young age, Hastin chooses to help his family by getting a job. He meets Timir, the owner of a circus. Timir persuades Hastin to work for him with promises of adventure. Hastin finds himself deep in the Jungle and far from his home. Hastin’s job is to care for Nandita, the elephant calf, who is the star of the circus. As he befriends Nandita he quickly realizes the harsh treatment she receives when she is not performing. Hastin vows to protect her for as long as possible. Hastin is guided by Ne Min, the cook, who is very knowledgeable about elephant care. The novel is well researched and gives great insight into the world of elephant behavior. Each chapter starts with an informative passage from a fictional book, “Care of Jungle Elephants.” The author includes supplemental information about the steps some groups have taken to protect both children and elephants. Recommended for ages 9-12.
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