Sunday, December 13, 2009

U.S. News & World Report magazine released their list of America's Best High Schools for 2010 just last week. Two high schools in Guilford County made the list! The Early College at Guilford scored Gold, winning the #18 spot out of the top 100 schools in our nation. The Weaver Academy for Performing & Visual Arts and Advanced Technology scored an amazing Honorable Mention as well! Way to go!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Homeboyz, by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

"It is a very good book. I liked it because it actually sets the readers mind into what a teen would or could be experiencing. The book is about a boy they call T-Bear (a.k.a Teddy) who was out to get back at the gang that killed his younger sister. While trying to do that he was arrested and (as) his punishment he has to mentor a young boy named Micah. Micah actually ended up being the one to tell Teddy that he knows who killed his sister. When Teddy finally gets to the boy they said did it, Micah explained what really happened and tells Teddy to go ahead and kill him, but Teddy decides otherwise because what he really wants he can't have, because killing him won't bring his sister back." Reviewed by Mikita W. at T. Wingate Andrews High School!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

This is a “Boy, dodging ex-girlfriend, meets new girl. Girl, dodging her own little problems, meets boy” love story about the events of just one memorable evening at a punk rock club. Heavily sprinkled with generous amounts of profanity and a raw appreciation for the power of punk music, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a fast-paced story told in alternating chapters by none other than Nick and Norah! I thought the authors did an excellent job keeping the narratives real and fast-paced!

And if you are a fan of the book, check out the library's copy of the popular movie! Made in 2008 it stars Michael Cera as Nick and Kat Dennings as Norah! Kat was nominated for the MTV Breakthrough Performance Female Award for her role, and the movie was nominated for the Teen Choice Award!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Playing in Traffic, by Gail Giles

Matt's a quiet high school senior, keeping to himself and trying his best to just blend in with the background in his high school. Skye on the other hand is totally Goth, with black fingernails, black lipstick, multiple piercings and tattoos, and an outgoing personality. They have nothing in common . . . until the day she deliberately bumps into him and introduces herself while walking her fingers over his arms. He hastens to class, but returns later to his locker to discover a note written in blood red tucked into it. “Park 7. You know you want to” was all it said.

Playing in Traffic is a taunt, well-paced thriller that explores the themes of isolation and manipulation. Check it out! Other books by Giles include Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters, and Shattering Glass.

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Complicated: The American Teenager
By Robin Bowman

Back in 2001 photographer Robin Bowman was invited to spend a long weekend with a friend and her extended family in a remote cabin in Canada. With her talent for photography, and with so many open-minded, friendly teens surrounding her, she decided to do what came natural: interview and take their photographs!

That weekend sparked Bowman's desire to crisscross the nation meeting, interviewing, and photographing teens from all walks of life. Often times she just walked up to them on the street and started chatting with them. If they agreed to be interviewed she would take their pictures, then sat down with them in a quiet place (sometimes her car!) to ask them 26 questions (Yes, everyone got the same 26 questions!). After four years and eight very long car trips she put together this stunning, award winning book that takes a revealing peek into the lives of a very diverse group of teens. You owe it to yourself to take a peek at it! ~ Reviewed by Robbie

  • "My biggest fear is getting older and becoming a bum on the street or something, and having nowhere to live. Sleeping in cold parks. That's my biggest fear. Because nobody grows up and says, "I want to be a bum." It just happens." Excerpt from interview with Shavaris Buie, age 18, Brooklyn, New York.
  • "When I become an adult - then I want more than my family has. I've always strived to do better than what my dad's done in life. He was a three point student; I wanna be a 3.5. He was a good athlete; I wanna be a great athlete. I wanna go out and do better than that and provide something better for my kids . . ." Excerpt from interview with John Srofe, age 16, Terrace Park, Ohio.
  • "I don't like staying with my mom . . . she's not there. She's crazy . . . she acts like she's twelve. I did have a job, but she took my paycheck She had just barely moved into this one place and needed, like, dishes and this and that, so she took my paycheck." Excerpt from interview with Diamond Aviles, age 15, Montello, Nevada.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Maximum Ride, by James Patterson

"A group of genetically enhanced kids who can fly and have other unique talents are on the run from part-human, part-wolf predators called Erasers in this exciting SF thriller that's not wholly original but is still a compelling read." School Library Journal

"I love this series - Best series ever!" Reviewed by Carryl!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kissing the Bee, by Kathe Koja

This simple romantic tale showcases the talents of author Kathe Koja as she weaves the tale of three high school going through their senior year: Dana, her best friend Avra, and Avra's boyfriend Emil. Dana has secret feelings for Emil, but Avra is slightly too self-absorbed to catch the signs!

Booklist Magazine rated this one of their top 10 youth romances of 2008!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Recently the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on a large survey done on the eating habits of about 100,000 high school students. NPR ran a story on it with the headline: "9 in 10 High School Students short on Fruits, Veggies." I heard the story on the radio, and then surfed to the Centers for Disease Control's website to find the full report. It's official: fewer than 10% of U.S. teens are getting the total recommended amount of both fruits and vegetables! It gets worse: Only 13% are getting three servings of vegetables a day, and only 32% get two servings of fruit! And yet these foods contain the nutritional building blocks essential for helping your body become strong and healthy! So what's a malnurished student going to do????

Well for starts I can recommend a got a couple of terrific books to help you keep motivated to eat health. One of my favorites is The Smart Student's Guide to Health Living, by M.J. Smith. It's a wonderful book backed with easy ways to eat healthy meals and snacks, as well as other tips to keep you at your best. It even has easy recipies for you to try. Honestly the nachos, burrito bites, Bavarian Kraut Casserole, and crab spread (to name a few) sound delicious and a snap to make!

The Right Moves to Getting Fit and Feeling Great, by Tina Schwager, is another great guide to healthy living written just for young women. It covers all the things basics of healthy eating, and she keeps it fairly simple and to the point. But it doesn't stop there! It goes on to talk about body fitness, keeping a positive outlook on life, and exercise, excercise, exercise! She even throws in quick surveys to you can check yourself to see how healthy your lifestyle is . . . or isn't!

I'm not saying to scrap eating the occassional hamburger and fries (I love those too!). But would it really hurt us to snack more on a few more fruits and vegetables, and not go crazy over the chips and candy? Leading a healthy lifestyle isn't about being a fanatic. It's about taking the time to make better decisions about our own bodies! Robbie:-)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Possibilities of Sainthood, by Donna Freitas

In this sweet first-time story by author Donna Freitas we meet 15 year old Antonia Lucia Labella, who attends a Catholic School, helps out at the family's little Italian market, and has a crush on handsome Andy Rotellini. Donna loves keeping a diary about the saints, and passionately writes to the Vatican every month (for the past eight years!) asking them to create a new living saint - - and put her in the job!

This is a delightful first-time story by Donna Freitas, who teaches at Boston University, and herself grew up making homemade pasta with her Italian mother and grandmother!

Monday, September 14, 2009

When My Name Was Keoko, by Linda Sue Park

Shortly before the outbreak of WWII Japan began expanding its empire. This included overrunning Korea. Under Japanese rule the Korean people were forbidden to study Korean language, learn of their own history, or even fly their country's flag. Korean children were even given new Korean names!

Set against a backdrop of World War II is this tale of Kim Sun Lee, who during the day goes to school to learn Japanese language and culture, and returns home at night to secretly learn the Korea's time-honored ways. Tense with drama and intrigue, this is an exciting story that will spark many questions about this unique period in world history!

"You can feel the sympathy for the Koreans, and the author did a good job helping you (understand)." Haejin

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

"The author's perspective was interesting. . . . but I did not like how she mentioned drugs and several inappropriate things." Haejin

I admit, Hinton's classic young adult book can be a bit of a shock, with it's realistic portrayal of gang wars, friendship and alienation back in the '60s, so I'm sorry Haejin did not enjoy the book. Still, many others have read it (over 13 million copies sold to date) and enjoyed the tale!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

In the book that spawned four sequels and a movie, Stephanie Meyer's weaves the popular vampire tale of Isabella Swan, who's family moves to rainy Forks, Washington. There, in her high school biology class, she meets Edward Cullen, who is as mysterious as he is handsome. With porcelain ski, a mesmerizing voice and supernatural gifts, Isabella quickly realizes there's more to Edward than meets the eye, and she is determined to uncover his secret. But as she digs deeper into his mysterious world she finds herself falling for him.

If your a fan of the Twilight series, then don't miss Stepanie Meyer's offical website, where she reveals how a dream lead her to write the story! It's fascinating!
"Nerds, Druggies, Jocks. If television shows and movies are to be believed, teenage boys in America all fall into one of these three categories. But is this really all there is? Or are boys far more complex than we give them credit for?"

These powerful words are from the jacket cover for Malina Saval's new book The Secret Lives of Boys. To uncover the truth about the complex lives that young men now lead in America, Malina searched across America to meet and interview ten teens from all walks of life. From a teenage father, to drug abuser, a rich kid, and even a special "sheltered one," Saval tries to get reveal what makes the modern boy "tick." The New York Times had this to say about the book: "Parents, teachers and especially teenage girls will be fascinated to know that boys care about fashion, cry about girlfriends and have deep feelings. More important, they might see aspects of themselves reflected in these stories and realize, as I did, that boys aren’t so mystifying ­after all."

Monday, June 8, 2009

What I Saw and How I Lied, by Judy Blundell

Written in a retro style of language to pick up on the mood of the 1940s, What I Saw and How I Lied is a gripping story of a young girl caught in her first intense love during the post-WWII world of 1947. Evie's stepfather, returning from his tour of duty in the Army, takes Evie and her mother to Florida, where she meets his old Army pal Peter and sparks begin to fly! But when a tragedy strikes, Evie is forced to consider the truth about her parents. This National Book Award winner for Young People's Literature is part mystery, part romance, and part a coming-of-age novel. ~ Robbie

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Secret Life of Sonia Rodriguez, by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Sonia has a secret. She is the daughter of her illegal latino parents, driven north from Mexico by extreme poverty. Her father works three jobs to help support her family, and Sonia cooks & cleans to help her family out, and tries hard to stay clear of her drunken uncle who lives with them. More than anything Sonia wants to be the first in her family to graduate from High School, and vows not to let anythings stop her!

"Sonia's immediate voice will hold (readers) with its mix of anger, sorrow, tenderness, and humor." ~ Booklist Magazine

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli

Set during WWII in the heart of Poland's war torn Warsaw ghettos, a young boy struggles to survive. He steals to put food in his stomach. He does not even know his own name. He is terribly alone, with no family to watch over him, until someone takes pity on him, and helps him join a gang of gypsy children who are trying to survive the horrors of the Holocaust. ~ Robbie
" I give Milkweed five stars because whatever event or problem happened at the beginning there was another part to it at the end. The story was like a puzzle throughout. Reviewed by Haejin!

The Fellowship of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

"It is a very difficult and long book. It was hard to understand." Reviewed by Stephen, Hemphill Branch Teen Reader.

English author and noted scholar J.R.R. Tolkien first wrote The Hobbit, the prequel to the Lord of the Rings series, back in 1937. I remember reading it for the first time just a few years ago and marveling over how detailed and well-crafted it was. Most certainly a pleasure to read! Tolkien then followed it by writing his classic books The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. This fantasy series gained many fans, and was later turned into a series of movies in the early 21st century.

I remember reading that Tolkien spent much time creating a fictional setting for the books that was rich in language (he actually taught medieval languages at Oxford, England), characters, action and bold settings. Millions have loved his works, but also many have been turned off by the extensive details woven into their stories, and their length.

Are you a fan of the Lord of the Ring series? We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Road of Memphis, by Mildred Taylor

"Mildred Taylor did a good job concentrating on the main events & staying focused. I also liked the part when she said "We never saw Jeremy Simms again" because that told me he died during or after the war. But I wanted to see more confessions on how the Logan's family was wrong about him betraying them at the end. He was a friend!" Reviewed by Haejin

Cassie must confront racism in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1941 where she lives and attends high school. Her friend Moe is attacked and, to save himself, terribly hurts one of his attackers. Faced with mounting hatred in the community, Moe must flee town, aided by Cassie and his friends.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stormbreaker, by Anthony Horowitz

"It was an exciting book that you don't want to stop reading. It gives good details, and it makes your heart beat faster and faster." Reviewed by Nick, Hemphill Branch Teen Reader.

"After the death of his uncle, Alex Rider gets involved in the mysterious, dangerous world of M16 (British Intelligence). Spawning several sequels and a movie the Stormbreaker series offers you a great break from the mundane!" Robbie

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Envious Casca, by Georgette Heyer

"Great mystery. It was a little slow at parts, but altogether great. I never would have suspected the killer, although my Mom guessed immediately." ~ Reviewed by Rachel

Nathaniel Herriad, owner of a large estate, is murdered in a locked room at Christmas, and his six guests are the prime suspects!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Child Called "it": One Child's Courage to Survive

"I really liked this book. It was the best book I have ever read!" ~ Reviewed by Claudia

This autobiographical account charts the abuse of a young boy as his alcoholic mother first isolates him from the rest of the family; then torments him; and finally nearly kills him through starvation, poisoning, and one dramatic stabbing. Pelzer's portrayal of domestic tyranny and eventual escape is unforgettable ~ School Library Journal

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Things Not Seen, By Andrew Clements

Ever wondered what it would really be like to be invisible? What would you do? In Andrew Clements novel "Things Not Seen" 15 year old Bobby wakes up one morning to discover he has indeed turned invisible. His parent tell him not to tell anyone, but soon he decides to brave the world and seek his own answers to this dilemma. Unobserved he heads (naked!) down to the local public library, where he meets & befriends Alicia, a blind teenager, and together they try to unravel the mystery behind his very unique predicament! ~ Reviewed by Robbie

"This book deserves more than five stars!" Reviewed by Haejin

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Plays of Shakespeare

Rachel, a wonderful Hemphill teen reader, has given us her own reviews of three of William Shakespeare's popular plays!

Taming of the Shrew: "This was the only Shakespearian play that I really enjoyed, as it was a comedy. If you're going to read Shakespeare, read this play!"

Macbeth: "It wasn't all that interesting for me because it wasn't something I wanted to read. It was schoolwork."

The Tempest: "It was OK after Mom explained the Greek mythology. But it wasn't exactly my style!"

Do you have problems understanding Shakespeare's plays? Don't feel bad, the English language has changed dramatically from what was spoken over 400 years ago, when William was alive and writing, not to mention our society! And yet The Bard (as he is commonly called) penned many powerful plays that are well worth diving into - IF you have the patience to tackle them! Write us with your thoughts about Shakespeare and his works!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jarhead, by Anthony Swofford

"I don't this this book is all that good because it only talks about one person's point of view. There is way too much unneeded nonsense. But it speaks the truth in many statements." Reviewed by Nick, a Hemphill Branch reader.

Anthony Swofford recounts the time he served in the 1991 Gulf War as a Marine sniper. Dissappointed over how he was received when he returned home, Swofford became depressed and angry. Like in many tales told after a big event, some elements of this account may stray from the facts, but still it still makes a good read.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In the Forests of the Night, by Amelia Alwater-Rhodes

"I give this book five stars (out of 5) becaust it had a good plot. I liked how the storyline was laid out. Reviewed by Nyssa, Hemphill Branch Teen Reader!
Yes, it's another tale about vampires! Three hundred year old Risika is prowling the night in New York City looking for fresh blood, and revenge for her slain brother. What makes this story really interesting is that the author was only 13 when she wrote it! Sorry, but our library does not have it yet.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Born to Rock, by Gordon Korman

Conservative high school student Leo Carraway, head of his school's Young Republican club, learns a shocking truth - his biological father is really King Maggot (real name Marion McMurphy), head of the hard rock group Purge! After he loses his college scholarship Leo decides to track down McMurphy and demand the tuition money from him. But McMurphy first demands a DNA test, and offers Leo a summer job working as a roadie for the band while they wait for the results - NOT Leo's idea of the perfect summer job!

"I think this book was pretty good because it was funny and interesting. I would recommend this book to anybody!" Reviewed by Asha

Leo's journey to punk-rock appreciation is a sharply observed, original take on the tired "outsider looking in" cliche - Booklist

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teen Book Club @ the Central Library
Tuesday, April 14th from 3:30 - 4:30
Bring a good book to talk about!
Snacks provided.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Undercover, by Beth Kephart

"I think this book is terrific because the character in the book (Elisa) had such deep thoughts it made you think, wonder, imagine what it might be like to be in her shoes! The writing was great!!! Reviewed by Asha, who is homeschooled.

This is a beautifully written, engrossing tale of a painfully introverted and self-effacing teen who slowly finds herself, along with love, a passion for skating, and new words and ways to use them ~ School Library Journal

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Land, by Mildred D. Taylor

"This book is about the life of a male in the early 1900s. It tells about hardships, loss, and life. The book was not as exciting and adventurous as I wanted it to be. Also, parts didn't lead (anywhere). That's why I only gave it three out of five starts." Reviewed by Timothy.

This prequel to Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry tells the story of a biracial boy raised in Georgia in the late 1860s, and the many hardships he endures while growing up. ~ Robbie

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tartuffe, by Moliere

"I give this book four out of five stars because it shows that not all plays are boring. It teaches the importance of trusting your family more than someone who says the right thing in front of you, and then does the opposite behind your back!" Reviewed by Trang, Hemphill Branch Teen Reader!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dragon Keeper, by Carole Wilkinson

Hey, I've got a book review! Dragon Keeper is a book on Ancient China and Dragons. It is one of the best books I've ever read. It has Adventure,History, Action and Mystery all in one. It is a trilogy, it is comprised of: Dragon Keeper (Book One), Garden of the Purple Dragon (Book Two) and Dragon Moon (Book Three). ~ Way to go Peter for a great review! Thanks for emailing us. Keep those reviews coming!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This Perfect Day, by Ira Levin

In this futuristic tale there is no more crime, no fighting, or disease. Everyone conforms, and follows what UniComp (the all-powerful computer system leading their great society) tells them to do. But Chip gradually realizes begins to realize the truth - the power of being a free-thinking individual.

"I give this book five stars (out of five) because it was written with a great writing style that presented a clear and direct picture of what was going on, putting the reader into the story." ~ reviewed by Anna

From what I've seen, most professional reviewers didn't put the book in the same class as Orwell's 1984, but they still thought it was a decent read. ~ Robbie

Sunday, March 15, 2009

YALSA Book Awards

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has just announced this year's awards for the top teen books written in the previous year. Take a peek to see if your favorite books and authors won!

YALSA will also be awarding an award for the best teen nonfiction book starting in 2010. I can't wait to see who wins!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Watchmen, by Alan Moore

Set in an alternative 1980s, Watchmen is the story of a band of retired superheros drawn back together by the murder of one of their own. Outlawed by the U.S. government, they race to solve the mystery of who killed The Comedian. Set against the background of a world on the edge of nuclear war, Richard Nixon still running for office, and rampant crime, this graphic novel (originally a comic book series) is a provocative look at the culture of superheros and their motivations.

Originally published by Alan Moore in 1986-1987, and then later republished as a graphic novel, the book is considered one of the classics of the genre. I read the book many years ago, and absolutely loved it! The movie adaptation that's out now does a good job telling the story, though in my opinion the heavyhanded use of flashbacks slows it down. ~ Reviewed by Robbie:-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskins

On Halloween millionare Turtle Westing, owner of Westing Paper Company, dies. Days later 16 letters arrive to his potential heirs to informed them that they will be paired up and given clues to a riddle. The first team to solve the puzzle get Westing's vast fortune!

"This book was very interesting because I have never read a book (where the) problem all started with a game! The reason I only gave this book four out of five stars is because it was very confusing & difficult to understand." By Haejin, loyal Hemphill Branch Teen reader!

Haejin has turned in great reviews for 20 teen books now - a record for Cool Books for Teens! Way to go Haejin!
The 310: Boy Trouble, by Beth Killian

"This book is better than the previous one in the series, but still doesn't live up to the first book. Seventeen year old Eva (an aspiring actress) finds herself again, but unfortunately she's still involved with two guys. The plot is a little shallow for my taste." Reviewed by Adrienne.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer

A tale of true love that has a bite to it! Who ever knew reading a love story between a girl and vampire could be so intriguing? This is a must read! ~ Robbie:-)

"It's awesome! Meyer's imagery is amazing" ~ Reviewed by Alexandria, 8th grade.

"I don't really understand it" Reviewed by Armani.

I need more reviews of Twilight! Click here to help!

Bonus: You're the first to know that the library has just placed an order for the Twilight motion picture. Click here to reserve a copy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Can't Get There From Here, by Todd Strasser

America is faced with a growing social problem: homelessness. According to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty there were 3.5 million homeless people in 2007, 1.35 were children. The reasons why vary from person to person, but the hard reality of their life on the street is still the same. President Obama's new stimulus package promises money to help combat this crisis, but will it help?

Lee Weatherly's story "Can't Get There From Here" covers the day to day reality of homelessness for a group of teens living on the streets of New York City. Facing hunger, lack of shelter, abuse, drugs and more, the teens find themself struggling to make it from one day to the next. Unfortunately some don't win the fight. It's a gripping tale that will haunt you!

"It talks about real life issues. From homelessness to dying to getting lucky (and finding a safe place to call home) it teaches lessons and facts about the real world. Reviewed by Nick, Hemphill Teen Reviewer!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

In an interesting plot twist, Death himself narrates this WWII story of young Liesel Meminger, who lives in Nazi Germany. After her parents are arrested and taken away. Liesel goes to live with her foster parents, who live on the outskirts of Munich. Amidst all the suffering and sadness, Liesel meets a very interesting assortment of people, and is taught how to read by her foster dad after she steals the book "The Grave Digger's Handbook."

I guess, for me, having Death dispassionately narrate a tale certainly certainly adds a twist to the story. And it opens interesting insight (though it is fiction) into what it must have been like living in Germany during this dreadful time.

"Took me a LONG time to get interested. In fact, I don't think I ever was." Reviewed by Madeline.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Now You See it, by Vivian Vande Velde

15 year old Wendy is in for a surprise when she breaks her glasses and rescues a pair of perscription sunglasses that fit her perfectly. Suddenly she can see that some of the people around her aren't who they pretend to be. A mildly geeky boy turns into a rather good looking prince with elven ears; another girl turns out to be a very old crone! The glasses are indeed special - they let Wendy see the real AND the magical world. And when Wendy finds a magical door that leaps her back in time to when her grandmother was a teenager things really begin to get exciting as other magical creatures turn up to steal the glasses away from her! ~ Reviewed by Robbie:-)

"Creative, but not very interesting. The climax lasted for about 2 seconds." Reviewed by Madeline!

Friday, February 13, 2009

This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti

Good versus evil fight it out in the small town of Ashton as a preacher and newspaper reporter challenge the forces of evil. We're talking demons here folks! ~ Reviewed by Robbie:-)

"Awesome book! Every Christian should read it" ~ Reviewed by Rachel, Hemphill Branch Teen Reader.
Glory Field, by Walter Dean Myers

This wonderful 250 year account of a African American family's strugge for freedom begins with the kidnapping of young Muhammad Bilal in African, and his journey to America. Starting with insights into of his life, and then told through successive generations of his family, Glory Field tells the story of the Lewis family's strugge against slavery and oppression. It ends in the late 20th century with a large family reunion, held at the former plantation (called the "Glory Field) where Muhammad once lived. It's a captivating story - though at 400 pages long it's not the faint of heart! ~ Reviewed by Robbie:-)

"This was a good book because it showed black history through a fictional family" ~ Reviewed by Sha-Reh, Hemphill Branch Teen Reader!

"This book was informational as well as entertaining. I thought it was really good!" ~ Reviewed by Tara, Hemphill Branch Teen Reader!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bras & Broomsticks, by Sarah Mlynowski

Life was crazy enough for 14 year old Rachel, until the day her divorced Mom broke the news that her little sister Miri was a witch. And no, not the “you're-a-pain-in-the-butt-and-your-driving-me-crazy!” kind of sister, but a real 100% magic using witch! And so was her mom (though she had hid it all these years)! Now it’s going to take Miri one year to be trained by their mom, which gives Rachael plenty of time to think up ways to use her sister’s new power to benefit herself! ~ Reviewed by Robbie!

"This story has good plot, but the characters aren't well-developed. There is too much background info on the main characters, and not enough on the others" Reviewed by Adrienne, Hemphill Branch Teen Reader!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Highs! Over 150 Way to Feel Really Good . . . Without Alcohol or Other Drugs, by Alex J. Packer

There are many ways to feel good without using drugs! That’s the message Alex Packer brings to us in his book of fun ways to relieve stress and feel great! I bet you can already guess some of them. Get enough sleep every night, eat food that recharges your body’s energy, put sadness in its place, do deep breathing exercises – these are basic ones we already know. But Packer goes several steps further! Try skateboarding or self-hypnosis, take a hike, enjoy a warm bath, seek out a truly quiet place to relax, take 20 minutes every day to write down your thoughts, lay off the caffeinated drinks, and much more! In all Packer has come up with over 150 ways you can make yourself feel better. Not all are my idea of fun (like staring at a friend's face until you can see a “double image” of it), but I thought most of them were easy to do & sure to help me feel good! ~ Reviewed by Robbie:-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau

"The novel . . . takes place in the dark city of Ember, a decaying place with no natural light surrounded by the vast Unknown. Although ancestors had arranged for information on leaving Ember to be made available after the inhabitants have spent 200 years there, a corrupt mayor lost the information many years before the novel begins. Two hundred and forty-one years later, Ember's electrical lighting frequently fails, supplies are dwindling, and the populace is growing increasingly frightened. Twelve-year-old Doon and his acquaintance Lina are intent on finding a way to save Ember. After Lina finds a mysterious and fragmented paper titled "Instructions for Egress," they think they have a way out. Can they escape from the villainous mayor and his soldiers?" Reviewed by School Library Journal.

"It was a well written book (with) great characters and a cool way of showing you a new world!" Reviewed by Asha, Homeschooled

"All kids in ember have to start work at age 12. The mayor comes to the class's last day of school forever and the students draw their job, written on a piece of paper, out of a sack. They work at that job for 3 years, and after that, if they did it well, they stay at it. I don't know what happens if they fail, it never happened in the book." Reviewed by Shaina

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rimonah of the Flashing Sword: An African tale, adapted by Eric A. Kimmel

"This story is interesting because it shows two peculiar things. First it's an example of the phenomenon of remarkably similar stories being told in seemingly unrelated regions (of the world). For example, here we have a story amazingly similar in detail to the European story of Snow White, but from a completely different county - in this case North Africa."

"The second ( pecular thing) is that the heroine in the story . . . yields highly from Middle Eastern sources. The heroine is not only the center of the story, but is a militant character both matching wits and swords with her male contemporaries. This shows that even in repressive countries women have left their mark on legends and culture around the world."
Reviewed by an anonymous teen, who dropped his review by the Central Library a few days ago. Thank you!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen

"This book is terrific "because . . . I don't know. It's just something about Sarah Dessen's books that make me want to keep reading them! I read most of her books and "Just Listen" is my absolute favorite!" Reviewed by Asha, Homeschooled."

"This is young adult fiction at its best, delving into the minds of complex, believable teens, bringing them to life, and making readers want to know more about them with each turn of the page." Roxanne Myers Spencer ~ School Library Journal

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson

"I give this book five stars! It is very descriptive and (that) makes the story much easier to understand. It it is heartwarming and very suspensful. I love it! Reviewed by Chris Marie, from Brown Summit Middle School!

"Extremely well researched, Anderson's novel paints a vivid picture of the seedy waterfront, the devastation the disease (Yellow Fever epidemic) wreaks on a once thriving city, and the bitterness of neighbor toward neighbor as those suspected of infection are physically cast aside." ~ Publishers Weekly

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

"This is a book about how the Greek gods are still real, and how they still make half-god and half-mortal heroes. It is set in modern times though. It blended the ancient Greek gods with modern time (ones) seemlessly." Reviewed by Terrance, Brown Summit Middle School!