Tag Archives: middle school

Flying Lessons

29 Jan

24561496Flying Lessons and Other Stories

Edited by: Ellen Oh
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Compilation Copyright 2017 by We Need Diverse Books

How often do you actually stop and read the book’s Forward first?  Sometimes I do but often I may or may not come back to it.  How much does it really add, when I just want to dive into the book?!  But for some reason, maybe because it was short or maybe because it started with “Dear Reader,” I started with the Forward that editor Ellen Oh wrote.  In two short pages, I saw her with a mangy kitten and, … well, you read it.  Suffice it to say that this short little story set the tone for me.

Flying Lessons and Other Stories visits little pockets of society or groups and shares a piece of the American pie.  Matt de la Pena, Newberry award winning author, tells the story of a young man wanting to play basketball at the highest levels. And learning to listen to advice that a quiet man gives.  I know Tim Federle’s Secret Samantha personally. And, I certainly know the feeling of sneaking into the library to get away from life.

At the ALA Midwinter Convention in Atlanta, I heard several of the authors talk about this book.  I chanted a Choctaw phrase with the rest of the audience.  I knew that the organization We Need Diverse Books was behind this anthology, but I didn’t really know what that meant.  Apparently it means that there are many, many stories out there to tell and listen to and to share.  After all, we all need something to look forward to.

Recommended: Grades 4 & up


Review: Simon Thorn & the Wolf’s Den

21 Dec

   Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den

By Aimee Carter

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Publishing

Publication Date: 2 February 2016

It’s the first day of school for Simon.  Simon is a scrawny seventh grader with a bully problem, a dead father, a missing mother and pigeons who talk to him mostly about food.  Besides this weird ability to talk to animals – including his buddy Felix, a mouse – seventh grade is shaping up as the worst year ever. His best friend is hanging with the bullies.  Even the 6th graders have no respect.  Simon won’t defend himself, but when another is threatening, he jumps in, no matter the consequences. The first day does not end with Simon being chased by a wolf, his mother arriving, and the swarms of rats trying to carry him off.  There are still hours to go and what Simon discovers on his first day will blow his mind forever.  

Boy discovers at twelve, he can turn into an animal.  I’ve read books like this before.  The difference is the author.  Ms. Carter takes us on a journey to the various Animal kingdoms where the betrayals come fast and furious.  Do you trust your parents? Do you trust the authority figures? Do you trust your friends? Do you trust your enemies?  

The only false note in the book comes at the end where Simon is dealing with Winter.  The emotions don’t add up in my view.  But the reality is that Simon Thorn is a who we want to be with a little extra something.  I think the boys in my school will enjoy it and the girls will too!

Recommended: Grades 5 & up


7 Tips To Help You Succeed in Middle School

8 May

Here’s a recent example of Animoto.