Parkland Speaks

Survivors From Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories

Edited by MSD teacher Sarah Lerner

This book was a powerful, emotional raw book to read. I had to read it in short spurts because I would get emotional and go back to that day watching the news filter in through the internet.  The poems, journal entry accounts, pictures and drawings were done by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas themselves. These kids lived that day and still to this day live that day. They experienced something I haven’t and can’t even imagine how it would impact me as an adult let alone a teenager. I work in an elementary school and have gone through the training’s – they scare me and stay with me long after I’m done. I can’t even wrap my head around it being the real thing. These kids are survivors, brave, strong and a voice that will not be silenced!  We need to stand up with these kids – our kids and make sure this and other school shootings do not get swiped under the rug. Kids should not have to worry about this, their biggest school worries should be grades, friends, etc.. School is supposed to be a safe place and so many middle school and high school kids I’ve heard from are scared every day that this could happen to them and that breaks my heart. Each journal entry, poem, drawing and photo was a personal glimpse into what they are feeling after the horrific Valentines Day that forever changed the lives of so many at Stoneman Douglas. I know this book touched me and want to thank each one of them for allowing me to read PARKLAND SPEAKS.

The closig line from CAN’T YOU HEAR by Allyson Sheehy  ” Can’t You Hear the screams now? Cause they are only growing louder.” PARKLAND SPEAKS is making sure that happens and I hope they continue to grow louder till reform and change happens.

About the book: Featuring art and writing from the students of the Parkland tragedy, this is a raw look at the events of February 14, and a poignant representation of grief, healing, and hope.

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing, and hope.

The intimate collection includes poetry, eyewitness accounts, letters, speeches, journal entries, drawings, and photographs from the events of February 14 and its aftermath. Full of heartbreaking loss, a rally cry for change, and hope for a safe future, these artistic pieces will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and the importance of valuing and protecting the ones you love.

Thank you Crown Books for Young Readers and Get Underlined for allowing me to read this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

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Sleepover At The Museum

by Karen LeFrak

illustrated by David Bucs

Publication Date: January 15th 2019

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Buy the Book:  AmazonBarnes and NobleIndigo! ( I’m not affiliated with any of these so if you click and buy I don’t receive any money. I just like the book and wanted to share easy to buy links for you.)

First thing I thought of when I saw and read the title of this book was one of our favorite family movies: Night at the Museum! We love the whole series and watch them a lot. This book is adorable and sure to be a hit with kids. I know my girls would have read this one over and over. Sleepover At The Museum is fun because you get to solve the clues along with Mason and his two best friends. The clue is given in bold type and then you flip the page to find out answer is along with information on the answer and room in the Museum of Natural History. You could wait to flip the page till after your reader/listener has given their answer or just flip the page right away. I really liked the fun educational mystery riddles part of this book. At the end of the book you get to find out what room Mason picked to have his sleepover in and I have to say he picked a good one. This book really makes me want to have a sleepover at the Museum of Natural History even as an adult! That would be so much fun. The illustrations are bright and full of bold colors and really captures the rooms in the museum. This picture book is definitely on my top 10 of 2019 and I’m pretty sure it will stay there.

About the book: Mason couldn’t wait to celebrate his birthday with a sleepover at the museum of natural history–his favorite place to visit.

Armed with headlamps for the dark hallways, a map, and a list of clues, Mason and his two best friends take off on a scavenger hunt through each hall of the museum. But they aren’t just trying to solve the clues. They’re scouting for the best place to spend the night.

Sleeping next to a T. rex in the Hall of Dinosaurs felt too scary. And sleeping with the monarch butterflies would probably tickle. This decision isn’t as easy as Mason thought it would be….

Wherever they end up, the museum at night is the best place for a birthday adventure!

Thank you Random House Kids and Crown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Sleepover At The Museum. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Layover

by Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer

 

 

Layover was an OK I liked it and it reminded me alot of a chick lit book for YA genre. I had issues with it as a mom that just bugged me. However even my teen had some of the same issues. First off it has these kids just up and throwing away their phones with very little contact with their parents. They are just supposed to accept that their kids are going to not show up to Christmas vacation because they are getting a divorce. The kids hang with a friend, steal his credit card and car and have a grand old-time at Disney Land, and in the end really face no real punishment. I ended up giving it 3 stars because it was bubble gum book as I would call it. The story was well written but I just couldn’t connect with the characters. My teen gave it a little higher 3 stars but said if I pulled the crap they did I would be have been grounded for life. 🙂 Yes you would so remember that.

About the Book: One missed flight was about to change their lives forever….

Flynn: At first we were almost strangers. But ever since I moved to New York, Amos was the one person I could count on. And together we were there for Poppy. (I mean, what kind of parents leave their kid to be raised by a nanny?) I just didn’t expect to fall for him—and I never expected him to leave us.

Amos: I thought I was the only one who felt it. I told myself it was because we were spending so much time together—taking care of Poppy and all. But that night, I could tell she felt it, too. And I freaked out—you’re not supposed to fall for your stepsister. So I ran away to boarding school. I should have told her why I was leaving, but every time I tried, it felt like a lie.

Thank you Crown Book for Young Readers for sending me Layover. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Dear Martin

by Nic Stone

 

 

Dear Martin is very relevant to what is going on in today’s society and on the news. I remember Ferguson MO like it was yesterday, it is such a scary time. One person I was talking to said he reminded him of what was like way back when and he wished it hadn’t brought back all those nightmare times. He said if Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was alive today he would be so sad and I agree. It’s like we took 2 steps forward than 2 giant leaps backwards. Dear Martin will make the reader uncomfortable, and it should, it better make you uncomfortable. It will also open your eyes with this very   raw in your face look at police brutality and racism. I do want to  say not all cops are bad there are so many great ones who don’t agree with this and don’t do this. Justyce is instantly stereotyped because he is a African-American teen wearing a hoodie. He is being a gentleman and helping his drunk girlfriend into the car but to the cops he is a big bad carjacker. Justyce has to deal with all the anger and hurt he is feeling and he writes letter’s to Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Those were my favorite parts of the book. Doctor Martin Luther King Jr fought for equal rights for all in a peaceful way and he protest didn’t destroy property or harm people. Dear Martin is a book that high school readers should read. For me it opened my eyes beyond what I hear on the news to what is going on places. I think this would be a great book for high school or college classes to use to discuss the state we are in now. This book is raw and realistic so it does have language and violence – but it has positive role models and a very powerful moving message. Nic Stone is a very talented writer and I can’t wait to read more books by her.

About the Book: Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the cross hairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack

Thank you so much Penguin Random House and Crown Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read Dear Martin. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Lucy and Andy Neanderthal

The Stone Cold Age

by Jeffery Brown

I know I said I wasn’t really into graphic novels, however I can now say I’m a fan. I’ve read several over the summer and you know what they are great! I can see why kids and adults love them. I know they are a big hit in the elementary school I work at. Jeffery Brown is best known for the Darth Vader and Kids as well as Jedi Academy books but I really think Lucy and Andy Neanderthal will become just as popular.

Lucy and Andy Neanderthal is a mix of fiction and non fiction. The author sprinkles in scientist throughout the graphic novel to discuss scientific facts about caves, finding fossils from that era and human remains. Glacier formation and more is discussed as well. I think he does a good job at separating the fact and fiction for the reader.  He also presents the readers with a family from the stone cold age. They have a saber tooth for a pet, I mean hey maybe they did back then. The family and characters are likable and I enjoyed the graphic novel. The illustrations are done in black and white and simple but pleasing to the eye. My middle grade reader liked that they were in black and white and they weren’t real involved with tons of detail. If you wanted to read this as a read aloud with your younger reader/listener then you could read 1 story a night. There are a total of 10 stories with the last part of the book for more facts and explanations and a timeline. Overall I’m very pleased with this series Stone Cold Age is book 2. You can start off with book 1 Lucy and Andy Neanderthal, or just jump right in with Stone Cold Age.

About the Book: Neanderthal siblings Lucy and Andy are back to their paleo pranks. This time, they have to put up with more than just each other the cave is feeling awfully cramped since the humans moved in. They’re in the Ice Age, and legroom comes at a real premium!  Jeffrey Brown skillfully blends humor and history with paleontologist sections: Timeline of Key Discoveries, Ice Age Fact vs. Fiction, Silly Cavemen Myths, and more.

Thank you Crown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Lucy and Andy Neanderthal The Stone Cold Age. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free graphic novel.

Lemon

by Melissa Savage

Page total: 308

Suggested Reading Level: Middle Grade (I think upper elementary grade readers would enjoy this as well)

I simply loved this sweet, charming book. Lemonade “Lemon” Liberty Witt has been dealt a big bowl of lemons in life. The whole world has been upended and the rug was pulled out from under her (Trigger: her mom dies, so some kids might find this hard). She has to go live with her grandpa, someone she has never meet before. She has to live her hometown where all her friends live and the memories of just her and her mom are. While there all she can think about is going back.  However Willow Creek California is full of fun quirky characters that you just can’t help but like (well there were a few sour lemons in the bunch). Lemon begins to make friends, has a best friend in Tobin. She starts to enjoy searching for and possibly finding Big Foot. Mostly she is enjoying learning all about her mom when she was Lemons age, talking to friends of her moms and just being with her grandpa. I just loved Lemon and Tobin, they are really sweet middle grade characters. They were well written and realistic. Tobin is dealing with his dad who is MIA after returning the US after fighting in the Vietnam war. This book will be the top suggested book when the 5th graders ask me for book suggestions. I hope many middle grade readers and upper elementary readers read Lemons! Grab a copy and read it aloud, or grab a copy and have family book club this summer.

About the book: After her mother dies in 1975, ten-year-old Lemonade must live with her grandfather in a small town famous for Bigfoot sightings and soon becomes friends with Tobin, a quirky Bigfoot investigator.

Thank you Random House Kids and Crown Books for Young Readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Curse of the Boggin and Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom

I have 2 great little books perfect for the upper elementary through middle grade reading crowd. If you are looking for some somewhat spooky but not scary books for your kids who have already read every and all GooseBumps books than look no further.  Curse of the Boggin and Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom just might be what they are looking for.

First up or hands down favorite of the 2:

Curse of the Boggin (The Library #1) by D.J. McHale

curse-of-the-boggin-the-library-1-by-d-j-machale

 

This one was our favorite of the 2 books and we can’t wait for book 2. The book is perfect and we loved every creepy moment of it. The cover will have every kid that loves a good spooky book grabbing it off the shelves, it is perfect and really sums up the book. Curse of the Boggin has 2 stories with in this one. There is of course the main story that the book is based on but the back story as to why the Boggin wants the key so badly. This book is a bit more creepy and scary so not for the easily scared readers. Upper elementary through middle grade will devour this book and series – I even think some YA readers would enjoy this one. The kids are great and read like real kids. They are sarcastic – stick together – and jump feet first into the unknown world to save not only their families but their best friend. Marcus learns a lot in a very short time. First he learns that he is gifted or cursed depending on how you want to look at it with a gift. He learns he is adopted and that his parents didn’t pass away like he thought they did. Than he learns he is the keeper of this very special key and it can not – I repeat can not fall into the hands of the boggin or we are all doomed. Curse of the Boggin is a grand slam and sure to delight readers with the creepy supernatural elements,  friendships and both strong boy and girl main characters. Grab a copy of this one and add it to your middle grade spooktober reading list.

summary: There’s a place beyond this world, beyond the land of the living, where ghosts go to write their unfinished stories—stories that ended too soon. It’s a place for unexplained phenomena: mysteries that have never been solved, spirits that have never been laid to rest. And there’s only one way in or out.

It’s called the Library, and you can get there with a special key. But beware! Don’t start a story you can’t finish. Because in this library, the stories you can’t finish just might finish you.

Marcus O’Mara is a 13 year old guy at a crossroads. He constantly finds himself in trouble at school, with his friends, and with his adoptive parents. Marcus doesn’t believe things can get any worse for him…until they get worse.

Much worse.

He begins seeing strange and impossible visions; gets thrown into paranormal danger and is haunted by a mysterious ghost with a singular goal: to give him a key.

It’s a key that opens the door to a mysterious library. When that door opens, the incredible adventure for Marcus and his friends begins as they learn the truth about Marcus’ past and uncover the strange world of unfinished stories that are found on the shelves of the Library.

Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen

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This book was a small book and a quick read but not lacking it is a story that is packed full of mystery, fantasy and tween heroes. The tween kids are funny, sarcastic and not afraid of Dr Fell. They want to know what is up with him since something doesn’t seem right. This is a first book for my by David Neilsen and it was a delight to read his writing. He creates such a great enchanting book. I instantly fell into the book and didn’t want it to end. While it was a spooky book perfect for tween spooktober reading, it wasn’t I can’t sleep it was so scary. However if your child does scare easy than you might want to read it first just to make sure it would be OK. My tween reader has been reading spooky books for quite a while now and for her she said it wasn’t spooky enough – so definitely mildly spooky. The plot of the book is fast paced and will have your child reading all day long so they can find out how this book is going to end. Sadly the ending comes fast but is the perfect ending. Overall I really enjoyed this one and so did my middle grade reader (5th grader). The only thing she said she didn’t like was the cover. She said the cover would have her reaching for the book at the store or school library.

summary: When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.

Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

Thank you so much Random House Books for Young Readers and Crown Books for Young Readers. We enjoyed Curse of the Boggin and Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free books.