Monday, October 24, 2016
Saturday, October 22, 2016
The Pathway to Dragons: Portal to Pyranis was a short, action-packed tale of true friendship and bravery. In this book, Billy must put his trust in Talia, a girl he just met, to help him get his dragon back. I thought that the characters were well developed and sweet. This book had great detail and easy to understand words, which will be helpful for a younger audience.
I thought that the author wrote with such character and charm. The characters seemed to jump off the page and fly around me. The drawings were exquisite and really caught my attention. They flowed beautifully with the well-written book, really helping me understand what was happening.
The twist with Grandpa Hugo was superb. He was a wonderful sort of mentor character, but he wasn’t the basic old and wise kind. Grandpa Hugo was brave and very strong. My personal favorite character was Talia because of her bravery and independence. Her backstory revealed in the end was a stroke of brilliance.
In all, I thought this book was very well written, and I would recommend it to many eight, nine, or ten year olds who love a great adventure.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Making a topic as complex as the human brain understandable and interesting for young children is definitely a challenge! One way Neuron Galaxy succeeds in being kid-friendly is through adorable and colorful illustrations. They will keep kids hooked on the story and help them understand the concepts being presented.
Another way that this book successfully bridges the gap between elementary students and neuroscience is by making comparisons to things that young children can relate to: describing a “baby neuron” as a little character who is lonely and trying to reach out to other “neuron friends.” I also think kids will enjoy the way this book speaks directly to them: “Baby neurons in your brain were growing bigger as YOU grew bigger.” It relates what is happening in their developing brain to new things that they are able to do as they grow: “Your brain...helps you walk and talk and dance and think.”
Overall, Neuron Galaxy does a great job of bringing brain science to a child's level, but a few concepts may still be difficult for young children to grasp, like how many stars there are in the Milky Way galaxy. Some terminology, such as dendrites and axons, is more appropriate for older kids, who I believe could also learn something from this book. Neuron Galaxy was an interesting, quick read that even taught me some new things about my brain.
I really liked Alexandra’s Secret. The history was great and it gave you a good idea of what spies went through in World War II. The characters are believable and nicely portrayed. They are described in great detail which makes them really come alive in your mind, such as the descriptions of Alexandra and her training as an SSO agent. The storyline of trying to escape from enemy territory was exciting and the suspense kept you alert and ready for what would happen next. It is a thriller, and the suspense of whether or not they'll be caught along with wondering how will they get out of this situation keeps you on the edge of your seat. All in all it is very good historical fiction.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
While mainly geared at students leaving high school and entering college for the first time, students of all ages and levels of education can find useful information in O’Donnell’s guide. As someone who went to community college as high-school, I’ve already learned some of the initial advice given from personal experience. However, there were still helpful tidbits of wisdom that will surely make my (and any already experienced college student’s) life easier, including segments on stress and time management.
With sections on how to overcome participation anxiety, ways to get the most out of studying, the importance of expressing gratitude as well as asking for help, and more, this handy book acts as a concise guide useful for many future experiences in the education realm.
O'Donnell encourages readers to strive for their best, while being clear not to encourage one to work towards a specific career goal, as that is a decision entirely up to the reader. This neutrality of the author makes for a versatile guide with the ability to reach multiple readers with virtually any career in mind.
With the statement that “education is an ongoing process,” the author translates a philosophy that learning is infinite, and that rather than be daunted by this fact, one should take comfort in it. By suggesting to pursue one’s interests (and know that it’s okay to change one’s mind), take advice with a grain of salt (as it might not always apply to you), and accept that there will be struggles (resourcefulness is key), O’Donnell makes the idea of working towards one’s ideal career a little less intimidating and all the more exciting.
Without feeling patronizing, The Career-Minded Student gives advice, wisdom, and suggestion, acting as a timeless book for any student of nearly any age or career path.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Mind Over Bullies was an intriguing, thrilling book to read. It kept me on my toes begging for more. Smith's writing is beautiful and enjoyable. I personally thought the counterfeiting twist was ingenious. It was intricate and brought so much life to the overall story. The anti-bullying superheroes were amazing and heart-touching. I loved how brave they were and how differently they confronted the bullies.
The counterfeiting scheme, the bullying, and the regular drama of high school blended together to tell a story that caught my attention and held it for hours. The mystery left me guessing until the very last page. I thought Margo was a strong-willed and independent protagonist. She didn't let people take over for her, and she learned not to let other people's words get to her. I also really enjoyed how the different stories from around the world from different perspectives came together into one climax. The danger and the emotion gave so much depth to this book that it left me aching for a sequel. The book was very well written and captured the thoughts and feelings of bullied teenagers from around the world.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
This was an interesting book if you look at it as a guide for young people to look forward to a peaceful world by learning the rules of being peaceful within themselves.
Obviously, the sci-fi loving part of me really enjoyed the story as Sherpa made time hops. The history buff loved the different people Sherpa met during her hops. Last but not least, "good prevails over evil" is always a winning concept for me when I am reading!
I recommend this book for readers age 12 through 18 who enjoy adventure and time travel.
Friday, October 14, 2016
Shades of Blue has one of the best plot sequences I've ever read. As you read the book, you find out more and more about each character and get to know them on a personal level. There is also a lot of conflict within the story. The main-characters come to many heart-wrenching realizations that turn their world upside down. After I read this book I found myself wondering, "What happens to Sam and JoJo now?" IF there was a sequal to this book, I can't even imagine what would happen considering the first book is already filled to the brim with storyline. You won't be wasting your time reading this book.