Friday, November 21, 2008
Students demand free speech
By LIZ BURLINGAME
Whidbey News Times Reporter
“We felt if we were silent with this, no one would pay attention to us,” junior Justin Chambers said. “You need to be 40-years-old and carrying a suitcase for people to actually listen to you.”
How do you feel about this? Were these teens treated unfairly? Would you have done what they did? Why?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
by Laurie Halse Anderson
A young slave in New York City offers readers a provocative view of the Revolutionary War, within the context of a fast-moving, emotionally involving story; a National Book Award finalist.
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 2: The Kingdom on the Waves
by M.T. Anderson
With an eye trained to the hypocrisies and conflicted loyalties of the American Revolution, Anderson resoundingly concludes the finely nuanced bildungsroman begun in his National Book Award–winning novel.
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
by Jeanne Birdsall
Even better than the National Book Award–winning original, this vivid sequel finds the four Penderwick sisters plotting to foil their aunt's matchmaking schemes for their widowed father.
by Elise Broach
With overtones of The Borrowers and Chasing Vermeer, this inventive mystery about a boy, a beetle and an art heist is packed with seductive themes: hidden lives and secret friendships, miniature worlds lost to disbelievers.
by Kristin Cashore
An exquisitely drawn romance, political intrigue, a take-charge heroine and a magnificently imagined fantasy realm—this riveting debut offers something for almost everyone, adults as well as teens.
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
In a dystopian fantasy that blends elements of classical mythology, a kill-or-be-killed competition and reality television, the author explodes a series of surprises, all the while challenging readers to consider how far her heroine can go while retaining her humanity.
by Cory Doctorow
Filled with sharp dialogue and detailed descriptions of how to counteract real-life surveillance, this techno-thriller imagines a teen arrested and held in a Guantanamo-like setting by an out-of-control Department of Homeland Security after a terrorist attack.
by Oscar Hijuelos
The smooth, jazzy flow of the narration—along with very funny writing—sweeps readers through a '60s-era story about a Cuban-American teenager in search of his identity.
by Ingrid Law
A cinematic and vibrant debut novel introduces a family whose members are each endowed with a different supernatural gift, or “savvy,” on their 13th birthdays.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
by E. Lockhart
Big ideas—about class and privilege, feminism and romance, wordplay and thought—are an essential part of the fun in this sparkling, mischievous novel, an NBA finalist, about a sophomore girl who decides to infiltrate an all-male secret society at an elite boarding school.
Sunrise Over Fallujah
by Walter Dean Myers
Written from the point of view of the rank-and-file, this pointed novel allows American teens to grapple intelligently and thoughtfully with the war in Iraq.
by Terry Pratchett
In a superb mix of alternate history and fantasy, Pratchett balances the somber and the wildly humorous as his protagonists, lone survivors of disasters, suffer profound crises of faith.
Have you read any of these? What do you think? The descriptions are a little lame - if you have a better quick description of any of these titles, stick it in the comments!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
by Laurie Halse Anderson
As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.
by Kathi Appelt (Interview)A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath...as long as they stay in the Underneath.
What I Saw and How I Lied
by Judy Blundell, (Interview)
When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two. As she begins to realize that almost everything she believed to be a truth was really a lie, Evie must get to the heart of the deceptions and choose between her loyalty to her parents and her feelings for the man she loves. Someone will have to be betrayed. The question is . . . who?
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
by E. Lockhart (Interview)
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Her father's "Bunny Rabbit."
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.
No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer.
Especially when "no" means she's excluded from her boyfriend's all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she's smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew is lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.
This is the story of how she got that way.
The Spectacular Now
by Tim Tharp (Interview)
SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.
Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go
forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.
I'll follow up this post with a few more lists of 2008 favorites so you can stock up for vacations and boring holiday travel and gatherings.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Feed is one of my all time favorite books, which starts with the classic line "We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." This is sci-fi with attitude, humor, and chilling insight as to how the world could go very very wrong.
I've only read the first book in his series, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing - The Pox Party. I confess I hesitated to check out at first...it just looks daunting! But a precocious 7th grader shamed me into reading it. If you want a great challenging read, this is historical fiction like you have never seen it before...and a mind-blowing look at some of the crazy stuff that was going on during the founding of our country.
If you are a fan, or just want to hear an amazing author talk, make your way down to Seattle this Thursday night to check him out!:
Thursday • November 6 • 7pm
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Volume II: Kingdom on the Waves (CANDLEWICK)
Reading & Book Signing
Seattle Public Library, Central Branch, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle
Monday, November 3, 2008
I know some of you out there LOVE Tamora Pierce. I've talked to you. I know this is a fact.
How'd you like to win:
- A trip for two* to New York City and free passes to the Comic-Con Convention
- Lunch with Tamora Pierce
- A podcast of your interview published on Tamora's web site and in the Strange Lands Newsletter
*If winner is under 18, the travel companion must be a parent/guardian.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
If you had an opportunity to write a letter to the next President of the United States, what would you say?
So far over 5,000 teens across the United States have shared their concerns and ideas as part of the Writing Our Future: Letters to the Next President project. The project is sponsored by Google Docs and the National Writing Project, and is a way that classes learn about civic engagement and improve their writing skills at the same time.
The site can be searched by region, if you want to know what other teens that live near you are thinking about, or you can search by a particular topic that interests you.
I'm really looking forward to reading these letters.
And remember to vote on Tuesday if you can. If you're not old enough to vote, then encourage everyone you know who is registered to cast their ballots!