Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

22 Sep

How’s this for exciting stuff, I’m Always Right readers:  We’ve got our first official Video Book Hook to share with you!

These are short (30 second) clips that are designed to capture your attention and get you interested in a new title.

All of them are built around metaphors, too—which makes them super interesting to think about.

Check it out.  This one talks about a book I’ve never heard of by an author I love: Theodore Boone – Kid Lawyer by John Grisham.

 

The Roar is a Fantastic Read

20 Sep

So I’m not usually a sci-fi kind of guy, but Kush has found a title that has caught my attention here. While I’m a bit confused by his review—which starts by making animals appear to be the antagonist and then switches to talking about a bad guy named Mal Gorman—BOTH conflicts seem really interesting to me. I also like the idea of an overpopulated world that needs two stories for people to fit.

Looking forward to reading it myself!

Mr. F

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The Roar is a fantastic sci-fi book, which is about the distant future and how everybody stays behind something called the Wall to be safe and sound from danger.

The Wall is basically a huge wall, and the danger that people face is from the animals. Normally animals are described as cute and cuddly in books, but in this one they are fierce and dangerous. The animals are breaking car windows so they can kill the people inside. The reason for their behavior is that they have a sickness called the plague; this sickness can only be caught by animals and makes them become crazy.

The Wall is located at the entire north of the world and stretches all the way around the world. Let’s think about this now….. EVERYONE IS CRAMED INTO 1/3 OF THE WORLD, and what makes it worse is that in the future there will be more people due to population growth.

Also since there was a shortage of land, they decided to make a 2nd floor on earth.

The main character of the book is Mika Smith, a 12 years old boy who lives in the shadows (the first floor of the world) and goes to school like a normal kid.

When he was 9 years old, his twin sister Ellie was kidnapped and presumed dead, but he believed that she was alive. Ellie was in fact trapped on a space station by a minister of the Northern Government, Mal Gorman.

Mal Gorman is a cruel man who is 182 years old and takes “ever life” pills. He is now making schools like Mika’s to participate in violent virtual games. Part of Mal Gorman’s evil plan was to make all the kids drink “fit mix”, so they could get the nutrients they needed.

One day a game called the Pod Fighter was introduced to the children and every kid who is 12-15 was playing it. When Mika played it for the first time, he was a pro at it.

Then a contest for the game came and Mika knew that he had to play because Mika had met a woman named Helen who told him that if he played the game, he will find his sister. You’ll have to read to find out if Mika ever saves Ellie.

 

Fever 1793 is INFECTIOUS!

15 Sep

Another powerful student review, y’all, comes from Lara—who has read a book that has captured my attention simply because it tackles a topic that is hard to wrestle with: Death.

Check it out—and be sure to tell Lara what you think of her review!

Mr. F

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Hi! My name is Lara and I recently read
Fever: 1793
. This book is about trying to survive in a world where almost everyone has fled or is sick and dying.

Mattie, a girl living in the 1790’s that works in a coffeehouse with her mother, has to deal with more than she ever imagined. This book took me into another world that left my pulse pounding.

There is no doubt that this is one of my favorite books. The issues are real, but utterly emphasized. Feeling completely alone, deaths of people you love- they are all real. But in Fever: 1793, they are on a huge scale. It was a powerful book that kept me turning pages until late into the night!

Be warned, though- this book made me tear up because it is very sad.

It all begins when Mattie hears that the yellow fever is spreading. Everyone tells her it is a rumor. She ignores it all until her mother gets ill with Fever.

When she watches her mother get bled, a crude medicine where doctors take blood to get rid of poisons in the body (it didn’t work, in fact it killed many fever victims) her mother is asleep, but later her mother wakes up and orders her to go to the country with her grandfather.

Mattie and her army veteran grandfather set off for the country, to the Ludington’s farm- a friend of her mother’s. When the carriage they are riding in stops so a doctor can make sure they don’t have Fever and don’t spread it outside the city, Mattie’s grandfather has a cough and they are forced to the side of the road.

Mattie knows her grandfather is weak, so she goes to get water and berries. As Mattie is gathering fruits, which she found after the berries, she begins to feel cold. She then blacks out.

Mattie wakes in a giant room full of Fever victims with two doctors speaking French and helping patients. Mattie realizes that she has Fever. Mrs. Flagg, a nurse that brang her food to her, is a kind old lady that Mattie’s grandfather likes.

Mattie recovers because the French doctors knew how to treat patients better and fed them well. Mattie and her grandfather head for home.

When Mattie gets back to the coffeehouse, it is deserted and things are stolen. Her mother has run off. She and her grandfather live with little food.

One night, thieves break in again only to be scared away by grandfather and his sword. But, grandfather dies. Mattie is devastated and buries him in his nightclothes.

Mattie finds a little girl named Nell, whose mother is dead. She takes care of her, because the orphanage is full. Then, Mattie finds Eliza, who used to work in the coffeehouse. They work together to help ill people until Nell and Eliza’s nephews get sick. They try everything. Mattie is so tired that she just rests on the ground for a moment outside…

Mattie wakes to find a cold, light dusting of frost on the ground. She brings the sick children outside. People begin to pour into the city as the word spreads.

Finally. Mattie’s mother returns. They are reunited and Mattie informs her of her grandfather’s death. She is sad, but happy to see Mattie. This book has a bittersweet ending, because many people have died but even more have been reunited.

One of the most frequent concepts woven into the book was facing death– the death of others, the possible death of you.

    Sickness.

    Heat.

    Death.

The horrible truths echo around the book as if they we words spoken into a cave. There is happiness at the end, which seems even happier after all of the sadness.

Fever is a must-read.

 

My Rating for Fever 1793: Way 90

      

The Graveyard Book: Another Gaiman Creepfest

12 Sep

I’m completely jazzed to have our second student review of the year ready to roll! This one—written by Ryan M and tackling a Gaiman book that I haven’t read yet—is a good one.

Remember, I want to see a TON of reviews this year, so consider writing your first bit for I’m Always Right right now!

Mr. F

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If you’ve ever read a Neil Gaiman book, you know how creepy he can be.

You may have read Coraline, or American Gods, but The Graveyard Book
is definitely the best one yet. It won a Newberry Medal, a Hugo Award, a Locus Award, and a Carnegie Medal. I began this book right after I finished a fantastic book, Coraline, which I mentioned earlier.

This book takes place in the late 1800’s before any developed technology like televisions or computers were invented. The cars are the old and slow cars that you never see today. Many of the ghost characters in this book still speak in Old English accents because they died two centuries earlier.

The Graveyard Book was written in 2008, and is based mostly off of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

If you’ve ever read the book, it’s about a group of wolves who find a newborn human and raise it as their own. This child, Mowgli’s, parents have disappeared. In The Graveyard Book, though, a boy parents are murdered right in front of him, and the ghosts of the graveyard find him.

He is raised as a “boy” named Nobody Owens, who goes by Bod.

He then travels away from the graveyard for the first time. People recognize him as the victim’s son, which triggers his curiosity. He then finds a snake they call The Seer, and it tells him to find the man Jack who killed his parents.

I don’t want to ruin the entire the book, though so you have to read it to find out the rest of the story. I thought this was a sort of eerie, fun book to read. I absolutely recommend this book to any fantasy lover.

If you’ve read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, this is a must-read.

 

My Rating for The Graveyard Book: Way85

Wringer will Blow Your Mind AND Break Your Heart

9 Sep

Let me ask you one simple question:  How do you feel about disappointing your dad?  Better yet, how do you feel about disappointing your best friends?

How far would you go, though, to make your father and your friends happy?

Would you do ANYTHING to please the people that you care the most about?

Those are exactly the kinds of questions that Palmer LaRue, a boy growing up in a rural Pennsylvania town defined by one horrible tradition:  The annual Pigeon Day Shoot in the town park, where dads shoot birds out of the sky while their sons fetch the dead bodies and dispatch the wounded with a quick wring of the neck.

Wringing has always been on Parker’s mind.

You see, his father has been a champion shot for as long as Parker can remember.  Worse yet, his best friends—Beans, Mutto and Henry—are OBSESSED with getting their chance to wring a few necks, an “honor” reserved only for boys who are turning 12.

Quite a growing-up gift, huh?

Here’s the hitch:  No matter how much his buddies and his father want him to be a Wringer, Parker just can’t bear the thought of breaking the necks of wounded birds.

Maybe it’s because he’s a kind soul.  Maybe it’s because his mom and his dad raised him to have a heart and to respect living creatures.

Or maybe it’s because he’s fallen in love with the pet pigeon that he’s hiding from his friends and his family in his closet.

Whatever Parker’s reasons, he’s got a choice to make:  Let down the people he cares the most about by standing up to a tradition that he despises OR let himself down by doing something that just doesn’t feel right.

There’s no doubt in my mind that if you’ve got a heart—or if you’ve ever had to wrestle with the pressure of pleasing peers who seem intent on doing things that you know are wrong—that you’ll LOVE Wringer by Jerry Spinelli.

Maybe it’s because I’m a boy—or because I’ve got a triple dose of Huffleblood running through me—but I really felt bad for Parker by the end of the story.

And I was completely blown away by the choice that he finally ended up making.

Wringer’s Score:  Way 85

The Great and Only Barnum is a MUST READ.

9 Sep

So there’s one simple truth that EVERYONE needs to understand about reading:  Nonfiction RULES.

That’s why it drives me completely nuts to see twelve-year-olds rotting their minds with Riordan books.

When there is an entire world full of interesting TRUTHS to read, why would ANYONE want to waste their time on myths—-especially cheesy myths about lightening bolts being stolen and demigods on sightseeing expeditions across the country?

Need a bit o’ proof?

What would you say if I told you about an entertainer that swallowed live frogs in front of an audience, only to throw the stunned little critters back up later to use in the next performance?

What would you say if I told you about an eleven foot elephant that jumped in front of a train in order to save his handler and then reached out with his trunk to hug a friend just before he died?

Or what would you say if I told you about an amazing museum with an aquarium on the bottom floor, a zoo on the top floor, and a collection of bearded ladies, tiny men, and fat boys in-between.

All of those stories are real—and they’re all a part of the life of PT Barnum, the showman almost singularly responsible for bringing circuses and odd museums to America during the 1800s.

Barnum is an incredibly interesting dude.  He made millions and lost millions.  He swindled people and was swindled himself.

But alongside his love of making money, he loved making people laugh.  That’s his real legacy—-and it’s the real reason that you’d be crazy NOT to read The Great and Only Barnum, one of the best biographies I’ve picked up in a long, long time.

 

The Great and Only Barnum’s Score: Way 80

 

Number the Stars is a Lois Lowry Phenomenon

9 Sep

After a long layoff, I’m Always Right is BACK! Many thanks to Midori for writing the first student review of the year. Remember that you can leave comments that either agree or disagree with Midori’s ratings.

Mr. Ferriter

(PS: Will YOU be the next person to write for I’m Always RIGHT?!)

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Hi Everyone! I am here to write about an amazing historical fiction book called Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry. This book was given the Newberry Honor Award which therefore meant that it had to be a pretty decent book.

I was first introduced to this book in third grade when my teacher recommended me read a Lois Lowry book for my book box. I checked out this book and was immediately intrigued. Ever since, it has been one of my favorite books. In this interesting book, Lois Lowry mixes the history of war and freedom with a story of friendship to create a historical fiction masterpiece.

This book takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1943 during the time when food was scarce and Nazis roamed the streets of Copenhagen. Annemarie Johansen’s best friend Ellen is Jewish and she isn’t safe because the Nazis are relocating all the Denmark Jews.

Ellen moves in with the Johansen’s and pretends to be part of the family until one night, Nazis storm into the Johansen’s house saying how they know that Annemarie and Ellen are best friends and how they think that they may be hiding her.

Ellen and Annemarie are in the bedroom when they hear the Nazis come in. Annemarie rips off Ellen’s Star of David necklace and throws it into a green chest right before the Nazis storm into the room. Once the Nazis leave, Ms. Johansen knows that they are still not safe for they almost got caught.

She takes them way out of Copenhagen to her brother’s farm, Uncle Henrik’s farm. They all stay there until they can figure out a way to get to freedom in Sweden.

They thought that they were safe until Annemarie went on a walk one day and saw Nazis walking around. She immediately ran as fast as she could back to the farm and said that she will always remember that squeaking sound coming from the shiny gloves the Nazis wore. Uncle Henrik and Ms. Johansen knew that they had to figure out a plan quickly or all of Ellen’s family would be relocated.

They decided to make a boat so that Ellen’s family and other Jews can sail safely to Sweden. Uncle Henrik had just finished the boat when he heard Nazis coming their way.

He told everyone in the boat to hide inside some of the crates or behind them. They all did as he said right as the Nazis came their way. The Nazis knew that there were some Jews in the relative location of where Uncle Henrik was but they didn’t know where so they were bringing search dogs around to sniff them out.

Fortunately, Uncle Henrik was already a step ahead of the game and had given everyone white handkerchiefs to carry with them. Uncle Henrik knew that Nazis were going to come sooner or later with dogs so he put a chemical on all of the handkerchiefs that makes the Jews impossible to sniff out. The Nazis left empty handed. After the last Nazi was out of sight, everyone said their good byes and the boat set off.

The book fast forwards two years where Annemarie and her mother are at their house and everyone had their window open because on the streets people carried around flags to celebrate the end of the dreadful war. They opened the window in Annemarie’s room when she sees the green chest and opens it up. Inside she finds Ellen’s Star of David necklace and says that she will always remember her best friend and the day that she gained freedom.

I was never really interested in historical fiction until I read this book. Lois Lowry is an amazing author and I am very glad that I read this wonderful book.

My Rating: Way 80