Sunday, October 30, 2016

Shiloh Season (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)

I'm not much of a series person, but I was quite taken by the first book. I'm not really one to get caught in a series, but I had to know what happens to that mean old nasty Judd Travers. He remains mean and nasty in this book. I guess I have to go on to book three now! Will he ever get his just dues?

If you don't like guns, this is a good book to read. There's so much risk and danger thanks to Judd and his hunting. One of the big problems is his drinking. I loved how we see Marty get what he wants through some hard work. This book is also a good lesson in how not everything is black and white. Sometimes you have to do what you think is important despite disapproval by some.

There were some inconsistencies with the first book. They now have a phone (maybe I missed where they said they got a phone...not sure). I listened to this one on a downloadable audio book and wasn't that taken by the reader. He was an older man and that didn't match in my mind since it is Marty telling the story.

I think you'd be okay to read this book without reading the first. The author reviews the details of the first book well enough to catch people up.

Goodreads summary:

After Marty Preston worked so hard to earn the dog Shiloh, he had hoped that his troubles with Judd Travers were over. He could not rescue all the dogs that Judd mistreated, but since shiloh was the one who ran away and came to him, Shiloh was the one he loved. Judd, however, has other problems. Anyone who cheats and swears and lies and kicks his dogs has troubles inside himself, and when the man starts drinking, Marty realizes that Shiloh is in danger once again. As hunting season approaches and Judd begins hunting on their land, the Prestos know that something is bound to happen.

They're right. Marty does the only thing he can think of to do, and discovers just how deep a hurt can go and how long it takes to heal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I Am Malala (Malala Yousafzai)

I read this book for book club. It was my turn to choose a book and I've dabbled in this one a number of times (Goodreads says I started reading it Aug 20, 2015!) so I decided it was a good one to pick to read and discuss. In the end, I think it was a good book to discuss at book club.

When I read this book, I was struck by her love for education and had to think about how many of us take the opportunities we have for granted.

It was interesting to read an account of what life was like as the Taliban gradually took over.  Honestly, I'm not sure I would have been as valiant a fighter and she and her father have been. They have lived their life in danger simply because they value education, choice, religion and the freedom to choose. I hesitate to be judgmental, but I really wondered about parents who would allow their child to be so outspoken. Clearly, she suffered the consequences. In the end though, she is a hero. I do not know if I'd be as brave as she and her family has been.

Goodreads summary:

I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. 

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Shiloh (Phyllis Reynolds Naylor)

I started listening to this book with the audio book. I loved Marty's voice. I continued on without the audio and his voice continued to ring in my head. I'm not surprised they made this into a movie. It's heart warming and has plenty of exciting moments where I imagined dramatic music beating in the background. Sometimes I'm amazed at how J fiction can draw me in. This book is one of those.

There are some great topics that you could discuss from this book. Doing what's right, animal protection, determination and honesty would be great places to start. Honesty is a big one since Marty has plenty of times he "skims the truth"...all for the good of the dog. I like dogs, but I'm not one that people would say has a big soft spot. I moved a little further to a total dog sell out while reading this book.

This is one well written book. There are no wasted words or long dull descriptive narratives. The balance is perfect and it I think it would easily draw in a reluctant reader. I was visiting with family this past weekend and talked with my six year old niece about books she had been reading. She loves animals and plans to be a vet one day. I told her about Shiloh and she quickly jumped in that it reminded her of The Black Stallion and then went on to describe that story. I love discussing books with kids!

Goodreads summary:

When Marty Preston comes across a young beagle in the hills behind his home, it's love at first sight9 and also big trouble. It turns out the dog, which Marty names Shiloh belongs to Judd Travers who drinks too much and has a gun9 and abuses his dogs. So when Shiloh runs away from Judd to Marty, Marty just has to hide him and protect him from Judd. But Marty's secret becomes too big for him to keep to himself, and it exposes his entire family to Judd's anger. How far will Marty have to go to make Shiloh his? 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Doors in the Air (David Weale, Pierre Pratt)

This is a beautiful book! One of my students brought it to school for her Special Student presentation. I love the analogy in this book of how doors lead us to so many great things. It starts with doors at home and continues on building on the metaphor. It is poetic and sing-song-y. Loved it!

Goodreads summary:

Doors in the Air is the story of a boy who is fascinated by doors. He marvels at how stepping through a doorway can take him from one world to another. He is especially enthralled by the doors of his imagination, which he refers to as "doors in the air." He delights in discovering that when he passes through these doors, he leaves behind all feelings of boredom, fear and unpleasantness.
Doors in the Air is a lilting journey through house doors, dream doors and, best of all, doors in the air. 

The Ancient Oak (

This is a great story! We listened to it/read it on Tumblebooks. Great illustrations. The story kept my class enthralled.

Goodreads summary:

A princess struggles to save her kingdom from an ever-lasting winter. Will a stranger save the Kingdom - or destroy it? 'The Ancient Oak' is an all-ages fable that teaches the importance of doing the right thing.