Monday, June 29, 2020

Review: The Great Gatsby Graphic Nobel Adaptation

Coming January 2021, K. Woodman-Maynard presents her graphic novel adaptation of THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald. ⁣
From her website, the new graphic novel is described as an  “adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic story of the mysterious Jay Gatsby and his desire to be reunited with his love, Daisy Buchanan. Katharine both adapted and illustrated the book, depicting Fitzgerald’s iconic work in lush watercolors which captures the beauty of the Jazz Age.” ⁣
As a teacher, I’m always on the lookout for resources that will enlighten our students’ understanding of the literature we teach. While we do have several film adaptations of the classic novel, they don’t quite capture the true essence of the words in the same manner as Woodman-Maynard creates for readers. You can tell she loves the book in the way that she paints the characters. ⁣
Each important scene from the novel is recreated in the graphic novel in beautiful blues, yellows, and corals. Sometimes students respond better to graphic novels than classic literature. This way, a teacher could use both. For non-teachers, the graphic novel is a new way to experience the classic you probably read in high school. 🎨 

Friday, June 26, 2020

Review: Illegal by Francisco X. Stork

Set to release in August, Francisco X. Stork’s follow-up to Disappeared does not disappoint. ⁣
Brother and sister Emiliano and Sara are in the United States after crossing the border, desperately fleeing for their lives. With them is a cell phone carrying valuable evidence to bring down a dangerous cartel. To give her brother a chance and turning the phone over to the right people, Sara turns herself in to a border detention center to apply for asylum. One there, she realizes she shouldn’t have trusted the U.S. government as much as she thought. Does her life even matter in the border camp? Emiliano, rescued by a horse after crossing, has found a local he trusts and has been doing work for him, but now it’s time to get the cell phone in the right hands, and the only way to do that is to go to Chicago with his father with whom he has no relationship or trust. ⁣
Chapters alternate between Sara and Emiliano which fuels the fast-paced dual narratives as readers hold their breaths for Sara and Emiliano’s safety. Checkpoints and intimidating guards leave readers tense and hopefully give them a sense of what migrants feel as they enter the United States for a better, safer life. ⁣
Illegal is perfect for teens who love action as the book almost leaves you breathless and turning the pages for more!⁣

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Review: Ghost Hunter's Daughter by Dan Poblocki

"They say if you see him, it's already too late."

I remember being obsessed with Ghost Hunters back when the show started in 2004 as I love all things paranormal. So when I saw the synopsis of Poblacki’s new book following the daughter of a famous tv ghost hunter, I was hooked.

Claire lost her mother suddenly and has been trying to find out if she is still with her, spiritually, but when the book opens, Claire has not received any messages from her so maybe Claire isn’t as sensitive as she would like, considering her father’s profession. She regularly meets up with her friends Norma, Francine, Mikey, and Whit after school to tell ghost stories and try to find their own evidence that ghosts exist. 

Before they can start their next ghost hunt, Claire notices that she is being followed by a kid named Lucas whose Aunt LIzzie is known for being able to communicate with the dead, supposedly. Claire isn’t sure she believes it until Lucas tells her that her father is in trouble (he’s away on a ghost hunting adventure) and that the message to save her dad is coming from her mom. At first, Claire doesn't believe Lucas, but then she tries to contact her dad, and he doesn’t answer. He’s missing. 

Claire enlists Lucas for his help, and they run away to take the bus to find her dead, with Claire’s mother following along through Lucas who has inherited his family’s “gift”. But Claire’s mom can only go so far as the outskirts of Hush Falls where Claire’s dad could be is filled with spirits, both good and evil, following a historic flood. Together, Claire and Lucas have to find and save Claire’s father before it’s too late. 

Set for publication on July 7, 2020, Poblocki takes readers on a wild ghost ride with many twists and turns. Perfect for those young ghost hunters who love to read about action and adventure within the horror genre. Scary but not gory--enough to make you leave the night light one for at least one night!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Review: Again Again by E. Lockhart

"If you could live your life again and again, what would you do differently?"⁣
In 2014, E. Lockhart delighted my students with 𝘞𝘦 𝘞𝘦𝘳𝘦 π˜“π˜ͺ𝘒𝘳𝘴--this book was always checked out in the library and my personal classroom library. Three years later, my students devoured 𝘎𝘦𝘯𝘢π˜ͺ𝘯𝘦 𝘍𝘳𝘒𝘢π˜₯. Even though school is out for Lockhart's new release 𝘈𝘨𝘒π˜ͺ𝘯 𝘈𝘨𝘒π˜ͺ𝘯, I can't wait to get back to school (hopefully!) and share with my students. ⁣
Adelaide Buchwald has just encountered two life changing situations. Her brother Toby is in rehab for the second time for his drug addiction, and Mikey Double L has broken up with her. Now, one of those is definitely more important than the other, but we are talking about a teenage girl here. Adelaide feels like she's lost her brother even though he seems to be doing better. While Toby lives with their mom as he recovers, Adelaide lives with her father who is a professor at Adelaide's academy. ⁣
While Adelaide adjusts to her very recent breakup, she meets Jack whom she actually met before in Boston on a rooftop during a party in which he wrote a little poem for her. Seeing Jack again in a different state seems like fate, and Adelaide falls head over heels in love. In fact, Adelaide has her own addiction problem when it comes to love and relationships, and like most people, she just wants someone to love her back. ⁣
Told in a style that only Lockhart can accomplish, a mix of poetry, prose, text messages, and script, 𝘈𝘨𝘒π˜ͺ𝘯 𝘈𝘨𝘒π˜ͺ𝘯 asks the reader to re-evaluate what is important in life, what addictions we may have within our lives, and we cope with love and loss. And in true Lockhart fashion, there are twists and turns that leave you turning pages so fast you have to go back and see what you missed.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Review: No Fuzzball by Isabella King

Meet, Queen NoFuzzball. Sounds like a strange name, right? π˜•π˜° 𝘍𝘢𝘻𝘻𝘣𝘒𝘭𝘭 is set to release on 8/4/20. ⁣

@scholasticinc presents the furry, black Fuzzball, queen of her loving and loyal subjects...her human family. They give her daily massages and presents and all the attention a queen requires. Until they go away on vacation. Fuzzball is confused and wonders why her subjects would abandon their queen. She decided to get the house ready for their return except in Fuzzball’s Brian, making the house look tidy is the complete opposite of what she thinks tidy should look like. Not only that but her human family is going to return with something more than souvenirs from their trip. ⁣

Isabella Kung’s (@isabellakung) debut is perfect for PreK to age 3. My two year old especially loves the front and back covers with Fuzzball in her various states of queendom. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Review: Finders Creepers (Half Past Peculiar, Book One)

Finders Creepers (Half Past Peculiar, Book 1)


Derek Fridolphs (writer) and Dustin Nguyen (Illustrator)

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover...usually...but Half Past Peculiar has a beautifully creepy cover to match the mysterious tales inside of missing pets and a mysterious house owned by the Mordreds (even the name is creepy!). 

Set to release on July 7, 2020, the first installment of the Scholastic Finder Keeper’s series will hook you from the jump. The story follows twins Esmerelda and Atticus Fetch who, after the dog disappeared years ago, find lost pets for their neighbors. From frogs to ferrets to dogs, Esmerelda and Atticus follow maps, information from books, and common sense pet clues to find these lost and beloved pets and return them to their anxious owners. 

As the story unfolds, Illustrator Dustin Nguyen creates thrilling comics of the twins’ pet rescue adventures, all the while sacrificing their homework time to look for their own lost dog. But don’t tell their adventurous mom who is away collecting artifacts for the museum. Within the narrative, Fridolphs and Nguyen show readers letters and postcards from the twins’ mom as another example of the immersion into the story. 

It seems like an easy job for the twins  to find lost pets until one mysterious lost flyer for a dog shows up in the basement and leads them to an unfriendly house with its own secret. 

*I received this copy from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review.*

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Review: True Hauntings: Deadly Disasters

True Hauntings: Deadly Disasters πŸ‘»

Dinah Wiliams 

First of all, seeing the cover of this book took me back to my elementary school days waiting for the Scholastic Book Fair to come to my school because I would totally buy all of the horror books. Today, as an adult in my thirties, I still love horror, and I was so excited to read this one!

Set to release on July 7, 2020, Dinah Williams presents ten gruesomely tragic stories across the globe. From the deadly 2011 Japanese tsunami to the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Williams tells the stories of tragic accidents that left behind hundreds, if not thousands, of restless spirits.

Marketed for 8-12 years olds, I often yelled out “gross” or “eww” while reading, but I know I would have loved it even more as a kid. Williams also provides related facts and tidbits throughout the book which made me pull out my laptop and research. While I do wish the book provided photos of some of the supposed ghosts caught on camera, I looked each story up myself to find the evidence to support each tragedy.

In the introduction, Williams says that “20%” of people believe in ghosts. Count me as part of that 20%!