Sunday, February 28, 2016

February Reading Round Up

There is always so much to love about February -- the possibility of snow days (in reality... ice days...), the rush of candy at Valentine's, and the hope of warmer weather right around the corner. In the meanwhile, any chance to curl up with tea and a good book by the fireplace, I'll take. So here's my favorites since the last time I got to share mid-month.

 Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys 

Absolutely brilliant piece of historical fiction! The first I've read of Sepetys, and clearly now will need to read some of her past ones. Won me over from the first page with the Primo Levi quote and kept me glued to the end. Story of four teens from very different paths all trying to escape Soviet advance in WWII, trying to flee by ship. Over 25,000 people died in just 1945 in Baltic Sea. Very new point of view to read from, evacuation ships being torpedoed. Astoundingly well researched, as a history major in my undergraduate, very impressed! I now want to go read all her suggested titles for further research.

For teachers: there is allusion to a sexual assault leading to pregnancy and the "taking" of women by Soviet soldiers -- fine line here. Otherwise no objectionable material. I'd say definitely 8th & up, 7th with caution depending on circumstances.

Eyes Wide Open by Paul Fleischman 

This book would be a welcome addition to any MS/HS classroom! Great piece of non-fiction exploring environmental work and digging deeper into the issues. Index, Glossary, Citations, recommendations for further research - excellent read!

Fleischman really challenges you to think about what we consume in the world, and what our responsibility is as we are continually avoiding the more challenging questions in favor of "well, we'll take care of it later." 

One mention of condoms in a metaphor, but otherwise clean! 

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban 

This book is the very sad, soulful story of ten-year-old Manami, who after the attack on Pearl Harbor, is forced into an internment camp. Yujin, their family dog, is lost in the process and sent home. Yearning for him, and Bainbridge Island, WA, their true home, she loses her voice metaphorically and physically as her family enters and struggles to adjust to life in the camps. Solid, harrowing historical fiction. Great debut novel! Would be a good addition to any WWII Study or Historical Human Rights Studies, Upper Elementary or Middle School! 

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