Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

When Roz the Robot find herself ship-wrecked on an island (and accidentally activated by a group of otters), she has to use her abilities of observation and reason to learn how to survive.  Although she doesn't have any emotions (she's a robot, after all), she has been programmed for kindness.

Initially, the animals inhabiting the island are fearful and mistrustful of Roz, but by learning from them about the ways they live, she is eventually able to gain their trust.  When she adopts an orphaned gosling, she needs the help of the other animals to provide for and protect her son.

The Wild Robot is a very sweet book about overcoming adversity and showing kindness and perseverance.  It's an interesting take on the classic "fish-out-of-water" tale, and is told in short chapters which are sometimes quiet and meditative, other times exciting and punchy.  Overall, a very emotional and affecting read.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada is an abused 11 year old girl living in London just before the outbreak of World War II.  Her hateful mother keeps her imprisoned in the apartment, falsely telling neighbors that Ada is trouble and unfit for social interaction.  Ada's younger brother Jamie freely roams the neighborhood knowing that Ada's only problem is that she has a "bad" foot..  Ada manages to teach herself to walk though terribly painful.  When London children are being evacuated to the country to avoid anticipated German bombs, the plan is to leave Ada behind.  Instead she secretly joins Jamie on the train load of evacuated children.  As children are selected by reluctant villagers Ada and Jamie manage to stay together and remain unchosen.  The woman in charge forces them on the recluse Susan Smith.  Though at first reluctant to care for Ada and Jamie, Susan is clearly a kind person and is greatly troubled by Ada's constant flinching every time Ada makes a mistake.  Ada is slowly transformed by the kindness she receives.  Her love of horses helps her to meet new people and experience new confidence. Though understandably prickly, readers can't help to warm to Ada, a clever, loving, girl despite the damage her mother has inflicted upon her.  You'll want to know what happens to Ada and Jamie as the war develops and begins to reach not only London but the countryside.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Do you like soccer? Do you like a quick read? Do you like a book with heart?  If you do, Booked is for you. Twelve year old Nick is a great soccer player with big soccer goals, and a lot of other concerns on his plate all while trying to read through the dictionary and adopt these new fancy words into to his regular vocabulary.

This book is exciting, funny, and sad.  Told in free verse style like rap. Try Booked, you'll love it.  If you haven't read Alexanders's other book Crossover and you liked Booked, you're in for another great read.  It's a similar style but about twin brothers who love basketball.