Jonas lives in a perfect community. Everyone’s spouse, occupation, and children are carefully chosen for each individual. People in the Community do not know pain, war, or even love. They live in a world of Sameness where nobody gives others attention, positive or negative. In the Community, individuals feel safe and this world is all they know.
When Jonas turns twelve he attends the ceremony to determine his role in the Community. He’s signaled out and chosen to be The Receiver who gains all memories, pain and pleasure, from The Giver. He now receives special training as The Giver shares all memories only to Jonas. Jonas now learns the truth about what occurred in the Community’s past.
I read The Giver way back in middle school and disliked the book. Recently, someone was shocked and wanted me to read it again. I read The Giver again and loved it. I don’t think I fully understood the book’s story and message. I suggest The Giver for older ages to have a good discussion. I think The Giver is much more than a standard dystopia that’s so common today. The Giver is the first book in the The Giver Quartet Series. Later this year, The Giver will be released as a motion picture. I’m not sure the movie can match the book, but isn’t that always the case? I recommend The Giver.
Twelve-year-old Paul and his family recently moved to Tangerine, Florida. Paul is legally blind, but can still see with his glasses. In fact, Paul feels that he can see and sense things that others around him cannot see. However, nobody seems to listen to him. Strange events occur in Tangerine, Florida, such as constant lightning and fires. His mom’s mainly concerned with the odd town situations. His father only focuses on his high school brother’s goal of becoming the next great football player. Paul finally finds his ‘groove’ when he joins the middle school soccer team, although even then it takes time for him to really fit in. Tangerine is entirely written from Paul’s perspective in journal entry format.
I enjoyed Tangerine, but I felt it was rushed at the end and there were loose ties. My book edition included questions in the back. I think Tangerine would be useful for great discussion in the classroom. It’s listed on Amazon as ages 10+ and others state Tangerine as a Young Adult book. I think the book’s length and sensitive topics at times may lead to a Young Adult, but Tangerine could be read by middle school age readers.
Three Word Review: Heartwarming, Compassion, Thought-Provoking
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that held him back from attending school due to numerous surgeries. However, now Auggie is a ten-year-old boy who is about to attend school for the first time. He desires to be ordinary and not be constantly stared at or judged by his face. Auggie knows exactly why people turn their head or gasp when they see him for the first time. His favorite day is Halloween when he can wear a different ‘mask’ and blend in. School is filled with the typical middle school drama, but Auggie has even more difficulty as classmates tease, bully, and ignore him. Auggie makes friends with a few who see the true Auggie. Wonder changes perspectives between different individuals who come into Auggie’s life, but it is mainly from his viewpoint. Hopefully, Wonder will make you look past outward appearances to see the real individual. I stated that this book is for ages 10+, but everyone can enjoy the book and take its message. In fact, it’s my city library’s Tacoma Reads Together book for 2013 for all ages. I plan to attend an author book talk hosted by the library.
Stargirl is unlike any girl at Mica High School, because she doesn’t try to be like “them”. Instead, Stargirl is only content to be herself. As soon as she arrives at Mica her name is whispered in the hallways and she gets curious stares from classmates, because she’s nothing like “them”. Stargirl wears long skirts, plays a ukulele, sings Happy Birthday to everyone, and even brings her pet rat named Cinnamon to school. Stargirl is also sincere and deeply cares for others without seeking acknowledgment. Students begin to wonder if she notices the stares and if she’ll ever become more like them.
Opinions about Stargirl gradually change at Mica High as she’s admired. People desire to see her unique spirit at sporting games. However, events occur and just as fast as people grow to appreciate her it’s suddenly taken away again.
The book is told from Leo Borlock’s perspective who is torn between amazement that Stargirl doesn’t conform to others and desires that she act more like “them”. A love between Leo and Stargirl slowly develops, but Leo is often unsure if he can handle the stares as well. However, Stargirl doesn’t do “normal” well.
I thought Stargirl was an enjoyable book that makes you think about what’s truly important. Is it more important to dare to be different or be among many? Jerry Spinelli is a Newbery Medal Winner for Maniac Magee. There is a sequel, Love, Stargirl, that is from her perspective a year later. Stargirl won numerous awards including ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults in 2001.
- Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (extremereadingandwriting.wordpress.com)
I found this newspaper article from ilovelibraries.org about young adult books. I love the library and I’ll admit that I don’t scan the YA section as much as I should. I don’t like to put books into age groups, since many can be enjoyed by different ages. For example, Harry Potter mania has been read by both genders to grandparents to young children. Young adult books offer a wide range of topics, such as peer pressure, drugs, coming-of-age, relationship struggles, bullying, school conflicts, biographies, society issues, adventure, and so many wonderful new life experiences. There has been debate that YA books may be graphic, bold, and too mature for readers. Well, life isn’t perfect and many individuals deal with these issues on a daily basis. Reading helps us understand how we fit into society. Books help us understand ourselves. Reading YA books as a parent or teacher can also help you understand those teens around you. So, next time you’re unsure about which book to read next stroll over to the Young Adult section. You may be pleasantly surprised about what you found. I promise to take a closer look too.
Selected Young Adult Books:The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne-Collins The Book Thief by Markus Zusak To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger The Giver by Lois Lowry Looking for Alaska by John Green The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Monster by Walter Dean Myers The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner Forever by Judy Blume Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
What Young Adult books do you suggest?American Library Association’s 2011 Best Young Adult Book List
Caitlin is a fifth grader who prefers her world in black and white where the colors don’t blend, so it’s not confusing in a world already difficult to understand. Caitlin has Asperger’s syndrome, which is similar to autism. She has difficulty with social skills and doesn’t make friends easily, for her the perfect school group is working alone. She doesn’t make eye contact and has trouble identifying facial expressions. When she becomes anxious in a social situation she often sucks on her shirt or fidgets with her hands. She meets with the school counselor who teaches her social skills and the importance to make friends to get ready for middle school next year. Caitlin also visits the school counselor to manage her brother Devon’s recent death. The brother died in a school shooting that occurred in a small community. Caitlin doesn’t understand exactly why her brother died and searches in her dictionary to learn about the heart. Finally, Caitlin discovers after reading the word closure that it is exactly what her and her father need to manage Devon’s death.
The book’s title Mockingbird refers to how her brother loved the film To Kill a Mockingbird and he often called Caitlin Scout. Caitlin often states that her own dad is similar to Atticus. I had difficulty putting an age frame on Mockingbird, since the topic is complex and sensitive. The book only refers to the shooting from Caitlin’s perspective as The Day Our Life Fell Apart and doesn’t get graphic or discuss any details. The book focuses more upon Caitlin’s daily struggles to adjust into a colorful world, but still being herself. Mockingbird won a YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Best Fiction Award in 2011. It also won a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2010.
Caitlin, Dad says. The whole town is upset by what happened. They want to help.How?They want to be with you. Talk to you. Take you places.I don’t want to be with them or talk to them or go places with them.He sighs. They want to help you deal with life, Caitlin…without Devon.
I don’t know what this means but the people come to our house. I wish I could hide in Devon’s room but I’m not allowed in there now. Not since The Day Our Life Fell Apart…
– Kathryn Erskine (Mockingbird, pages 10-11)
I always love book recommendations and The Hunger Games was mentioned more than once. I now understand why individuals love the series. Imagine a world that is no longer North America that is instead Panem, which is divided into twelve districts. The Capitol controls the districts by forcing one boy and one girl aged twelve to eighteen into the annual Hunger Games where they conquer until death. The entire match is televised until only one child is left. Yes, this book is not for those with a weak heart. It’s almost as though the nation is watching the Olympics, except the stakes are more extreme. Throughout The Hunger Games, individuals battle against each other with various difficulties, such as the climate and limited resources. Some districts are more favored to win as they have better resources and coached their youth at a young age. The winning district earns rewards. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen finds herself in the Hunger Games after she takes her sister’s place. Katniss has personal experience in survival, but is it enough to last until the end? The Hunger Games is more than just fighting until death as the youth face humanity and life challenges.