Posts tagged ‘family relationships’

A GLIMPSE INTO THE LIFE…

Grigori Rasputin: A Life from Beginning to End

Written by Hourly History

This short read of approximately fifty pages can be read in an hour or less. As such, it cannot be considered a comprehensive review of “The Mad Monk’s” life. It is one of the better books in this history series.

The book begins with Rasputin’s life as a troubled child born in a small village in Siberia. He had many clandestine meetings with his followers, many of whom were women. Rasputin soon developed a reputation as a womanizer. On the other hand, his banishment to a monastery led to the development of a mystical streak. Rasputin had a habit of carrying out everything in his life to extreme limits.

When the monk cured the Tsar and Tsarina’s son, his history of miracles emerged to become a factor. Rasputin would divide the Greek Orthodox church into factions. He soon found himself surrounded by enemies. During his life, he found himself in and out of favor with the Russian monarchy as well as the common populace.

His ability to work miracles protected him from harm many times. He reportedly survived an assassination attempt by poison, only to be shot while making his escape. The combination of factors including World War I and its effect on the Russian populace would eventually doom the Russian government.

This book will give readers a decent overview of Rasputin’s colorful life and role in twentieth-century Russian history. It whets the appetite and interested readers can move on to more comprehensive studies.

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WHO’S WHO

Brian: The Helmsworth Project: Book Two

Written by Madison Key

I did not read the first book in this science fiction, coming of age series, but I caught on after the first few pages. Sixteen-year-old Brian has managed to escape after his parents are killed and his home blown up. Brian’s sisters Claire and Jenna are under the protection of the FBI, as were his parents. He is being held off the coast of Mexico. It appears that his captors know of his psionic and pyrokinesis powers. While being held, Brian keeps in mental touch with his sister. But he is having difficulty figuring out who is the real enemy and being forced into submission to do their bidding.

Will Brian be able to untangle the web of deceit in time to get back to his sisters and safety? This book of fewer than fifty pages moves along quickly. Middle-grade, young adult and adult science fiction, and genetic engineering fans who enjoy a light, fast-moving read will probably like this series.

ONLY E

Letter E Leaves the Alphabet

Written and illustrated by Martha Lane

Letter E decides that he wants to leave his alphabet family. He is tired of never being first. Even in the vowel group, his sister letter A always assumes first place. Despite his family’s assurances, that he is unique and cannot be replaced, E writes a letter and takes off on a snowmobile.

The book might be used as an introduction to the alphabet for young children. It contains a sentence rhyme for each of the alphabet letters. But the main message is that like every letter, each child is unique and irreplaceable. Will the alphabet family convince him to return or will the previously written words need to be changed?

This book is based on a true-life experience with a child named, Eric. Recommended as a read-aloud self-esteem book or as an alphabet teaching tool.

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GHOSTS OF THE PAST

Babu and Bina at the Ghost Party (Babu and Bina Book Series 1)

Written by P Tomar

Illustrated by Giulia Iacopini

Mama and Papa Trunk are preparing to take their elephant children, Babu and Bina to the old Indian fort. The children are excited. When a candy man warns them to watch out for the ghost of the Maharaja, their interest peaks even more. As the children eagerly explore the fort, Pina, their pup, takes off. They follow her and get locked in a mysterious room where they will meet many ghosts of the fort gathered together for a celebration. Will the children find a way back to their parents?

Babu and Bina are an adorable brother and sister pair who teach their readers much about sibling cooperation and Indian history. This promises to be an interesting series on Indian culture and history. Vivid illustrations will engage even the youngest reader. The short length makes it a good choice for a bedtime story or a read- aloud. Recommended for children ages three through eight.

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AN ACTIVE IMAGINATION

Ronan’s Dinosaur

Written by Nadishka Aloysius

Illustrated by Manoshi de Silva

This chapter book features a five-year-old boy named Ronan who is suddenly moved to join his parents at his Grandmother’s rural home in Sri Lanka. Ronan and his parents lived in the urban area of Colombo.

Ronan is an anxious, lonely boy who does not like change. His parents have moved in temporarily to help his ailing grandmother. Ronan’s parents are kind and caring parents who do their best to assuage his fears. One day while playing in the garden, Ronan finds a lizard named Scoot. Scoot can talk. He explains to Ronan that she is a dinosaur. Ronan is skeptical, but he learns to enjoy exploring with her and making friends with Tryx, her dinosaur friend who lives in the trees.

When Ronan’s parents hear him talking aloud, they think he is talking to himself and become concerned. So, they take him to visit a neighbor next door who has a dog named Spike. Ronan is afraid of the dog, until Scoot talks to the animal. Again, Ronan learns he has nothing to fear.

Ronan’s grandmother has a setback and must visit the hospital. There he confides in his grandmother and reveals his secret. She remembers her own youth spent with Scoot. The time has come to sell the house and move to a nursing home. Ronan is devastated. Will Ronan ever see Scoot again?

This is a wonderful book to share with children who like to be alone or who experience anxieties. It gently explains that change is not necessarily bad and that we grow from personal experiences both real and imaginary. Targeted for children ages seven and older. I would especially recommend it for ages nine through twelve as a portion of the vocabulary is challenging.

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A NEW BEGINNING

In Memory of Dad

Written by Maranda Russell

Kaley Jergins is a spirited fourth-grader who loves playing basketball. While she enjoys practicing with her teammates, Kaley especially enjoys playing with her father, Kyle. Kyle played basketball in college and received a championship ring after participating in The Final Four matches several times.

One-night Kaley’s placid world is turned upside down when her father suffers a heart attack. After his death, she and her mother withdraw. Kaley gives up basketball because the memories of her father pain her too much. One day her former teammate, Drea begs her to attend a game, which Kaley reluctantly agrees to do after much cajoling. A surprise event propels Kaley from her lethargy and convinces her to move on with her life.

This short story is a good way to discuss the topic of death and dying in families who have experienced or who are about to experience a loss. Teachers might also use the book as a read-aloud for class discussion. The author writes an afterword in which she offers suggestions to young readers for coping with the loss of a family member. Recommended for middle-grade and young adult readers.

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A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE INCIDENTS

The Frights of Fiji: (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions Series Book 1

Written by Sunayna Prasad

This is the first in a series of fantasy adventures for middle-grade readers. Alyssa is the twelve-year-old protagonist who lost her parents in an accident five years prior. Although her parents had named her Uncle Alex as her guardian, she is now living with her Uncle Bruce and his daughter, Hailey.

Bruce is a stern taskmaster; Alyssa lives a life of unending rules and drudgery. When magic becomes a part of her life, along with some strange-looking wizards and creatures, she believes there is the hope of escape from her plight. But then she learns that an evil wizard intends to capture her and remove Bruce from the picture.

Alyssa has been whisked away to Fiji where her situation goes from bad to worse. She is enslaved with several other children and forced to do the evil wizard’s bidding. Will Alyssa find a way to escape back to the United States and find refuge with her godfather?

There are many fantastical characters and a series of rather far-fetched incidents. Even though this book is a magical fantasy, some of the plot connections don’t come off as genuine.

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