Posts tagged ‘middle school’

STRANGE NEW WORLD

Walker Wildcats Year 1: The Extraordinary Life of Cassandra Jones Episode 1: The New Girl

Written by Tamara Hart Heiner

Illustrated by Elisa Allan

CassandraJones,pic

Cassandra Jones is a fifth grader who has just been uprooted because her family has moved from Texas to Arkansas. Facing the first day in a new school with trepidation, her fears are allayed when Danelle invites her to eat lunch with her and join her on the playground. Maybe things won’t be so bad.

Cassie is disappointed when her mom is late picking her up, but then rejoices when she finds out that their new house is ready. Soon after she finds a problem when a classmate who wants to be her friend doesn’t get along with Danelle. Then things don’t go smoothly at Girl’s Club, and she is tempted to quit because she is treated unfairly. To make matters worse, her mother says no when Cassie falls in love with a dog that her friend’s family is offering for adoption.

This book discusses many of the trials and tribulations preteens face with their peers and the adults with whom they interact. Marketed for children from second grade through middle grades, girls who are dealing with coming of age and family or school adjustment issues will find it has genuine appeal. Lots of dialogue and a few simple black and white illustrations. I think that teachers in grades three to five may find it a good candidate for a group discussion.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the RSS FEED button in the upper right hand corner of this post.

BORED NO MORE

Jesper Jinx (The Jesper Jinx Series Book 1)

Written and Illustrated by Marko Kit

jesperjink,picInteresting series of short stories exploring the hijinks of eleven year old Jesper, who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesper has a twelve year old sister, who is often the victim of┬áhis shenanigans. Jesper introduces himself by relating an episode in which he sabotages his sister’s favorite drink. Then the book switches to the voice of a children’s book author and his narration of what happens when he literally bumps into Jesper. It turns out that Jesper wants that author to record his strange experiences. There is a catch; the author can never publish them or allow anyone else to read them. Do you think that author keeps his promise? Will you, as the reader, keep that secrecy promise?

The next two stories reveal what happens when the family’s white cat meets Jesper’s watercolors, and a mysterious new student from Spain becomes a willing protege. Jose Maria studies the pranks Jesper and his friend Oliver commit in their classroom. Middle school readers will love the pranks and the humorous dialogue as well as the clever names like Miss Parrot, Mr. Llawandorder and Mr. Playfair-Eales.

Simple line drawings are a bonus and add appeal to early advanced readers or reluctant readers. I think fans of the Wimpy Kid series will also enjoy this one. Recommended for middle school readers. Look forward to reading more of this series.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right hand corner of this page.

IN OR OUT?

Clique,Clique Stop!

Written by Cherrye S. Vasquez, P.h.D

Cllique,Clique, Stop,pic

This new book continues the story of thirteen year old Isabella. In the author’s first book, No Tildes on Tuesdays, readers were introduced to Bella and her struggle to accept her biracial status. She had always associated and gone to school with white friends. In fact, she resisted her father and grandmother’s attempts to learn Spanish and the customs of her Mexican heritage. But now her father is being laid off, and the family is moving to a much poorer mixed population neighborhood. Bella feels disappointed and rejected, especially when her neighbor calls her a half breed.

When she goes to register at her new school, Isabella’s white mother is angered to see that there is no place on the registration form to indicate biracial. Though Bella is strong and determined, everyone at the school seems to be in cliques. Whites hang with whites, the Spanish students avoid speaking English, and the Black students have their own cliques as well. Bella meets a Spanish boy named Roberto and a white boy named George, who seem friendly, but the girls continue to make fun of her.

Bella’s mother contacts the school which leads to Bella speaking to Mrs. Rios, the guidance counselor. She hesitantly speaks of her idea to start a Heritage Club in which students of all races would come together not only to discuss likes and dislikes but to share common interests and customs. Many of the teachers realize that the school has been divided into cliques for far too long and jump on board. Bella is gambling that her club will bridge the divide and unite students from different backgrounds in the community. Will it succeed?

Dr. Vasquez concludes the book with a section discussing the story line with students, educators and parents. This short story is a much welcomed edition in a book market that largely neglects our multiracial and multicultural students. It should be available in the classrooms of middle schools, in our libraries, and a topic of discussion in the families of all our children.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS Feed button in the upper right hand corner of the page.

%d bloggers like this: