Archive for January, 2017|Monthly archive page

Undefeated Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team

In Middle Grade Book Review, Non-Fiction Reads on January 29, 2017 at 11:03 pm


by Steve Sheinkin

Non-Fiction/©2017/233 pages/Recommended for Middle School and Above

Publisher’s Comments (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Before these men became legends, they met in 1907 at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, where they forged one of the winningest teams in the history of America’s favorite sport. Called “the team that invented football,” Carlisle’s innovative squad challenged the greatest, most elite teams—Harvard, Yale, Army—audaciously vowing to take their place among the nation’s football powers.

This is an astonishing underdog sports story—and more. It’s an unflinching look at the U.S. government’s violent persecution of Native Americans and the school that was designed to erase Indian cultures. It’s the story of a group of young men who came together at that school, the overwhelming obstacles they faced both on and off the field, and their absolute refusal to accept defeat.

My Thoughts:

This is definitely a piece of history that needs to be told, and no one tells it better than Steve Sheinkin. His intended audience is middle school/high school, but it will appeal to adults as well. It is thoroughly researched and brilliantly written, and manages to focus on the inspiring story of Jim Thorpe and the obstacles he and the undefeated Indian football team faced, as well as the evolution of football in America. Equally important, he also included our country’s deplorable treatment of Native Americans. It is a quick read, but it packs a punch.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars



Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities #1)

In Middle Grade Book Review on January 26, 2017 at 10:05 pm


by Shannon Messenger

Middle Grade Fantasy/©2012/488 Pages/Recommended for Middle School/First in a series of 7 Books

Book Description (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.”
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.

My Thoughts:

This is just one of those books that grabs you on the first page and doesn’t let you go. The plot is engaging and full of twists and turns, the fantasy world setting is incredibly creative, and the characters (and there are many!) are each quite interesting and multidimensional. It is the first of seven in the series, and I am looking forward to reading them all. A well written, thoroughly enjoyable book.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White

In Middle Grade Book Review, Uncategorized, YA Book Reviews on January 10, 2017 at 7:44 pm


by Melissa Sweet

Biography/©2016/176 pages/Recommended for Middle School and Beyond

Book Description (Courtesy of Goodreads):
“SOME PIG,” Charlotte the spider’s praise for Wilbur, is just one fondly remembered snippet from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In Some Writer!, the two-time Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899 to his death in 1985. Budding young writers will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute is the first fully illustrated biography of E. B. White and includes an afterword by Martha White, E. B. White’s granddaughter. 

My Thoughts:
Masterfully written and beautifully illustrated (as all books by Melissa Sweet seem to be), this is one biography that will grab you from the first page, and you won’t want to put it down. It is visually stunning, interspersed as it is with photos, quotes and memorabilia from White’s life, as well as Melissa Sweet’s incredible illustrations. It is also full of stunning revelations about Mr. White. I have read his books, but other than that I couldn’t tell you much about E. B. White. Now I can’t stop talking about him. This book may be intended for the middle school audience, but all adults who grew up on his books are going to enjoy reading this as well. It is some book!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Other Great Books illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
by Catherine Thimmesh, Melissa Sweet

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jennifer Fisher Bryant, Melissa Sweet